Alarming Poll Results: Why Are So Many CAD Users Limiting Their Performance with Desktops?
In early August 2011, the good folks at Cadalyst.com asked their audience, What type of computer do you use primarily for CAD-related work?” As of October 29, there were 1,453 responses: “Standard Desktop” and “Desktop Workstation” were tied at 35%, followed by “Mobile Workstation” (11%), “Standard PC Notebook” (9%), and “Mac” (7%). Why are so many CAD users missing out on the ability of workstations to improve their performance?!
I’m right with the author of the CADspeed blog post about this, who says, “As every user knows, CAD software isn’t your standard PC software. It takes some horsepower to work with these heavy-duty programs. Add 3D rendering, design analysis, or other high-end tools, and you’ve got to have a machine with some muscle behind it.”
That’s why I’m so surprised that the post (which was written in September when there only 905 votes tallied) goes on to say that “…we aren’t too surprised that our poll results show that desktop professional workstations are, so far, the most common among our readership (37%). The standard desktop PC is a close second (35%).”
A close second is no surprise?! In my view, workstations are so far superior to desktop computers when it comes to running CAD applications—even 2D applications—that I can’t believe the amount of “Standard Desktop” responses didn’t ring any alarm bells.
Honestly, it shocks me that anyone would use a desktop PC, a laptop, or a Mac for CAD work, when workstations aren’t that much more expensive and offer so much more computing and graphics power.
Here are just a few of the many reasons to choose workstations over any other kind of computer for CAD:
Workstations last up to 50 percent longer than desktops. They’re built more durably and are engineered with better cooling features. The longer lifecycle alone can justify the extra cost of the machines
Workstations let you bring products to market faster. With the ability to handle up to eight core CPUs, stronger graphics processing cards, and faster hard drives, for example, workstations do what every company wants done: Speed workflow!
Workstation configurations are certified to work effectively with AutoCAD, SolidWorks, Creo, CATIA, NX, and other popular CAD applications. If you’re not running these applications on certified configurations, you’re unlikely to get support when you run into problems
Workstations dramatically reduce system crashes and data loss due to memory glitches, because they offer Error Correction Code (ECC) memory. Anyone who’s ever encountered the “BSOD” (blue screen of death) will appreciate this!
Honestly, I want every CAD designer and engineer to reach their fullest potential by experiencing the power and efficiency that professional-strength workstations provide. I’d love to hear all your desktop vs. workstation experiences, so please send them in!