6 Replies Latest reply on Jul 30, 2012 4:04 PM by Jeff Cox

    Upgrading laptop for Simulation, hoping for advice

    Jeff Cox

      Long-time user of Simulation Premium as a mobile contractor (hence having to use a laptop instead of a workstation), getting tired of waiting on my Dell M6300 running 32-bit XP and the /3GB switch.  I'm going to be upgrading to a much faster machine soon and was hoping for some advice, as it's been a while since I've bought any hardware.  Most of the forum advice I've found has been about workstations, not laptops.  I was planning to look at the Dell M6600/M6700 laptops but if there are others out there (HP Elitebooks, etc.) that you think are better suited, I'd be happy to hear about them, too.


      Expected use is for medium-duty modeling (some large assemblies but nothing outrageous), heavy-duty Simulation (nonlinear, etc.), possible upgrade to Flow but I know that's a different story.


      Couple of things specifically I was hoping for advice on:

      RAM: better to have 32 GB of 1333 MHz or 16 of 1600?  Anything else I should be paying attention to (e.g. how many channels, etc.)?  Also, planning to do the DIY upgrade with good RAM to avoid paying the exorbitant Dell upgrade fees.

      HDDs: I've heard rumors of wanting a fast SSD for simulation swap space.  Is this really true if I've got a lot of RAM (32 GB of 1333 or 16 of 1600)?

      CPU: Have heard a lot of arguing about how well SW and Simulation utilize lots of cores.  As I understand it, in a laptop I won't be getting more than 4 anyway, but is there anything else I should know about them besides getting as fast a quad-core as I can?  I've heard some say that I'm better off getting a faster-clock dual-core because Simulation won't use the extra cores of a slower-clock quad, limiting performance by the clock speed.  True?  Other: some of them, for example, don't have the Intel VPro features--are they anything I'll actually miss?  Didn't seem like it to me.

      Graphics: Looks as if most of them have the Quadro 3000M or FirePro M8900, which I understand are both fine.  Big reason to go one way or the other?


      Thanks in advance for the advice.



        • Re: Upgrading laptop for Simulation, hoping for advice
          Dave Laban

          I've found some of the higher end SW Sim studies (non-linear, linear dynamic etc.) will quite happily use all 8 cores in my workstation, so as you'll be using those features I think going for more cores is going to help.  This is especially true if you're likely to go to Flow Sim, as that will use any core you can throw at it.


          Bear in mind with an SSD that SW Sim does a LOT of read/writes so typical life expectancy figures given by manufacturers may not hold true.  I've got an SSD in one of our analysis boxes as a longevity test bed, though to be honest the performance gains over a 15k rpm HDD are virtually non-existant.


          We've had no issues with the HP workstations in the office, think they're the 8470p model.

          • Re: Upgrading laptop for Simulation, hoping for advice
            Roland Schwarz

            With FEA, it seems like no matter how fast a laptop is, any similarly powered or even lesser desktop can do better.  If I was in the traveling FEA biz, I would seriously consider rigging up a "luggable" desktop station.