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What version to use?

What version to use?

What version to use?

(OP)
Hello all,

For the company I work for I'm looking for a program for basic engineering calculations. The main thread where I ask what program would be best suited for the job can be found here. Since the reply's I got in the main thread are quite general and I'd like some mathcad secific answers I've started this thread.

I have some experience with a very early MathCad version (2001i) and I've tested MathCad prime 1.0 for a short while. In general I really like the way units can easily be converted and calculated with. In 2001i I especially liked that (once I knew what keys to use) I could really work fast and keep on typing formulas. Whilst I really liked the speed in which it could be used, the thing I missed in 2001i was a bit of intuitive design and ease of use.

When I used Prime 1.0 in my opinion they really tried to copy the microsoft way of interacting with the software in stead of making it as intuitive as advertised. Yes it looks good but working with quantity for example names I found to be really really timeconsuming. When I wanted to enter a single quantity or a several quantitys into an equation like F1=10*N in 2001i I only had to type"F.1[spacebar]:10N" if my memory is correct. With mathcad prime I had to do something like type "F", select subscript with mouse, type "1", deselect subscript with mouse and so on. If there is a faster way it surely feels like the developers tried really hard to hide it from me...

Does anyone know if Prime 2.0 has improved on this? Perhaps we should be using a later pre-prime version like 15? I'm beginning to doubt it is still being sold since I can't find it on their website.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Since I'm not a native speaker I'd appreciate feedback on my (British) English

RE: What version to use?

Prime 1 is fairly crippled from an MC perspective, simply because it wasn't a complete port of MC. Prime 2 is probably substantially closer to the overall capabilities of MC15.

The big question is what you really mean by "basic engineering calculations." That could mean anything from just a simple scientific calculator capability to running PDEs and ODEs and programming.

TTFN
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies

RE: What version to use?

I bought MathCad 15 and found it to be so buggy that I scurried back to V14. That is what I still use, and don't expect to look at Prime again until I see some comments on eng-tips.com that it works and is reasonably usable (I use the "." subscript format for every single variable to keep myself from redefining a meter as m:Vol * Density). V14 seems to be rock solid and I don't get "updates" (spelled "intrusive crap that fixes stuff I don't use") anymore. A couple of weeks ago I ported it to a 64 bit machine running Windows 7 Pro and so far it seems to run the same as it did on 32 bit Windows XP Pro.

What little I know about Prime, it sounds like MathType (which I use in Word and PowerPoint and pretty much hate the "click, click, click" user interface) and a giant step backwards.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

"Belief" is the acceptance of an hypotheses in the absence of data.
"Prejudice" is having an opinion not supported by the preponderance of the data.
"Knowledge" is only found through the accumulation and analysis of data.

RE: What version to use?

(OP)
@IRstuff: Basic calculations for me lies somewhere in between. I know we don't need the full power of the program, but it should be more than a scientific calculator. Most of the calculations we do don't require any integration or deriviation, but they tend to get quite large. Most engineers here do these calculations with a calculator and write them down, or use excel. This way I feel it's to easy to make mistakes and to hard to spot them.

@zdas04: From my experience with prime and pre-prime I couldn't agree with you more.

RE: What version to use?

I'm still pretty happy with M11, which predates the complete code rewrite that fubarred M12. Of course, it's missing a bunch of unit conversions that would be occasionally nice to have, and plotting still sucks (for which there is Excel).

TTFN
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies

RE: What version to use?

I'm very happy with M15 latest update and have been trying hard to use Prime 2 with too much frustration for my liking. So I gave up.

RE: What version to use?

M15 (which is effectively a boosted M14) is fine for general use. Prime isn't really ready yet, although rumourspace indicates that Prime 3 will be a lot better than '2.

RE: What version to use?

While Prime is taking a while to get to a point of full capability, it is a more thought out process than what occurred with M12, wherein the entire program was rewritten in one fell swoop, resulting in chaos and bugs galore.

TTFN
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies

RE: What version to use?

Guys, what do you think about M13 comparing to other "classic" versions, such as M11 or M14?

RE: What version to use?

M14 is the most "mature" and (almost) bug-free version that I have encountered.

Prime 1 was a work in progress; Prime 2 seems to me to be almost ready for "prime-time" use (excuse the pun). I really like the output and presentation, but I think it may still be missing a couple of key tools for "power users". For example, several of my most complex M14 worksheets simply haven't transferred across to Prime 2 successfully. It is going to take a lot of effort to migrate them, and I'm honestly not sure it will be worth the effort for me. If / when my company moves over to Prime 2, I suspect I will need to keep M15 installed as well for my legacy worksheets, but I would do most (if not all) of my new work in Prime 2.

If you are coming in cold, with no library of "legacy" worksheets, I think the vast majority of new users would be very happy with Prime 2. If you are an existing "power user", and / or have a lot of complex legacy files to support going forward, M14 (or M15) might be the safest bet.

http://julianh72.blogspot.com

RE: What version to use?

Since Prime is written in a managed code, it is not possible to develop user dlls, therefore it is useless for me. The only good feature of Prime is a return to dynamic unit checking. This is my opinion about MP posted on the other forum:
"For me Mathcad Prime is a trash, even apart from the user efi issues. I had a short adventure with it, and don't want to have anything to do with "this thing". Wrong way change direction. It even looks worse (candy style)! In my opinion PTC changed the target from origin (engineers, higher education and PhD students, scientists, professionals) to kids and secondary school students. Yeah, that sounds stupid, but it fits to the actual profile of this software. They try to do Mathcad more idiot-resist, but it lost its "identity"."

I haven't change my mind ;)

RE: What version to use?

"In my opinion PTC changed the target from origin (engineers, higher education and PhD students, scientists, professionals) to kids and secondary school students"

I doubt that; Mathsoft blew a bunch money developing Studyworks, which went nowhere, and PTC acquired Mathsoft as a result of that and a couple of other major blunders. Expansion into the college market, on the other hand is almost mandatory, to counter Mathworks' massive penetration into that same market. Additionally, regardless of how simple the interface is, there are plenty of examples of postings on the PTS Mathcad forums that demonstrate that even engineers often cannot handle the program.

Again, I think that PTC made a mistake by not allowing the solve block to part of Express; you run the 30-day demo as a freshman, and by the time you're a senior, you've already used almost all of MATLAB, and you'll barely remember that Mathcad had all these features, because you long abandoned it for MATLAB, which gave you more functionality.

TTFN
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RE: What version to use?

IRstuff said: "PTC is currently blogging Mathcad Prime 3"

Maybe by the time it gets to Mathcad Prime 12, it will again have all of the tools and features that we all know and love!

http://julianh72.blogspot.com

RE: What version to use?

Even numbered versions of Mathcad have had a checkered history.

From what I can tell, MP3 will probably exceed any version of the original versions, including 14/15. Note that MP2 includes DOE, Signal Processing, Data Analysis, and Image Processing directly in the program, unlike previous versions where they were extension libraries.

TTFN
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies

RE: What version to use?

(OP)
Most people that asked something like: "will prime 3 have blablabla feature" on the blog, got a very politicly correct response that came down to: "no not in this version". At least they are being honest about it.

I'm running a trial version of MC15 now and when I try to open files from 2001i it seems to have lost some functionality. It probably has gained a lot of functionality aswell but I expect some features didn't survive the code overhaul from 11 to 12 that IRstuff mentioned. I know what I want, I know 2001i could do it, but the error messages keep telling me it can't be done. In the calculations in question I'm using ^n and I've defined n:=1.4 earlyer. When I replace the ^n with ^1.4 it seems to work though.

About Prime: I don't feel like waiting for a third version for it to work properly. If they can't do it in two, I doubt they can do it in three. I'm still convinced that Prime 1.0 should have never been released. It makes it hard to take PTC seriously. I think I've found the answer to the question of what version I should use: none. I thought there wouldn't be a serious alternative but Maple seems to have met all of my requirements with the greatest ease.

Thank you all for your input, heading on now.

Quazoosl out.

RE: What version to use?

"In my opinion PTC changed the target from origin (engineers, higher education and PhD students, scientists, professionals) to kids and secondary school students" - this was of course exaggerated, i just wanted to say that the center of gravity was moved, generaly speaking lowered.
PTC is now focused on the business market - sheets are to be more readible (e.g given-find block is now explicitly described), nice looking, with many colours etc. But the simplification of MP went too far, the software is heavy and even less stable than the old versions. Apparently PTC wants to develop math text formatting tool, instead of calculational tool.
One of the best features of the old MC versions was possibility for creating user defined libraries. This will not be longer supported. Are you kidding me?!

RE: What version to use?

I forgot to mention, that writing programs in Prime is also more time consuming.

RE: What version to use?

"About Prime: I don't feel like waiting for a third version for it to work properly."

That is not strictly correct. Each version of Prime works "properly" in the sense that no functionality that was in the design of that particularly failed to work; they simply did not include the functionality that they added to each subsequent version. Nonetheless, I agree that P1 was not a capable product in its feature set, which appears to be mostly corrected in P2

The only math functionality addition for P3 appear to relate to some matrix decomposition functions and DLL capability.

TTFN
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RE: What version to use?

Quazoosl: "I'm running a trial version of MC15 now and when I try to open files from 2001i it seems to have lost some functionality. It probably has gained a lot of functionality aswell but I expect some features didn't survive the code overhaul from 11 to 12 that IRstuff mentioned. I know what I want, I know 2001i could do it, but the error messages keep telling me it can't be done."

Functionality is one thing, the other is kernel (computation engine). As far as I know, MC < 13 have Maple engine, MC 14 and 15 have Mupad engine. This is why some things work different, or even don't work in a particular version of Mathcad.

All in all, at the moment I would recommend you M15, but keep in mind that the classic line of Mathcad has no future, and some day this ship will be abandoned. You should also try SMath Studio, maybe it will be sufficient for your purposes.

RE: What version to use?

" If they can't do it in two, I doubt they can do it in three."

Your choice of course, but given that Mathcad only really settled down at v5, although 2.5.2 was also very usable, I think you are over estimating the speed with which large complex programs can be assembled.

Cheers

Greg Locock


New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: What version to use?

<b>
Functionality is one thing, the other is kernel (computation engine). As far as I know, MC < 13 have Maple engine, MC 14 and 15 have Mupad engine. This is why some things work different, or even don't work in a particular version of Mathcad.

All in all, at the moment I would recommend you M15, but keep in mind that the classic line of Mathcad has no future,</b>

I can't even remember what it was now, but I moved from 13 to 14 and I found that some of my calculations didn't work, so I ported back. Haven't moved forward ever since. My first version was 6, came with lots of disks and an actual hard copy manual.

As for Mathcad having no future, as long as I can keep using 13, and even perhaps keeping an old computer running that can use the program, I can't see any reason why I'd need to upgrade. Realistically, for the calculations I do, I could probably still get away with the old version 6, except I've more than likely thrown out the disks.

RE: What version to use?

Hey, I'm still using v. 4.0 (!!!). It does all I need it to do except print clearly--it's legible, but ugly. Was thinking of upgrading, but after this thread decided not to.

RE: What version to use?

I'd recommend anybody using less than Mathcad 11.2 upgrade to that version - it's by far the best of the pre-12 versions in terms of speed and capability. I haven't found any significant that get in the way of my using M15 and it has small, but noticeable, performance improvement over M11.

RE: What version to use?

Quote (IRstuff)

While upgrading is definitely desirable, M11 isn't supported nor readily available
True, but if one can find a copy (eg, eBay) then I believe it is still better to go for M11 than stick with an earlier version (which would be equally unsupported). I still use it when I want to get round some of the static type checking problems or use some of the undocumented symbolic features (I don't have a full version of Prime 2 - just the Express version).

RE: What version to use?

A new service release for 15 was recently issued. Prime 3.0 is going to BETA shortly. IF you pick up Prime 2.0 (latest version), it COMES with MC 15 as well! Until PTC feels that Prime is an equivalent in capabilities to MC15 ... they have said that they would bundle the two. As for the newer processors ... MC15 cannot take advantage of 64 bit nor multi-cores. I'm hoping that Prime 3 makes it more usuable for my work morning

RE: What version to use?

I would stay with MC15 if you have a Windows 7 machine or MC14 if you have XP. Prime 2.0 is a disaster; don't even think about using it.

RE: What version to use?

"Mathcad Prime" is the "Apple Maps" of calculation software - lovely to look at, but missing so much of the core functionality that users have come to expect and rely upon.

They are both classic examples of software companies massively under-estimating the challenge of developing specialist applications where they have no real expert competence. ("How hard could it be?" Well, very hard, it turns out!) Marketing / strategy / profitability imperatives demand that the product is released to market well before it is "finished", in order to generate revenue - but customers aren't told that it is still really only a Beta "proof of concept" product.

(It looks like both will take just as long to turn them into a full-featured product, too!)

http://julianh72.blogspot.com

RE: What version to use?

I'm not convinced that it's that simple a story. MP1 was, by design, limited in scope, precisely because PTC did not want to repeat the M12 debacle. I believe they thought that it was better to have a fully functioning subset than a buggy full complement. Of course, the exodus of some of the original brain power behind Mathcad probably made that an imperative.

TTFN
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies

RE: What version to use?

PTC is implementing features with each release of MC Prime. I agree that, for now, MathCAD 15 is the way to go. For those that are knocking 15 and swearing by 14 ...
Check your release. M035 is the last MC 14 but had a HUGE memory bug which I reported. MC 15 was their "bug fix" Kind of like MS "requiring" you to upgrade to Windows 7 from Vista.
From what I've read on MC Prime 3, it SHOULD be usable for most engineering environments and homework. Still missing "advanced" features from 15, but should be usable for most applications. My company is considering testing MC Prime 3 when it comes out ... I've been their MC lab rat for "basic" reports/calculation upadting.

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