I’ve seen this a bunch lately. Many Engineers have relatively underpowered PCs on their desks. These PCs are good enough for 3D CAD work… but even then, the Engineers are beginning to complain that large assemblies spin and pan slowly. Compute intensive CAE simulations are definitely bogging down these machines.
Rather than outfit the entire team with top-of-the-line Dell workstations at $6k a pop, the idea of having a single, super-fast, communal CAE machine for about $10k starts looking attractive.
This is a fine stop-gap measure. Just be very careful that the CAE software is still installed locally on each of the older machines. The software needs to have an easy way to allow for model setup at the Engineer’s desk (which isn’t very computationally intensive) and then fire the model off to this newer communal computer for the heavy lifting of the solution process.
What you DON’T want to do is install the CAE software on that communal PC and require engineers to walk over and sit in front of it to actually use the software.
Actual usage (and ROI, value, reason for even having the CAE software) will plummet. Guaranteed.
For more details on this problem, read:
Upfront CAE doesn’t work in the hall