Tired of settling for good enough performance on a system to run 2-D and 3-D CAD applications? Dell, in partnership with Autodesk, has come out with the T1500, a new class of workstation specifically designed to support AutoCAD software.
The new model, the smallest single-socket workstation in Dell's lineup with a starting price of $949, is designed for engineers who've been using less expensive systems to do entry-level CAD work because they haven't had the budgets to invest in higher end, professional workstations. "It's going to provide performance benefits over someone using a gaming box or a white box to run workstation applications - they might even be using a business desktop with a graphics card and think they're getting away with good enough performance," says Rick Perez, Dell's precision product manager. "We wanted to make a more purpose-built system ... for the CAD space that offered performance users have come to expect on a workstation-class product without all the overhead associated with other platforms."
The first indication of less overhead is the T1500's smaller footprint. To accommodate the smaller size, Dell designed the system with a limited number of expansion bays and expansion slots, including four PCI slots as opposed to the six available in other Precision workstations and support for two SATA hard drives, as compared with other units' support for four hard drives.
The workstation can be configured with the latest Intel Core i7 quad core processors and fast 133 MHz DDR3 memory. It is also available with a choice of AMD ATI FirePro and AutoCAD-certified NVIDIA Quadro cards for delivering 2-D and accurate 3-D CAD model views and accelerated OpenGL performance. The other major feature: The T1500 has been certified to work with AutoCAD 2010. "This ensures customers that we have worked with, the vendors and ISVs to ensure not only the hardware works with the software, but that it has been fine-tuned from a driver perspective with the graphics cards to ensure optimal performance," Perez says.