I must say that although the learning curve is a bit steep at work, I'm enjoying my new job immensely. One of the things that makes me enjoy the job is the fact that both my new employers and co-workers understand that you need good tools to do a good job. They even take the time to make sure that you have the right tools and equipment to do the job.
As a mechanical engineer, one of the more important tools that I have at my disposal is the 3D CAD software that I use to design product. In this case, the software is Dassault Systems' SolidWorks. It's very much like ProEngineer "light" or Solid Edge CAD software. Basically, you can model the parts in the way you would manufacture them, assemble the models of the parts, evaluate and animate the assemblies and create part and assembly drawings. It's generally very user friendly software. Because SolidWorks is a very large piece of software that is highly graphics intensive, it is very resource hungry. The faster the processor, the better the graphics cards and the more RAM, the better.
At my last job, we'd been running the same computers and the same version of the software for the past 2-1/2 years. They really weren't up to the task and had some "issues" with crashing and waiting for the computer to actually do it's job. It didn't make for productive or happy people in the engineering department.
My co-worker at my new job was pushing for a capable computer before I was hired to replace an older machine that had been around for a bit - a 3.6 GHz single core 32-bit machine. Still, we didn't expect the machine that arrived last Friday.
It's a Dell Precision T7500 with dual quad-core processors (yep - that's 8 processors!) and is a 64-bit computer. This is good because the next upgrade to the CAD software looks to be optimized for the 64-bit machines from what I've read. It also came with 4 GB of RAM - a bit on the light side, but certainly upgradable. What was really nice, however, was the dual video cards and dual 19" displays. They're even thinking of upgrading one of the monitors on the two computers that we use this software on to an even larger display. Still, having two monitors is fantastic as I don't have to keep switching back and forth from my CAD software to other windows with calculations or technical information as I design. This should really be great for productivity. Physically, the computer is a monster of a thing and barely fits under my desk - it actually sticks out from underneath it by a few inches. Can you say "Behemoth"? Take a look:
It's nice to work with and for people who understand the importance of good tools. So now, I can be the evil genius in my cubicle working away without waiting for my computer!