AEC Tech News (#267)

1 Apr, 2010 By: Cadalyst Staff

HP Thinks Small with New Desktop and Mobile Workstations

Less can be better with hardware that consumes less space, less energy, and less of your budget.

By Cyrena Respini-Irwin

Spring is well under way in southern California, where balmy temperatures lure surfers into the water while northerners are still huddled indoors. Eager beachgoers and blooming flowers weren't the only signs of the season visible in Santa Monica last week, however. Hardware giant HP gathered journalists from around the world to unveil two newly hatched workstations and processor enhancements for its existing models.

Company executives displayed confidence about HP's workstation product line and position in the market. Jim Zafarana, vice-president and general manager of the Workstations Global Business Unit, proclaimed that during the "economic firestorm" of 2009, "HP not only survived, but thrived," surpassing Dell for the top spot in desktop, mobile, and total workstation market share. Jeff Wood, director of worldwide marketing, Workstations Global Business Unit, called 2009 "a phenomenal year from a workstation perspective."

If it seems surprising that some companies are making substantial hardware investments despite the current economy, perhaps they believe, as Zafarana does, that "there will be winners and losers ... winners will rearchitect for multicore first." Certainly the move from 2D to 3D, and from 32-bit to 64-bit processing, are demands that will encourage some AEC firms to upgrade their hardware sooner rather than later.

During this event, HP took the opportunity to highlight applications where superior computing power has yielded superior business positioning. For example, Philip Ra, senior designer at the Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design, described a challenging project with a very short time frame: Yazdani designed a villa for an emerging arts district in Inner Mongolia in just two weeks. "Using the computer in an efficient manner," said Ra, "allowed us to have a competitive advantage." Read more »

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Cyrena Respini-Irwin is Cadalyst's senior editor.

AutoCAD 2011: A Look at What's New

There's a new version of AutoCAD in town, and it's sporting an updated UI, improved 2D and 3D functionality, and much more.

By Robert Green

Today Autodesk announced the latest version of its flagship 2D/3D CAD software, AutoCAD 2011, and there's a lot to talk about. In this article, I'll provide an overview of the significant new features. You might also want to read "AutoCAD 2011 for the CAD Manager," as well as my Cadalyst Labs Review of the new version in the Spring 2010 edition of Cadalyst magazine.

Armed with this information, I hope you'll be on your way to determining if AutoCAD 2011 is the upgrade for you. Enjoy!

User Interface

AutoCAD 2011's user interface is similar enough to prior versions that most recent AutoCAD users should feel comfortable with the new additions after a few minutes of exploration. New features include:

  • A return to the dark model space tab with a new graph paper-style grid.
  • Navigation controls are now docked along the right side of the screen.
  • The quick-access toolbar now includes a pull-down menu for selecting the current workspace.
  • A new ribbon pull-down menu controls how detailed you'd like ribbon panels to be.

Read more »

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Cadalyst contributing editor Robert Green performs CAD programming and consulting throughout the United States and Canada. He is the author of Expert CAD Management: The Complete Guide. Reach him via his web site.

Mark Your Calendar: AEC Events 

San Francisco Revit User Group: Shared Coordinates
April 14, 2010
San Francisco, California
Teresa Martin, an AEC application specialist at Ideate, will walk user group attendees through the steps of utilizing shared coordinates within a Revit building project. Read more »

Residential Design and Construction 2010
April 14–15, 2010
Boston, Massachusetts
Developed by the Boston Society of Architects/AIA (BSA), RDC offers workshops, special events, live demonstrations, panel discussions, and networking opportunities designed for professionals working on residential and other small-scale projects. Read more »

SEI Architecture Technology User Network 2010 Conference
May 17–21, 2010
Minneapolis, Minnesota
The SATURN Conference is an annual event where architecture practitioners and researchers meet to share ideas, network, and learn about architecture technologies and practices. The theme of SATURN 2010, "Architecting for Change," emphasizes the need for organizations to meet their business and mission goals in rapidly and continuously changing environments. 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


CAD Manager's Toolbox: ReadyBoost for Windows 7
Need more memory on a budget? Try this Windows feature, which increases your memory resources while keeping costs in check. Read more »

AutoCAD 2011 for the CAD Manager
Autodesk is launching the latest version of its flagship product. Here's a rundown of the new features that will help you help your users. Read more »

KeyCreator Version 9
History-free 3D modeling software can give you an edge in producing manufacturing-ready models. Read more »

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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