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Workstation Upgrades – Why Do I Need to Upgrade, and When is the Optimal Time to Do So?
January 30th, 2015 by Tom Salomone
Just like your recurring six-month dental check-up is critical to ensuring your oral health or your 6,000-mile oil change is key to keeping your engine running smoothly, upgrading your workstation is crucial to the health of your business. Yet in your experience using CAD applications, have you ever thought about why you need to upgrade your workstation, and if there is a real timetable you should follow? If so, here are four things to consider:
1) Design and creation activities are critical to your success, as they are the lynchpin of your competitive advantage. This starts with you, the engineer and/or creative person who conceive the idea and the design. In addition, it includes the methods you use to design it, the software you use and the hardware that runs the software. Also critical is how fast you design and create, as you can’t afford to get behind the competition or miss a critical due date. All these factors combine to give you a competitive edge. Both creation and schedules are two elements that help ensure your success.
2) Nothing is stagnant in this world, and this is true for the world of design and creativity. For example, new features are constantly being added to your design and the design is being shared in new ways, using software like Product Life Cycle Management. Designers learn more from organizations like manufacturing and adapt their designs according to the latest technology trends available. Additionally, the software you use changes, new revisions come out, new fixes and even additional software features to take into account. Designers want to know more about their design decisions and attach histories and notes to the design files. All of this results in the creation of larger 3D models – in fact, if you think back, 3D files have continually grown larger over time. The large files of just three years ago are considered average – even small – by today’s standards. This has been the case for a long time, as it is estimated that 3D files double in size every two to three years.
3) Larger design files have a major impact on designers, as well as larger application sizes. The newer applications and the larger files, when run on older systems, cause everything to bog down. The larger files and applications take longer to process in the CPU and graphics card; it takes more memory, and more storage then previous model sizes and applications. This happens gradually, so many designers don’t notice it changing. We see this change as our systems growing slower when, in fact, it’s the models and applications that have gotten larger.
4) Hardware changes generally occur on a three-year cycle. Workstations are getting faster, enabling them to handle the larger and more complex load of files and updated applications and technologies. These newer workstations are exponentially faster than those of just three years ago. Not only do they handle the load engineers require, but they also improve design productivity by allowing designers to get more done in a quicker amount of time.
Over time, 3D file sizes increase, applications and software update and technologies change and grow. The extra load on workstations causes the system to respond more slowly. To compensate for the industry growth, workstations are being continually updated to meet the latest technological advances in this industry, as new technology is created to meet the demands of today’s (and tomorrow’s) applications. Quicker refreshes in hardware provide added productivity to the design cycle, allowing more design iterations to be created in the same time period. This enables companies to stay competitive and create even more amazing products. By using the above guidelines and keeping mind a three-year refresh timetable for your workstation technology, you can help stay ahead of changes in application performance and ensure that you are always equipped to handle the workload.