11 Replies Latest reply on Nov 2, 2011 9:33 AM by Casper De Boer

    Possible upgrades for 2+ year old T5400

    jesse helms

      We just had a engineering group meeting and started to discuss budgets and where to allocate some of the budget. The topic of computers came up as we do have some older computer with in the company that are in need of replacement. In our engineering and CAD department, most of the computers we have are anywhere from 2-4 years old and they are all dell workstations (T5400 & T5500).

       

      The company doesnt necessarily want to get new computers for the engineering dept but would rather look to see if there is anything we can just upgrade to get better performance at a lower cost to replacing the whole system. So, I was hoping that I could gets some good opinions and a little knowledge to feed back to the higher ups. Im no dope when it comes to computer hardware but I know there are people on here that have far more technical know how, especially related to SolidWorks, and would greatly appreciate some feedback.

       

      Also, just a little backgound of what we do. We desing full motion flight simulators for government/military training. We work with large assemblies (5000+ at times) and we do some surfacing but not a lot. We also do some FEA analysis with our SW Pro seats but we do little rendering in our day to day activities.

       

      Any advice on possible upgrades along with the performance benifits of said upgrades is again, much appreciated.

       

      Here is what I am currently working with, which is relatively the same throughout the department:

       

      Dell T5400 (2+ years old)

      Intel Xeon X5460 @ 3.16GHz (CPU)

      8.00 GB RAM

      nVidia Quadro FX 3700

      Hard Drive- 120 gig SATA

      Windows XP-64 bit

      SolidWorks 2010 SP 3.0

       

      Thanks to all,

       

      Jesse

        • Re: Possible upgrades for 2+ year old T5400
          John Summers

          Probably the singlemost important upgrade that we have had in recent years was not hardware related (although it has helped) but the OS software upgrade.  We upgraded from XP to Windows 7 with more memory (I have 12 gb).  This all but eliminated our instability with large parts/ assemblies due to memory issues.

          • Re: Possible upgrades for 2+ year old T5400
            Anna Wood

            What are the performance benefits you are hoping to acheive?

             

            Cheers,

             

            Anna

              • Re: Possible upgrades for 2+ year old T5400
                jesse helms

                Hi Anna,

                 

                Thank you for responding and good question. Honestly, im not sure what we are hoping to achieve other than avoid getting new computers. He have been working with larger and larger assembly files and also translated data from other CAD systems, so maybe something that will help in that respect. We also will be doing more (hopefully) FEA in the future as well.

                 

                I know there is a lot of new hardware out there that has come out in the past couple years that is certainly better than what we have, just not sure if its really worth it or not. Someone suggested new video cards, but I think we have pretty good cards and we havent had that many graphics issues.

                 

                Anything that would improve speed of drawing creation and working with large assemblies would be useful. Honestly, are systems are pretty good, but if the company is willing to spend on upgrading systems, then im all for it if there are areas that we can upgrade.

                 

                Let me ask you this, if you had my system and someone said here is a thousand dollars to invest in upgrades, what would you do? Or is it just better to look at a completely new computer?

                 

                Thanks,

                 

                Jesse

                  • Re: Possible upgrades for 2+ year old T5400
                    Anna Wood

                    If you are looking to improve speed there will not be much you can do.  You would need to get new, faster cpu's for your computers. Your computers are well spec'ed otherwise and I am sure were pretty zippy several years ago.

                     

                    Realistically that involves new computers.  Your computers are not compatible with the new cpu architecture.  The cpu sockets have changed.

                     

                    SolidWorks is cpu bound and benefits from the fastest, most modern cpu architecture you can get.  Your cpu's were introduced in November of 2007.  In their day they were good cpu's, now they are long in the tooth for speed.

                     

                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Intel_Xeon_microprocessors#.22Harpertown.22_.2845_nm.29

                     

                    Video card will not do anything for you.  SSD's drive will let you open and close files faster.  The thing is your main issue is cpu speed.  Everything else is minor when it comes to SolidWorks performance.

                     

                    Wish there was a magic bullet, unfortunately when it comes to speeding up your computer, the only real good solution is to repurpose your current systems to others within the company and get new systems for engineering built with current technology.

                     

                    You can get a new computer for around a $1000 dollars that will run circles around your current system.  Take the money and get new systems rather then putting that money into the old systems. 

                     

                    Cheers,

                     

                    Anna

                      • Re: Possible upgrades for 2+ year old T5400
                        jesse helms

                        Anna,

                         

                        Thank you again for the reply and help on this. I know I could build a computer for 1000 that would be much better, but my company perfers to stick with Dell and they wont budge on that. I dont think I will be able to do it for a 1000 through Dell, but its been awhile sense I have been on there site, but my guess is no. Maybe we can just get them to allocate it towards Windows 7 for all the machines and some additional RAM for all the machines. If they are set on spending it, ill be happy to help them with that, regardless if it provides much of an improvment or not!

                         

                        Anyways, thanks again for the reply.

                         

                        -Jesse

                  • Re: Possible upgrades for 2+ year old T5400
                    John Summers

                    Jesse,

                     

                    Have you read through Charles Culp's write-ups on computer builds?  Here is the latest:

                    https://forum.solidworks.com/thread/48986?tstart=0

                     

                    There is some excellent information in his posts that might be helpful (of course when upgrading, you would have to ensure compatibility with components and your systems)...

                      • Re: Possible upgrades for 2+ year old T5400
                        jesse helms

                        John,

                         

                        I did indeed and there was some useful info in it. But like you said, upgrading is a bit different due to compatibility issues. And this is where Im a little unsure about things. For example, say we wanted to upgrade to the lated intel i7 processor, is it possible to do with the machines we are using? Would it require a completely new mother board for this? Or, is there a higher performance Xeon process that we could swap out?

                         

                        or maybe even a solid state drive for accessing files quicker? Will a higher in Video Card make that much differnece and if so, which one? Things like this is what im looking for and peoples opinions on what they might do to their system if the had an extra 1000 or so to spend on it.......

                         

                         

                        Of course RAM is another one, but it is usually relatively cheap....but even so, what type/brand/speed would have the best performance enhancements....