Tag Archives: Amazon Affiliate Program

Building an Autodesk Inventor PC – 2015 Edition

Inventor

The core of a good Inventor workstation should be a fast CPU, lots of RAM, and an Autodesk approved workstation graphics card.  This build is very similar to my Solidworks PC write up which has been very popular.

Like most other solid CAD packages, your performance is limited by the CPU and which only runs single-core for everything except simulation and rendering.  An Intel i7-4770 processor will provide good performance for the price even if you’re using only a single core on the chip.

16GB of RAM is a minimum and important for dealing with large assemblies.  This stuff is cheap and can easily be expanded in the future.

A basic CAD workstation graphics card should be sufficient and won’t hinder performance.  They key here is stability and performance with Inventor which is why you want something like the Quadro K2000.  Workstations graphics cards are essentially glorified gaming cards but they have extremely stable drivers.

Those are the important bits, the following list covers the complete build.  All components are from Amazon because they have fairly competitive prices and good customer service.  Shop around though, your experience may vary.

The system price at time of writing is is $1400.  Part prices are not listed here because they seem to change week to week.  Expect the system price to trend downward in the next few months.

Processor – Intel i7-4770 – good performance for the price

Motherboard – MSI Z97 PC Mate LGA – feature-rich motherboard to provide flexibility in the future, has a fancy BIOS and will support up to 32gb of RAM

Graphics CardQuadro K2000 – you’re paying for stability here

Memory – Kingston 16GB – fast and cost effective

Storage – Samsung SSD 840 EVO-Series 500GB – a nice solid state drive for speedy performance, I think it’s important to stick with a name brand here to ensure good performance over the life of the drive

DVD LG Electronics 24X – sigh, can’t quite escape physical discs yet.  With writing feature for all of your documentation purposes.

Case – Corsair Carbide Series 200R – a nice clean case that’s easy to work on

Power Supply – Rosewill 80 PLUS BRONZE 550W – Solid power supply with more than enough wattage, will support expansion in the future

OS Windows 7 64-bit OEM – The old standard here, I prefer it over Windows 8

That’s everything you need for a complete build!  The case comes with all necessary hardware and fans, the power supply has all the cables, and the CPU has it’s own cooler and heatsink.

Need monitors?  I’m a big fan of the 24-inch Dell Ultrasharp because of the positioning flexibility.  It’s easy to setup your dual monitor view in any configuration.  Ergonomics are a big deal if you’re sitting in front of monitors for 8+ hours a day.

Building a CATIA v6 Workstation

CATIA

So you’ve decided to design an instrument of transportation – boat, plane, plane, train, or automobile.  You’re going to need CATIA and a monster workstation that will keep you productive and allow you to pay off that license fee.

A CATIA workstation isn’t that much different from any other CAD workstation.  You need a fast CPU, plenty of RAM, and a stable workstation graphics card.  This workstation build can support both CATIA v5 and v6

CATIA performance is limited by the CPU and unfortunately only makes use of one or two cores for everything except simulation and rendering.  An Intel i7-4770 processor will provide good performance for the price even if you’re not taking advantage of all 4 cores.

16GB of RAM is a minimum and important for dealing with large assemblies.  This stuff is cheap and can easily be expanded in the future.

A basic CAD workstation graphics card should be sufficient and won’t hinder performance.  They key here is stability and performance with CATIA which is why you want something like the Quadro K4000.  Workstations graphics cards are essentially glorified gaming cards but they have extremely stable drivers.

Those are the important bits, the following list covers the complete build.  All components are from Amazon because they have fairly competitive prices and good customer service.  Shop around though, your experience may vary.

The system price at time of writing is is $1720.  Part prices are not listed here because they seem to change week to week.  Expect the system price to trend downward in the next few months.

Processor – Intel i7-4770 – good performance for the price

Motherboard – MSI Z97 PC Mate LGA – feature-rich motherboard to provide flexibility in the future, has a fancy BIOS and will support up to 32gb of RAM

Graphics CardQuadro K4000 – you’re paying for stability here

Memory – Kingston 16GB – fast and cost effective

Storage – Samsung SSD 840 EVO-Series 500GB – a nice solid state drive for speedy performance, I think it’s important to stick with a name brand here to ensure good performance over the life of the drive

DVD LG Electronics 24X – sigh, can’t quite escape physical discs yet.  With writing feature for all of your documentation purposes.

Case – Corsair Carbide Series 200R – a nice clean case that’s easy to work on

Power Supply – Rosewill 80 PLUS BRONZE 550W – Solid power supply with more than enough wattage, will support expansion in the future

OS Windows 7 64-bit OEM – The old standard here, I prefer it over Windows 8

That’s everything you need for a complete build!  The case comes with all necessary hardware and fans, the power supply has all the cables, and the CPU has it’s own cooler and heatsink.

Need monitors?  I’m a big fan of the 24-inch Dell Ultrasharp because of the positioning flexibility.  It’s easy to setup your dual monitor view in any configuration.  Ergonomics are a big deal if you’re sitting in front of monitors for 8+ hours a day.

Best Quadcopters and Quadrotors 2015

So you’ve decided to buy a quadcopter.  Congratulations are in order, you have decided to join one of the fastest growing hobbies.  The question is, where to start?

There are a multitude of quadcopters and quadrotors available and at first glance they all look the same – 4 rotors surrounding a center pod.  Upon closer inspection you will find the specs, performance, and size all vary wildly between models.  The good news is that there is a quadcopter to fit any budget, from toy to serious drone territory and everything in between.

The Toy

Estes

Estes 4606 Proto X Nano

A tiny but capable quadrotor.  A perfect entry point, this is great indoor fun.  Dip your toes into the quadcopter pool and learn how to control this stable yet inexpensive copter without ever leaving the couch.

Entry Level

UDI

UDI U818A

A real starting point in this field.  Capable outdoors, easy to fly, and it has a built in camera.  That’s the trifecta right there.  Tough enough to survive a few crashes so it’s perfect for learning to fly outdoors.  Learn how to fly in wind and how to avoid encounters with trees.  The camera is nothing to write home about but overall this quadcopter has amazing performance for the price!

Getting Serious

DJI Phantom

DJI Phantom 2 Vision

Now we’re getting somewhere.  This is a serious but approachable outdoor quadcopter that’s built for high flying and video taking. Not a toy but still easy to use and simple to fly. This is the perfect quad for the entry level YouTube video shooter – stable and a built-in auto-return feature so your high flying antics won’t get away from you. Excellent battery life too. DJI is a well known brand and has a wide variety of accessories and support.

Super Serious

DJI T600

DJI T600 Inspire 1

Ready to put your quadcopter to work?  Maybe you want some return on your investment?  Use the T600 Inspire to start shooting beautiful video. This is a professional level quadcopter that is still accessible to most flyers.  Gimbaled camera, 4K recording, and a 720p live video feed make this copter a serious video shooting package.  It doesn’t get a whole lot better than this.

Building a Solidworks PC – 2015 Edition

EDIT: This article has been updated in Building a Solidworks PC – 2017 Edition

The core of a good Solidworks workstation should be a fast CPU, lots of RAM, and a Solidworks approved workstation graphics card.

Solidworks performance is limited by the CPU and unfortunately only runs single-core for everything except simulation and rendering.  An Intel i7-4770 processor will provide good performance for the price even if you’re using only a single core on the chip.

16GB of RAM is a minimum and important for dealing with large assemblies.  This stuff is cheap and can easily be expanded in the future.

A basic CAD workstation graphics card should be sufficient and won’t hinder performance.  They key here is stability and performance with Solidworks which is why you want something like the Quadro K2000.  Workstations graphics cards are essentially glorified gaming cards but they have extremely stable drivers.

Those are the important bits, the following list covers the complete build.  All components are from Amazon because they have fairly competitive prices and good customer service.  Shop around though, your experience may vary.

The system price at time of writing is is $1495.  Part prices are not listed here because they seem to change week to week.  Expect the system price to trend downward in the next few months.

Processor – Intel i7-4770 – good performance for the price

Motherboard – MSI Z97 PC Mate LGA – feature-rich motherboard to provide flexibility in the future, has a fancy BIOS and will support up to 32gb of RAM

Graphics CardQuadro K2000 – you’re paying for stability here

Memory – Kingston 16GB – fast and cost effective

Storage – Samsung SSD 840 EVO-Series 500GB – a nice solid state drive for speedy performance, I think it’s important to stick with a name brand here to ensure good performance over the life of the drive

DVD LG Electronics 24X – sigh, can’t quite escape physical discs yet.  With writing feature for all of your documentation purposes.

Case – Corsair Carbide Series 200R – a nice clean case that’s easy to work on

Power Supply – Rosewill 80 PLUS BRONZE 550W – Solid power supply with more than enough wattage, will support expansion in the future

OS Windows 7 64-bit OEM – The old standard here, I prefer it over Windows 8

That’s everything you need for a complete build!  The case comes with all necessary hardware and fans, the power supply has all the cables, and the CPU has it’s own cooler and heatsink.

Need monitors?  I’m a big fan of the 24-inch Dell Ultrasharp because of the positioning flexibility.  It’s easy to setup your dual monitor view in any configuration.  Ergonomics are a big deal if you’re sitting in front of monitors for 8+ hours a day.