Yes, where the files reside makes a big difference-which is one of the reasons most PDM systems serve controlled copies of files to a local storage location. SolidWorks loads and re-reads the assembly and each component in it several times in an editing session and your ethernet cable can be a huge bottleneck for the software-especially if you're running other programs or streaming media through it at the same tiime. It's not to say that it can't be done, but you have to have fiber optic cables and switches and they need to be reserved for the engineering department.
I suggest conducting an experiment to see if you can speed up load, save and editing performance by copying files from your server to your workstation and then doing a comparrison load directly off the server.
Identify an assembly that's a good representation of the size and complexity you work with on a daily basis. Open it off of the server and note the load time. Goto the File pulldown menu and select "Pack and Go" and use that utility to copy the assembly tree to a location on your local machine. At that point, close SolidWorks and restart it (to flush the network-loaded assembly from memory) and open the local copy of the assembly. That should give you a good idea of whether network bandwidth is your issue.
Oh, one last thing. Before opening the local assembly, you want to make sure this check-box is populated
-and that the "referenced documents" search path in the "File Locations" panel does not have any network paths listed.
I will speak to our IT Guy about this. We are a small company so there are only 6 people working on computers and generally it is only documents they are accessing on the server. So it is not like a big company where there are 100's of people using the same lines and the server is less then 10 Feet from my desk.
I think that the majority of my parts are very low complexity. I am using SW for an architectural based application so a lot of things like lumber, plywood, and metal that are basically just LxWxD. No surface modelling, very few fillets/chamfers/lofts/sweeps etc.
I try to use assemblies when ever possible, but I end up adding a quite a few parts at the end to the top level. I do a lot of assembly cuts as well. I know this is generally not the best practice, but I would end up with almost double the parts that I would have to create to accomadate otherwise.
John has given you good advice. You need to figure out where the slow down is occurring. Is it model open, model regen, etc. Once you have figured that out we can offer better advice on what you may need to do.
There are tools in SolidWorks that may help you. Tools > Assembly Xpert and Tools > Assembly Visualization
In Assembly Visualization you can add columns. Add one for SW-Rebuild to see which parts are the most resource intense for rebuilds.
I am going to guess your assembly cuts could be causing some problems.
Also get your SolidWorks Reseller involved. They can help work through any issues. Maybe have them visit or do a webex so they can see your modeling techniques and help with optimization.
In retrospect I think I should have phrased my question better. It is not so much regen time. It is more when I am adding more items to my assembly and constraining them that I see the biggest lag. At the start of the assy it is quite fast, but as the assy gets larger (this one now has nearly 3000 parts) it slows considerably. The initial opening of the file can take several minutes. Opening any drawings associated with the assembly takes several minutes as well. I guess that the lag is also just due to the sheer amount of componets as well.
I agree that some of has to do with how I am modelling as I am fairly new to solidworks and I find better ways to do things each day!! For my next project I am going to try to reduce some of the assembly cuts in my top level assembly and see if that helps. I am the only user in my company and I have been after the IT guy to get the solidworks PDM up and running for me, but he has had some issues with getting it to run on our server, so I will have to see if I can get him back to getting that running for me and hopefully that will help as well.
I ran the visualization and there is only one larger subassembly that are taking up larger portions of regen time (23.83) and the rest of the values are quite small. I don't think that this the regen time for that one assy is anything out of the oridinary though (it is almost 300 components). It is my floor assembly, so it contains things like joists, plywood, joist hangers, heat ducts and gas lines.
I think I have to work on getting my bosses to spring for the large assembly course as well!!
When you open your large assemblies keep an eye on the Loading Dialog.
While your part is loading does that dialog box stay up a long time? Stop watch that dialog box. That will tell you how long it takes to access the files from your server. SolidWorks is getting the files and bringing them across the network to load into RAM on your computer.
After the files are accessed you also want to stop watch how long it takes for you to be able to work with the model on screen.
This will give you an idea of which part of the process you are waiting for. Network speed to move the files from the network to RAM compared to speed to regen the assembly so you can work with it.
More parts longer times to load. Good modeling techniques, good use of sub-assemblies helps here.
The FirePro V3800 is probably a bit weak of a video card for what you are doing. That is bottom, entry level for a CAD card. You CPU is not bad. There are faster CPU's, but yours is not to old and should be fine with good modeling technique.