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Remote Graphics and the Professional CAD Workstation, Part 1: Will It Work for You?

Posted by cadhardware

Sep 27, 2011 3:55:34 PM

Remote Graphics for CADThere is a growing demand for portability, energy conversation and cost savings in the CAD world — hence the movement to small form factor devices use of the cloud for review and commenting. But there still remains the need for complex 3D graphics, security and high performance computation. Hence killer workstations and professional graphics cards like the FirePro or Quadro.

So how do you get the best of both? Is it even possible and under what conditions? This thought was exciting to me as I read all of the press releases talking about new remote graphics solutions tapping into professional workstation graphics cards. So I decided to do some research beyond the marketing brochures in order to find out what is real today for remote graphics as a high performance and viable solution for professional CAD firms.

What is Remote Graphics for CAD?

In a nutshell remote graphics is the ability to have a full CAD computing experience — with display, keyboard and mouse — but the actual 2D/3D computing is done on a device that sits in the data center. The experience can be virtually (no pun intended) equivalent to a regular desktop workstation. In fact if you just sat down and started doing some basic CATIA work on one of these systems, you probably wouldn’t realize the workstation was missing from your desk until you went to power off the system, charge your phone or save files to a USB thumb drive.

When Would You Really Want/Benefit from Remote Graphics?

If you are truly a 3D power user or if money, desktop space, green-ness and security are total non-issues for you, then don’t even think about remote graphics. It is not for you.

But as a CTO or IT manager responsible for outfitting several employees who work on less complex designs and models, or outfitting employees/contractors working on sensitive projects (at any level of complexity), current remote graphics solutions can help to:

  1. Support more CAD employees with less equipment
  2. Keep security tight on sensitive 3D/2D CAD projects
  3. Reduce time spent servicing and managing systems
  4. Reduce power and cooling costs

Sounds interesting, huh? Next we'll discuss these benefits in more detail.

Author: Tony DeYoung

Topics: Workstations, Hardware, Graphics Card, Remote Graphics, GPU, Graphics Cards, AMD, Connectivity, Upgrade, CAD

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