CAD Tech News (#35)

18 Feb, 2016 By: Cadalyst Staff

▶ Getting a Glimpse of SolidWorks 2017

At SolidWorks World, attendees are treated to a teaser of forthcoming features and capabilities.

By Cyrena Respini-Irwin

February is a month known for its declarations of adoration and longing. This year, those sentiments were expressed not only on Valentine's Day, but also at SolidWorks World — an annual event that attracts the most devoted users of the 3D product design solution for training, networking, and previews of future software releases.

Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks prides itself on soliciting feedback and incorporating user-requested changes in its software. Since 2001, the company has implemented more than 75% of the most-requested enhancements, said Director of Product Definition Bruce Holway.

This year, the countdown of top enhancement requests included:

10. Revert to eDrawings 2013 engine and interface for desktops
  9. Automatic fastener BOM for large assemblies
  8. Ability to use end points of sketch lines for Hole Wizard holes
  7. Automate the explode lines creation
  6. Enhance fillet, chamfer, and other functions for multibody parts
  5. Bounding box values for any parts and assemblies
  4. Move assembly sketch to component
  3. Use Alt to temporarily hide pointed face (face under cursor) during mating
  2. Ability to export BOM tables with thumbnail images of components
  1. Create a Classic Mode graphic user interface (GUI) option in SolidWorks 2016 that emulates SolidWorks 2015.

These were the most popular of the more than 500 ideas submitted by SolidWorks users this year. Although not all these requests will be addressed in a future release, some enhancements are already under way. Regarding the GUI emulation voted to the number one spot, Holway explained that many users miss the more brightly colored icons of SolidWorks 2015. In SolidWorks 2016 service pack (SP) 3, users will have the option to revert to those icon colors "for all the commonly used modeling features," Holway said. Read more »

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Cyrena Respini-Irwin is Cadalyst's editor in chief.


▶ First Look Review: Digital Storm Slade Pro (High-End Configuration)

Loaded Xeon-based desktop workstation exceeds the needs of most AutoCAD users.

By J.V. Bolkan

The desktop workstations we review at Cadalyst are typically priced around $3,500 or less; at $6,163, the Digital Storm Slade Pro we evaluated for this review falls well outside this price range, but it's interesting to see what that kind of investment can buy. (To see how a more modestly priced configuration of the Slade Pro rated in Cadalyst Labs tests, read our review from 2014.)

The centerpiece of the system is Intel's high-end, 10-core Xeon E5-2687W v3 processor running at 3.1 GHz, paired with NVIDIA's Quadro M4000 graphics card. As wonderful as the Xeon is in many applications, it simply doesn't have the raw clock speed of Intel's much less-expensive Core i7 CPUs, which can easily run at 4.5 GHz.

Diving in a bit deeper, we see that the CPU is supported by 32 GB of ECC-registered DDR4 RAM running at 2,133 MHz. This is an excellent RAM setup, but excessive for our purposes; 16 GB probably would have delivered similar benchmark scores. In the real world, you could probably run multiple programs with the extra RAM without decreasing performance. Storage drives include Intel's 750 PCIe 400-GB solid-state drive (SSD), which is a proven, fast primary drive; a Western Digital 2-TB data drive; and a Blu-ray RW optical drive.

The Corsair Obsidian tower case and 750-watt power supply continue the high-end component parade. Large enough to accommodate multiple graphics cards, drives, and pretty much anything else you might want, the case is attractive and feels solidly built. It is also extremely quiet during operation: The CPU is kept cool by a water-cooling system with a 120-mm reservoir, and external fan ports are filtered and muffled. Read more »

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J.V. Bolkan has been evaluating and writing about graphics technology for more than 25 years.


Automatically Repeat Commands in AutoCAD
Sometimes we want to repeat an AutoCAD command many times, but we don't want to waste time (and an extra step) by pressing Enter to do so. In these situations, the Multiple command comes to the rescue! Join Lynn Allen as she shows you how Multiple can be used to repeat a command over and over — and to leave that pesky Enter key out of the process! Watch the video »

PTC Furthers Enterprise IoT Vision with Augmented Reality
New developments aim to simplify the connections between objects and their AR-enabled experiences. Read more »

The CAD Manager's 2016 Playbook
To navigate the challenges of the coming year, you'll need a strategy — so start planning now. Read more »

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

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