CAD Tech News (#69)

2 Aug, 2017 By: Cadalyst Staff

▶ Deciphering High-Definition Monitor Technologies for CAD

When navigating the HD maze to find the best monitor for your purposes, it's easy to get lost in acronyms. Start by understanding the basic terminology and options in the marketplace.

By Drew Turney

Selecting a high-resolution monitor is like herding cats: As soon as you think you have one specification pinned down, you realize you've lost your grip on another requirement. There are many variables in monitor technology already, so the proliferation of formats and standards that have entered the market in recent years — such as 4K, 16:10, and FHD — can be dizzying.

We'll start clearing things up by defining some terms, which are often the source of confusion. The terms high definition and high resolution, although related, are subtly different. Definition refers to the number of pixels in a screen; high definition is used for anything above what the old standard-definition TVs displayed, which was usually 576 horizontal lines of pixels. Resolution, on the other hand, refers to pixel density: higher resolutions convey more information in the same amount of space.

Higher monitor resolution can yield sharper images and finer detail, which is important for CAD users who need to see model details and linework clearly.

Higher monitor resolution can yield sharper images and finer detail, which is important for CAD users who need to see model details and linework clearly.

The following acronyms and names are a mishmash of official industry standards, proprietary brand names, and nicknames, but they're all measures of the number of pixels.

HD/720p. The original "high-definition" or HD monitors have 720 horizontal lines of pixels, meaning they are 720 pixels tall (hence the name 720p). These cost less than $100, but CAD professionals will want to bypass these in favor of a higher level of resolution.

FHD/1080p. One of the first video modes native to the 16:9 aspect ratio of high-definition standards, it indicates 1,080 horizontal lines of pixels. (In this case, "native" means the software and drivers involved displayed 16:9 without stretching or compressing the picture to fill the space.) Another moniker used for 1080p when the standard first became popular was Full HD (FHD). You can pay as much as $250 for a 1080p monitor up to about 25", but there are deals to be had for less than $100. Read more »

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Drew Turney is a technology journalist who explores computing's effects on the way we work and live.

▶ Hardware Becomes More Mobile with New Products Debuting at SIGGRAPH

HP's new backpack-style VR kit and external GPUs from NVIDIA promise a more flexible, portable future for CAD and virtual reality users.

By Cadalyst Staff

As is the case every year, many companies are announcing new offerings at SIGGRAPH 2017, which is being held this week in Los Angeles, California. The annual conference focuses on computer graphics and interactive techniques, and its attractions include demonstrations, educational sessions, and an exhibit hall that spans hardware, software, and services.

This year, two hardware products were particularly notable for the mobility and flexibility they promise for CAD professionals and VR users on the move: HP's Z VR Backpack G1 workstation and external graphics processing unit (eGPU) solutions from NVIDIA.

HP envisions augmented-reality applications for its Z VR Backpack G1 workstation, including product design. Image courtesy of HP.
HP envisions augmented-reality applications for its Z VR Backpack G1 workstation, including product design. Image courtesy of HP.

Giving Mobile Computers More Muscle

In a move toward increased mobility and flexibility, NVIDIA announced external GPU (eGPU) systems in which the GPU is mounted in a separate chassis, not housed inside the computer chassis. With this offering, NVIDIA seeks to serve content creators who are looking for ways to combine mobility and computing power; the eGPU enables users to upgrade their lighter, more travel-friendly laptops with NVIDIA GPUs typically found on heavier, more powerful mobile workstations.

NVIDIA TITAN X or Quadro GPUs can be used, providing the power needed for photorealistic rendering, CAD, simulation, VR content creation, and other compute-intensive tasks. "Even on a thin-and-light system, you can have TITAN or Quadro [as external graphics]," said Greg Estes, NVIDIA's vice-president of developer programs. Read more »


IMAGINiT Tricks Tutorial: Create and Remove OLE Links in Inventor Files
Inventor has the ability to create object linking and embedding (OLE) links to non-native files such as images, PDFs, and spreadsheets. Read more »

CAD Developers Support Roadmap to Guide Infrastructure Investment
Autodesk, Siemens among the supporters of CG/LA Infrastructure's Blueprint 2025 initiative. Read more »

CAD Manager Column: You Are Now Entering ... the Cloud Zone
Trying to decipher the jargon in marketing materials for cloud-based CAD products can be a surreal and confusing experience. But with a little help, it is possible. Read more »

Sponsored: Top 10 MicroStation Features You Won't Find in AutoCAD
From Bentley Systems: Streamlined deliverables production and native multi-monitor support are just two of the powerful capabilities that will make your CAD life easier. Read more »

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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