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: