New Autodesk Releases for 2018

There’s exciting news in the Autodesk world if you regularly use their products, including AutoCAD and Inventor. The 2018 Autodesk updates to both products have been released from beta and are available to the public. Both AutoCAD 2018 and Autodesk Inventor 2018 contain user-enhancement upgrades and performance improvements that can advance your workflow.

Whether you’re an architect, engineer, project manager, graphic designer, or you work in another profession, these updates to AutoCAD and Inventor will help you achieve your goals more easily.


What’s New in AutoCAD 2018?

AutoCAD 2018 is the best version of the software Autodesk has created. It includes many major performance improvements, along with some necessary changes to the DWG file format. It’s now even easier to import PDFs into AutoCAD 2018. Autodesk has improved external reference file paths, making it easier to correct damaged paths and specify the correct path. Autodesk now supports high-resolution (4K) monitors in full resolution, allowing you to see your creations in the clearest way possible.

With all the improvements to object selection, text to mtext conversions, user interface, sharing, the AutoCAD mobile app, AutoCAD 2018 is one of the most comprehensive overhauls in recent years. Learn more about the advancements in AutoCAD 2018 on Autodesk’s website.


What’s New in Inventor 2018?

Inventor is the perfect tool to make your inventions come to life. Whatever you’re designing, Inventor’s 2018 updates will improve your workflow. Including under-the-hood updates and advancements to performance, Inventor 2018 offers a new measure tool, 3D annotations, ANYCAD for Inventor, and much more. Inventor 2018 also adds model-based 3D definitions, Top Inventor Ideas, all with improved performance to help you get your work done faster and better.


Take Your Autodesk Software Workflows to the Limit with BOXX Today

If you want a new powerful workstation to run the latest Autodesk software optimally, consider a custom BOXX machine. We also offer mobile workstations that provide the performance you need in a portable package. Run AutoCAD and Inventor on the go while you’re on the job and use the AutoCAD mobile app on your phone or tablet, for convenience.

A BOXX mobile workstation or desktop will optimize your Autodesk’s 2018 software workflows and reduce bottlenecks. Contact us today so we can help customize one to suit your specific use case.

Going Virtual with the BOXX ProVDI 8401R-V

Virtualization has enabled companies to host multiple users running business office applications on a single server. But until recently, these virtual machines lacked the power to meet the graphics-intensive needs of designers and engineers.

Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is a recent variation on the client-server computing model. It hosts a desktop operating system – such as Microsoft Windows – on a centralized server. That desktop image is then delivered over a network to an end-point device, most often a traditional PC. The user then interacts with the OS and its applications as if they were running locally.

This approach can have many benefits. Because little actual computing takes place at the endpoint, you no longer need a powerful workstation at your desk. With the applications and user files all residing on a central server, data is stored securely in the data center. You can login remotely from anywhere with a LAN or internet connection. And because everything stays in the server room and runs on the server, users don’t need to transfer large files – only keyboard and mouse input is sent to the server and pixels streamed back to the user.

 
BOXX Breaks New Ground

BOXX has been quite active in the VDI arena for many years, having previously released both PCoIP- and GRID- (GPU virtualization) based solutions. Last fall, BOXX introduced its ProVDI 8401R-V, the world’s first overclocked VDI system. BOXX claimed that its new ProVDI solution provided enough power to fully support graphics-intensive 3D modeling applications. By overclocking the CPU, the BOXX ProVDI hardware significantly boosts performance over that of competing VDI systems. And by relying on individual professional-grade NVIDIA graphics cards rather than GRID technology, the BOXX ProVDI solution delivers faster frame rates on the endpoint device while eliminating the licensing costs associated with GRID software.

At least, that’s the promise. To see for ourselves, we undertook one of the most intensive hands-on reviews ever conducted at DE, extending over several months. BOXX initially configured a ProVDI system for our use at their headquarters in Austin, TX. We logged on to this system remotely and ran an extensive suite of tests, including industry-standard benchmarks as well as several mainstream CAD applications. BOXX then shipped the hardware to our offices where we repeated all of those tests a second time to compare the difference in performance caused by latency. We reasoned – quite logically – that performance would improve when accessing the virtual machines over a LAN with the server sitting a few feet from the clients rather tha over the internet to a server located more than 2,000 miles away. The results surprised us.

 

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Who Uses VR in the Professional World?

With virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive now available to consumers and professionals, the applications for VR technology are rapidly increasing. And, because VR can place people in three-dimensional simulated environments, we’re beginning to see it used as a professional business tool to design, test, and educate.

Below are six fields that are beginning to adopt VR technology.

Gaming
It comes as no surprise that the gaming industry has been a major driver of VR software and hardware development. Major gaming companies and independent developers have been scrambling to create VR headset-compatible games for an audience in search of an immersive experience. One of the biggest trends in game design now is collaborative VR, in which multiple headset users can interact in the same virtual space.

Architecture
Static, hand-drawn building renderings may soon be a thing of the past. Architects and engineers are beginning to use game engines like Unreal Engine and Autodesk’s Stingray to develop three-dimensional realizations of buildings to share with clients and collaborators before breaking ground. The new Vectorworks software even allows architects to create a shareable VR panorama by uploading a 3D CAD model to the cloud. This new technology can be a useful communication tool, especially for clients who don’t fully understand scale and spatial relationships when looking at a 2D plan or 3D model. It also gives architects and engineers the opportunity to test environments (e.g. measuring how long it would take someone to exit a building in case of fire) before construction starts.

Real Estate
Some real estate brokerages are experimenting with VR as a way to show homes no matter what physical distance is between the potential buyer and the property. By capturing a 3D video or scan of a property, Realtors allow home buyers to go on a private virtual tour. This saves time and money on travel and could even allow Realtors to show a home to multiple potential buyers at the same time. However, because the cost for a 3D scan or 360-degree video is relatively high, VR in real estate has mostly been restricted to the luxury sphere so far.

Healthcare
In 2015, UCLA’s Department of Neurology integrated the Oculus Rift with a 3D surgery navigation device, allowing surgeons to enter a virtual replica of a patient’s brain. Surgeons and students can use this technology to practice sensitive surgeries and improve their precision without endangering lives.

Virtual reality is also finding a place in mental health services. For example, 3D computer generated environments have been used in immersion or exposure therapy for people with phobias or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Auto Manufacturing
Car makers can use VR software to test vehicle design and safety before manufacturing them. Ford is already using Oculus Rift in their Immersion Lab in Dearborn, Michigan. By putting on VR headsets, designers and engineers can inspect the interior and exterior of a 3D-rendered vehicle, giving them the opportunity to identify potentially costly problems before they arise.

Business
The development of virtual product prototypes isn’t the only application for VR in business. VR can potentially be used to reduce business travel, host remote interviews, give tours of workspaces, and conduct meetings with participants from around the world. Some businesses are also finding customer-facing applications for VR. For example, The North Face used Oculus Rift to let shoppers at stores in South Korea experience a dog sledding adventure. Carnival Cruises ran a promotion at AT&T stores to let visitors explore some of its cruise ships and vacation spots through 360-degree video.

Does Your Business Use VR?
If your business uses VR technology or is thinking of experimenting with it, you need to make sure you have the right technology in place. You can peruse Boxx’s solutions for virtual reality software and contact us if you have any questions!

Why Small Size Matters for Your Workstation

Maybe you’re renting an office space that’s a little smaller than you’d like, or maybe your business has been growing, and you’ve been forced to get creative with your workspace layouts. And, if your business relies on engineers, architects, or other creative professionals, you also have to think about the size of the workstations your team uses to design or render.

When many people think about professional graphics workstations, they think of a giant monolith taking up valuable real estate on or under a desk. However, desktop workstations have been getting smaller and sleeker, which is ideal for offices with limited space. Even if you have a decent amount of space in your office, compact workstations can still be valuable, especially if you’re planning to scale up and will eventually need to pack more workstations into your facility.

As more and more people begin working from home at least part of the time, small workstations can also be a powerful addition to home office setups. With a compact workstation at home, creative professionals can use programs like Maya and SolidWorks without worrying about performance bottlenecks. Additionally, the smallest compact desktop workstations could easily be taken home or on-the-go and hooked up to most any monitors and desktop input setups.

While small size matters, no creative professional wants to compromise function for form. Fortunately, there are now high performance workstations available in a compact form factor. Within these smaller chassis workstations, a lot of power can be packed inside. Small form factor workstations can house high performance processors, two 2.5 inch drives or even smaller M.2 PCI Express solid state drives, powerful graphics cards, liquid cooling and much more.

Space constraints shouldn’t force you to slow down your workflow. Ultra-compact workstations like our tiniest powerhouse, the APEXX 1 can help you blow past performance bottlenecks without taking up a lot of room. The APEXX 1 is loaded with the latest powerful hardware components. The APEXX 1 is just 4.7 inches wide, 8.5 inches tall, and 9.0 inches deep. It weighs in at 7.6 pounds, making it easy to move around your office if the need arises. It may be a cliché, but it’s true that good things come in small packages. Learn more about our powerful compact workstation – the APEXX 1.

In It for the Long Haul

How a 3-year-old BOXX workstation is faster than your brand new Dell or HP.

 “Kaby Lake” is the latest processor from Intel, introduced in early 2017, and features a top clock speed of 4.2GHz. That sounds impressive, until you realize that BOXX offered safely overclocked 4.3GHz workstations as far back as late 2013. While Dell and HP brag about their new 4.2GHz machines, BOXX offers expertly-engineered solutions – with speeds up to 4.9GHz currently – to boost 3D design & modeling performance.

Taking this concept a step further, BOXX has also introduced overclocked multi-core systems that bridge the gap between single-threaded and multi-threaded tasks. Thanks to Intel’s new line of Extreme-series processors, safe overclocking of multi-core CPUs is now possible. Imagine how much faster you can compile a 3D scene using the speed of a single, high-speed overclocked core, and then render your scene in record time with additional overclocked CPU cores. Now your creativity doesn’t have to wait on your hardware!

BOXX workstations are built to last, and they will likely be the most relevant piece of hardware your organization uses for years to come. While cheap, throw-away PCs are just now catching up, BOXX is introducing systems that will outpace those other systems for another 3 or 4 years, and maybe longer. Some BOXXers have even reported using their BOXX workstation for up to 12 years before needing to upgrade. Talk about return on your investment!