When not traveling, my Precision laptop is connected to a 24" IPS monitor. That way, I can, for example, keep a part number spreadsheet displayed on the 17" laptop monitor and the models/drawings I am working on, displayed on the 24" monitor.
The other way to have your cake and eat it, too is to use a docking station, making it unnecesary to plug and unplug multiple cables. Of course, if you never or seldom travel/work at home, having a Xenon processor in a full desktop is the way to go.
I saw a demo of SolidWorks 2013 on a Dell laptop running Windows 8 today at SolidWorks World. It was quite impressive. I'm not sure exactly why you'd be running it on a screen that size, unless you have to do something in the field or at a customer site. But if that's your application, it was impressive.
Scott, Excellent post. My company is in the process of purchasing (or investigating the purchase of) additional computer equipment and your article is very very timely. I am amazed at the variety of comments we get from various vendors--all wanting to sell equipment and software. Your information is greatly appreciated.
At my previous place of employment, our IT department would always wait until all software was compatible with the latest operating system, since there were many in-house programs that needed to be updated when time permitted.
However, as luck would have it, Solidworks just release their 2013 version as I was picking out a Dell Precision laptop. I'm happy to say that SW 2013 works very well with Windows 8 Professional. All other programs I use, like Word, Excel, and Outlook work seamlessly as well. By the way, there are occasionally some excellent deals in Dell's outlet section of their website. That's where I found my 17-inch Precision M6600 at a great price.
Just went through this process myself with no sucess. All of my development tools require the MS Windows OS. With the recent release of Windows 8, you will be hard pressed to find a system that does not ship with Windows 8 unless you get an older, inferior architecture. In my case, not all of the tools are compatible with the newer OS yet.
I purchased a Windows 8 system in the hopes of running my applications in "compatiblity mode", but that failed. I even tried replacing the boot drive with another drive and installing Windows 7 Pro on it, but the newer architectures have UEFI, a security mechanism for thwarting viruses. Windows 7 is not compatible with this, so, ultimately I had to return the machine and must wait for the CAD vendors to catch up to the new OS.
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