[rescue] Sun Kit Needed for EE Student Here

Don Y dgy at DakotaCom.Net
Thu May 4 12:59:31 CDT 2006

Joshua Boyd wrote:
> On Wed, May 03, 2006 at 10:02:38AM -0700, Don Y wrote:
>> He won't need a "gamer" video controller for engineering work.
>> (unless, like the neighbor's kid, here, he's trying to convince
>> daddy that he NEEDS a new computer "for school" -- and to
>> play all of the GAMES that he spends his "pin money" on...)
>> I do 3D CAD, solid modeling, PCB layout, etc. with a generic
>> video card on an 800MHz machine.  Hardly "light speed" but I
>> have found that the machine *still* ends up waiting for *me*
>> most of the time (except photo-rendering complex 3D animation
>> scenes -- which I let the machine do "overnight").
>> Assuming he wants a *big* disk (some of my CAD files get
>> pretty big... and the 3D renderings can eat disks faster
>> than you can upgrade them!), then he surely wants to avoid
>> SCSI, etc. in favor of "IDE" drives.
> At work our cad guys wouldn't be able to live with the machine you

Sure, but the operative words there are "at work"  :>
If *all* I did was CAD work, I would invest in better
hardware (or, just move the software to a different

But, like most folks, I have a limited budget to spend on
hardware AND software.  CAD software isn't cheap.  Nor
is PCB/EDA software.  So, live without the software
(which means you just *can't* do these things) OR live
with less hardware -- and "work smarter"  (e.g., I
switch to writing code when I am waiting for a 3D
rendering of an injection molded case to complete -- I
suspect your employer wouldn't take too kindly to your
CAD guys sitting around waiting  :>  And, they probably
DON'T also write code, etc. to fill that waiting time!)

> describe.  The 2D cad guys need very fast CPUs, but in theory they don't
> require fast video cards.  Still, watching the software run on their
> cheapo generic cards, I can't help but wonder if something like a
> Quadro2 or even a Geforce2MX would make things faster (plus hopefully
> allow them dual head).  And yes, the fast CPU really is needed for the
> simulations and solvers that are used (alas, the stupid software does
> support network solving or clusters.  Even having a loaded Opteron
> system that could act as a shared compute monster shared by the cad guys
> would be nice if only the software supported doing anything of the
> sort. 

And how likely is a *student* to find this sort of software
running on a "cheap Sun"?  :>

> The 3D cad guy definately needs a decent video card, but something like
> an older Geforce2 or Quadro2 is fine.  Getting a good video card rather
> than a generic doesn't have to cost a lot of money. 

The point is, it's not a huge investment.  Remember, the OP was
talking about an EE *student* -- not someone who does this all
day long for a living!  I suspect the student has a greater
variety of needs to address than a CAD operator.


One of these days I'll upgrade that machine - which will probably
mean upgrading a LOT of $oftware  :<  Or, maybe I'll get smart
and subcontract out some of these tasks...

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