Posts Tagged ‘Solid Edge’

Hardware Configurations for Solid Edge and Other CAD Applications

June 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Since high performance, high scalability workstations can cost a bit more than traditional desktops or laptops, people should do some comparison shopping first. An entry-level desktop workstation can be both price competitive and still offer many features of traditionally higher priced workstations. So what should you look for when you are comparing hardware features?

Dual Core vs. Quad Core

One thing to consider is that CAD is still mostly a single-threaded application (yeah, there are some places it is not like rendering and FEA and it is slowly creeping into other aspects of CAD), but if you mainly do CAD modeling, max clock speed is the goal. On a desktop workstation, the quad core offers highest frequency (3.2 GHz) vs. the dual core (2.53 GHz). While six cores are not necessary for Solid Edge, you should consider what other applications you will be running, perhaps simultaneously, to determine the total number of cores you will need.

On a mobile workstation, however, both the quad core and dual core processors offer the same frequencies (max turbo), the quad core does so at a much higher price point. The base frequency on the quad core is lower (2.50 GHz).

More Power

Higher power graphics and more memory are both are important for CAD when loading complex models and assemblies and of course manipulating them fluidly. It is the workstation where the delineation between these components (memory, OpenGL graphics and CPU speed) and a normal desktop is most noticeable.

A couple folks on the Solid Edge forum pointed out they have gotten some good deals at the Dell Outlet store. These are not brand new systems and the inventory can fluctuate, but if you are on a tight budget this option may be for you. I’d hate to manage a CAD team where every designer has a different model, but for an individual or small shop, it might be worth considering.

Below are some sample configurations to help you in your research. These configurations were provided by Dell so Solid Edge users could have some comparisons during the Solid Edge ST4 Global Launch Event, held June 15-16, 2011, in Huntsville, Alabama.

Hardware Configurations for CAD Workstations

Hardware Configurations for CAD Workstations

Hardware Configurations for Mobile CAD Workstations

Hardware Configurations for Mobile CAD Workstations

Author: Mark Burhop – Programs Director, Velocity Technology Ecosystem – Siemens PLM.
Find Mark Burhop on Twitter

The Advantages of Solid-State Drives for Solid Edge and Other CAD Applications

June 9, 2011 1 comment

A few of us CAD folks are experimenting with solid-state drives (SSDs), since they give fast boots and quick launches of Solid Edge (and most other high-end software programs). However, SSDs cost more than traditional hard disk drives (HDDs), so only a lucky few are getting them.

SSDs use solid-state memory to store data and provides access just like a traditional block i/o HHD. However, SSDs use microchips to retain the data, which contain no moving parts. In contrast, HDD are electromechanical devices with spinning disks and movable read/write heads. The advantage is SSDs are typically less susceptible to physical shock, are silent, and have lower access time and latency. Because SSDs use the same interface as hard disk drives, they can easily replace them in most applications.

The folks at Dell pointed out to me that:

For mobile workstations, the best configuration and for a relatively inexpensive solution, the SSD minicard is a good alternative. The OS (boot) drive is the minicard and a regular HDD is the data drive for application data. With this solution you get the fast boot time of the SSD and the large capacity (and less expense) of the HDD. Also, SSDs, with no moving parts, have the highest durability with up to 15 times more shock and impact resistance than standard hard drives. Hard disk drives (HDDs) have moving parts, which makes them more vulnerable to certain impacts, vibrations and other movements that can lead to drive failure and potential data loss. SSDs, shock-mounted hard drives and free-fall sensor drives can all help reduce the risk of failure.

If being a happier employee doesn’t sell your boss on an SSD drive, tout the benefits of working faster while having fewer failures due to accidentally slapping your computer during a slow boot. Read more about Solid Edge and hardware configurations at the Siemens PLM blog.

Author: Mark Burhop – Programs Director, Velocity Technology Ecosystem – Siemens PLM.
Find Mark Burhop on Twitter