If you hover over my profile picture, you should see my system specs.
I thought there might me some setting in SW to take advantage of multiple processors…
(This is probably too late since you already have your hardware and OS setup now...)
I would recommend Vista x64, or even Win7 x64 in a couple of months instead of XP x64 unless you have a specific need of using XP x64 (like a missing printer driver etc.) in your environment.
Also, since you chose XP, you probably don't have a need for the UAC functionality in Vista. If you turn off UAC immediately after installing the OS (before installing anything else), you will find that Vista behaves a lot like XP.
If your work is mostly in core SolidWorks (parts, assemblies, drawings, etc.), you're probably better off with a dual core CPU with a higher clock speed than a quad core CPU with a lower clock speed.
And most important (nothing specific to multicore or x64, but it's important anyway) : check that your video card drivers are up to date !
Thank you all for your input & advice!
btw - we recently received a new GoBoxx "laptop" workstation. Soon we will be able to run it through Anna's punchhole test and post the results. Also, since we purchased the machine so close to the Windows 7 release (October?), the manufacturer sent us a free upgrade coupon... it will be nice (hopefully) to experience SW with Win7.
Why do you recommend to upgrade from XP64?
I had an installation of XP64 that just refused to run Solidworks; it would crash on startup.
So I installed a second drive with Windows 7 (I wanted to avoid Vista). For about a month things were tolerable; I had problems with the NVidia drivers (both the Solidworks tested and the latest) in that the view would stop updating and I'd have to restart solidworks.
Then I had a problem with Comodo consuming 100% CPU at startup (all caused by the then latest virus signatures update---thanks), completely crippling the system. In my troubleshooting I uninstalled various drivers. By the time I got everything "back to normal" there was nothing I could do to get the graphics working again. Everything was terribly slow (resizing windows, listing files, not to mention everything in Solidworks)---as it is usually in safe mode or without a graphics driver. But no amount of uninstalling/reinstalling drivers fixed it. Eventually I gave up and overwrote the partition with a fresh XP64 install, which I'm using now.
You picked a slow CPU. There is nothing you can do to make it fast. Adding a second 2.33 CPU won't gain you any performance. You ether need to replace the CPU or get a new system entirely. Dell lists the 3.0 GHz Xeon X5450 at $1095 and the 3.16 GHz X5460 at $1729. You might be able to source the CPUs elsewhere and get a lower price. Expect a performance improvement roughly equal to the increase in clock speed.
The new Xeon 3500/5500 Sequence CPUs(server/ws versions of the Core i7) are conservatively 20-30% faster than the Core2-based 5400 Sequence running at the same clock speed. Only a very small minority of SolidWorks users would benefit from two quad-core CPUs, so the Xeon 3500 Sequence (Dell Precision T3500) is the way to go.
A Precision T3500 with a single Xeon w3540 or w3550 (2.93 & 3.06 GHz) would be much faster than your current system and would cost under $3k with a Quadro FX1800 graphics card and 6GB RAM.
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