Hardware Recommendations for 2019
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Hardware Recommendations for 2019

Nov 08, 2019
Video Length:  57:48
Presented By:  Mike Bennett

You want your computer and all your software – including ours – to run optimally. We want to help! Find out our latest recommendations for running Land F/X and AutoCAD, choosing everything from workstations and servers to operating systems, maintaining a hardware budget, and backing up your work.

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
  • How to Run Land F/X
  • Technicality Breakdown
  • Land F/X vs. AutoCAD Requirements
  • The 3 Bs (Budgeting Better for Your Business)
  • PC or Mac?
  • What We Recommend
  • Networking, Wired, or Wireless?
  • Additional Peripherals
  • Bringing Back the Backups

0:00 – 4:09: Intro/TOC

4:10 – 8:30: How to Run Land F/X

The three components of the Land F/X plugin (4:18):

  • A folder containing blocks and locally created content.
  • Our cloud-based content libraries containing the thousands of blocks/symbols for you to use.
  • A database to contain all Land F/X projects you create, as well as Preferences templates, and everything that makes our smart blocks smart.


How the core Land F/X components interact with your computer (5:08):

To run the Land F/X plugin, you’ll need three pieces:

  • A workstation with CAD and F/X Workstation installed
  • Our cloud libraries and database rolled into one
  • An installation of F/X Server to house and hand out all your custom content


Single-User office setup (5:46):

  • Install CAD and F/X Workstation on the workstation
  • Install F/X Server on the workstation
  • Use our cloud-based content libraries and database combined


The simplest Multi-User office setup (Cloud Data with shared online folder) (6:25):

  • Install CAD and F/X Workstation on the workstations
  • Use a shared online folder (Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, etc.) too host the F/X Server installation
  • Seamless content sharing with minimal overhead and no restriction to be in one place


The Local Data office (7:20):

  • Install CAD and F/X Workstation on the workstations
  • Install F/X Server and the database on a local server
  • Workstations download content from our cloud libraries to the local server as resources are used
  • Content sharing between any workstations connected to the local server

8:31 – 17:19: Technicality Breakdown

Acronyms (8:55)



  • CPU/processor: central processing unit (the “brain” of a computer)
  • RAM/memory: random access memory (working space)
  • SSD/HDD/hard disk: solid state drive, hard disk drive (storage medium)
  • GPU/video card: graphics processing unit (specialized processor to accelerate output to a display device)


Units of measure:

  • GHz: gigahertz (frequency or measurement known as clock rate or clock speed)
  • GB: gigabyte (equal to 1,024 megabytes)
  • TB: terabyte (equal to 1,024 gigabytes)
  • Gb: gigabit (referred to in networking, 8 times smaller than a gigabyte)


Workflow of a computer (11:44)

Opening a file:

1. CPU locates the file on SSD/HDD.

2. Once the file is found, it’s loaded into RAM to be used or modified.

3. To display on your screen, the file is not loaded into the video card’s memory.

4. The video card displays the file on your monitor.


HDD vs. SSD (13:07)


  • 6 moving points of failure.
  • Average boot speed of 40 seconds to 1+ minutes.



  • 3 fixed points of failure.
  • Boot speed and applications can see a 200 tp 400% improvement.


The effects of having an inadequately spec-ed GPU (15:52):

  • Zoomed way out in Model Space: Low visibility on small content, low GPU memory storage.
  • As you zoom in: Smaller objects become more detailed, GPU memory usage goes up.
  • If your GPU is low on memory: Labels, etc. may be blanked out, screen may flash when panning, and more.

17:20 – 21:31: Land F/X vs. AutoCAD Requirements

AutoCAD 2020:

  • Processor: 2.5 GHz – 2.9 GHz minimum / 3+ GHz recommended
  • Memory: 8 GB minimum / 16 GB recommended
  • Display resolution: 1080 pixels minimum / 4k recommended
  • Video card RAM: 1 GB memory minimum / 4 GB memory recommended
  • Video card memory bandwidth: Most cards within the past 4 years meet requirements
  • Disk space: 6 GB


Land F/X:

  • SSD: This is no longer optional, as far as we’re concerned.
  • Slight bump to video card
    • 2 GB minimum / 4 GB recommended

21:32 – 28:40: The 3 Bs (Budgeting Better for Your Business)

1. Consider the cost of downtime vs. the cost of upgrades.

2. If you rely on technology for your daily routine, it needs to be maintained just like your car.

3. We rotate out hardware every 3 years.

4. Keep warranty periods in mind.


How much should you account for? (23:11)

Determine the life cycle of your products.

  • 2-year warranty = 3-year life cycle / 4 to 5 years if you budget for out-of-warranty repairs.
  • Take the full cost of a replacement divided by number of years.
  • $2,000 system you’d want to set aside – about $670/year or $55/month


Out-of-warranty costs can vary wildly.

  • Account for labor, parts, and downtime.
  • Average technician cost ranges from $65 to $120 an hour.
  • A replacement motherboard for a Dell XPS 15 can cost $350 to $600 depending on spec just for parts.
  • How much will not being able to work for 2 to 3 days cost you?


Easy methods to save (25:08)

  • Set up an automated savings account
    • Set up an automatic transfer once a month into a separate savings account used solely for system upgrades/repairs.
  • Capital One 360 savings accounts
    • High-yield 1.9% interest rates
    • No monthly fees
    • You can have up to 25 savings accounts for different goals.


Hardware leasing (26:15)

Many manufacturers offer competitive lease options on new systems:

  • Dell
  • Lenovo
  • Apple


For the same $55 per month you’d put away for an upgrade in 2 years, you may be able to leave new hardware every 2 years.

  • 12-, 24-, or 36-month terms
  • No warranties to worry about
  • Fair market value or $1 buyout lease end options

28:41 – 41:18: PC or Mac?

Windows/PCs pros (29:00)

Do you like to customizer your gear?

  • Pick your own graphics card.
  • Swap out or use multiple hard drives.
  • Upgrade components over time.
  • Touchscreen support.


Multiple platform choices:

  • Laptops
  • Workhorse towers with silent operation
  • Tablets with detachable keyboards
  • 99% can find a system to meet a budget


Mac pros (30:52)

PC options overwhelming?

  • One manufacturer
  • Laptop, desktop, or all-in-one?
  • 13" or 15" for laptop, 21" or 27" for all in one


Superb build quality:

  • All-aluminum construction
  • Synchronization between devices
  • Historically fewer issues with viruses, etc.


Windows/PCs cons (32:35)

  • Customization options galore
    • Tons of manufacturers to choose from
    • Also tons of hardware choices
    • Pieces need to work with their neighboring components
  • Major upgrades cost around $100
  • Viruses etc. are more common
  • Driver updates as well as software updates. Compatibility is critical
  • System for any budget, easy to under-spec


Mac cons (35:38)

  • Limited customizations
    • Display size and color options are limited
    • Small changes to processor spec and RAM capacity
    • Storage expandability is limited
    • No upgrades – what you order is what you get
  • Higher-than-average entry cost
  • Many times, you’ll still need virtualization software – e.g., Parallels – to run Windows
  • Limited authorized repair locations


PC and Mac comparison: (Mac) Macbook Pro 15" vs. (PC) Razer Blade 15" (38:01)


More PC options: Dell XPS 15" and MSI WE65 15" (39:47)

41:19 – 46:49: What We Recommend

Our top picks:

Dell XPS 15 ($1,899) (41:33):

  • Impressive value for the money
  • 9th gen 6 core i9 processor
  • Lots of customization options, 4k display, touch, etc.
  • 10-hour battery life
  • Lightweight – about 4 lbs.
  • Thunderbolt 3-port expansion
  • 1-year warranty standard


MSI WE65 ($1,898) (42:30):

  • Also a great value
  • 9th gen 6 core i7 processor
  • 32 GB of RAM standard
  • Military grade – meets MIL-STD 810G standard
  • ISV certification – Autodesk
  • Quadro T2000 or T1000 4 GB graphics card
  • 1080p display only
  • 3-year warranty standard


Dell XPS Desktop ($1,124) (43:30)

  • Highly customizable
  • 9th gen 6 core i7 processor
  • 16 GB RAM standard
  • 1660 TI 6GB graphics card and up
  • Thunderbolt 3 expansion card available
  • 1-year warranty standard, 4-year option


MSI Trident 3 ($1,249) (44:32):

  • Compact powerhouse
  • 9th gen 6 core i7 processor
  • 16 GB of RAM
  • 1660 TI 6GB graphics card and up
  • Small enough to fit behind a monitor
  • 1-year warranty standard


Macbook Pro 15" (45:27)

  • Simple and effective
  • 9th gen 6 core i7 processor
  • 16 GB RAM standard
  • Radeon 555x 4 GB graphics card and up
  • 1 TB SSD – remember, no upgrades
  • 4x Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Spec well enough to run Windows as well
  • 1-year warranty standard


What if you don’t like these options? (46:07)

There are too many manufacturers and models available for us to account for.


Take our system requirements, call the manufacturer of your choice, and ask them to find you a system that meets the following specifications:

  • SSD: 512 GB minimum / 1 TB recommended
  • Processor: 2.5 GHz – 2.9 GHz minimum / 3+ GHz recommended
  • Memory: 8 GB minimum / 16 GB recommended
  • Display resolution: 1080p minimum / 4k recommended
  • Video card: 1 GB memory minimum / 4 GB memory recommended

46:50 – 49:18: Networking, Wired, or Wireless?


  • Physical connection
  • 1 gigabit average speed
  • 2, 5, and 10 gigabit speeds
  • No interference
  • More secure




  • No tether – very convenient
  • AC standard supports a theoretical speed of 3.2 gigabits
  • Interference can be caused by neighboring Wi-Fi, radio waves, walls, appliances, etc.
  • Point to point with no objects in between nets best speed
  • Total available speed split between connected devices
  • Wireless traffic can be snooped


For production work, you should always be hardwired.

49:19 – 54:41: Additional Peripherals

4k monitors (49:30):

  • Dell UltraSharp 27" 4k U2718Q

  • LG 27UK650-W 27" 4k
  • LG 32UD99-W 32" 4k


1080 – 1440p monitors (50:06):

  • Dell P2719HC 27" 1080p
  • Dell UltraSharp U2719DC 27"
  • Asus VG279Q 27"


UltraWide monitors (51:09):

  • Dell U3419w UltraSharp Curved 34"
  • Dell U4919DW UltraSharp Curved 49"
  • Samsung CRG90 Curved 49"
  • MSI 34" Prestige PS341WU 5K monitor


Mice and keyboards (53:25)

  • Logitech MX Master 2 mouse
  • Logitech K740 illuminated keyboard
  • Logitech MX vertical mouse
  • Apple Magic Trackpad

54:42 – end: Bringing Back the Backups

Preferred backup methodology: 3-2-1 method (55:00):

  • 3 data copies (1 copy in production with 2 backups)
  • 2 media types (1st type will generally be disk, 2nd can be cloud)
  • 1 off-site copy (can be in a car, home, office, storage unit, cloud, etc.)


Test your backups. (56:00)

At least once a year:

1. Simulate the worst possible scenario.

2. Keep track of the amount of time it takes to get back to operational status.

3. Calculate the cost of the situation.

4. Make adjustments to your policy to compensate or correct.

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