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Buyer's Guide - CAD Workstations

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Greg Corke looks at some of the most appropriate CAD workstations.

HINTS AND TIPS

• All modern processors are ‘multi-core’, which means you get two (dual core) or four (quad core) processors on a single piece of silicon. However, not many software applications can take advantage of multiple cores, so if you’re after more performance a chip with a higher GHz is more important.
• Memory is extremely important – if you don’t have enough your machine will slow down. 1GB is an absolute minimum, but as you run more applications concurrently or increase the size of your datasets, you’ll need more. However, a 64-bit operating system is required to be able to use more than 4GB.
• In terms of Operating Systems, Windows Vista is still relatively young and there can be compatibility issues with certain software and peripherals. This is why many workstation vendors still offer Windows XP. There are fewer applications for Apple’s OS X.
• For 3D applications you’ll need a professional 3D graphics card. These range from £100 to over £1,000. You shouldn’t have to spend a lot for 3D CAD though.

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