MCAD Tech News (#326)

26 Apr, 2012 By: Cadalyst Staff

Dell Announces Four New Tower Workstations

T7600, T5600, T3600, and entry-level T1650 offer innovations including front-accessible hard drives, an externally removable power supply, and automatic notifications of suboptimal system performance.

By Nancy Spurling Johnson

Dell recognizes that many users of the Dell Precision line of professional workstations are first and foremost designers — including engineers, architects, and digital artists — and want to focus on design, not on hardware. Today the company introduced four new desktop models that aim to deliver the power, reliability, and data security required for professionals to excel at high-end design work without being sidetracked by IT concerns.

The new towers will even automatically notify users when the hardware is not performing optimally, whether the problem be with CPU, hard drives, the power supply, or any other components, allowing users to easily pinpoint problems and restore productivity.

'With the Dell Precision T7600, T5600, T3600, and T1650, the company wanted to create a system that designers would design themselves. The new models have been completely redesigned inside and out; they feature new technology that reportedly eliminates nearly all memory errors, and are said to be one of the only tower workstations to offer front-accessible hard drives and an externally removable power supply.

New Dell Precision tower workstations: the T7600, T5600, T3600, and the entry-level T1650. Image courtesy of Dell, Inc.
New Dell Precision tower workstations: the T7600, T5600, T3600, and the entry-level T1650. Image courtesy of Dell, Inc.

The four new models feature Intel microarchitecture and eight-core CPUs for multithreaded applications; generation three PCIe I/O support for improved visualization performance with next generation graphics; and up to 512 GB quad-channel memory for running large data sets in memory. They also offer the new NVIDIA Maximus technology, which allows users to run visualization and simulation tasks simultaneously. A range of professional-class graphics cards from AMD and NVIDIA is available, up to the AMD FirePro V7900 and NVIDIA Quadro 6000.

Systems are certified to support a variety of high-end design and engineering applications from companies including Autodesk, Dassault Systemes, PTC, Siemens PLM Software, Adobe, and ESRI. Read more »

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Nancy Spurling Johnson is Cadalyst's editor in chief.


IMAGINiT Tricks Tutorial: Configure Assemblies in Autodesk Inventor

Learn how to prepare an iAssembly for the drawing environment.

By Anthony Dull

Editor's Note: This tutorial courtesy of IMAGINiT Technologies.

I have been asked several times recently about how Autodesk Inventor handles configurations of assemblies at the drawing level. (These are known as iAssemblies and iParts in Inventor. If you are coming from SolidWorks or another modeling program and have no idea what an iPart or iAssembly is, then I recommend taking classes such as "Advanced Part Modeling" or "Advanced Assembly Modeling.") So, I decided it was time to dust off the F7 key and clarify the process.

Stop Wasting Time

First, we will need to turn all the parts that will have configurations into iParts. Try to do this before inserting them into an assembly that will later become an iAssembly. If the assembly already exists, you will have to replace the part with an instance of itself. Doing this will destroy all of the constraints that are associated to that part (cue sinister music).

Again, if the assembly already exists, this has to be done because when the part was originally placed into the assembly, there was no configuration table associated to the part. We need that table to create different configurations for the iAssembly. So, the workflow I suggest is to create the iParts first, then insert the iPart into the assembly. Do this to save time, re-work, and your all-important mental health. Read more »

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Anthony Dull is a mechanical applications engineer for Avatech Solutions.


Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events


HyperWorks Technology Conference
May 15–17, 2012
Detroit, Michigan
This complimentary PLM (product lifecycle management) conference will include keynote addresses and client presentations that highlight industry trends in enterprise simulation and showcase how manufacturers are enabling innovation through simulation. Read more »

RAPID 2012
May 22–25, 2012
Atlanta, Georgia
The RAPID 2012 and 3D IMAGING events will reveal the latest developments, trends, and techniques specific to additive manufacturing and 3D imaging through presentations and discussion. Read more »

PlanetPTC Live Orlando 2012
June 3–6, 2012
Orlando, Florida
PlanetPTC Live is for professionals who are involved in design, manufacturing, compliance, quality, embedded software, service information, and product lifecycle management (PLM), as well as business leaders interested in improving and implementing business process initiatives. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to


What’s New at


Cadalyst Poll: How Much Do You Spend on Your CAD Workstation?
Do you ever wonder how much money your peers spend on their CAD systems? Simply scroll to the bottom of the Cadalyst home page and vote in the latest Cadalyst poll to find out! You can even bookmark the results page and come back later, to see how the results change as more voters weigh in.

CADspeed Blog Post:
Hardware Requirements Released for AutoCAD 2013

Autodesk has released the platform and system requirements for AutoCAD 2013, which was launched on March 27, 2012. Read more »

AutoCAD Tip – Create Smart Geometry Automatically
We all want smart geometry, right? AutoCAD 2011 added the Infer Constraints tool to the status bar to help you automatically create geometry with a higher IQ. In this video tip from Cadalyst and Lynn Allen, you'll see just how easy it is to bump up the intelligence of your AutoCAD objects with little or no effort whatsoever. Read more »

All-in-One CAD Tip #2: AutoCAD Sheet Sets, 3ds Max Workspace, Dusty Hardware
Check out these great tips for organizing AutoCAD sheet sets, maximizing your 3ds Max screen real estate and helping your hardware perform at its best. Sponsored by the HP Z1 All-in-One Workstation. Read more »

Autodesk Strives for Consistency, Cloud-Centricity in 2013 Product Lineup
Updated components for AEC, manufacturing, and entertainment suites are integrated with each other — and with the Autodesk 360 cloud computing platform. Read more »

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