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Hardware Recommendations for 2017

Video Length:  58:20
Presented By:  Forrestt Williams
Monday, November 21 2016
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The New Year is coming! And that means new computers. Don't know what kind of computer to buy for optimal AutoCAD performance? We're here to help. Our tech support team often hears from concerned clients who are confused about hardware – graphics cards, hard drive, processor, RAM, and more. AutoCAD has specific requirements for computers, and we can help untangle those requirements for you. Join us on Friday to answer all your computer questions and, in the process, learn more about how Land F/X and AutoCAD work together.

For AutoCAD, F/X CAD, Land F/X and SketchUp

 

Download PowerPoint Slides as PDF:

Hardware-Recommendations-2017.pdf

Webinar Contents:

Note: The following catalog of content covered in this webinar is time stamped to allow you to follow along or skip to sections of the video that are relevant to your questions. You can also search for content on this page using the FIND command in your browser (CTRL + F in Windows, Command + F in Mac OS.)

 

  • Intro/TOC
  • Land F/X Technology Quick Explainer
    • Land F/X Technology Overview
    • Components of Land f/X
    • Standard Land F/X Small-Office Setup
    • Optional Land F/X Cloud Setup
  • Why Upgrade Hardware/Budget/How Often
    • Business Budgeting 101
  • Ideal Office Setup
    • Typical Land F/X Small-Office Equipment
    • Our Office Equipment
  • Key Hardware Components
  • Operating Systems
  • Hardware Recommendations
    • Laptops
    • Desktops
    • Apple
    • Peripherals
    • Monitors
    • More Peripherals
    • Travel Much?
  • Backup Concepts
    • 3-2-1 Backup Concept
    • Our Backup Configuration
  • Security
    • Security Tips
    • Our Technical Support Team

0:00 – 2:00: Intro/TOC

2:01: – 12:19: Land F/X Technology Quick Explainer

Land F/X Technology Overview (2:30):

  • Land F/X is a plugin for AutoCAD.
  • F/X CAD is AutoCAD.
  • F/X CAD requires a Land F/X license to operate.
  • Land F/X projects and Project Managers are populated from a database – not the DWG files.

 

Components of Land F/X (3:30):

Land F/X essentially consists of three components:

  • Database
  • LandFX Folder
  • Cloud libraries

 

Database includes:

  • Project list
  • Project Managers
  • The data you can associate with blocks to make them “smart” blocks

 

LandFX folder includes:

  • Plant blocks
  • Irrigation blocks
  • Site blocks
  • Details
  • CTB files
  • Software files

 

Cloud libraries include:

  • Plant database
  • Irrigation Manufacturers database
  • Site Manufacturers database

 

Standard Land F/X Small-Office Setup (7:25):

Server:

  • Land F/X Server installed containing the Land F/X folder and Land F/X Database
  • DWG file storage

 

CAD Workstations:

  • AutoCAD or F/X CAD installed
  • Land F/X Workstation installed, which connects to Land F/X Server.

 

Backup Drive

 

Off-Site Backup Drive

 

Optional Land F/X Cloud Setup (8:15):

Land F/X Cloud:

  • Contains Land F/X database only
  • Cloud File Storage such as Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.
  • Contains LandFX folder and DWG files

 

Land F/X Server:

  • Synced with cloud file storage for LandFX folder and DWG files storage

 

CAD Workstations in Office:

  • AutoCAD or F/X CAD installed
  • Land F/X Workstation installed, which connects to Land F/X Server for LandFX folder and DWG files
  • Connect through Internet to Land F/X cloud database

 

CAD Laptop in Field or at Home:

  • AutoCAD or F/X CAD installed
  • Connects through Internet for cloud file storage (LandFX folder and DWG files)
  • Land F/X cloud database

 

Backup Drive

 

Off-Site Backup Drive

12:20 – 21:38: Why Upgrade Hardware/Budget/How Often

Business Budgeting 101 (13:40):

1. You are a professional. (Act like it.)

2. Software: Land F/X, Adobe, Microsoft, Google, Dropbox, PDF ($700 – $2,000)

3. Maintenance ($150 – $400)

4. Hardware:

a. Top Dell Workstation (tops $20,000)

b. 5-year-old machine risks a lot

c. Where to toss a 4-year-old machine

d. Sure would be nice to freshen each machine every 2 to 3 years, right?

 

 

Leasing option (17:45):

Dell business lease:

  • $1,500 Workstation, $65 per month (2-year fair market value lease)
  • Mix and match: 3- or 4-year term, $1 buyout
  • Software ($700) + maintenance ($150) + hardware ($750)

 

Other Options (20:45):

  • Online bank like Ally, put away $20 per week
  • 0% financing credit card
  • Find a very cheap computer and ask Land F/X whether that will work.

21:39 – 24:42: Ideal Office Setup

Typical Land F/X Small-Office Equipment (21:39):

  • Server: Store DWG files, Land F/X database, and other Enterprise software
  • Desktops: Powerful enough for AutoCAD
  • Laptops: Powerful enough for AutoCAD
  • Fireproof and theft-proof backup drive

 

 

Our Office Equipment (22:28):

Server:

  • Mac Mini server
  • File storage, Land F/X

 

Desktops:

  • iMac 5K & Thunderbolt 27” monitor
  • Running Parallels & Windows 10

 

Laptops:

  • MacBook Pro & 2 Thunderbolt 27” monitors
  • Running Parallels Windows

 

 

Fireproof & theft-proof backup drive:

  • ioSafe SOLO G3 unit bolts to floor, fireproof
  • 3 terabytes!

 

Note: Our office needs differ from those of a typical landscape design office: Software development, graphic design, Web development, content creation, video editing & more.

24:43 – 28:16: Key Hardware Components

Key hardware components when looking at a computer (in the following order):

  • Video card: As good as you can get is ideal. At least 2GB of dedicated video memory.
  • Solid-state disk storage (SSD): An absolute must these days. HDD = slow!
  • RAM: The more, the merrier.
  • Processor: Most modern processors should suffice.

 

Note: AutoCAD eats video cards for lunch!

28:17 – 30:37: Operating Systems

  • Windows XP (no longer supported or acceptable)
  • Windows Vista (no longer supported or acceptable)
  • Windows 7: OK
  • Windows 8/8.1: Avoid.
  • Windows 10: OK

 

We recommend Windows 10. Solid OS, robust, kinks seem to be worked out for now – make sure to stay current on your updates!

30:38 – 42:41: Hardware Recommendations

Dell Poweredge Series:

  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows networking made easy
  • Automated backups
  • $1,278.99

 

Mac Mini Server:

  • Mac OS
  • Setup takes longer
  • Ideal only for a Mac-centric office
  • $999.99

 

Cloud?

  • Even with cloud file solutions, we still recommend having a server.
  • Central file storage makes life easier.
  • Enterprise software needs

 

WD My Cloud Business Series

  • NAS only works with Land F/X Cloud Data
  • Pre-configured
  • 4 bays
  • 8 terabytes
  • Cloud access options
  • $699

 

Laptops (33:15):

Alienware 15

  • I5 Quad Core 3.2ghz
  • Win 10 Pro
  • 16GB (2x8GB) RAM
  • 256GB SSD + 1TB storage HDD
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
  • $1,499

 

Dell XPS 15

  • i7Quad Core 2.6 – 3.5 ghz Turbo
  • Win 10 Pro
  • 16GB (1x16GB) RAM
  • 512GB SSD
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 2GB CPU
  • $1,699

 

Dell Precision 15 3000 Series

  • i7 Quad Core 2.6 – 3.5ghz Turbo
  • Win 10 Pro
  • 16GB (2x8GB RAM)
  • 512GB M.2 Sata SSD
  • AMD FirePro W5130M 2GB GPU
  • $1,999

 

Dell Precision 15 5000 Series

  • i7 Quad Core 2.6 – 3.5ghz Turbo
  • Win 10 Pro
  • 16GB (2x8GB) RAM
  • 500GB SSD
  • NVIDIA Quadro M1000M 2GB GPU
  • $2,219

 

Desktops (35:03):

Dell Optiplex 3046 Small Form Factor

  • i5 Quad Core 3.2 – 3.6ghz Turbo
  • Win 10 Pro
  • 16GB (2x8GB) RAM
  • 256GB SSD
  • AMD R7 M445 4GB GPU
  • $973

 

Dell Precision 3620 Mini Tower

  • i5 Quad Core 3.3 – 3.9ghz Turbo
  • Win 10 Pro
  • 16GB (2x8GB) 2133mhz memory
  • 256GB SSD
  • NVIDIA Quadro K1200 4GB GPU
  • $1,427

 

Dell Precision 3620 Mini Tower

  • I7 Quad Core 2.6 – 3.5ghz Turbo
  • Win 10 Pro
  • 16GB (2x8GB) 2133mhz memory
  • 512GB M.2 Sata SSD
  • NVIDIA Quadro K1200 4GB GPU
  • $1,768

 

Dell Precision 5000 Series Tower

  • i5 Quad Core 2.6 – 3.5ghz Turbo
  • Win 10 Pro
  • 16GB (4x4GB) RAM
  • 512GB SSD
  • NVIDIA Quadro M2000 4GB GPU
  • $2,260

 

Apple (36:45):

Keep in mind that Land F/X is Windows-only software and is not compatible with AutoCAD for Mac. However, you can definitely run Land F/X on Windows-based CAD installed on a Mac computer with the help of a program called Parallels.

 

Mac Mini Server

  • Intel Core Dual Core i5 2.8ghz
  • 16GB RAM
  • 2TB fusion drive
  • Mac El Capitan
  • $1,299

 

MacBook Pro 15”

  • Intel Core i7 2.6 Quad Core ghz
  • 2GB GPU
  • 256GB SSD hard drive
  • Mac El Capitan
  • $2,499

 

Apple iMac 27”

  • Intel Core Dual Core i5 3.1ghz
  • 16GB RAM
  • 2GB GPU
  • 1TB SSD hard drive
  • Mac El Capitan
  • $1,799

 

Mac Additional Costs:

  • Parallels ($89)
  • Windows 10 Pro ($199)

 

Peripherals (38:09):

ioSafe Drive (On-Site Backup Drive)

  • Bolts to the floor
  • Fireproof
  • Waterproof
  • 4TB
  • $399

 

Western Digital External (Off-Site Backup Drive)

  • 2TB
  • USB 3.0
  • $89

 

Land F/X USB

  • 4GB
  • Keep it on your keychain.
  • Add a “Read Me” file with your contact information.
  • FREE! (Contact us.)

 

PNY 128GB USB

  • 128GB
  • USB 3.0
  • $25

 

Monitors (39:55):

LG 21.5” UltraFine 4K Monitor

  • 4,096 x 2,304 resolution
  • $524

 

Dell 27” Ultra HD 4K Monitor

  • 3,840 x 2,160 resolution
  • $999

 

Dell 27” Ultra HD 5K Monitor

  • 5,120 x 2,880 Ultra HD resolution
  • $1,549

 

More Peripherals (40:42):

Logitech Performance Mouse MX

  • Programmable buttons for CAD work

 

Logitech Daedalus Gaming Mouse

  • Programmable buttons for CAD work

 

Logitech Illuminated Keyboard

  • Easy typing

 

Microsoft Sculpt

  • Ergonomic curve
  • Separate 10-key
  • Ergonomic “Sideways” mouse

 

Travel Much? (42:12)

Why maintain a desktop and a laptop? You’ll just end up with two cruddy computers! Instead, consider a powerful laptop and two monitors with an external keyboard and mouse.

42:42 – 46:48: Backup Concepts

Remember: Computers will fail (and usually at the most inconvenient time).

 

3-2-1 Backup Concept (43:38)

3 copies of your data

  • 1 copy on external drive
  • 1 copy in cloud backup
  • 1 copy on off-site drive

 

2 Different formats

  • Backup drive
  • Cloud

 

1 Off-site

  • Monthly off-site in safe

 

Test!

  • Test your backups at least once a year to verify that your backup procedures are functional and your data is intact.

 

Our Backup Configuration (45:01):

  • Mac Mini Server runs daily backups using Time Machine to our ioSafe Backup Drive.
  • Our hosting company does daily backups of landfx.com.
  • Monthly backup procedure:
    • Monthly backup of landfx.com
    • Manual backup of Mac Mini Server
  • Saved to off-site secure hard drive

 

Hard drives are cheap: WD 2TB for less than $100!

No excuse not to have robust backup procedures in place.

Use brandname external hard drives.

ioSafe fireproof & theft-proof drives are fantastic.

46:49 – end: Security

Security is a major concern now. Just look at the news lately!

 

Change your passwords yearly

  • World Password Day: May 4
    • Use strong passwords.
    • Different password for every account.
    • Use a password manager.
    • Use multi-factor authentication wherever possible.

 

Security software:

  • Anti-virus software: We’ve had good experience with Kaspersky.
  • Anti-malware: We’ve had good experience with MalwareBytes.

 

Security Tips (48:35):

  • Don’t open email attachments from strangers!
  • Remember the Locky virus?

 

Don’t download software from the following websites:

  • Sourceforge.com
  • CNET.com
  • Softpedia.com
  • Download.com

 

Drawing corruption is still a major issue.

  • Drawing corruption will spread like a virus.
  • Slows down your computer.
  • Can be prevented!
    • Nuke tool
    • Manual drawing cleanup steps

 

Our Technical Support Team(50:43)

Also, remember that our documentation is fully searchable for errors and issues you encounter when using Land F/X and AutoCAD. Go to our documentation page and type your search in the search box.

 

Question: Would the combination of a solid-state drive and a hard drive be slower than just a solid-state drive? (51:53)

Answer: Yes it would be, but it’s acceptable. A 500GB solid state and a 1, 2, or 3TB hard drive should be enough for your backup needs.

 

Question: If I’m a sole proprietor working from home, do I need a server? (53:15)

Answer: Not necessarily, but the priority is the ability to back up your data. A server can be a valuable component in your backup arsenal. Plus, if you have a server, it makes it much easier to transfer your files and data when you get a new computer, for example.

 

Question: Does it make sense to split your Land F/X data between a dedicated file server and separate dedicated data server? (55:34)

Answer: No, there’s no reason to do this. Some firms have a policy that forbids having a database on the file server, but it’s not an ideal setup. Keep in mind that the MySQL database component of Land F/X is extremely low-impact. It only takes up about 15MB of memory when idling and will not impact your file server.