CaD and other engineering software

So, I'm a freshman in college, and got a new laptop last year specifically for my upcoming classes. Coming up soon, I will be using Autocad, Matlab, and possibly other software. My rig's got an overclocked 650M and an i7-3630QM with 8gigs of RAM. Think that's enough?
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  1. CCXR594,

    The good news is that AutoCad has always been configured to run well on almost any system. Because I keep everything, I have a 1998 Dell Dimension 8400 with Pentium 4 single core, hyperthreading 3.0GHz and a Quadro FX 570 (256MB) that runs AutoCad 2007 really well. Your laptop i7-3630QM has a 2.4 / 3.4 GHz which mean that on the first core it will run at up to 3.4GHz and as the applications you mention sound like a focus on 2D, you should have reasonable results. Matlab is a bit more difficult to predict as so much of the software it runs is highly customized, and some 3D modeling software may not be especially fast on your system.
    When using Matlab, you may also wish to analyze the single and double precision capabilities of your system against experimental expectations, as certain capabilities such as waveform analysis and low pass filters can accumulate errors.

    The higher the quality the software, the better it seems to run on a particular system. I have a new HP z420 with a quite good specification and Sketchup models over 100MB are still almost unusable without careful turning off of layers and navigating in monochrome. Until applications fully utilize multiple cores, I don't see a lot of performance progress in workstations as the programs become do complex, any hardware improvements are countered.

    What are you studying and what software might you may using in the future?



    HP z420 (2013)> Xeon E5-1620 quad core @ 3.6 / 3.8GHz > 24GB ECC 1600 RAM > Quadro 4000 > Samsung 840 SSD 250GB / Seagate Barracuda 500GB > M-Audio 192 sound card > AE3000 USB WiFi // Windows 7 Professional 64 > AutoCad, Revit, Inventor, Maya (2011), Solidworks 2010, Adobe CS, Corel Technical Design, Sketchup Pro, WordP Office, MS Office

    Dell Precision T5400 (2009)> 2X Xeon X5460 quad core @3.16GHz > 16GB ECC 667> Quadro FX 4800 (1.5GB) > WD RE4 500GB / Seagate Barracuda 500GB > M-Audio 2496 Sound Card > Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit >

    >> architecture, industrial design, graphic design, rendering, writing
  2. People tend to lump all CAD software together..... for plain ole 2D and 3D AutoCAD, Geforce gaming cards rock, workstation cards are actually much slower in this application.. ....start talking Maya , Solidworks and things like that and they favor workstation type cards.
  3. Studying mechanical engineering, and not too sure what other software I will be using to be honest. Probably solidworks at some point. I ran the specs past the head of the head engineering prof. here, and she said it should be fine.
  4. Best answer
    CCXR594 said:
    Studying mechanical engineering, and not too sure what other software I will be using to be honest. Probably solidworks at some point. I ran the specs past the head of the head engineering prof. here, and she said it should be fine.


    Yes, it read as though your laptop would run your core applications at a reasonable level. On the subject of 3D engineering software, I've tried Solidworks, Inventor, and Rhino and while each has it's attractions, they also each run better on a different graphics cards > I'd have a Quadro for Solidworks, a GTX for Inventor, and probably a Radeon Rhino. At the moment the only cards that can do eveyything well are the Quadro K5000, 6000, or K6000.

    In terms of the best of those softwares, I'd say Solidworks would be the best to learn. It's the industry standard, and has a fantastic manner of keeping object history and referencing- which makes a big difference when you have hundreds or thousands of parts in an assembly, and even the internal rendering application is perfectly adequate. I'd used AutoCad V10 for DOS in 1992, but Inventor uses a completely different way of working, and I found Solidworks more intuitive to learn. I've only poked around Rhino a bit in a trial version and it looks to be fast to learn and to use, but doesn't have the sensation of accommodating infinite scale and complexity of Solidworks. Also every engineering office I know uses either Solidworks or Catia and AutoCad for 2D. I've been looking over the shoulder of a friend doing a flight dynamics project and in this phase it's all Matlab (von Karman functions) and Solidworks- even the wind tunnel model was done in Solidworks.

    One more aspect to consider is that if you do go to Solidworks, get a big, high resolution monitor as the viewports and menus get all crushed together and most of the time is spent closing and opening menus and panning and zooming.on a small screen. I have a 27" 1920 X 1080 and it will soon be a 27" 2560 X 1440 plus a 24"for menus. And, when I'm wealthy beyond reproach- a Quadro K5000,..


  5. Yeah , if I had a choice I will go with SW, seeing as I have a basic understanding of it from a CAD/CNC class I took in High School. Idk about what the standard software for the course is, but I'll be using that for the time being.
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