Dialog Box March 2006

9 Mar, 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:
Dual Dilemma
I am trying to find the answer to the question of whether dual processors provide any advantage for running AutoCAD 2006. In past Cadalyst tests, the dual processor performance was actually slower. Your November 2005 issue has an article about the latest dual-processor systems. The first sentence states: "Should your next system be a dual-processor system?" Well, this question was never answered in the article. So is it worth the extra cost yet or not?
— Chris Neperud,
Stillwater, MN

Editors respond
AutoCAD 2006 is not multithreaded, so dual processors (or dual-core chips for that matter) won't give you any performance advantage. You will get some benefit if you commonly run AutoCAD and other applications simultaneously. Likewise, if you do run applications that are multithreaded, their performance will benefit (it won't double, though). Autodesk is planning limited multithreading in AutoCAD, but that's another year, at least, away. If you don't run any multithreaded applications and don't expect to for the next few years, you don't need a dual-processor system.

Vista Vagueness
I've seen a few small mentions of Windows Vista in some of your articles lately. Most allude to a major impact it will have on engineering application performance and hardware requirements. Have you published any articles that cover this topic specifically that I may have missed? Do you know of any resources that could be used to investigate Vista as it relates to the engineering community? We are pursuing an upgrade to our engineering hardware and we would like to ensure that we are prepared for near future trends.

— Justin Hendrix, Designer
O.E. Ride Control Engineering

Editors respond
We'll cover Vista in greater depth in a future issue, once the new operating system is closer to release. You are probably referring to the graphics capabilities in Vista. There have been concerns that Microsoft's implementation of OpenGL support may hinder its performance on Vista and inhibit hardware acceleration techniques. Also, the Aeroglass interface in Vista may need to be disabled when OpenGL applications are running. For details on this issue, click here.

However, graphics card makers we've spoken to recently don't anticipate any problems with delivering OpenGL performance equivalent to that found in Windows XP.

In general, reports are that Vista requires a hefty amount of hardware even before you factor in a CAD application. Some of the estimates I've seen are 1GB RAM (2GB for 64-bit systems), at least 1.3GB free hard drive space and a graphics card with 256MB or more of RAM. You can find more specific guidelines (straight from Microsoft) here.

On the bright side, Vista should provide better support for dual processors and dual-core processors.

Phasers to Stun
In response to Don Boyer's letter last month: With all due respect, remember that there are many people out there performing many different tasks in AutoCAD. What seems to be worthless to you may be a pot of gold for somebody else, and vice versa. As for "pizzazz," when I work, I work. Personally (I am speaking only for myself), all I need is functional and convenient tools to work with. I do not want to get more tired than I already am. I am a huge Star Trek fan--I read and watch it in my spare time. But there is no way I want to see my house or workplace looking like Star Trek.

— Leonid Nemirovsky, via Internet

Watch your Step
To add to your collection of Top 10 Pitfalls to Avoid, here is a recently published executive guide. It is in the same general space with PLM, with a slightly different twist: a focus on companies with configurable products. Although sponsored by a product configurator vendor, Access Commerce, the guide is vendor neutral. I hope you will find it useful.

As one who has been involved in manufacturing systems for many a year, I have seen the rules for success in many cloakings. There is a great deal of commonality in the success factors, regardless of the application area. We could add at least one more Pitfall or Risk to Avoid: Thinking your company is unique, thereby needlessly reinventing the rules for success.

— Dick Bourke, Principal Consultant, Bourke Consulting Associates

Put on a Happy Face
I have been running AutoCAD Mechanical 2000i with Power Pack on Windows 2000 Pro. I started to run it on XP and each day I have to restore my setting from the previous day. When I start up every morning, all my icons turn into smiley faces. Do you have any suggestion on what to do to solve this?

— Craig Geiger, Lead Mechanical Designer
Anguil Environmental

Editors respond
Try this patch from Autodesk.

Honk if you Love DIESEL
Do you cover DIESEL programming? I see VBA, LISP and even C. For users of AutoCAD LT, it's the only way to program anything, and the help menus have very little on it. Even someone's recommendation on a book or article elsewhere would help.

— Kelley Marshall, AdvanceTEC, LLC

Editors respond:
We haven't covered DIESEL in quite a while. Here are a few resources available on the Web:

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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