You may need to design, build, and install computers for a customer that can accomplish a specific task. All computers can run programs, store data, and use I/O devices.
A standard thick client is a traditional desktop computer that meets the recommended requirements for Windows and runs desktop applications. In contrast, a specialized computer must support hardware and software that allows a user to perform tasks that a thick client cannot perform. One example of a specialized computer is a workstation used to run computer-aided design (CAD) or computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software.
A CAD or CAM (CAx) workstation, as shown in the figure, is used to design products and control the manufacturing process. CAx workstations are used to create blueprints, design homes, cars, airplanes, and many of the parts in the products that you use every day. CAx is even used to develop the computer parts used in CAx workstations. A computer used to run CAx software must support the needs of the software and the I/O devices that the user needs to design and manufacture products. CAx software is often complex and requires robust hardware. Consider the following hardware when you need to run CAx software:
- Powerful processor - CAx software must make enormous amounts of calculations very quickly. You must meet the needs of the software when choosing a CPU.
- High-end video card - Some CAx software is used to create 3D models. Realistic shading and texturing add to the complexity of the models, and a video card that can handle high resolutions and high detail is needed. Often, multiple monitors are desired or even required so that the user can work with code, 2D renderings, and 3D models all at the same time. Choose a video card that supports multiple monitors.
- RAM - Because of the high amount of data processed by a CAx workstation, RAM is very important. The more RAM that is installed, the more data the processor can calculate before needing to read from slower storage, such as hard drives. Install as much memory as is supported by the motherboard and the operating system. The quantity and speed of the memory should exceed the minimums recommended by the CAx application.