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What can I do to this PC to improve SW performance?

Question asked by Valerie Williams on May 20, 2009
Latest reply on May 20, 2009 by Valerie Williams
I'm having trouble with assemblies and general slow performance in SolidWorks. SolidWorks is frequently crashing and running out of memory when trying to create a drawing from an assembly with a paltry 119 components. The drawing requires section views with a parts list and balloons, so all components need to be loaded into memory.

In order to get the drawing done, I had to kill all unnecessary programs and processes, turn on large assembly mode, load all components lightweight and detach the drawing so I could get the annotations done without it being laboriously slow.

Something is wrong, but I don't know what. Looking at "Processes" in Task Manager, SolidWorks starts out using about 650,000K memory at start-up, but goes to around 1,200,000K pretty quickly and then crashes. We just upgraded to SW2009, and it seems I could do more with 2008. Then again, it might be just that I'm trying to do more assemblies now (have spent the last two years moving this company from 2D to 3D, and have done mostly parts & drawings and few assemblies until recently).

Maybe it's my PC, which is kind-of low end, but it shouldn't perform this badly. If I need to upgrade in the current economy (we're experiencing layoffs & the shop is reducing hours), then I need to make a good case. I would appreciate some advice.

My PC Specs:
Dell Precision 490
WinXP Pro sp3 32bit
Xeon 5110 dual core, 1.6 GHz
SATA 10k drive, 80GB
Quadro FX550
SolidWorks 2009 sp3.0 + Workgroup PDM

I ran Anna Wood's Benchmark tests, and it did 58.29s on the Scooby-Doo and 169.3 on the Pattern Intensive Punch Holder.

IT tells me that corporate will not approve a 64bit OS without my making a federal case out of it, so that will have to be a last resort. Right now, my options are to max out my RAM & upgrade the video card - or buy a new PC with a faster processor. What is my best option?

Thanks in advance.