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Tale of 3 M90s - Performance testing XP 32 and Vista 64

Question asked by 1-184YI3 on May 20, 2008
Latest reply on Aug 7, 2008 by Christopher Thompson
Well, we are testing Vista 64 performance and Solidworks 64 performance for upcoming machine purchases. So as Engineering Manager I was the guinia pig (I don't do any "real" work anyway). I have been playing with Vista 64 Buisness and Solidworks 64 for a while with some minor issues. Mostly my issues are graphics related, a lag for the toolbar icons to respond when the mouse hovers over them but, only in large assemblies (1500 + parts). Otherwise it seems to run well. Before I get into the testing I will comment I like Vista 64, it performs well and has been very stable. Solidworks 64 also has been very stable, I have had fewer crashes running the 64 bit Solidworks. On to the testing...

So with all the comments on how slow Vista is I needed to verify for myself. THe first problem is my Dell Precision M90 was not entirely 64 bit ready....I needed a new processor so I purchased and installed a new Intel T7400 Core 2 Duo, 2.16 GHz 4 MB L2 cache. I chose this CPU because another M90 in the building has that cpu and I wanted to compare performance. I also purchased a new hard drive for the install so I could readilly switch back to XP any time I wanted. My first impressions after getting all the software loaded on was mostly favorable. I only have 1 program that has issues with Vista 64 (Microsoft Visual Studio 2003, figures Microsoft wouldn't build their own product compatible). My initial impression running Solidworks 64 is it appears pretty fast (once I corrected a minor configuration error). But still how does it really compare so on to the testing. I chose 2 types of tests the "Hole Punch" test and the Solidworks 2007 benchmark. I used the hole punch test because I saw it used as a performance measure here in the forums but, I felt it did not completely test the system performance. The 3 systems used:

1. Precision M90 - Vista 64 Buisness
Intel T7400 Core 2 Duo 2.16 Ghz 4 MB Cache
4 GB Ram
Nvidia FX 2500M 512 MB video card
250 GB 5200 rpm SATA HDD
Solidworks 64 SP 3.1

2. Precision M90 - XP 32 Pro
Intel T7400 Core 2 Duo 2.16 Ghz 4 MB Cache
4 GB Ram
Nvidia FX 2500M 512 MB video card
80 GB 5200 rpm SATA HDD
Solidworks 32 SP3.1

3. Precision M90 - XP 32 Pro
Intel T7400 Core 2 Duo 2.16 Ghz 4 MB Cache
2 GB Ram
Nvidia FX 2500M 512 MB video card
120 GB 5200 rpm SATA HDD
Solidworks 32 SP3.1

Performance testing:

System 1

Hole Punch Test 150.4 sec. (Without all the Vista Bling running)
Hole Punch Test 152.1 sec (With all Vista Bling running)
Solidworks Benchmark 2007 226.32 sec (Without Vista Bling running)

Benchmark breakdown:

Graphics 75.53 sec
CPU 63.77 sec
I/O 83.68 sec
Small case 8.14 sec
Tire 6.88
GTX assem 4.25 sec
GTX Transparent 9.36 sec
Engine 13.48 sec

System 2

Hole Punch Test 136.6 sec.
Solidworks Benchmark 2007 252.48 sec

Benchmark breakdown:

Graphics 94.75 sec
CPU 63.86 sec
I/O 93.87 sec
Small case 8.14 sec
Tire 5.63 sec
GTX assem 18.61 sec
GTX Transparent 18.57 sec
Engine 16.26 sec

System 3

Hole Punch Test 143.7 sec.
Solidworks Benchmark 2007 247.84 sec

Benchmark breakdown:

Graphics 84.52 sec
CPU 65.68 sec
I/O 97.64 sec
Small case 5.73 sec
Tire 3.77 sec
GTX assem 18.20 sec
GTX Transparent 18.18 sec
Engine 15.86 sec


1. I am surprised by the differences between the hole punch test and the Benchmark test.
2. Vista 64 with Solidworks 64 did come out on top
3. The tests between system 2 and 3 surprised me a bit also. I ran the test a second time to make sure I did not make a mistake.
4. I did also run for comparison a Dell Precision 670 workstation with dual Zeons. But because of the poor performance I left it out.