9 Replies Latest reply on Mar 5, 2010 10:23 AM by 1-E9V5A2

    How Fast Should SW Simulation Display Results?

      Hello,

       

      I'm curious to see if you all know some ways to speed up the display of results in SW Simulation.  I am running 2009 SP 3.1  (Soon to be upgrading to SP 5 if that makes any difference)

       

      I am running a lot of simulations these days that have upwards of 200,000 degrees of freedom.  Add in lots of bolt connectors (about 40 I think) and their no penetration contact sets, and this study takes about 50 minutes to mesh on my Quad-core intel Xeon 3GHz computer with 4 Gb RAM (about 5 years old now).  When it gets to the solver stage of the analysis, it only takes about 20 minutes.  My main beef is that it takes about another 15 minutes after the solver finishes (with a "ding!") to just show the displacement plot.  If you double-click to show the stress plot, it takes about 20 minutes.  And a Factor of Safety Plot?  Well!  You'd better just drive across town for coffee, because you won't see any colours for about 35 minutes.  At least, not on my machine.

       

      Can anyone else relate?  Is this just my CPU?  Or would it be due to the graphics card?  I have a Quadro FX 4500 (top of the line 5 years ago, now not so much).  RAM?

       

      Please provide your opinions.

       

      Thank you,

      David Fletcher

        • Re: How Fast Should SW Simulation Display Results?
          Anna Wood

          David,

           

          Your computer was a top dog five years ago.....  Now it is just a slow dog.  :-)

           

          Modern computer architecture is much faster today then it was five years ago.

           

          You also want to be on a x64 bit OS (Windows 7) with lots of RAM.  6-8 gigs minimum.

           

          For an idea of where your computer stands in comparison to modern hardware go to my blog www.solidmuse.com and check out the punch holder benchmark page in the right side bar.  I would suspect that a new computer will run that benchmark 4-5 times faster then what it will run on your computer.

           

          Cheers,

           

          Anna

          • Re: How Fast Should SW Simulation Display Results?
            Roland Schwarz
            I do all FEA on files stored on the local ("C:") drive.  I do this so that I do not have to load results data across a network connection, which can be considerably slower and can draw complaints if I bog the network down.
            • Re: How Fast Should SW Simulation Display Results?

              Those are all good things to consider.  To fully explain, I am using Windows 7 (64-bit OS) although I do only have 4 Gb of RAM.  Also, I do every FEA on my C:\Solidworks Temp folder, so that I'm not limited by network connections.  I checked, and the default on my machine is set to c:\, as is the study I'm talking about above.

               

              So, can anyone give me an idea - if you run a study with ~200k d.o.f., how long does it take SW to display the results?  Is it instant?  Does the time it takes depend on the complexity of the study?  (this is what I have found, and also that Factor of Safety plots take longer to display than stress, and stress takes longer to display than displacement.)

               

              Thanks for your answers!

              David

                • Re: How Fast Should SW Simulation Display Results?
                  Derek Bishop

                  Hello David,

                   

                  If you were using bonded contacts with 200,000 dof I'd expect to run the simulation in a couple of minutes or less. However, you will find the no penetration contacts will drastically increase that time. Overall your times do seem high. Normally the stress plots only take a few seconds to hide or show and I don't think that is dependent on the type of contacts used. It could be an issue with your graphics card driver. How long since you 'refreshed' the driver. Are you running the latest recommended driver? I've found mine get corrupted after a while and there are always new releases coming out.

                   

                  I'm no expert but the specifications of your machine while not cutting edge sound pretty good to me. Five years is relatively old but in its day this must have been on of the top end machines. 4 processors running at 3 GHz is still fast. I'd be surprised if your graphics card was out of date. You can see my machine specs by hovering over my picture. The RAM used is relatively high but doesn't have a big effect on run times for this size analysis. I'd consider it to be mid range and it is fine running most studies I encounter up to a few million dof's.

                  • Re: How Fast Should SW Simulation Display Results?
                    Roland Schwarz

                    Stop using your temp folder and give each project it's own unique folder.  Temp folder will be glutted with junk.

                     

                    If it's worth analyzing, it's worth catalogueing.

                  • Re: How Fast Should SW Simulation Display Results?
                    David Paulson

                    David,

                     

                    It might be useful if we knew your mesh settings.  The mesh time seems high relative to your solver time, for sure.  But that could be because of the geometric complexity of your assembly, or it could be because you have specified a very fine mesh.  But it does seem odd to me that the plots take so long to generate.  Unfortunately there are no benchmarks like Anna's punch holder for FEA and CFD analysis that can take advantage of many processors.  If you have a dual processor MB, you may be able to add another processor somewhat cheap to see if that makes a significant impact.  Much cheaper than getting a Nehalem processor.  Versions prior to 2009 did not offer parrallel processing for simulation.  SW does not give any guidance that I have found as to how many cores can be utilized for their simulation applications.  But there are a lot of interesting FEA programs that are running on CUDA with a Tesla C-1060 card for example which can utilize 192  cores per C-1060.  While parallel processing is almost useless for SolidWorks, it is everything in FEA and CFD.

                    • Re: How Fast Should SW Simulation Display Results?
                      Bill McEachern
                      200 kDOF is a pretty small problem. My antiquated laptop would make those plots virtually instantaneously in any version of the software. If you are bringing them in over a network - I would look at moving them to a local drive.
                      • Re: How Fast Should SW Simulation Display Results?

                        I believe Anna's answer is most correct.  Although I am running a 64-bit OS, and 3GHz is a fast clock speed, the 533MHz RAM is probably not helping me out.

                         

                        Everything on my computer still works, so I'll be happy with that for now, and rejoice when I get updated hardware whenever that happens.  It's not unreasonable to expect twice the performance as what I'm getting now for under $1000 in upgrade costs.  I just have to wait for the money to become available.  If others are in this same situation, and have spending authority, I wouldn't hesitate to upgrade hardware if I were them.

                         

                        David