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Will CAD Software Run on a Windows Tablet?

written by: Uelman Rubio•edited by: M.S. Smith•updated: 4/21/2011

CAD and other design software should theoretically be better suited to systems with touch screen interfaces. This allows the designer a lot of flexibility when creating a design. One of the best examples of a computer that has a touch interface is a tablet PC, so can we use that?

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    A lot of people have been asking about running a CAD software on a tablet PC, they ask which is the best tablet PC to use software like AutoCAD on, and such. But the simple and straight answer is a big NO. You cannot properly run CAD software on a tablet PC. You can install it of course, heck you can even run it and do some exploration of it, but do something productive? Heck no!

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    The Tablet PC

    HP TouchSmart TM2 Why not?

    Well, first we need to understand what a tablet PC is. A tablet PC is a small form factor computer that has a touch screen interface built-in and might or might not have a keyboard. It could be a laptop with a touch screen or be a slate form factor like an iPad. Make no mistake, an iPad is not a tablet PC nor is it a “tablet Mac". An iPad or anything that has the same form factor running other custom operating systems like Android or some flavor of portable Linux is NOT a tablet PC, it is just a multimedia device made for entertainment. A tablet PC is basically a laptop with a touch screen, keyboard or no, and it runs the Windows operating system, hence the PC in tablet PC.

    They are light weight and highly portable devices. Because of this, their specs are a tad disappointing. Tablet PCs lack the power to run CAD software well.

    The reason why people have the idea of running CAD software on tablet PC’s is because the touch screen interface is perfect for CAD and Photoshop-like software, but the low processoing power of these devices will make work more frustrating.

    Image Credit: Amazon

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    CAD Software

    CAD software or Computer Aided Design software is a set of tools that are used by engineers, architects, and designers to help them streamline design processes and create computer models that they can test virtually. Something like this needs a lot of computing power especially for large designs, and the simulations would need so much processing power that PCs used for CAD work are called workstations. That's because they're built specifically for professions, as opposed to a consumer PC that's built for entertainment as well as productivity.

    CAD software also needs special graphics cards. Graphics chip makers have their own line of graphics adapters made especially for CAD – FireStream for ATI and Quadro for Nvidia.

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    Reaffirmation

    Wacom Pen Display You will be able to install and possibly run the CAD software on your tablet PC. But if you plan on actually producing real designs with the software, you have a difficult path ahead.

    You might be able to do some work on smaller basic designs with the more powerful tablets like the HP Touchsmart TX series. But for real “CADing" you need a PC built for CAD and a Wacom tablet, or if you have the money, a Wacom Interactive Pen Display.

    Image Credit: Amazon