Buying a computer system/New computer


I have auto cad 14 and 2000i on my old dell computer. I want to get a new computer    , I don't care if it's a pc or apple. Need to be able to use auto cad! As I'm retired I'm not doing new work but updating old drawings. Can't justify cost of new auto cad. I was told (by a friend) you can partition hard drive on an apple and run pc program.  I'm  now using Window XP on the dell. All my other software is older office 2000, quicken 1999 etc. Old dell is on it's last leg, hard drive makes noises when it starts up, it time to replace it.

In general I would steer you towards a new Windows-based computer - what you've been told about Apple PCs is not entirely accurate. Since Apple's switch to Intel hardware, their hardware can run Windows (if you pay for a copy of Windows, and deal with installing it), and function as a Windows-based computer (this is not cost effective, as Apple hardware is very expensive relative to Dell, HP, etc). In some cases Parallels Desktop can allow some Windows applications to run via emulation, but I would not suggest that for something as demanding as AutoCAD.

With a new Windows-based PC, you should have reasonable success with compatability. A bit of poking around indicates that AutoCAD 2000 should work under Windows 7, but may need various compatibility settings enabled. What I've found indicates you will need Windows 7 Professional, and to download and install Windows XP Mode (available from Microsoft free), and run AutoCAD within that using compatibility options. See this thread on the AutoDesk website for more specific details:

In general it looks like the issue is not so much with Windows 7 (or Vista), but with 64-bit Windows. If you can purchase (or install) 32-bit Windows 7 Professional, you should have less headaches. The only limitation of 32-bit Windows is a hard 4GB memory limit, but I'm guessing that 3-4GB of usable RAM is probably substantially more than your current Dell has installed.

The other applications, like Quicken and Office, I would suggest replacing when you upgrade. It will be easier for compatibility reasons. Office 2000 can be either replaced with Office 2014, or (for free) OpenOffice (which is inter-compatible, and has a more similar UI to Office 2000 than Office 2014 will). See here:

Quicken I would just update to the newest version, as it isn't terribly expensive software, and it can often be bundled with a new hardware purchase (for discount). However even the retail version of Quicken 2014 is fairly cheap:

Some other things to keep in mind -

Does your current Dell have any specialized hardware for running AutoCAD? For example specialized graphics hardware, specialized input devices, etc? This may affect compatibility with a newer version of Windows or a newer machine (some expansion ports, like Parallel (IEEE 1284) have been almost entirely done away with since the year 2000). I would suggest trying out the Windows 7 upgrade advisor from Microsoft to determine what issues may exist:

Further, while I would conventionally encourage you to simply replace the hard-drive in the existing machine (it would be fairly inexpensive), due to the impending end of support for Windows XP, this is not likely to be a good solution. Therefore my advice would be to go with a new system.

If you need (or want) specific advice on a machine to buy, I'll need a bit more information about things like your budget, and other features that you'd like (does it need to support multiple monitors, 3D gaming, etc) as this will influence the suggestion. And finally, I would like to note that running AutoCAD 2000 via some degree of emulation/abstraction on a Windows 7 machine may result in a degree of performance loss - this may or may not be something you notice in general usage (and also remember that a newer machine will have faster memory, and a much faster processor).


Buying a computer system

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I have nearly two decades of experience in IT, computer repair, and related fields and will attempt to provide the most solid, brand-agnostic advice when it comes time to purchase a new computer, or upgrade an existing machine. I can answer anything from the seemingly basic to the downright complicated - and will do my best to provide this information in a clear and concise manner.


I have been an enthusiast of PC's for many years, and can answer questions about the purchase/use of a new computer or the purchase, installation, and use of upgrades for existing computers. There probably isn't a whole lot related to the home computer that I haven't seen over the years.

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