Michael.Worsham michael.worsham at
Thu Oct 9 09:07:25 EDT 2003

My wife works for a construction/architecture firm and handles AutoCad files
like this all the time (some even larger at times, depending on the client).

One thing we looked at first was what platform they were running the AutoCad
on. Windows XP or 95/98 can't really handle Autocad as it is a highly
intensive CPU application. We had a similar 'old' layout where CAD machines
were more based as a word processing workstation than as a CAD station.
Given the amount of work this firm produced in a single day, we went for a
Dual Xeon P4 setup w/ 4 GB ram and 36 GB SCSI hard drives loaded with
Windows 2000 Pro Workstation. When deciding the P4 hardware platform, look
for boards that have PCI-X slots... esp for giganet NIC cards and if needed,
Hardware RAID SCSI adapters. Refrain from using ATA, esp since CAD likes to
really utilize the hard drives and ATA would most likely wear out faster.
(Though some might look that using Xeon is overkill, lets just say there are
many times it has come in handy when the customer shows up on-site
unexpectedly and wants to see a progress report or has changes to be added.
Pulling up the program and the data file in a couple of seconds rather than
several minutes makes a beliver out of you in an instant.)

If the file is being downloaded from a file server, using standard 10/100
via a cheap hub isn't going to cut it. Best to utilize something of a
10/100/1000 switch (ie. copper giganet) and 10/100/1000 NICs in each of the
machines. Make sure the card is set for FULL-DUPLEX to fully utilize the
bandwidth needed esp for downloading large files from the file server. Based
on the file server specs, its is similar to that of the workstations however
it is running Windows 2000 Advanced Server w/ Veritas Backup... can't be too
careful for DR measures, esp with CAD files of this caliber.

-- M

Michael Worsham
MCI/Intermedia Communications
System Administrator & Applications Engineer
Phone: 813-829-6845   Vnet: 838-6845
E-mail: michael.worsham at

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