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*Bednarz, James
Message 1 of 3 (35 Views)

How much computer is necessary?

35 Views, 2 Replies
09-25-2000 11:54 AM
Hello Folks.

I've been in discussions with my supervisor regarding what our office
standard PC should be. Currently we have about 90 AutoCAD workstations. They
range from Pentium II 350's to PIII 600's mostly. We have recently purchased
several PIII 800mhz. machines for some of our power users (3d rendering
specialists etc.) All of the machines 600 mhz. or less are running 128 Mb.
of RAM.The 800's have 256 Mb. of RAM. We run Acad14/S8 or LDD/S8 or straight
Acad14. We will be rolling out ADT2.0 & LDD2.0 within the next month and I
will also be doing RAM upgrades to all 128 Mb machines doubling their RAM.

Anyway, the point of all this is that I was curious as to what the average
office doing production CAD (arch, landscape, structural, interior) has for
machines. The 350, 400, 450 mhz. machines are proving to be a bit slow for
larger drawings with numerous viewports, xrefs, etc. The difficulty is in
getting management to justify the need for new machines when these machines
are only 1-3 years old.

Your input would be greatly appreciated.

--
Jim Bednarz - Asst. PC Systems Coordinator
Web: www.kba-architects.com
*Stachoni, Matt
Message 2 of 3 (35 Views)

Re: How much computer is necessary?

09-25-2000 12:49 PM in reply to: *Bednarz, James
James,

Computer resource allocation is a tough nut to crack, because of the moving
targets in the demands of your software arsenal (e.g., moving to Windows 2000 or
any of the Desktop apps), that are constantly being contested against higher
performing, cheaper CPUs.

What you can do is build a certain amount of upgradability overhead into any new
machines, such that new software doesn't break the bank because you have to
purchase all new equipment to deal with it. One way of doing this is to buy PCs
with dual CPU capable motherboards, with only a single high-end CPU. When the
same-MHz CPU becomes cheap, pick a couple up and you have efficiently increased
the power of those particular PCs. Note that this is dependant on running
Windows NT or Win2K.

In our company, "average" CAD PCs are anywhere between dual-CPU 450s, 600s and
700s. 128MB RAM in the 450s, 256MB in the 600s and 512MB in the 700s. 9GB SCSI
drives all around. All machines have essentially the same dual-CPU motherboard
(SuperMicro P76DBx). Video cards are Matrox G200s, Oxygen GVX1s and Elsa Gloria
IIs (low end to high end).

Originally, the 450s were bought with single CPUs, and when the price hit under
$200 I sprang into action and upgraded them. Allll the other components (RAM,
video cards, hard drives) have a fairly stable price structure, such that the
big variable is CPU price. There is always a point of diminishing returns, at
which you start paying BIG bucks for smaller and smaller gains - right now it's
around 700-750Mhz for the P-III, which are bargains compared to the 800+ MHz
chips.

I could consider the dual-450s to be low baseline machines for ADT, and I am
upgrading them to 256MB right now. But since 700Mhx CPUs are under $200, I could
also outfit the entire office with these CPUs, and use the spare 450s to build
relatively cheap single-cpu machines for home users. It's all a game of
revolving bottlenecks.

Because the base systems are pretty stable (BX chipsets, plenty of hard disk
space, 256MB RAM), I can drop higher-performing CPUs and video cards into them
and use the replaced components for other uses.

In your case, boosting RAM to 256MB across the board will definately help, but
doing a thorough analysis of what machines have what components is key to
understanding where you can upgrade, verses where you need a completely new
machine to do the job. LDD will definitely bog down on slower equipment. My
2x700Mhz/512MB is adequate but not mind-bogglingly fast for ADT under Win2K.

You could also look into creating a program by which older machines are handed
down to employees for home use.

Matt
stachoni@bellatlantic.net
mstachoni@beyerdesign.com

On Mon, 25 Sep 2000 18:54:00 +0000, "James Bednarz"
wrote:

>Hello Folks.
>
>I've been in discussions with my supervisor regarding what our office
>standard PC should be. Currently we have about 90 AutoCAD workstations. They
>range from Pentium II 350's to PIII 600's mostly. We have recently purchased
>several PIII 800mhz. machines for some of our power users (3d rendering
>specialists etc.) All of the machines 600 mhz. or less are running 128 Mb.
>of RAM.The 800's have 256 Mb. of RAM. We run Acad14/S8 or LDD/S8 or straight
>Acad14. We will be rolling out ADT2.0 & LDD2.0 within the next month and I
>will also be doing RAM upgrades to all 128 Mb machines doubling their RAM.
>
>Anyway, the point of all this is that I was curious as to what the average
>office doing production CAD (arch, landscape, structural, interior) has for
>machines. The 350, 400, 450 mhz. machines are proving to be a bit slow for
>larger drawings with numerous viewports, xrefs, etc. The difficulty is in
>getting management to justify the need for new machines when these machines
>are only 1-3 years old.
>
>Your input would be greatly appreciated.
*Schillace, Eva
Message 3 of 3 (35 Views)

Re:

09-25-2000 02:26 PM in reply to: *Bednarz, James
This is a good bet. Another thing we do in our office is a "trickle-down"
approach. We always purchase the best (or near-best) new machines available, and
give them to the power users. Their old machine will be handed down to a less
demanding user (say an engineer who needs to run Acad but won't be doing advanced
things with it), and their old machine is handed down to a minimal-power user (field
rep, administrative assistant) who mostly only does word-processing and email. The
bottom line machines are usually sold cheap to employees or donated to schools.

It's a little more work to manage, but in the long run you spend less on new
machines and everybody has exactly as much juice as they need.

Matt Stachoni wrote:

>
> You could also look into creating a program by which older machines are handed
> down to employees for home use.

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