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Hardware Recommendations for 2020

Nov 06, 2020
Video Length:  50:07
Presented By:  Brian Hodge

Trying to figure out how to keep all your applications running at their best? Up-front costs for new equipment may give you some pause, but we've found that making the right purchases in the first place will save you money in the long run. Here are our latest recommendations for the hardware that will help keep all your software – including ours – humming along happily.

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
  • F/X CAD and AutoCAD
  • Parts of Land F/X
  • Put it all Together
  • Parts of a Computer
  • System Requirements
  • Our Office Setup
  • Computer Recommendations
  • Laptop Recommendations
  • Monitors
  • Peripherals
  • Quality of Life
  • Networking
  • Backup

0:00 – 3:08: Intro/TOC

3:09 – 4:14: F/X CAD and AutoCAD

AutoCAD

  • Base application
  • Required to run Land F/X

 

Land F/X is compatible with the latest 5 versions of:

  • AutoCAD
  • AutoCAD Civil 3D
  • F/X CAD

 

Land F/X is not compatible with:

  • AutoCAD LT
  • AutoCAD 360
  • AutoCAD for Mac

4:15 – 7:50: Parts of Land F/X

Land F/X is a plugin for AutoCAD

  • Three pieces:
    • LandFX folder: F/X Server
    • The Database: F/X Server or Cloud
    • Plugin: F/X Workstation

 

LandFX folder (4:39):

Custom for each user or office (if shared):

  • Blocks: Custom blocks and Land F/X blocks downloaded from our cloud database
  • Data: Your backups and database (if Local Data)
  • Details: Your CAD details
  • Core files for Land F/X to function:
    • _install_.xml
    • LandFX.vlx
    • setup_FXWorkstation.exe
    • Plugin installer

 

Database (6:20):

  • Land F/X projects and templates
  • Preferences
  • Data tied to blocks, making them "smart blocks"

 

Quick side note: the 3 types of Land F/X database (6:36):

  • Cloud: Land F/X looks to the cloud for your .lfx data
  • SQLite: Single-User, Local Data
  • Database saved on your computer that only works for one user
    • MySQL: Multi-User, Local Data
    • Database on your server or a user's computer that is shared with all users

 

F/X Workstation (7:13):

  • Connects AutoCAD / F/X CAD to your LandFX folder and database.
  • Needs to be run from the LandFX folder.
  • If you need to reinstall something, it's most likely this item.
  • Reinstalling it will not hurt your data.
  • Adds the Land F/X menus to your CAD interface.

7:51 – 8:14: Put it all Together

  • Base Application F/X CAD (AutoCAD) plugged in with F/X Workstation
  • F/X Workstation connects to your LandFX folder with all of your personalized data
  • Along with your Land F/X database and the overarching Land F/X data cloud

8:15 – 21:06: Parts of a Computer

  • CPU: Brain of computer
    • Takes instruction from user and requests data from SSD
  • SSD: Long-term storage
  • RAM: Current working memory
    • Information moves from SSD to RAM for use
    • RAM sends info to GPU
  • GPU: Secondary processor for graphics
    • GPU sends images to your monitor

 

 

Central processing unit (CPU) (9:30):

  • Xeon: Usually not worth the extra cost.
  • Number of Cores: 4 is plenty, unless you want to have many programs open at once.
  • GHz: Represents how many processes can be done per second – looking for 3+.
  • Cache size:Essentially onboard memory for the CPU.

 

RAM = Random Access Memory (short-term thinking memory) (12:46)

 

When purchasing:

Desktop: As little as possible

  • You can always upgrade – usually cheaper.

 

Laptop: Get what you need

  • Often fewer or no options to upgrade with a laptop.

 

 

Graphical Processing Unit (GPU) (second brain for your viewing pleasure) (14:20)

Lots of confusing stats to look at – essentially, you just need to know:

  • How much memory the card has
  • What kind of output do you need:
    • Displayport
    • HDMI
    • USB-C

Solid state drive (SSD) (long-term memory) (15:39):

You may notice we will only be discussing solid state drives (SSD). There is no reason to have an old hard disk drive (HDD), or even a hybrid drive anymore. SSDs have come down so much in price that any other type of drive just doesn't make sense.

 

Considerations:

  • NVMe: ~6x faster than SATA
  • Really a minimum of 512GB SSD minimum.
  • 2TB max: You can always add a second drive – no reason to get to the pricey 4-8TB.

 

(Remember if you are a laptop user: Choose the right fit the first time, as your after-purchase upgrade options are limited to none.)

 

Display (save your eyes) (17:39):

  • Full High Definition (full HD) is a vertical resolution of 1,080 pixels (1080p, with the "p" standing for progressive scan).
  • "2K resolution" refers to cinema resolution, which measures 2048x1080 pixels. The 2K refers to the horizontal resolution.
  • 4K is four times the 2K standard, and therefore has a resolution of 4096 x 2160.
  • UHD typically has a resolution of 3840 x 2160, which is very close to 4K.

 

Monitors often last a long time –usually as long as 2 workstations. Two 4k monitors will last a long time. If one fails, you can keep on working.

 

Backup storage (19:43):

  • Samsung T5 2TB external SSD, $249.49
    • Fits in the palm of your hand

 

Or:

 

Unlimited cloud storage for as little as $20/month.

  • $20 x 12mo = $240/year
  • Security against theft/fire/flood

21:07 – 26:17: System Requirements

AutoCAD 2021 system requirements:

  • Operating system (OS)
    • Supported 64-bit Windows 10
  • Central processing unit (CPU)
    • Basic: 2.5 – 2.9 GHz processor
    • Recommended: 3+ GHz processor
  • Memory
    • Basic: 8 GB
    • Recommended: 16 GB
  • Graphical Processing Unit (GPU)
    • Basic: 1 GB GPU
    • Recommended: 4 GB GPU
  • Disk Space
    • 7.0 GB (on workstation)

 

Land F/X System Requirements:

Because Land F/X is a plugin for AutoCAD, most of our system requirements are covered by what you will already need to run AutoCAD.

 

A few notable differences:

  • Graphical processing unit (GPU)
    • Basic: 2GB GPU
    • Recommended: 4+ GB GPU
  • Disk Space
    • Basic: 2GB (on LandFX folder location, not workstation)
    • Recommended: 5GB

 

Gaming computers (22:55):

They are not just for games. They are for pushing high-resolution graphics to a high-resolution monitor quickly.

 

That is exactly what you need to push a big CAD drawing.

In general:

  • All high-end parts
  • Strong discrete graphics card
  • Low-/medium-tier should be able to run CAD
  • Doesn't require building or double-checking components compatibility
  • Better price

 

So what's the downside?

  • Flashy lights
    • They can be turned off or covered.
  • Still have to check the specifications.
    • Don't be tricked by low-end equipment with a "Gaming" tag on it.
  • Typically comes with Windows 10 Home (more on that later).

 

Mac vs. PC (24:32):

What really is the difference?

  • Honestly, it comes down to what you like.
  • What are you comfortable with?
  • iMac is close in price to its Windows counterparts when you factor in a 5k 27" monitor.
  • Parallels allows you to run Windows on your Mac.
  • Coherence mode makes it looks like AutoCAD is running natively in your Mac.

 

Windows 10: Home vs. Pro (25:26)

  • 5 or fewer users: Just get Windows 10 Home.
  • More than 5 users:
    • You'll want to use active directory.
    • Group policies.
    • Azure integration.
    • All of the above require Windows Pro.

 

Good news: You can buy Pro for $199 (as of presentation time) and install it on a gaming computer, and it will often still be less.

 

Some gaming computers allow you to configure your purchase with Pro as well.

26:18 – 27:04: Our Office Setup

  • iMac 27" 5K w/ LG 5K Displays
  • Macbook Pro w/ LG 5K Displays
  • Mac office running Parallels and using G-drive to share between all users.
  • Mac Mini server running Time Machine with everything backing up to ioSafe.
  • Samsung T5 2TB SSD for offline data.

27:05 – 30:09: Computer Recommendations

All prices listed below are as of presentation time.

 

Windows desktops (27:13):

MSI Trident 3 9SI-447US: $999

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-9700f 3.0GHz 8-Core
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4
  • GPU: NVIDIA geforce gtx 1660 Ti 6G GDDR6
    • 2 Monitors HD
    • 1 Monitor 4k
  • SSD: 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • 11AC Wi-Fi (but should be hard-wired)
  • Windows 10 Home

 

Dell Precision 3440 Small Form Factor Workstation: $1,449.00

  • CPU: Intel® Core i7-10700 (8 Core, 16M cache, base 2.9GHz, up to 4.8GHz)
  • RAM: 16GB 2X8GB DDR4 2666MHz
  • GPU: NVIDIA Quadro P1000, 4GB, 4 mDP to DP adapter
  • SSD: 512GB PCIe NVMe Class 40 M.2 SSD
  • Windows 10 Pro 64-bit

 

Dell G5 Gaming Desktop: $1,569.99

  • CPU: Intel® Core™ i7-10700KF (8-Core, 16M Cache, 3.8GHz to 5.1GHz)
  • RAM:16GB, 2x8GB, DDR4, 2933Mhz
  • GPU: NVIDIA® GeForce® RTX 2060 SUPER™ 8GB GDDR6
  • SSD: 1TB M.2 PCIe NVMe Solid State Drive
  • Windows 10 Home 64-bit

 

Mac desktops (29:03):

27" iMac: $2,598.98 ($2,299.00 – see notes)

  • CPU: 3.8GHz 8-Core Processor with Turbo Boost up to 5.0GHz
  • RAM: 8GB 2666MHz DDR4 memory
  • GPU: Radeon Pro 5500 XT with 8GB memory
  • SSD: 512GB Storage
  • DISPLAY: 27" Retina 5K Display ($300 value)
  • Need to have:
    • Windows 10 pro: $199.99
    • Parallels pro: $99.99
  • Should have:
    • 16GB Kit (8GBx2) DDR4: $65.46
    • Moshi USB-C to DisplayPort Cable: $49.95

30:10 – 32:53: Laptop Recommendations

Windows laptops (30:09):

MSI GS65 Stealth-1668 Essential: $1,498.00

  • CPU: Intel Core i7 9th Gen 9750H (2.60 GHz)
  • RAM: 16 GB Memory
  • GPU: GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6 GB GDDR6
  • SSD: 1TB NVMe SSD
  • DISPLAY: HD (1920 x 1080) 15.6"
  • Size: 15.08" x 10.24" x 0.69"
  • Weight: 4.19 lbs.

 

Dell G5 15 Gaming Laptop: $1,439.99

  • CPU: 10th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-10750H
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4-2933MHz, 2x8G
  • GPU: NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 2070 8GB
  • SSD: 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe Solid State Drive
  • DISPLAY: FHD (1920x1080)15.6"
  • Size: 0.96" x 14.4" x 10"
  • Weight: 5.18 lbs.
  • Better for multiple external monitors.

 

Dell XPS 15 Laptop: $1,449.99

  • CPU: 9th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-9750H (2.60 GHz)
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4-2666MHz, 2x8G
  • GPU: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1650 4GB
  • SSD: 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe Solid State Drive
  • DISPLAY: 15.6" 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) OLED
  • Size: 13.57" x 9.06" x 0.71"
  • Weight: 4.5 lbs.
  • Better monitor for use on the go.

 

Mac laptops (32:11):

16" MacBook Pro: $2,998.98 ($2,699.00)

  • CPU: 2.6GHz 6-core Intel Core i7 processor
  • RAM: 16GB of 2666MHz DDR4 memory
  • GPU: AMD Radeon Pro 5300M 4GB of GDDR6
  • SSD: 512GB Storage
  • DISPLAY: Almost 4K (3072 x 1920) 16"
  • Size: 0.64" x 14.09" x 9.68"
  • Weight: 4.3 pounds
  • Need to have:
    • Windows 10 pro: $199.99
    • Parallels pro: $99.99
  • Should have:
    • Moshi USB-C to DisplayPort Cable: $49.95

32:54 – 35:09: Monitors

5K monitors (32:54):

Not Recommended:

LG UltraFine 27MD5KLB-B - 5K - 27": $1,299.99

  • 5K (5120 x 2880) 27"
  • Thunderbolt 3
  • Mac compatible

 

Vs.

 

Recommended:

MSI Prestige PS341WU 34" 5K: $979.94

  • 5K (5120 x 2160) 34"
  • HDMI x2
  • DisplayPort
  • USB Type C

 

4K monitors (33:34):

LG 27UK650-W 27 Inch 4K UHD IPS LED Monitor: $396.99

  • 4K (3840 x 2160) 27"
  • DisplayPort
  • HDMI

 

Dell U-Series 32-Inch Screen LED-Lit Monitor (U3219Q): $789.98

  • 4K (3840x2160) 32"
  • HDMI Port
  • DisplayPort
  • USB-C Port

 

LG 49WL95C-W 49-Inch Curved 32: 9 Ultrawide: $1,469.99

  • 4K (5120 X 1440) 49"
  • HDMI x2
  • DisplayPort
  • USB Type-C

35:10 – 39:09: Peripherals

  • Mac Magic Trackpad 2: $149.00
  • Keyboard: Microsoft Sculpt: $69.59
  • Standard mouse: Logitech MX Master 2S: $77.00
  • Evoluent Vertical Mouse D: $114.95

 

Internet (36:45):

  • Netgear Orbi Wifi Mesh system (CBK40): $316.76
    • Includes cable modem
  • TP-Link Archer AX50 AX3000 Wireless Dual-Band Gigabit Router: $150
  • 100 ft. CAT6 Cable w/ Snagless Boot: $19.99
    • Buy the exact length you need.
  • Cable clips (100 Pieces), White: $3.95

 

 

POE strategy (38:17):

POE switch: What is better than wired internet? Wired internet with POWER!

 

We use them for:

  • Phones
  • Cameras
  • Wireless access points

 

P-Link TL-POE150S:

  • Switch options:
    • PoE injector: ~$20/User
    • 4-port: ~$60
    • 8-port: ~$85
    • 16-port: ~$180

39:10 – 40:11: Quality of Life

Desk (39:10):

Uplift: $599–899

 

Jarvis: $449–$899

 

Invest in something to keep you moving.

 

These desks are comparable.

 

Or just buy the legs and cut out your own custom top.

40:12 – 42:14: Networking

  • Network attached storage (NAS) and cloud (40:12):
  • Entry Level:
  • Synology NAS DiskStation DS218j: $169.99 w/o drives
    • 112 MB/s Read/Write
    • Compatible drive
    • 3.5" SATA HDD
    • 2.5" SATA SSD
  • Cloud services Compatible:
  • Amazondrive
  • Amazon webservices
  • Backblaze
  • Dropbox
  • Microsoft Azure
  • openstack

 

Upgrade:

QNAP TS-253D-4G: $368.95 w/o drives

  • 296 MB/s Read/Write
  • Compatible drive
    • 3.5" SATA HDD
    • 2.5" SATA SSD
  • Windows/Linux native VM w/ 256-bit encryption and antivirus (Can run local DB)
  • Cloud services Compatible:
    • Microsoft Azure
    • Amazon Glacier
    • Amazon S3
    • ElephantDrive
    • Google Cloud Storage
    • Dropbox
    • IBM SoftLayer

 

Don't Forget Offline Storage: Samsung T5 2TB SSD: $249.49

42:15 – end: Backup

3-2-1 backups rule (42:15)

Don't forget to lock your computer!

 

Testing (43:18)

At least once a year, do a fire drill. Call your IT and stress test:

  • Shared online folder is inaccessible (disconnect the Internet)
  • Server offline (disconnect server)
  • Restore from offline backup (ransomware test)

 

Issues with and recommendations for offline storage (48:04)

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