(As I continue recuperating from my shoulder surgery, I'm pleased to have a guest post today written by Randy Young, Autodesk Lead Engineer. You may remember Randy from his post last year, Checking Your AutoCAD Graphics. This time, Randy has offered to explain the newly revised Certified Hardware page at Autodesk.com.)
Have you ever tried to figure out what graphics hardware to buy or use with your Autodesk products? With so many cards offered by our hardware partners this can be a challenge. How about trying to find the best card and driver combination for multiple products on the same system? For example, when using Inventor 2011 Suite (which contains Inventor 2011 and AutoCAD 2011) previously you would have to search both the Inventor and AutoCAD certified graphics pages and aggregate the list to see what drivers overlapped to make your decision.
To solve these issues we have created a new site: http://www.autodesk.com/graphics-hardware. Here you can select multiple products and find the common driver and hardware configurations that will work best for your system. Here is an example of a certified hardware page showing both Inventor 2011 and AutoCAD 2011 certified cards for Windows 7 64-bit:
Along with merging the pages we have added a few new elements to the graphics hardware search.
First, you now have the ability to select up to three products or a design suite. On top of these options you can also refine the search by selecting a year of the product (2010, 2011, or 2012) and/or suite edition (Standard, Premium or Advanced).
Second, you need to select the operating system you are using. This will refine the search to only show you hardware and drivers that have been tested for the given OS (current options are Window7, Vista, XP; 32, 64bit, MAC OSX 10.5, and 10.6; 64bit).
The third section is to filter by graphics card information. This is the last mandatory field in the search form called the Card Vendor field (current options are AMD, INTEL, Matrox, Nvidia, Parallels, and VMware). To improve your ability to determine what to purchase, we added an optional field for the card type which helps you to find cards based on vendor classification. For example, if you are looking for a new laptop and want to know what graphics card to get with it, you can use the Mobile classification. The other two classifications are Workstation and Consumer and the definitions are as follows:
Is graphics hardware designated by the manufacturer as workstation-grade, typically meaning it is designed to work with 3D CAD applications.
Is graphics hardware designated by the manufacturer for desktop or gaming level use, typically meaning it is not designed or recommended for use with 3D CAD applications.
Is integrated hardware normally found in laptops, but also can be found in some desktops.
The next optional field is the Card Model, this field allows you to pick your specific graphics card:
The final new mandatory selection on the form is the Show me option. Here you’ll see three choices: All Cards, Certified and Recommended. The reason for adding the new recommended option is to suggest hardware for future purchases that meets the recommended requirements for a given product or suite. Below is a brief description of these options:
- Hardware acceleration is enabled by default if the installed driver passed all Autodesk tests.
- Meets Autodesk’s minimum system requirements and has passed all Autodesk certification tests.
- Hardware acceleration is enabled by default if the installed driver passed all Autodesk certification tests.
- Meets Autodesk’s recommended system requirements and has passed all Autodesk certification tests.
- Hardware acceleration is enabled by default.
Now that you know how to find what you are looking for from a graphics card perspective, let’s look at how to get the driver that has been tested and passed.
Using our original example above, if you select AutoCAD and Inventor you can scroll down into the results and select your current card or, as shown below, select the Quadro FX 1800. Here you can see that both products were tested on the 197.03 driver which can be downloaded from the button on the right that says Download Driver. But before doing that I would suggest that you uninstall the current driver completely so that you are using the Window VGA driver. This will ensure a clean install of your new driver, and avoid any conflicts.
Another cool thing you can do when looking at drivers is to expand a product's results (as shown below):
Doing this, you can see why a feature may be turned off to avoid issues before you encounter them.
By keeping your system up to date with the latest driver you will avoid losing both productivity and unsaved projects. If you have any questions, see the FAQ site and if you have any issues not on the FAQ, please feel free to send us a message through the feedback link.
Good luck on your next project,
Autodesk Lead Engineer