6 7 8 9 10 273 Replies Latest reply on Jan 5, 2015 9:33 AM by Charles Culp Go to original post
      • 105. Re: February 2013 Suggested Computer Specs
        Peter Medina

        Sorry for the super ugly post.  But having a microcenter around does make it easy for anyone on a budget.  you can take an extra $35 off this after rebates.




        Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB DDR3-1600 PC3-12800) CCrucial Ballistix Sport 8GB DDR3-1600 PC3-12800) C
        SKU: 211334



        Intel Core i5 3570K 3.4GHz LGA 1155 ProcessorIntel Core i5 3570K 3.4GHz LGA 1155 Processor
        SKU: 425470



        Gigabyte GA-Z77-DS3H LGA 1155 Z77 ATX Intel MotherGigabyte GA-Z77-DS3H LGA 1155 Z77 ATX Intel Mother
        SKU: 401042


        Toshiba 1TB 7,200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal HToshiba 1TB 7,200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal H
        SKU: 981829


        Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-bit OEMMicrosoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-bit OEM
        SKU: 419655



        MSI Raptor ATX Mid Tower Computer CaseMSI Raptor ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
        SKU: 094011
        after Rebate





        Thermaltake Water 2.0 Performer Closed-Loop LiquidThermaltake Water 2.0 Performer Closed-Loop Liquid
        SKU: 612945




        Thermaltake TR2 Series 600 Watt ATX Power SupplyThermaltake TR2 Series 600 Watt ATX Power Supply
        SKU: 517797
        after Rebate



        • 106. Re: February 2013 Suggested Computer Specs
          Charles Culp



          The current solver stops benefiting with more than about 4 cores. With my benchmark it actually had worse performance with 16 cores than it did with 4. Is this typical for all simulation runs? Maybe/possibly/probably not. However, it can be stated that there is negligible benefit from high-core machines.


          This is not true for all solvers, there are some (ANSYS) that will improve performance with each core. So with the newer release (SW2014) hopefully we will see better utilization of more cores. SolidWorks has not released specifics, so we will just have to sit and wait, but it should be beneficial.

          • 107. Re: February 2013 Suggested Computer Specs
            Charles Culp



            That is a junky power supply. I strongly suggest something of higher quality.


            Your best bet is the Antec here:

            Antec High Current Gamer 620 Watt ATX Modular...




            after rebate $79.99

            Or for a few bucks less, this Corsair is acceptable:

            Corsair Builder Series CX600 600 Watt ATX 12V...




            after rebate $54.99


            If it was my computer, I would buck up the cash for the Antec (and if you follow my threads, you know I am cheap).


            Also, even for a home PC, I would at least get a small SSD boot drive. You could get an mSSD and use Intel Smart Response Technology to use it as a small temporary storage, but it looks like this is not cost effective anymore. This is the cheapest mSSD I could find: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820167143. So at $60, you might as well just get a real SSD boot drive, like this one from microcenter: http://www.microcenter.com/product/364541/m4_CT064M4SSD2_64GB_SATA_60Gb-s_25_Internal_Solid_State_Drive_(SSD)_with_Marvell_Controller

            • 108. Re: February 2013 Suggested Computer Specs
              Mark Hillman



              I completely agree with everything you say,though I might add one thing if I may;


              Not to knock the Corsair CX series, it's a good budget psu, but that's all it is as you alluded to. For the same price (albeit before rebate) you could have this:


              SeaSonic S12II 520 Bronze 520W ATX12V V2.3 / EPS 12V V2.91 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply

              • Model#: S12II 520 Bronze
              • Item#: N82E16817151094
              • Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
              • Price: $84.99
              • Sale Price: $64.99



              That's a better quality unit with a 5yr warranty vs 3yr, 105c Japanese capacitors vs 85c Chinese on the Corsair.


              Peter, along with the SSD, you might also want to consider an optical drive and a graphics card (assuming you don't already have them).

              • 109. Re: February 2013 Suggested Computer Specs
                Peter Medina

                Charles- Thanks for the PSU recommendation.  I don't remember which one I picked up for this basic build, so I just posted that one for illustration purposes.  I wantedt to put this up really to show that you can get some decent computing power these days on the cheap.


                Mark- Good points on that PSU.  I really didn't know what to consider on the PSU besides the power rating, but that is good to know.


                As far as the water cooler goes, forget the naysayers online that contend that these boxed closed-loop water coolers are not much better than the air-coolers.  I'm running that exact Thermaltake unit.  For $59, it is way quieter than any all-air unit and drops the temps significantly from the box CPU cooler from Intel.  I took a pic of the difference in contact area between the box Intel cooler and the water block. The Thermaltake is the only unit that comes with two fans for the radiator at that price point.  Using the "canned" overclocking, I'm running an i5-3570K at 4.2 Ghz and only 60c for temps. 




                • 110. Re: February 2013 Suggested Computer Specs
                  Mark Hillman

                  Peter, It seems a common problem that there is little information available to assist in selecting a PSU and what is available is often not trustworthy. It also doesn’t help that people regularly seem to underestimate the importantance of using a good PSU. A poor unit has the possibility to cause damage to all other components within your PC, as well as causing difficult to trace errors and problems.




                  With a CPU for example all you need is number of cores/threads, clock speed and ipc to have a good understanding of how it will perform, and you can generally trust that this information is accurate. With most PSU’s you get max rated power, 80 plus efficiency rating and max amperage rating per individual rail. Of these, the max amperage on the 12V rail/s is the most important factor to consider.




                  The total maximum power a PSU is rated at only gives you a vague idea of what the 12V rail/s are capable of. On top of this, many manufacturers are guilty of overstating their product’s max power rating. This habit is not restricted to cheap Chinese brands as you might expect, Coolermaster are infamous for this, see an example here: http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Cooler-Master-Elite-Power-460-W-Power-Supply-Review/1005/7 . Sometimes a manufacturer will even go in the other direction and underrate their product, for example the Corsair VX450 was exactly the same as the Antec Earthwatts 500 except for improved capacitors. And the Antec was already a good unit.




                  As for the 80 plus qualification, that should be considered as a very rough guide if at all. I generally ignore it. It is solely a measure of efficiency, which while nice, is only a small part of the picture. Though one credit I would note is that high efficiency is usually a sign that the PSU has active PFC, which is a desirable feature and one normally associated with better quality units. I’ll also point out the tests for this qualification are carried out at 25°c, this is unrealistic and efficiency at a normal operating temp of 40-50° can vary greatly. Here’s an example that carries 80 plus gold but isn’t worth your money: http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=Story5&reid=243




                  So this leaves you with the max current ratings per rail and this is what you want to pay attention to. First check the 12V rating in comparison to the 5V rating. If the 5V is unusually high, you’re looking at an older design unit from when 5V was the main supply for major components. Leave it alone. It’s the amperage on the 12V rail/s that you need to be concerned with, some PSU’s have multiple 12V rails in which case you can simply add them together to ensure that it meets your needs.




                  The other consideration you should have when selecting a PSU (besides ensuring it has sufficient cables for your needs) is the manufacturer, not all PSU’s are built the same. Selecting one from a good manufacturer will improve the chance of it having features such as protection circuitry, active PFC, stable voltages, minimal ripple and noise, Japanese 105°c capacitors, quality soldering, extended warranty, etc. This is not an exhaustive list, just a couple of the most common reliable ones that I would advise sticking to:




                  These guys build some of the best PSU’s on the market:






                  These ones design their own units and outsource the manufacturing:



                  PC P&C




                  And XFX who don’t even bother designing anything, they just stick a new label on Seasonic units




                  Also others such as OCZ and Rosewell though it can be a bit hit and miss depending on the model.




                  Wow sorry, that got a lot longer than I intended it to be. Please be aware that this still only barely scratches the surface. I haven’t  touched on things like modular vs non-modular, etc and there are many points I’ve left out or missed. I hope it’s still of some help.




                  Edit: Also, wrt your comment on the closed liquid cooler; Are you comparing it to the stock Intel heaksink or a large tower cooler of the same value?

                  • 111. Re: February 2013 Suggested Computer Specs
                    Patrick Hunter

                    I have used this list for years with success. Even within brands the PSU components can vary, sometimes hugely to hit certain price points and market segments. Not exhaustive but as a guide it is very handy: http://www.eggxpert.com/forums/thread/323050.aspx

                    • 112. Re: February 2013 Suggested Computer Specs
                      Peter Medina

                      First let me say that if any value has come out of this thread, it is in pure productivity for us.  Even though the main goal of my exercise was to improve simulations, there are gains everywhere in SWX.  With this new "test" machine one of the processes in totality of all operations that literally took 2 hours to do, building a heat exchanger, is now down to minutes (C2Q to overclocked i5).  This was an exercise worth it's time.  I fortunately had a little luxury in my time to investigate this vs just buying something off the shelf.  There is plenty of respect to go around for the Boxx and Xi guys for taking the time to build machines that can do it better off the shelf.


                      I think what I find interesting is just how specialized a Solidworks CAD machine really needs to be in order to optimize performance.  So from this thread, I know what to look for in a build without spending money unnecessarily on Gamer features that don't deliver on SWX performance.  You honestly don't need SLI, 4x PCI 3.0 16, or the power requirements for it etc. to improve your operational quality in SWX.  And 20 seconds here and there for every operation does add up, trust me.  Ditch that 5 yr old box because you're wasting time like we were.


                      Mark- awesome info on the PSUs.  And for the cooler, I'm comparing to the stock cooler for performance for the money ~$50 is nothing to get the low performance temps without having to build some complicated custom water cooling for gaming.  Idle temps have dropped almost 20c and full load (IBT, Prime95) have dropped just as much.  And for the sanity check on noise, I'll take this over a loud air fan heatsink any day.

                      • 113. Re: February 2013 Suggested Computer Specs
                        Charles Culp

                        Intel Haswell release date confirmed for June




                        By Nicole Kobie

                        Posted on 26 Apr 2013 at 17:41

                        Intel will launch its Haswell processors at Computex on 3 June, the company has cryptically confirmed.

                        Intel posted a Twitter update this afternoon, which promised the 4th Generation Intel Core Processor will arrive in 3,337,200,000,000,000 nanoseconds.

                        According to Wolfram Alpha, that means the processors will drop on Monday 3 June - a day ahead of the official opening of Computex. Indeed, some sources are reporting the launch date will be 4 June.

                        Read more: Intel Haswell release date confirmed for June | News | PC Pro http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/381070/intel-haswell-release-date-confirmed-for-june#ixzz2Rfywa8sE



                        So if you want to wait for the next generation Intel chips, wait until after June. Realize, that if you want to buy from Dell/HP/Lenovo/Boxx, you will probably have to wait a few more, or maybe even many more, months until this is available. Sometimes they don't update the workstations/Xeon chips for a good 6 months+ after the release of the consumer grade chips.


                        I will be building myself a new home system in late June/early July with a new haswell chip (Core i5-4670K, 3.4 GHz base, 3.8 GHz turbo). Although, early reports state that the haswell chips are only going to have a modest increase in speed for power users. They will offer great benefits for laptops and tablets and other low-power devices. So what we can really hope is that the efficiencies in the new design allow for higher clock speeds from the factory. It would be nice if Intel would sell haswells with 4GHz+ of clock speed, perhaps later in the release cycle.


                        The soon-to-be-released Xeon E3-1285v3 will run at 3.6 GHz, with 4.0 GHz turbo will start getting us close. It will even sell with the HD P4600 (GT2) integrated graphics, which hopes to be faster than the current base-level video from the discreet card manufacturers (AMD and NVIDIA). So maybe no more video cards for SolidWorks users. By tradition, this chip will probably sell for $1,000, but there should hopefully be a ~$300 version slightly slower. The Xeon E3-1245v3 will run at 3.4 GHz wit 3.8 GHz turbo, and the chip it succeeds sells for about ~$300. So this is likely the chip I will suggest. It comes with the same integrated video.


                        If you are contemplating buying a PC today, consider this new chip. Don't expect a huge difference, but if you can wait a few months it might be worth it. Again, the speed increase is anticipated to be less than a 10% bump for SolidWorks; but you can bet I'll have the numbers as soon as they can be tested.

                        • 114. Re: February 2013 Suggested Computer Specs
                          Stanley Beebe

                          Wow, certainly a lot to think about.


                          I currently have a Dell T3500 with a Xeon W3530 2.8GHz, 4gb ram, that runs the Punchholder at around 70s.


                          I do modeling and FEA, and spend a fair amount of time waiting for Simulation. I have received budget approval for a new system.


                          It has been proposed that I stay with Dell because of warranty, etc. I could talk them into letting me build my own machine and that's where I have a couple questions.


                          The Dell option is a T3600 Xeon E5-1620 (4-cores, 8-threads, 3.6GHz, 3.8 GHz turbo)


                          My home-built would be either the i5-3570k or i7-3770k (4-cores, 8-threads, 3.4 GHz, 3.9GHz turbo)


                          I don't do any rendering, and assembly sizes are generally under 500 parts, so I guess I'm having trouble deciding if the off-the-shelf Dell will be worth the cost as far as productivity, or is it worth the trouble of building and overclocking the machine myself??


                          How are Simulation run times best reduced? Increased CPU speed alone?


                          How dependent is Simulation on choice of graphics card? As suggested, I was looking at the v4900 and the W5000 from ATI.


                          I noticed that the Xeon has twice the memory bandwidth VS the i7 (51.2 GB/s VS 25.6 GB/s) and also twice the power draw (130W TDP vs 77W), but I don't know how these relate to real-life performance.


                          I'm having a hard time choosing. Any suggestions?



                          • 115. Re: February 2013 Suggested Computer Specs
                            Peter Medina



                            I really don't know how much we can trust traditional benchmark numbers and specs when it comes to SWX.  On paper it all makes sense right?  Xeon 2x the memory bandwidth, 4 channel controller, etc.  But in practice it is all very specific to which version SWX you're running and what functions you're looking to do.  From what I see, clock speed is everything.


                            In my opinion, this is what the decision tree looks like around the processor:

                            1. Any version Solidworks = Get the highest clock speed (Ghz)
                            2. SWX version = up to 2012 = look to #1
                            3. SWX version = 2013 up = Highest clock speed + 4 cores
                            4. SWX version = 2014 up = 4< or more cores + #1


                            Seeing as how you can't overclock the Xeon's I don't think there's tons of headroom there for future versions of SWX, even just up to 2013.  You'll always be married to whatever clock you have now, frozen in time if you will. 


                            The main thing I learned is not to get fooled by the max turbo Ghz, that only applies to one core.  When all 4 cores on a Xeon or locked CPU are being used, you are down to the nearly the lowest operating frequency.  Right now, I have an i5-3570 running all 4 cores @ 4.2 Ghz, very stable, off-the-shelf cooling.  I don't think more cache or more threads will even help.  Keep these numbers in mind: Without any overclocking, running Ana's punch tool benchmark on the aforementioned i5-3570K yields about 57s @3.8 Ghz, and Overclocked to 4.4 Ghz gets it down to 51.6s.  Compare that result against everything else on Anna's list and it simply doesn't follow the logic of traditional benchmarks.  BTW, I've picked up components for a second build, where my goal is to get 4 cores 4.7-5 Ghz stable 24/7.  I honestly don't know what benefit even an i7-3770k will bring at this point vs an i5-3570k.


                            I think that the conclusions from this blog is pretty spot on and more pertinent to SWX work http://blog.cati.com/2013/03/free-solidworks-from-performance-constraints-fswpc-13-1.html

                            • 116. Re: February 2013 Suggested Computer Specs
                              Charles Culp



                              The Dell option is not a bad choice, though it will have the same speed as the Dell I seleted above (T1650). Yet it is much more expensive.


                              To respond to Peter's question about Core i7-3770K vs Core i5-3570K, there will be a 20-30% reduction in rendering times (depending on the model) with PhotoView 360 when using the hyperthreading enabled i7. SolidWorks rebuilds will take the same amount of time.



                              Stanley Beebe wrote:


                              I don't do any rendering, and assembly sizes are generally under 500 parts, so I guess I'm having trouble deciding if the off-the-shelf Dell will be worth the cost as far as productivity, or is it worth the trouble of building and overclocking the machine myself??


                              How are Simulation run times best reduced? Increased CPU speed alone?


                              How dependent is Simulation on choice of graphics card? As suggested, I was looking at the v4900 and the W5000 from ATI.

                              - You will see a 30% speed increase if you can overclock to 4.5 GHz. Proceed at your own risk. (Boxx and @Xi come with warranties at 4.5GHz+)


                              - Simulation is mostly tied to CPU, and SW2013 currently utilizes 4 cores well, but not much more


                              - Static Simulation does not require a fancy video card. Playback of Flow Simulation will, so if that is a concern of yours, consider the W5000. If you don't do large flow simulations, or you don't require good quality visual feedback, then stick with the v4900.

                              • 117. Re: February 2013 Suggested Computer Specs
                                Peter Medina

                                Charles- Good to know on the i5-3570k vs i7-3770k.


                                On the topic of power supplies, is there such a thing for SWX users as paying for Watts you'll never use?  It isn't as though we'll be running workstations with 4 video cards in SLI or 7 hard drives that require 1000W.  With the power requirements for the CPU going down, it seems like running a high quality 400W PSU will support a couple drives and a Quadro/FirePro.


                                It would be nice if SW would certify the Intel HD/IGP drivers for Realview, or some special drivers so that more money could go to CPU and RAM.

                                • 118. Re: February 2013 Suggested Computer Specs
                                  Russ Johnston



                                  Check out this thread for Simulation benchmark results.



                                  • 119. Re: February 2013 Suggested Computer Specs
                                    Shawn Littrell

                                    Hi Charles,

                                    These posts are great. I've been a long time Mac user, but I would really like to run a dedicated PC for Solidworks 2013 and Bunkspeed Shot. I render fairly basic assemblies, anywhere from 1 - 100 part assemblies. 

                                    Shot is suggesting I use a Nvidia Quadro 4000-6000, or GeForce 660-670.

                                    Shall I stick with your first build recommendation from Newegg or should I find a build that uses Shot's recommendation?

                                    Since I'm a novice to PC's I have been looking at prebuilt configurations. The ones I found running these higher end Nvidia cards mostly use a Intel® Xeon® Processor E5-1620 and these are priced in the 2k range.

                                    I would like to keep the price under $1700 with monitor. Any help would be great.

                                    Thank you.

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