Our review of AutoCAD 2006 (see November 05 issue) indicated how complex and expensive CAD (computer-aided design) software can be. IMSI's TurboCAD - Avanquest handle UK sales - is much cheaper than the Autodesk product, but novices may find the Pro edition's array of features quite daunting.

Although TurboCAD 11.0 is not quite as major an upgrade as 10.0 was, it consolidates enough recent developments to make it, for the vast majority of users, a real competitor in the professional market.

One significant change is better import support for AutoCAD 2005 DXF and DWG files, meaning users can work with industry-standard formats more easily. Other additions include toolbars that adapt dynamically to the working environment, and the ability to export files as scalable vector graphics.

Perhaps the most important upgrade, however, is D-Cubed's 2D Constraint Engine. Once lines, arcs and circles are attached to a model as dependencies, any changes will feed through all elements of the drawing.

One area in which TurboCAD has always performed well is 3D modelling. Continuing this tradition, the LightWorks 7.4 rendering engine, while calling for experimentation to get best results, will provide very good visualisations of a completed project - in the hands of experts.

IMSI TurboCAD Professional 11.0: Specs

  • Pentium II processor
  • Windows 2000/XP
  • 128MB RAM
  • 260MB hard disk space
  • SVGA display
  • Pentium II processor
  • Windows 2000/XP
  • 128MB RAM
  • 260MB hard disk space
  • SVGA display

OUR VERDICT

A few years ago TurboCAD would be considered by occasional amateurs only. Now such users are catered for by the much cheaper (confusingly, given its name) Deluxe version, while the Professional release will suit designers who have not made an investment in AutoCAD and want compatibility with industry-standard software.

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