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Hardware Recommendations for 2018

Oct 26, 2018
Video Length:  53:16
Presented By:  Mike Bennett
In this year’s Hardware Recommendation Webinar, we’ll go over the basics to get you going with our software. We’ll give you our latest hardware requirements and recommendations for both adequate and optimal performance, and where to find a system that meets these parameters. You’ll also learn all about backups and why they’re crucial. Whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned Land F/X user, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the horizon and recognize how quickly technology changes. We’re here to simplify the process of staying up to date with the tools you need to run your business.

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: What Is It?
  • Why Upgrade, How Often, and How to Budget
  • Preferred Office Setup
  • Key Hardware Components
  • Operating Systems
  • Hardware Recommendations
  • Backups! Yes, They’re That Important!


0:00 – 3:52: Intro/TOC

3:53 – 9:41: Land F/X: What Is It?

  • Land F/X is a plugin for AutoCAD.
  • F/X CAD is our flavor of AutoCAD. It requires a Land F/X license in order to run.
  • Land F/X project files are stored in a database and are separate entities from DWGs (drawing files).


Land F/X Tech Crash Course (5:22)

The Land F/X plugin can be broken up into 3 parts:

  • A folder (the LandFX folder)

The LandFX folder contains blocks, details, our CTB files, and the core files for Land F/X to function.


  • The database

The database houses Land F/X projects. Preferences, templates, and data tied to blocks, making them “smart blocks.”


  • Our cloud libraries

These consist of our plant, manufacturer, irrigation, and site blocks and symbols.


Standard Land F/X Office Setup (6:40)


Shared Online Folder Land F/X Office Setup (8:23)

9:42 – 13:22: Why Upgrade, How Often, and How to Budget

Budgeting for Your Business (10:01)

  • Professionals rely in their tools to run their business.
  • Software: Land F/X, AutoCAD, Adobe, Google, Dropbox, etc.: $700 – $2,500
  • Maintenance: $150 – $400
  • Hardware: $500 – $900


Hardware Leasing (11:45)

Business leasing options:

  • 24- to 48-month terms
  • Fair market value lease return hardware at end of term, or buyout for current market value
  • Many manufacturers offer this option: Dell, HP, Lenovo, Apple, etc.


Advantages to leasing:

  • Technology advances at a blistering pace. By replacing your system every 2 to 3 years, you have the latest and greatest.
  • No need to find a recycler when you upgrade or try to resell.
  • Little to no up-front cost.

13:23 – 17:29: Preferred Office Setup

Typical Office Equipment to Run Land F/X (13:42)

  • -Workstations
    • Laptop or desktop – you want a CAD- or design-oriented system.


  • -Server
    • Network attached storage (NAS): $200 – $800
    • File storage, if using Local Data. 
    • Not needed if using Cloud Data and a shared online folder.


  • Shared online folder host
    • Google Drive, Dropbox, ShareFile, OneDrive, Amazon Drive, SugarSync, etc.


Our office setup (16:10)

  • Shared online folder
    • Google Drive, file sharing, Land F/X


  • Desktops
    • iMac 5K with 5k 27-inch monitors
    • Using Parallels to run Virtual Win10 systems


  • Laptops
    • MacBook Pro with 2 LG 5K displays


  • Backups
    • Mac mini running Time Machine
    • ioSafe Solo G3
    • 4 terrabytes

17:30 – 22:07: Key Hardware Components

Key components to shop for (in order):

  • Solid state drive (SSD): One of the most critical components (if not the most critical). Standard HDDs don’t cut it anymore.
  • Video card: Doesn’t have to be top of the line, but should be 2GB onboard memory or better.
  • RAM: 8GB us standard, 16GB is plenty.
  • Processor: Most modern systems meet the cutoff, but 2Ghz and above is recommended.

Quadro Graphics cards have certified drivers. Geforce do not, but will still work. (21:01)

22:08 – 23:54: Operating Systems

Windows 10 remains our recommendation – it’s the newest release with continual security updates and vulnerability patches.

23:55 – 38:45: Hardware Recommendations

Why we recommend gaming systems (24:20):

  • Quickly excludes all inadequate options.
    • Gaming systems require high-end hardware.


  • Prioritizes performance and speed.
    • Not restricted to gaming.


  • Standard components:
    • SSD
    • High-end video card
    • Fast processor


Laptops (25:34)

  • MSI WE63 – 8SI-238
    • i7 Quad Core 2.2–4.1GHz Turbo
    • 512GB SSD
    • 16GB RAM
    • Nvidia Quadro P1000 4GB video card
    • Autodesk ISV Certified
    • $1,699


  • Dell Precision 3530
    • i7 Quad Core 2.6–4.3GHz Turbo
    • 512GB SSD
    • 16GB RAM
    • Nvidia Quadro P600 4GB video card
    • $1,769


The importance of warranties (27:05)


Desktops (27:55)

  • Dell Precision 3630 Tower
    • i7 6 core, 3.2–4.6GHz Turbo
    • 512GB SSD
    • 16GB RAM
    • Radeon Pro X3100 4GB video card
    • $1,620


  • Dell Precision 5820 Tower
    • Xeon quad core, 4.0–4.5GHz Turbo
    • 512GB SSD
    • 16GB RAM
    • Nvidia Quadro P1000 4GB video card
    • $2,420


Apple (30:40)

  • 15” Macbook Pro*
    • i7 Six Core, 2.6–4.3GHz Turbo
    • 512GB SSD
    • 16GB RAM
    • Radeon Pro 560X 4GB video card
    • $2,799


  • 27” iMac 5k*
    • i7 Quad Core, 4.2–5GHz Turbo
    • 512GB SSD
    • 16GB RAM
    • Radeon Pro 575 4GB video card
    • $2,799


*Added expenses:

  • Parallels: $89
  • Windows 10 Pro: $199


Don’t see a system you like? (32:14)

  • That’s OK – these are all recommendations/suggestions.
  • Give our system requirements listed below to the manufacturer of your choice, and they’ll help you find a system that meets your needs.
  • Dell, MSI, Asus, HP, Apple, etc.


System Requirements:

  • Windows 10 64 bit
  • 16GB RAM recommended / 8GB minimum
  • 512GB SSD recommended / 256GB minimum
  • 2GHz+ Quad Core processor
  • Video card with 4GB+ memory / 2GB minimum
  • Ability to run 2 external displays


Monitors (33:06)

  • LG 27” UltraFine 5K  monitor
    • 5120 x 2880 resolution
    • USB-C connectivity
    • $1,299.95


  • -BenQ 32” 4K  monitor
    • 3840 x 2160 resolution
    • Multi-port connectivity
    • $698.99


  • Dell 27” 4K  monitor – P2715Q
    • 3840 x 2160 resolution
    • Display chaining
    • $417.99


Peripherals: Backup Storage (35:03)

  • WD 2TB Elements Portable Hard Drive
    • USB 3.0
    • 2 Terabytes of storage
    • $69.99


  • Samsung Bar Plus 128GB USB
    • USB 3.0
    • 128 gigabytes of storage
    • $27.99


  • ioSafe Hard Drive
    • Fire, water, and theft proof
    • 2- to 6-terabytes capacity
    • USB 3.0
    • $299–$599


Peripherals: Mice (36:28)

  • Logitech MX Vertical Mouse
    • Ergonomic
    • Programmable buttons for CAD work
    • $99.99


  • Logitech MX Master 2S Mouse
    • Works on any surface
    • Programmable buttons for CAD work
    • $99.99


Peripherals: Keyboards (37:30)

  • Logitech K740 Illuminated Keyboard
    • Backlit keys for easy typing
    • $79.99


  • Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard
    • Supports neutral wrist position
    • $65.99


Work on the road a lot? (38:06)

Ditch the desktop and make the transition to a laptop. Maintaining two powerful systems is overkill and expensive.

38:46 – end: Backups! Yes, They’re That Important!

Computers do fail, and it’s always at the worst time.


The 3-2-1 backup concept (39:12):

  • 3 copies of your data
    • 1 live copy on your system
    • 1 external backup
    • 1 off-site drive or cloud backup


  • 2 different formats
    • Internal drive
    • External drive or cloud


  • 1 off-site
    • -External hard drive or cloud, updated every month


Test your backups!

  • Test your backup process at least once a year.
  • Simulate a data loss scenario to ensure recovery time and data recovered is as expected.


Think about your cost of downtime, and come up with a rule of thumb for testing your backups. Losing your data can become wildly expensive – what measures can you take that might have a similar cost but can prevent the costs of downtime? (40:14)


How do we back up in the Land F/X office? (42:19)

  • Our cloud storage backed up twice a day
  • Service provider for does their own backups, as do we.
  • Monthly backup procedure:
    • Manual backup of shared online folder
    • Manual backup of>
    • Saved to ioSafe drive and to off-site secured drive


Storage is cheap! 2TB for $69

Stick to well-known brands: Western Digital, Toshiba, Seagate, etc.

ioSafe fire-, water-, and theft-proof drives are excellent.


Why backups are important (43:23)

Bugs evolve just like our hardware and software do.


  • Ransomeware:
    • Encrypts all known file types on your system.
    • Demands payment to restore file access.


  • How to recover?
    • 3-2-1 backup policy
    • Quick recovery, minimize cost and downtime.

Our support team (44:29)


Question: Is the processor cache a major consideration? (45:12)

Answer: Most modern processors have 6 to 14 MB of onboard cache, which is more than sufficient. The only way you’ll run out id if you do a lot of 3D rendering or hi-res video editing. As long as you go with a Quad Core or above processor, you’ll have plenty of cache.


Question: How would this recommendations change for a home setup? (46:04)

Answer: The only main difference is that you won’t have a server. We still recommend a shared online folder so you can share content and data with your office computer or other users. A NAS is also a good idea. A gaming computer is still a good asset.


Question: How would these recommendations change if I’m using a lot of 3D modeling software such as SketchUp or Lumion? (48:00)

Answer: In this case, we recommend getting the best video card you possibly can. The processor won’t be as much as a consideration. We recommend going with the Quadro series of video/graphics cards.


Question: Any suggestions for what to do when upgrading our video cards? (50:09)

Answer: Go ahead and upgrade one machine first. Open the same file on both machines and see if it opens faster with the new video card. You can then get some actual data points on whether the issue is the video card, the SSD, etc. You can also download tools that show which components of your system you’re overstitching (such as your RAM).

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