CAD Central

30 Apr, 2006 By: Sara Ferris

Bentley launches geospatial subscription service; and more.

Bentley Launches Geospatial Subscription Service

Bentley Systems launched a new subscription program that allows cities to pay per head to use Bentley's mapping and infrastructure software. MLS (municipal license subscription) provides unlimited use of Bentley software for a fixed annual fee based on the city's population—between 10 cents and $1 per person, says Richard Zambuni, global marketing director of Bentley Geospatial.

In a preliminary rollout, 15 municipalities around the world implemented MLS during the past quarter. The City of Kotka, a large municipal government in southern Finland, has saved 50,000 Euros (around US$65,000) in three months, says Kari Tikkanen, city surveyor. Bentley currently is negotiating with another 15–20 local governments in North America to sign on for MLS, Zambuni says.

New GPUs for High-Performance Laptops

NVIDIA announced a new line of Quadro FX GPUs for mobile workstations that will appear in products from Dell and HP that target CAD, engineering and digital content creation.

The new Quadro FX GPUs feature 12-bit subpixel precision and full 32-bit floating-point precision. The FX 350M is designed for thin and light mobile computers. The Quadro FX 1500M is designed to match desktop workstation performance. The Quadro FX 2500M packs in 512MB of graphics memory for top performance.

The Dell Precision M90 features a 170 wide-aspect display and Intel's Core Duo processor, which incorporates dual cores to support multithreaded applications. It accommodates up to 4GB DDR2 memory. Prices start at $2,239.

Dell Precision M90
Dell Precision M90

The Precision M65 is designed for portability, with the starting configuration weighing in at 6.2lb. It features a 15.40 wide-aspect display, optional built-in mobile broadband capability and a biometric fingerprint reader for security. Like the M90, it uses the Intel Core Duo processor and holds up to 4GB RAM. Prices start at $1,849.

The HP Compaq nw9440 mobile workstation features the NVIDIA Quadro FX 1500M GPU, a Core Duo processor and a 170 widescreen display. The full-size keyboard includes a numeric keypad and dual pointing devices. The system holds up to 4GB RAM and provides wireless and Ethernet connectivity. The nw9440 measures 1.30 × 15.50 × 10.80 and weighs in at 7.5lb. The 8-cell lithium-ion battery lasts for up to four hours, according to HP.

HP Compaq nw9440
HP Compaq nw9440

Small, Midsized Businesses Provide 40% of U.S. Production

Small and midsized companies represent more than 99% of U.S. manufacturers. A new report from NAM (National Association of Manufacturers) and TMI (The Manufacturing Institute) documents the critical role these businesses play, particularly in leading innovation and bolstering the U.S. economy through competitive product development.

NAM defines small manufacturers as companies with 500 or fewer employees and midsized manufacturers as those with 2,500 or fewer. Together, small and midsized manufacturers account for more than 40% of the value of U.S. production and 60% of total U.S. manufacturing employment.

The NAM/TMI report, The Future Success of Small and Medium Manufacturers: Challenges and Policy Issues, was sponsored by RSM McGladrey, a provider of business services to midsized companies.

According to the report, small and medium-sized manufacturers have made significant progress in their adoption of CAD/CAM, robotics and nanotechnology. Manufacturers need the latest cutting-edge software, including CAD/CAM software. For a full-text PDF (1MB) of the NAM/TMI report or to learn more about RSM McGladrey, visit

Workstation Sales Increase in 2005

The workstation market today is "benefiting from looser IT budgets, allowing system replacements to catch up with newer technologies such as dual-core, 64-bit and next-generation graphics," according to JPR (Jon Peddie Research) in its April 2006 Workstation Report. JPR reports that workstation vendors shipped roughly 2.1 million units in 2005, up 22.6% from 2004, and revenue reached $5.3 billion, an 18.4% gain. The tightly coupled professional graphics market ended 2005 with 2.8 million total units (including mobile) and $909 million in revenue (add-in cards only), up 16.8% and 6.8%, respectively.

JPR's data shows Dell continuing to dominate the workstation market, holding a 39% market share in Q4 2005. It is, however, a drop from the 46% of Q1. Steadily closing its gap with Dell, HP captured 27% in recent quarters. Lenovo, IBM, Fujitsu-Siemens and Sun rounded out the top six.

The report identifies NVIDIA as the dominant player in professional graphics. In 2005, NVIDIA registered 2.8 million total units (including mobile) and $909 million in revenue (add-in card only), signaling a substantial increase from 2004 in both sectors.

JPR notes that NVIDIA's share of the revenue has grown to a commanding 79% thanks to its focus on the high-end segments. ATI increased its unit share during the past two years to 23%, while Matrox saw shares decline. 3Dlabs' market share dropped to 2% before its exit from the workstation graphics market.

About the Author: Sara Ferris

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