Home > Windows, Workstations > A CAD Manager’s Guide to Hardware Upgrades, Part 2

A CAD Manager’s Guide to Hardware Upgrades, Part 2

The first post in this series discussed upgrade procedures under various organizational structures. Now, we dive into prioritizing upgrades. One thing is certain: as long as CAD software increases in power there will always be a need for upgrading and replacing CAD workstations.

Hardware Upgrades for CAD ManagersUpgrades Based on Workload

While some companies have a policy of replacing all of the CAD workstations simultaneously, others provide workstations based on workload. “Typically I have prioritized computer upgrades in offices in a method similar to a nurse’s triage at a hospital,” Chris Currie wrote in the Cadalyst LinkedIn group.

Currie’s practice is certainly not unusual in the CAD world. With any one office participating in several disciplines or practices, it is very common for users in the same office or department to have differing needs. That is to say that the entry level CAD professional may not be doing the more complex, intense work of a senior employee.

Reusing Hardware Based on Functionality

Often companies seek cost savings in the area of hardware by moving workstations down. Drafters performing complex work may receive new workstations while more junior drafters receive the workstation being replaced. In effect, everyone gets a “newer,” more powerful workstation while providing a cost savings to the company.

Standardizing the Process

CAD software becoming increasingly powerful each year and the need for upgraded hardware does not look to end any time soon. It would help any CAD manager to standardize the process for upgrades to make the process less difficult. Take the lessons learned from this year’s hardware upgrade and document them to help you during future upgrades.

Whether your hardware upgrade procedure is well defined or a haphazard per event trial, leave us a comment below and tell us about it. CADspeed would love to hear from you whatever your process for requesting and providing new hardware may be.

Author: Curt Moreno

  1. June 22, 2011 at 11:52 am

    I am in both production and IS/IT. The IS/IT manager generally accepts my recommendations for hardware, which are usually deployed as mentioned in your article above where senior personnel receive the brand new machines and their older machines are re-provisioned and passed down the line. However in our latest round of upgrades, all CAD users received new, top of the line machines. Fortunately, we were able to accurately forecast the timing of our move to Civil 3D 64-bit and held off on hardware upgrades longer than normal until we were ready to make this software change.

  2. June 24, 2011 at 5:06 am

    Have the pass down here with ex-cad workstations, dual screen etc going to people with related needs. Replacement isnt really scheduled but often around software changes (CAD to Revit) or Operating System (32/64).

    Have also found better value in getting mid-range machines & replacing more often than top range less often.

    • June 24, 2011 at 8:46 pm

      Hi Robin,

      Interesting about finding better value in mid-range machines and replacing more often — any more details you can share?


  3. June 26, 2011 at 2:19 am

    Thanks for your comments guys! It’s always fantastic when you can time your upgrades intentionally with new software. I’ve seen the two happen together but sometimes it is a scenario where the new software investment then requires an unexpected (and begrudging) hardware upgrade.

    Robin, in my office we had tried custom built machines. Often the performance was formidable but there were drawbacks. When we used outside vendors it was hard to get machines built by the same vendor b/c they go out of business so quickly. Interior builds often took FAR too long b/c of other commitments. We would find ourselves chasing our IT department and it made for a testy situation. Finally we settled on outside, large corporate workstation builds with on-site service agreements.

    Nothings golden but we can work with silver!

    – KFD –

  1. June 21, 2011 at 9:39 pm

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