My company is transitioning from a smattering of CAD programs (ACAD, Anvil, Wildfire 10, SE ST7) to just using SolidEdge (and the hope is for a newer version than ST7). Many of the computers have not been upgraded for the last 10 years. The newer computers handle SE fairly well, but the older ones slow to a crawl even though on paper they should be fairly comparable. I'm trying to price out a new set up for all our engineers so we can get on the same page moving forward as everyone learns to use SE.
If you could build a computer to run ST9 and be slightly future proof for newer versions and your cap was $1,500 per workstation, what would you build?
desktop, not laptops
capable of supporting dual monitors (what isn't these days?)
no peripherals necessary (keyboard, mouse, 3d mouse already covered)
no optical drives as our IT guy would probably strip the DVD burners out of the current machines
I assume things like RAM and motherboards would not be transferable given how much those have changed over time, but I'm not computer guy.
my personal preferation here will be a fast CPU with high basic clock rate.
What I have seen is, that for Solid Edge usage a I7 seems to perform better than a Xeon.
There is no doubt that storage will be a fast M.2 SSDwith approx.256 GB (suppose data will be saved on server).
Graphic card recommendation might be a new nVidia Quadro where I think that a P2000 will be a not so bad decision.
Of course - as You mentioned I personally prefer the dual screen solution with 2x 24" monitors.
Due to the fact that You are sitting in front of them the hole day I always keep an eye on quality rather than price only. You can use them at least 10 years from now.
And at least I would recommend Win10 as operating system.
For 1.5 years now i have made good not to say best expirience with win10 even on my 8 year old dino in the office
To bring it to the point:
Fast clocked CPU, dast M.2 SSD and a midrange nVidia Quadro, this is what I would look to get.
First off, I would say that "future proof" means getting 4 years max out of a PC. Stuff just moves too fast to count on a PC being efficient in 3D CAD after that period of time. Leasing a workstation is probably fiscally a good idea.
Second, spend the money on good hardware for your heavy users. Productivity losses of choosing cheap hardware (and $1500 is cheap) can erode any savings you thought you were going to get withing the first couple months.
Third, don't underestimate the convenience of a mobile workstation. We have migrated most of our staff to mobile workstations which has greatly improved productivity and collaboration.
And to reiterate @hawcad recomendations:
Future proof - realistically, considering we're still on ST7, we would probably only upgrade once in the lifespan of these workstations. Even then, if we bought the hardware in the near future, we would install ST9 instead of ST10 and that would likely be it.
Good hardware - My first configuration on the HP site came out at $2200 per. I'm fairly sure that's above what they would allow us to spend, so I was curious what everyone on here thought represents adequate hardware in case I was overbuilding in some areas and could knock the cost down without sacrificing noticeable performance.
Laptops - I would love it if they would switch to mobile workstations, but I don't think they'll ever be willing to invest the money to do it. At my last job, all the engineers had laptops and it was incredibly helpful. Need to have a meeting in the conference room? Just take your laptop plug in to the projector and that's one less computer for the IT department to keep up and you can show off anything you can on your workstation. Need to do service work and have access to complete models of the design? Done. And you can always put docking stations at desks if you want the feel of a tower.
@McEngineer, I think you are hitting about the minimum price of a conservatively spec'd workstation would be. I got a price just under $1900 but that was with our employee discount from HP so if you have quite a few to purchase, you may want to see if you can contact an HP reseller or HP Sales person and negotiate a price for a bulk purchase.
I only can agree to @KennyG with recommending to take the best hardware You can get.
There is an old proverb in my mind which again get true here:
"You always get what You pay for!"
And compared to the working oour costs You will and more to say Your management will earn the higher costs in a very short time with saving Your working time.
So let's assume that a typical engineer costs $50 per hour.
This is not only the salary cost for the company but also all the other expenses for an employee.
So saving only 10 hours of working time will save $500 of working costs.
I would like to say this 10 hours can be saved with a better hardware in less than a month.
And let's assume a worst case for that.
It may take 3 month or even 6 month but then You will earn money for Your company with using better and faster hardware.
And this will be true for the rest of the lifecylcle of that hardware so this will be true for at leats another 3 years.
This IMHO is what managment should consider when talking about investment for computer hardware used for CAD
And BTW those computers will provie great performance after those 3 to 4 years for standard office usage.
"Get the best You can!"
1.5K is not enough for good work stations.
That stated, the lowest cost decent harware is XI computers. I was considering them when we decided to go with BOXX computers. But they are more like $4K for a current APEX II 4.9 Ghz w/ M8000 vid and PCIe SS hard drive.
I built this computer for about $1500, but already had an existing case, power supply, and accessories.
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