Memory size and speed, or RAM, can significantly impact performance, and depending on the application, could influence throughput more than anything else in your CAD workstation. Usually there’s a sweet spot. To find it, start with the minimum recommendation for your primary software, then get a feel for how much more memory you’ll get with incremental spending.
Performance versus Budget
To achieve solid performance within a reasonable budget, that sweet spot today is likely between 6 GB and 16 GB of DDR3 1333-MHz RAM. DDR3 is third generation, dual-data rate memory technology, with Intel’s current platforms centered on 1333-MHz clock frequency — and it’s really your best memory option these days.
Also pay attention to how many of your system’s dual inline memory module (DIMM) slots are taken up by the system memory. This should be clear from the system specs and from the system configurator when purchasing a system online. For example, 4 GB might be specified as “1333 MHz, DDR3 SDRAM, ECC (4 DIMMs),” meaning that four slots are occupied (out of the total number of slots specified in the model’s spec page or datasheet). Ideally, you’ll want to leave some DIMM slots empty so you can give your system a mid-life memory upgrade if needed. Depending on the density you’ve chosen, leaving empty slots often involves no additional cost.
Error Correcting Code
And what of Error Correcting Code (ECC), an upgrade that typically allows single-bit memory errors to be detected and corrected? New Xeon processors offer integrated ECC, but with other processors it’s an added expense. For most CAD applications, ECC is certainly valuable but not essential. If the added cost is modest and doesn’t sacrifice performance — sometimes the DDR clock frequency must drop to accommodate ECC — go for it.
Every time we put out a new version of the AutoCAD WS application, the first meeting we have after the release is about what we are going to add to the next release. Our product development strategy has always been to listen closely to the feedback and emails we get from our users and to try and provide functionality and workflows that addresses their needs.
The latest upcoming release — AutoCAD WS 1.4 mobile application— is a fantastic leap forward in terms of delivering a more complete solution for AutoCAD WS users. Outlined below are three major additions to the existing feature set that we feel will really appeal to AutoCAD WS users — and given that we currently have more than 3.5 million registered users throughout the world, that’s a pretty tall order.
The biggest story of the new release is that you will be able to view 3D files in the AutoCAD WS mobile app. We’re very excited with the way this 3D viewing functionality has evolved: it lends itself to touch screen phones and tablets in a very natural and intuitive way. There are a number of different views preprogrammed into the app that will help you see your drawings from key angles, or you can go totally freestyle and rotate your designs in any direction to get an understanding of what they will look like in 3D.
Plot from Mobile
For the first time we are enabling the AutoCAD WS mobile app to plot directly from within the app. Whether you’re looking at a 2D or 3D version of your design, you should be able to plot your drawing as a PDF or DWF and attach it to an email for sending from within the mobile app. In addition, we have joined with HP to take advantage of their HP ePrint & Share service, enabling you to plot your designs directly to any web-connected HP Designjet or other HP ePrinter, anywhere in the world from wherever you are. It’s a great way to share hard copies of your drafts with colleagues and clients — even while you’re still in the field.
This is a feature that we have had a lot of requests for from the AutoCAD WS community. Using the built-in GPS capabilities of your smartphone or tablet, you will be able to locate yourself within your drawing. The accuracy of the positioning will depend on your mobile device, but this feature will enable you to move around within your design and make location-specific comments.
All in all, for our first release of 2012, AutoCAD WS 1.4 offers a pretty varied selection of highly requested features. But we’re not stopping here: as we approach the upcoming launch date, we’ll of course be turning our thoughts to yet the next release.
Author: AutoCAD WS Team