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Workstation Configuration - Optimized for Flow Simulations

Question asked by Todd Frahm on Mar 5, 2012
Latest reply on Mar 15, 2012 by Charles Culp

Hello all.


I've recently been hired as the IT guy by an organization using solidworks and flow simulations.  I've had zero history with SW, but a bit of experience using another CAD environment.


I've got two issues to deal with on my third day 'on the job', but this one is in regard to optimizing a configuration of a new engineering workstation.  This workstation will meet the requirements spec'd out in the forums, so I don't worry too much about that.  What I'm wondering about is whether anyone has had the opportunity to tweak the installation/configuration of the workstation within the design and simulation environment?   The three engineers here work all day in the Solidworks application and run 2-4 significant (8-12 hour long) simulations a week.  I'm hoping to find the best configuration of Windows 7 64 bit, SW2012, and hard drive and memory.


As I understand it, they already install the SW2011 application locally on each engineer's workstation and store the drawings out on the fileserver in what I believe to be Enterpirse PMD (as read on this forum somewhere).  I haven't had to opportunity to verify all that as they were all in training on Friday, and this being only my third day ...


So, I'm interested in an optimal configuration.  To understand what that might be, which components are most important (yes, yes..they *all* are, understood ) in cutting down the simulation times?  I'm looking at configuring the system with a 7200 rpm 500GB boot drive and a 240GB SSD as a secondary drive (to be used as the 'active working directory', once I find where that's set).  It'll have at least 12GB RAM (DDR1333) and maybe another 4GB if it's worth it.  I'm wondering if adding some more memory and making a RAM drive would do any good instead of using an SSD drive as temp drive.  RAM's not cheap either though, so I'm guessing let it be used to crunch numbers and let the SSD handle the working files.   Does that sound like it might be close to optimal?  Is there anything that I should look at doing, or hardware that could be added to make things better?


I'm also starting to read on here that SW and the simulation software may support clusters.  That may be something I'll be looking at in the future so I can remove the process from the engineers' workstations completely...but that's for another day.


Any ideas are appreciated.