Dialog Box April 2006

11 Apr, 2006 By: Cadalyst Staff

Readers have their say.

To be considered for publication, you must sign your letters and include your company's name, address, and daytime telephone number. Letters are subject to editing for length and clarity. Send letters to:
Sin of Omission
I really think that you were remiss in your February 2006 editorial ("3D Heats Up") for not mentioning eDrawings from SolidWorks. SolidWorks was the first to put out a 3D viewing/publishing tool designed with compact file sizes suitable for Internet attachments and information sharing with the downstream non-CAD user in mind. Autodesk and UGS are Johnny-come-latelies to this market and concept, though mentioning them is appropriate. On the other hand, leaving any mention of SolidWorks out of this discussion is something akin to talking about American automakers and neglecting to mention Ford or GM.
—Tony Hodos, CSWP, designer

Editors respond
That installment of Editor's Window was meant to be a rundown of significant new developments in the 3D publishing area not a comprehensive survey of all available options. SolidWorks eDrawings is certainly an attractive tool, especially as it broadens the range of CAD applications it supports: SolidWorks, of course, but also various versions of AutoCAD, Inventor, Pro/ENGINEER, CATIA, UGS NX and CoCreate OneSpace Designer. It's also unique in its support for the Macintosh. Those interested can find out more at:

Looking for a Laptop
I am looking to purchase a laptop that will handle Architectural Desktop 2005, something with muscle. Can you recommend a few models? I don't intend to use the render/model Architectural Desktop offers, just 2D.

—Paul Commero

Editors respond
Dell just came out with some new models of its Precision mobile workstation, so you might find a deal on some of the older models, which should work just fine for 2D. Many other vendors offer mobile workstations as well: HP, Boxx, Alienware, Polywell and Eurocomm. In general, look for models that incorporate NVIDIA or ATI chips for the graphics processing. Here's a link to our last roundup as well as some to stand-alone reviews:
Mobile Workstations 2005—Power to Go
First Look Review: PolyNote 915P4-MXM
Cadalyst Labs Review: Dell Inspiron 6000 Notebook

I suppose I should know what GIS and AEC stand for, but I don't. Could ya ease up on the acronyms or at least define them somewhere in the article? BTW "TMFA" stands for "Too Many Freakin Acronyms."

—Thomas L. Keenan, mechanical engineer

Editors respond
Our policy is to spell out acronyms and abbreviations at their first appearance, except for ones we believe are generally recognizable, such as CAD (computer-aided design), AEC (architecture, engineering, construction), GIS (geographic information systems) and MCAD (mechanical computer-aided design). We agree that TLA (three-letter acronym) fever has gotten entirely out of hand, but with e-mail, instant messaging, text messaging and whatnot, we expect that eventually the English language will compress to a collection of acronyms, abbreviations and little smiley faces .

Hardware Help
I was looking for a good computer to run Inventor quickly and efficiently and was hoping you could tell me which hardware system requirements you would recommend, such as which CPU design, RAM size, motherboard type, video graphics card, etc.

I know what Autodesk recommends as a minimum, but you probably have more real-world knowledge about what systems people are using on their jobs.

—Duncan Scott Snyder, mechanical engineer

Editors respond
Ideal system size really depends on how big your file sizes and assemblies are. In general, the more RAM and the faster the processor, the better. AMD processors have been performing better than Intel's in our recent reviews, but that may change with next release from Intel, which we expect to see in a few months. Currently there's no advantage to 64-bit or dual-core chips, but that may change with upcoming releases of Inventor. The upcoming Inventor 11 will be able to access a full 4GB of RAM in x64-bit mode on 64-bit systems, but Autodesk hasn't released further details about its plans for full 64-bit support.

RAM: 1GB minimum, more if possible. Graphics cards: best possible NVIDIA or ATI workstation card within your budget. Also interesting is that Inventor 11 will support DirectX, which may broaden the range of cards that can be used.

Addicted to CAD
I've been dreaming about new equipment and hot software for a couple of years. Thanks to Cadalyst product reviews and cost analysis, I've made decisions about new purchases I can live with! Cadalyst is my best kept addiction, the most satisfying.

—Donald Caron

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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