Choosing a PC to Run OCAD

Mark’s maps demand more grunt

 Almost any PC that you buy today (maybe not a $399 netbook) will have the processor power, screen size, disk space and memory to handle most orienteering maps in OCAD. However any large map takes a second or two to redraw when you zoom out, and it’s time to go and make a cup of tea when you try any of these:
  • Load very large background maps downloaded from NearMap.NearMap logo
  • Merge thousands of chopped up contours from a GIS import.
  • Do anything with very large GIS imports e.g. 5m contours, creeks and cadastre for the entire Sunshine Coast (been there, done that).
Modern Windows PCs offer recent advances in very affordable technology to improve performance. But does that help you when you live and breathe OCAD? Not much, it seems. First take a look at OCAD’s minimum system requirements.

Mark delves deeper

Solid state storageData storage icon

Solid state storage should give your PC a significant boost; what about loading big background maps?

We think this makes only a small or no difference” say the nice people in Switzerland.

I tested this with 150MB of background map. It took 7 seconds to retrieve from hard drive, 6 seconds from solid state drive!

Multi-core processorsDashboard or processor icon

How about multi-core processors? My local computer shop has an 8-core processor in its standard offerings.

OCAD is not multi threaded.

So it only uses one of the cores. The others are playing music, checking your email, and downloading from NearMap. That leaves 4 doing nothing.

64 bit processors? OCAD is 32-bit.

Maybe when we change to a newer version of Delphi.”

Video graphicsVideo graphics icon

What about a lightning fast $200 video card?

No influence. OCAD goes directly via Windows GDI.”

Cogitate icon … and concludes

So after you’ve spent $1,000 on a basic PC with a nice big LED screen, raw single-processor power appears to be the key.
[If  a map is beyond the power of your PC during drawing, then the last paragraph of OCAD’s minimum system requirements referred above, might just help  — Ken].

Rugged PCsBookmark icon

At the time Mark was getting those useful answers, Ken was embarking on complementary, although rather esoteric, research. For mappers that want to draw up in the field, what are some options for PCs, tablets, slates? What is the difference between a tablet and slate anyway?

Coming on the (in Beta)  SAQ page very soon.

Your comment is welcome