Now that there’s a new version of AutoCAD afoot, let’s review some of the common approaches to upgrading.
Upgrade only on the even numbers. Some may dismiss this belief as merely a lingering aftereffect of the nightmare that was Release 13, but a case can be made that the odd-numbered releases tend to be more disruptive, while the even releases fix the features introduced in the odd ones. A thoroughly unscientific count of Service Packs/Updates for the last few releases supports this:
- AutoCAD 2007 2 Service Packs
- AutoCAD 2008 1 Service Pack
- AutoCAD 2009 3 Updates
AutoCAD 2010 1 Update
Even if this pattern did not hold true, skipping every other release makes sense if you aren’t in desperate need of any of the new features in the most recent release. You’ll have more time to test new releases and roll them out in an orderly manner. If you try to stay current with each new release, you may find you have little time left for anything besides upgrading and troubleshooting.
Don’t upgrade until the first Service Pack comes out. With a product on an annual release cycle, the early adopters are basically the beta testers. By waiting for the first Service Pack, you are assured that many, if not most, of the significant bugs have been addressed. You’ll also be able to assess the quality and stability of the release by following the discussion in various Internet forums.
Don’t upgrade until the next release comes out. By staying one release behind, the thinking goes, you’ll get the full benefit of those who have gone before you.
Don’t upgrade. As long as you can get the work done and keep your customers satisfied, there’s no reason to go through the headaches of upgrading. Experience with using the product more than makes up for any productivity lost by not having the latest and greatest features. Once Autodesk retires your version, you will have to pay full price if you do want to upgrade someday, but if you hold on to your old release long enough, you’ll end up ahead.
Good reasons to upgrade:
You’d benefit greatly from a feature in the new release.
Your current release will be retired within the next year, meaning you’ll have to buy a new license if you want to upgrade after that.
Your best customers have all upgraded and expect you to do so.
Bad reasons to upgrade:
You get the new release automatically because you’re on subscription. Just because you get it doesn’t mean you need to install it.