Max Spencer

Computer advice: Precision 5540 vs P1 vs X1C7+eGPU

Discussion created by Max Spencer on Aug 4, 2019

First time poster and new user to Solidworks, so thanks for helping.  I'm an experienced Creo user, but am changing jobs into a new company which is going with Solidworks.  My experience is mostly with Dell Precision workstations (towers and laptops), but I am impressed by the Thinkpad lineup now.  I have tested on a few different machines here, and wish to get any constructive feedback from this community beyond what comes from just benchmarks.  My usage will be all around with general office productivity tasks, and Solidworks modelling for the products I will be working on.  Additionally I believe there will be some minor simulation work and other random programs/development work as needed in a broad engineering role (primarily mechanical design <200 part assemblies, but also small level electrical design and spice simulation).


Basically I would prefer a lighter computer as I typically carry it back and forth to work everyday in my backpack.  I woudl do 99% of the modeling in the office and mainly regular office productivity tasks at home.  Therefore the idea of an eGPU is intriguing to handle the modelling graphics, but have a light computer to carry.  


Precision 5540 (i7-9850H, 16gb, M2 SSD, T2000, 4k OLED) - 1.98kg

Lenovo P1 (i7-8850H, 16gb, M2SSD, P2000, 4k LCD) - 1.83kg

X1 Carbon 7th Gen (i7-8565U, 16gb, M2 SSD, Intel 620 graphics, 4k LCD) + eGPU (Razer Core X, P2000) - 1.1kg


I ran them through several runs of the Solidworks benchmark test (AC power, windows set to maximum performance).  Additionally I ran the Specviewperf13 benchmark.  All benchmarks were done on 4k displays, and with SW19 SP3.  Here are the results


Value \ MachinePrecision 5540Lenovo P1X1 Carbon + eGPUX1 Carbon (alone)
SW - Graphics12.522.911.828
SW - Processor24282728.8
SW - I/O2025.522.622.1
SW - Overall56.576.461.678.9
SW - Render5.
SW - Realview18.42718.4N/A
SW - Simulation446949.553.6

Specviewperf13 - SW-04

(higher is better)





I was disappointed on how the P1 performed next to the slightly newer processors on the other machines.  The X1C was impressively fast given its ultrabook status and quad core processor.  When combined with the eGPU, it seemed to almost equal the 5540.  As expected graphic performance on the X1C without the eGPU was rather low.  I was disappointed in the T2000 and expected a performance gain over the P2000, instead the external GPU performed better.  Perhaps this is due to drivers...the T2000 is so new there is little on it and I had to upgrade to 431.02 to prevent SW from crashing.  The eGPU is a newer option with TB3, and the with the newer quad core U processors making it into entry level workstations (P53s, Dell 3540) this makes a harder choice.  


I know the safe choice is the 5540, but is it crazy to consider the X1C with an eGPU?  I'm intrigued with the smaller form factor and weight.  The eGPU makes upgrading the GPU possible.  However I'm concerned that the benchmarks are dominated by the single core performance without the other normal usage going on.  That being said, my gut feeling is it will do really well with the exception of longer run simulations needed CPU over long periods of time.  I'm happy to hear any words of wisdom from this group.  If nothing else, hopefully the comparison numbers between these systems might help out others looking.  There is very little informaiton on the eGPU for the Quadro is focused aroung gaming to date.  However, this shows there is definately potential there.  


Thanks for any advice!