The technical applications and their associated needs are what drives this professional market segment. Typical applications are Mechanical Computer Aided Design (MCAD) tools such as PTC’s Pro/E, Solidworks, and SDRC Ideas and visualization/simulation applications such as Maya and 3D Studio MAX. Unlike the consumer game market where the goal is entertainment, these systems must be a productive and cost effective part of an organization’s work process.
The goal of the MCAD process is basically expressed as “art to part”. In an essentially paperless setting, engineers conceptualize, design, and analyze a product and all its component parts based on the data contained in the MCAD program’s database and, at the end of this iterative process, the database is used to generate the Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) data to drive the fabrication process. Traditional paper 2D drawings (blueprints) are neither used nor needed. This type of work process reduces the time to market for new products. For a more detailed look at the MCAD requirements the reader is referred to the ELSA GLoria II review. The prevailing view is that this class of applications needs cards that have very high polygon rates
Visualization / simulation applications such as Maya and 3D Studio MAX have a different set of, but no less stringent, requirements than those for MCAD applications. While MCAD application needs high precision data ( 64 bit floating point ) in the underlying data store, these applications need a precise screen display since the real end product from this work is a visual and not a machined piece of metal.