When you need to run a program like Toolbox or AutoCAD®, there are many factors to consider when selecting your new desktop or laptop workstation. Not only are these programs robust on their own, but cabinet designers often have peripheral programs such as Solidworks®, Inventor®, Revit®, Bluebeam®, etc. running in the background. All told, these 3D Modeling programs can bog down lesser machines.
At Microvellum, our goal is to streamline all aspects of the woodworking process for our customers. We’ve demonstrated this through the Design, Estimating, Engineering, and Manufacturing modules included in our software. All of this power requires a powerful machine to manage. We’ve compiled a list of ideal specs for a machine that can handle all of your AutoCAD and Toolbox needs.
To handle 3D engineering tasks, you need a fast multi-core processor. Multi-cores make the rendering of 3D models faster and smoother. A dual-core processor does not have sufficient power to handle Toolbox or similarly heavy applications. We recommend a Quad-Core at minimum, or an 8 to 12-Core processor for higher performance.
The amount of RAM installed on your workstation impacts performance. 16GB of RAM is suitable to cover basic OS requirements and CAD work, but for complicated cabinet design, or intricate drawings, we recommend boosting your system's capability with at least 32GB of RAM. More RAM equals faster 3D model rendering and greater multitasking capacity.
Having a dedicated graphics card helps to render files faster, with better graphics, and improves the overall performance of your workstation. For using Toolbox, you don’t need an advanced gaming graphics card, but a decent GPU should be selected for handling all of your rendering tasks. We recommend a GPU with at least 4GB of video memory.
There are two kinds of storage space, SSD (Solid State Drive) and HDD (Hard Disk Drive). For our purposes, SSD is preferable. SSD provides reading and writing speeds greater than HDD. In general, an SSD boots Windows and launches Toolbox faster. NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) is built for SSDs and can deliver a sustained read-write speed of 2000MB per second. Storage space comes down to your budget and needs.
The display is also an important factor for working with Toolbox. We recommend a screen size of 15 inches or greater, with a 1920 x 1080 or better resolution. Depending on how much emphasis you put on the color in your design, we recommend full HD with IPS technology, which provides accurate color. This simply makes the cabinet design process that much easier and your designs that much clearer.
If you are shopping for a laptop, the battery life should be taken into consideration if it’s common for you to be working away from a power source for hours at a time. Rendering processes are quite the power drain, so look for a battery with the highest Watt Hour Rating (Whr) you can get your hands on.