Currently I have a user that is getting a Z200 computer. He uses simultion and motion quite a bit. What graphic card should I select for his use?
What is causing the problems for speed? As far as overall system performance for any simulation, the video card may not be the problem. That processor is a problem. Also, running 32 bit windows is a huge problem.
These video cards we are talking about are 2GB video cards. Windows XP 32 bit can only handle 4 GB total. That means that half of your memory is tied up by the video card! Windows takes 1 GB, and this leaves only 1GB left for Solidworks + Simulation. That is unacceptable, and will even cause system stability issues, even with small simulations, and even just creating SolidWorks models (even simple ones).
Thus, with that video card, this doesn't meet SolidWorks' minimum system requirements! This is because it requires over 1 GB of system memory for just SolidWorks. My suggestion is first and foremost, install Windows 7 64 bit on that machine. If company IT policy states that all computers must run XP, first of, change your policy. Second off, then consider the computer used for CAD a special stand-alone install and make sure it has 64 bit software. Watch out for XP-64 bit, it has been known to be finicky with SolidWorks. Vista or Win 7 are the only ways to go. Whatever you do, this is a bare minimum for good performance.
Second, you then need to install 6+ GB RAM as a minimum. For advanced simulations, most people are buying systems with 12GB RAM or more. This will increase stability, and reduce the time that your engineers spend in front of the monitor.
Third, if you are really trying to increase performance, buy a Core-i7 processor. The Core-i7 980X or Core-i7 970 are good for simulation. The Xeon W3670 and Xeon W3680 are also good choices. For both simulation and creating videos, this will cut your run time down by 4x or more. Very significant performace increases for this type of work with the nicer processors. I wouldn't pick anything less for simulation work. I don't even suggest that dual-core i5 for regular SolidWorks users; and simulation requires a premium.
And finally, I wouldn't upgrade the video cards until last. They have absolutely zero effect on the amount of time it takes to run a simulation or create a video. They are important for visualizing complex fluid simulations, and for working with large assemblies. But for the actual run-times for renderings and solving the simulations, they just sit idle.
Serious fluid simulation is one of the few times when CAD users really need a high powered video card. They get expensive quickly, so it is a budget question, but look at the nVidia Quadro 4000, or the ATI FirePro v5800 or v7800 cards. The ATI FirePro v7800 is a 2GB card, and is ~$550, and the Quadro 4000 is a 2.5GB card at ~$750.
I haven't actually seen a direct comparison between these two cards, here is a comparison of their big brothers: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/quadro-5000-firepro-v8800-workstation-graphics,2701-8.html . Those would also be great for simulation, but might be overkill (?) They are rediculously expensive.
I know there are SolidWorks users currently using both the ATI and the nVidia cards, and both seem to be satisfied with their performance.
Thank you for the reply. Currently the user is using the FirePro V4800 graphics card.
I heard the NVidia cards work better with Solidworks than the ATI cards. Is this true. I looked at prices and NVidia's seem more expensive. The Quadro 4000 says it is only 2GB, but it looks like it could do the job. Is the Quadro 4000 comparible to the Firepro V7800?
That is the common comparison, but I will defer to Anna Wood who has actually used both.
If the V7800 is not enough power, then the top of the line nVidia cards are the fastest cards out there. Unfortunately, they are very expensive mostly because of their CUDA technology, which is not currently utilized for much in SolidWorks.
What type of simulations are you running, and what are you trying to make faster? What are the rest of your computer specs?
I have a Z800 with a nvidia quadro fx 4800, 18 gigs of ram, and 8 x 3.2GHz processors. and for once we can finally run simulations and get results without waiting 6-12 hours. I like the power and speed on this computer. We also run SW64 bit (obviously) Personally I say go with Nvidia.
As I recall the Z200 is a very entry level CAD workstation. You are running high level CAD on an entry level system. I think your processor/system may be the bigger issue.
What are your complete hardware specs for that workstation?
What issue are you expecting the video card to solve?
I have attached what the new computer properties are. As far as what the computer will be use for is the following. The user needs to do a simulation on a full assembly, which has approximately 1000 parts, hardware included. The number one goal is to do a full simulation. This model will be used for our literature and website. On the website they are working animation of the process.
Thank you to everyone. It was very helpful.
Heed Charles' advice in his last post.
Bottom line you have the wrong hardware for its mission. You have an entry level workstation good for AutoCAD and very basic SW models.
Doing regular simulation studies on larger datasets requires a much higher end system. Top of the line really since your user does this type of work all the time.
Windows 7 x64, 12 gigs of RAM, a high end Core i7 or Xeon 3600/5600 series cpu. The models Charles suggested are the best.
The video card is not going to get you anything for SW simulation performance.
Give the Z200 to someone else in the company and start over with a system configured properly for the mission. It will cost some money, you will get thr ROI from not having to watch the computer chug away all day on a simulation.
Do not mean to sound harsh. Just telling you the reality of your situation. The sow's ear will not be able to be made into a silk purse with a video card upgrade.
Thank you for the advice. I talk to one of the IT people here and he agrees with you. Don't worry about being harsh, sometimes the truth, even if it is ugly, is better.
My motion study appears to be more complex than most, and I observed that switching between hardware and software OGL makes no difference, so it seems that Motion Study does not benefit from an expensive display adapter.
John, (and Dan)
We had a huge discussion about when/where in Simulation it is nessisary to have a beefy video card:
Dan was unclear as to which perticular simulation and video tools he was using, some are all CPU and some are video card. Simulation results (with all the colors) use the video card. You are probably correct that Motion Manager does not.
Specifically, my version of SWP seems unable to simultaneously integrate motion and properly render the screen. Post integration, SW still cannot render saved images properly , but PhotoWorks can.
My model has 16 3D contacts, 8 Hinge mates and 13 Coincident mates.
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