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tomhamlet

It pays to be a nerd: Knowing computer hardware

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tomhamlet

Though it is possible to be a distinguished AutoCAD user without knowing what is going on in your computer, it is almost entirely impossible to manage a drafting department without this knowledge. Most of AutoCAD users know thier computer front to back, not just the software, but also the hardware. If you are managing a drafting department and do not know the difference between RAM and Hard drive memory, it is hard to make a case to your financial department about why you need the 1200 dollar desktop instead of the 500 dollar desktop. And you really do not want to get stuck with a 500 dollar desktop. Just knowing the system requirements of AutoCAD and what you computer has is a start. But if you want to move up the ladder of your company, this is vital information. This information can be found all over the internet (feel free to post with trusted sites if you know any).

 

Again, a lot of this is well known information, but sometimes overlooked. I know in my own case, I was four or five years into AutoCAD before I knew about what was inside the computer.

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ReMark

I am no longer surprised by the number of people who come here looking for help that have little or no clue as to what is under the hood. Much like a car one can drive a computer, so to speak, and not know what makes it "go" nor the terminology to describe it. Furthermore many of them also do not know how to go about gathering the information either.

 

The other thing I've noticed is that many users find themselves at the mercy of an IT department that dictates what their hardware setup will be having no clue as to what passes for a decent CAD computer. The mindset is, if it is good enough for the executive aide down hall then it is good enough for the CAD department just doesn't fly with me.

 

OK...I'll step down from the soapbox.

 

We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.

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tomhamlet
OK...I'll step down from the soapbox.

 

I fear that, even if you step down, there are still many standing there.

 

I have been fortunate enough to work for two companies that both have very good computers for CAD due to very knowledgable staff in the IT department.

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ReMark

You're in the minority then. Most IT departments are so heavy handed they won't even let the CAD-person-in-charge load his/her own software or download and install a service pack or hotfix. Some users end up waiting weeks for an update to be installed.

 

Our IT department's weak point is maintenance on the company computers. They refuse to tackle such seemingly simple jobs as replacing power supplies or swapping out a failed hard drive. They rather send the computer back to the manufacturer. Up until recently, after I bugged them about it, they did not have one spare "box" or laptop to loan out if someone's computer up and died. Can you believe that? I've actually brought in my spare computer from home to keep a fellow coworker productive while IT tried to figure out what it should do next. I've also done my own hardware replacements including a motherboard, power supply, and SCSI hard drive and controller.

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tomhamlet

That is ridiculous. My first CAD job, IT had computers everywhere. We were constantly getting new technology. The job I am now in really has no IT department. We have one guy who comes in every monday to make sure everything is ok and run updates over the network. He will come in if it is urgent. But my direct supervisor is the one who handles the engineering expenses such as CAD stations. Which works very well.

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tzframpton
That is ridiculous. My first CAD job, IT had computers everywhere. We were constantly getting new technology. The job I am now in really has no IT department. We have one guy who comes in every monday to make sure everything is ok and run updates over the network. He will come in if it is urgent. But my direct supervisor is the one who handles the engineering expenses such as CAD stations. Which works very well.
That's a give and take. We are on such lockdown here, we have to put in a ticket just to click the Start Menu. I miss the days of having Admin access to the workstation I'm on.

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tomhamlet
That's a give and take. We are on such lockdown here, we have to put in a ticket just to click the Start Menu. I miss the days of having Admin access to the workstation I'm on.

 

I could see how that would be more than a pain. I am given so much freedom here that I can access most any file. Some companies are so strict it is hard to see how thier employees can make any progress.

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SuperCAD

We don't have it that bad. I am free to install whatever I need, but if I'm deploying anything on the server I have to get IT involved.

 

Speaking of computers, when I first started our computers were no better than whatever you could buy at the local electronics store. Just your basic home computer with nothing special in it, and to make matters worse the computers were "recycled" from someone else who got an upgraded computer. We were using AutoCAD 2007 at the time and some of the project would either slow to a crawl or crash completely. After complaining about it for a while they finally gave me the green light to spec a CAD-grade machine. I might have went a little crazy with the specs at the time (HP Z400, 12G RAM, Quadro FX 3800, 160GB SSD, etc), but now that we're using SolidWorks and AutoCAD 2013, I'm glad that I did.

 

That was three or four years ago, so I think it may be time to start pricing a new set of machines again...

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tomhamlet
That was three or four years ago, so I think it may be time to start pricing a new set of machines again...

 

I give you permission to ship the ones you have now to my house after the upgrade! :lol:

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