CAD Tech News (#17)

14 May, 2015 By: Cadalyst Staff

▶ Herrera on Hardware: It's Time for a CAD Monitor Makeover

Are your desktop displays doing all they can to maximize your productivity?

By Alex Herrera

The secret's out on the benefits of multiple displays for CAD users. The old standard of a professional workspace built around a single monitor has faded; today the dual-monitor desktop is the rule rather than the exception. But it took a while for the transition to take hold, and it's not clear why, since a multidisplay setup has such a significant and immediate impact on user productivity. Ordinarily, professionals are quick to adopt most any technology that offers as compelling a return on investment as dual displays do.

It might be that advancements in display technology tend to sneak up on us, because they're not often in the spotlight. Some other computing technologies — such as processors — receive a larger share of attention from the media and marketers because they boast a shorter development cycle or more glamorous reputation. And when it comes to shopping for new hardware in the hopes of shrinking our schedules, we focus almost exclusively on what new central processing units (CPUs), graphics processing units (GPUs), dual in-line memory modules (DIMMs), and solid-state drives (SSDs) can offer, with the goals of shortening compute or render times.

While those components are of course critical in creating an optimal CAD workstation, it's worth remembering what visual creatures we are. Sight is our most powerful sense, and the more we can see, and the more clearly we can see it, the more we'll get done. And that's a conclusion that anyone who's jumped from one to two monitors will enthusiastically affirm.

While the move from one to two monitors may have just arrived for many, there are a lot of other advancements in display technology — and most importantly, in cost-effective display technology — that have changed the decision-making rationale that goes into creating the most effective display setup for CAD work. So if your standard monitor setup hasn't seen a makeover in a while, read on, as there are several avenues in modern display technology to help CAD pros see more, see better, and ultimately, get their jobs done more quickly. Read more »

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

▶ First Look Review: Eurocom P5 Pro

Powerful mobile workstation boasts expansive memory and a beautiful display, but its uses are limited by a short battery life.

By J.V. Bolkan

Eurocom's P5 Pro mobile workstation has some outstanding specifications, starting with an eye-popping 4K (3,840 x 2,160) ultrahigh-resolution display and a 4.0-GHz i-7 desktop class CPU with overclocking capabilities. Our test system was also decked out with both a 256-GB Samsung XP941 PCIe x4 M.2 solid-state drive (SSD) as the primary hard disk and a 1-TB data disk, 16 GB of fast RAM, NVIDIA's Quadro K5100M graphic card, and the optional 330-W power adapter.

Of course, including all those high-end components in a mobile system results in a hefty price tag; our system comes in just north of $4,500. Speaking of hefty, the laptop weighs in at 7.48 lbs without the power brick, which adds another 2.5+ lbs. That is pretty heavy for any mobile system, and especially so for a laptop with a 15.6" display.

Eurocom's P5 mobile workstation offers excellent power and expandability options, but users should be ready to shoulder a heavy load and to make sure there's a power outlet handy.
Eurocom's P5 mobile workstation offers excellent power and expandability options, but users should be ready to shoulder a heavy load and to make sure there's a power outlet handy.

You would also expect this class of components to deliver serious performance. On that front, the P5 Pro holds its own in the mobile world, and in fact compares well with mid- to high-end tower systems. Although the model we received was close to fully loaded, there are a few options, such as even faster RAM, Xeon processors, and SSD RAID configurations that potentially could push performance a bit higher. Keep in mind that even at $4,544, the P5 Pro as configured is a good value. Read more »

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J.V. Bolkan has been evaluating and writing about graphics technology for more than 25 years. His first article in Cadalyst appeared in 1992.


CAD Manager's Toolbox: Prevent End-of-Project Data Surprises
This is one kind of surprise that no one enjoys — but a little proactive intervention on your part can mitigate, or even eliminate, the problem. Read more »

CAD Manager Column: Select the Right CAD Tool for the Job, Part 1
You've heard great things about that new software package — does that mean you should implement it at your company? Read more »

Add Your Own Synonyms to AutoCAD
Do you work with software products besides AutoCAD? Would you prefer to use some of the same "lingo" that you're familiar with? Join Lynn Allen as she shows you how to add synonyms into AutoCAD to improve your user experience! Watch the video »

Mobile Workstations Have the Right Stuff for Continued Growth
CAD professionals have more computing choices than ever before, but the mobile workstation market is on the upswing despite the proliferation of other options. Read more »


3D Scanning for CAD
May 19, 2015
11 a.m. PT
This NextEngine webinar will discuss the workflow of scanning and converting mesh scan data into editable CAD solids using RapidWorks software. Read more »

Stop Wasting Time in Revit: IMAGINiT Clarity Overview
May 19, 2015
Multiple times
This IMAGINiT webinar discusses the company's Clarity products for Revit, Revit Server, or Collaboration for Revit users. Read more »

Connection Event Chicago
May 19–20, 2015
Chicago, Illinois
This Bentley two-day event will introduce the company's CONNECT Edition software geared for executives and professionals in architecture, engineering, construction, and operation of infrastructure. Read more »

The Internet of Things and What it Means for PLM
May 20, 2015
11 a.m. ET
This CIMdata webinar will discuss the reality of the Internet of Things and the new challenges and new opportunities it is bringing to product development. Several use cases will be shared, along with a discussion on the ramifications of managing the product versus managing the information from the product. Read more »

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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