CAD Tech News (#12)

5 Mar, 2015 By: Cadalyst Staff

▶ New Expectations Drive Development of PDM Collaboration Features

Product data management software is evolving with the incorporation of on-demand cloud, analytics, mobile, and social elements.

By Randall S. Newton

When a smartphone user takes a photo or records a video, the results can be immediately saved to a cloud storage site. The data is then available to edit, to geo-encode, to tag (possibly using facial recognition software), and to share. Such capabilities are only a few years old, but most of us already take such fluid access and creative flexibility for granted — until we go to work. Creating and sharing a CAD-based model or drawing in a professional setting is an entirely different experience; it's the IT equivalent of donning a straitjacket.

The discrepancy exists because most of our workplace processes still mimic the days when everything was done on paper, whereas the "workflow" of using a smartphone is rooted completely in contemporary digital processes. The freedom we experience with new technology in our personal lives is being driven by new interrelationships among four existing technology types: cloud, analytics ("big data"), mobile, and social (CAMS). The power of these four technologies is rooted in their ability to provide the following on-demand services:

  • Cloud: On-demand computation and storage
  • Analytics: On-demand insight
  • Mobile: On-demand access
  • Social: On-demand collaboration.

CAD industry software developers are discovering the benefits they can deliver by incorporating these CAMS technologies in their solutions — how to take off the straitjacket, in other words. While the new technologies are relevant to content creation, the biggest changes are happening in product data management (PDM).

Simply put, PDM is software that tracks and controls the data related to product development. Originally, PDM products organized CAD files and provided version control and check-in/check-out access control. Over time they took on other tasks, including the management of change orders and bills of materials. PDM products are created by CAD companies (such as Autodesk Vault and PTC PDMLink) and by PDM specialists (such as Synergis Adept or Arena Solutions BOMControl).

The Product Development and Management Association calls today's reformation of PDM distributed product development, and defines it this way:

The separation and optimization of activities performed during a single product development process (i.e., product ideation, development, and launch) across multiple geographic locations. These locations may be within a single corporate entity, within subsidiaries, or involve the use of third parties.

Read more »

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Randall S. Newton is principal analyst at Consilia Vektor, and a contributing analyst for Jon Peddie Research.

▶ First Look Review: Lenovo ThinkStation P500

Tower workstation offers a good balance of price and performance.

By Alex Herrera

Last Fall, Lenovo tossed out its deskside model series and introduced a single, unified, and completely redesigned Thinkstation P-series. In the process, the company served notice to the market that it is a strong contender for the hearts and minds of CAD professionals.

Lenovo's new single-socket ThinkStation P500 workstation leads the way for the company's new series.
Lenovo's new single-socket ThinkStation P500 workstation leads the way for the company's new series.

Cadalyst got its first chance to sample the fruits of Lenovo's product line overhaul with a review of the ThinkStation P500. While the ThinkStation P500 starts out at $1,550, the unit we received was more robustly outfitted for CAD — most notably in memory size, storage speed, and graphics processing unit (GPU) performance — resulting in a price tag of $3,174.

System Features

The cornerstone of the single-socket P500 is Intel's Xeon E5-1630 v3 CPU. A version of Intel's Haswell-E microarchitecture, the E5-1630 v3 SKU (or item number) delivers modestly more performance than the previous v2 Ivy Bridge SKUs. Intel quotes about 5% better instructions per cycle (IPC) for single-thread execution, while the processor's four CPU cores accelerate multi-thread code execution.

Lenovo's P500 came outfitted with 16 GB of 2,133-MHz DDR4 memory with error-correcting code (ECC) support — a sizable figure, though still a far cry from the system's maximum supported 256 GB. ECC provides users additional peace of mind that single-bit errors will be corrected before they can contribute to incorrect calculations or cause a system-crashing fault. Read more »

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Contributing editor Alex Herrera is a consultant focusing on high-performance graphics and workstations.


CAD Manager's Toolbox: Free Tool Diagnoses Memory and SSD Compatibility for Your CAD Machines
Ready to upgrade your current system with new memory? Crucial can help you figure out the details. Read more »

Recapture Your CAD Mojo by Learning Something New
Learn something new and exciting, and solve your company's future technology problems at the same time. Read more »

Handle AutoCAD Files in a Flash
Of course you know the basics of saving and closing files in AutoCAD, but are you familiar with SaveAll, CloseAll, and QQuit? Watch as Lynn Allen, Autodesk evangelist, shows you the advantages of these three great productivity commands! Watch the video »


Organic Surface Modeling in SolidWorks
March 11, 2015
11 a.m. PT
Viewers of this Novedge webinar will learn about Power Surfacing v2 for SolidWorks. Read more »

Desktop Wide-Format Scanning
March 19, 2015
1 p.m. ET
In this half-hour educational webinar, Contex will provide attendees with tips and tricks to get the most out of their wide-format scanning solutions. Read more »

FME World Tour 2015
April 8–June 30, 2015
Various cities
Safe Software will sponsor this single-day FME user meeting in more than 60 cities worldwide, beginning in Vancouver, Canada, and continuing on to 22 countries around the world. The data conversion software is available for multiple platforms. Read more »

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

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