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October 03, 2010


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n order for a CAD Olympics to be a success, it will have to be fair, honest and transparent. Previous contests may have been marred by failing at one or more of these criteria.



The idea of a CAD Olympics is cool. I think inviting vendors would cause a circus, but how do you keep zealots and partisans out? I would hope the goal of this would be to help people making decisions make the best informed decision, not the most influenced decision. The CAD press has let CAD vendors run wild to the point that users can't trust anything the CAD press says anymore.

Anyway. Use a a moderator and maybe a panel on each side. Lay some ground rules, and let users vote to determine the winner. You get disqualified for avoiding the question, extra points for admitting you can't do something, and demerits for using pre-defined buzzwords like "collaboration", "PLM", or other marketing hogwash. Each answer ranked on believability and technical merit.

Yes, that sounds subjective because it is. Any "objective" system will be subjective on some level, and thus flawed. So you should probably go for honesty and simplicity over complexity and failure.


Comparisons and shootouts of the past were never impartial. They were always slanted towards whatever CAD system was used by the person who orchestrated the site or event. And now that PLM seems to be the topic of the day, where do you stop, because managing the mountain of data created by the CAD system is just as important as creating the data, if not more so.

Rachael Taggart

This reminds me in some ways of Brad Holtz' CAD Buyers' Guide of years past. Sadly, there is no such up-to-date version of that now.

An event, or benchmark, would be as good although there are several issues this that would have to be overcome such as: getting all the vendors represented, getting the 'recipe' right (what things should CAD products be good/fastest at and what's 'gravy'?), getting each CAD product represented at its best, being transparent about funding, being realistically unbiased.

Given all of those, CAD Society (of which I am president) would be an ideal vehicle. We have connections to many CAD vendors, industry experts and analysts and so on. However, the organization lacks funds. Any ideas on that one, anyone??

Roopinder Tara

Matt, in all fairness to your comparison, you did point out that SolidWorks is better in some aspects (surfacing), so I don't mean to say Solid Edge won in EVERY category. Also, I agree a complete evaluation would be hard: time consuming, long. Also, to try to cover all aspects of a general purpose CAD software may be too much for the readers/customers. How about a CAD Olympics with several events? One for each industry (automotive, aircraft, electronics...) for example? Or for each type of part (machined, molded, sheet metal?)

Wouldn't you rather judge that as opposed to writing a 10,000 word review?

Mark Burhop

I hope this doesn't sound like I'm marketing (although I'm sure it does - sorry ) but the "CAD olympics" thing reminded me of design competitions that happen in the schools.

The kids deserve the real credit and we are probably lucky our software fell into the hands of some bright students but its interesting to note both the American SkillsUSA and Candadian WorldSkills competitions were won with Solid Edge.


Roopinder Tara

Re. established vendors not participating: I would think they'd all want to step up to the plate to show how good they are and add credibility to their marketing claims as only a fair contest would allow. There is a parallel in the political world, as in the US the leading presidential candidate often has to be cajoled into accepting a debate with his opponent. But in the end, he does. Now all the CAD Olympics has to do is find fair arbiter to organize such a contest, as the League of Women Voters did for for presidential debates.

Roopinder Tara

In order for a CAD Olympics to be a success, it will have to be fair, honest and transparent. Previous contests may have been marred by failing at one or more of these criteria.

matt lombard

CAD shootouts that I've seen have been shams. No matter who does it or how objective they try to be, someone is gonna cry foul. My intention is to do a real comparison between SW and SE, and I'm already taking hits from SW salesmen.

Just to clarify, my intention in the blog post you linked to was to compare a few areas, not pass judgment on the entire software. A complete eval would be huge and take a long time. Also, it's hard comparing software in detail when you can't even talk about the best feature of one of them.


It'll never work, because these days CAD vendors want total control over the messaging (c.f. Siemens and their SE ST3 roll-out). This is why AU, BE, et al exist, instead of generic fairs, like the good ol' AEC Systems.

An indie CAD olympics is threatening to the big vendors. You'd probably only get smaller vendors attending, those wanting an edge in attention.

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