13 Replies Latest reply on Jun 30, 2015 2:08 PM by David Hooper

    New Tower Not Performing as expected

    Mike Ramsey

      We just purchased a new tower about 2 months back specificly for FEA and CFD to free up individual users machines for these simulation tasks. The problem is that it's taking twice as long on this computer to run simulations as it is on our standard workstations and laptops. For example I ran a test on my laptop and on the new tower; my laptop ran it in a bit over 44 minutes, the new tower took 2 hours 18 minutes. The only difference between the machines is the hardware, our IT guys have a corprate version of windows with the add-ons they require and nothing else that gets installed on every computer no matter what it is. So with that being said here are the specs of the tower:


      Dell T 7610

      Win 7 SP1 64 Bit

      Dual Xeon E5-2630 @ 2.60 GHz (Tried with hyperthreading on and off, didn't make a noticable difference)

      128 GB Ram

      SCSI Hard Drive 930GB total size, using about 500 GB

      GPU is a NVIDIA Quadro K2000


      And just for comparison my laptop specs are:

      Dell M 4700

      Win 7 SP1 64 Bit

      Intel i7-3740QM CPU @ 2.70 GHz

      GPU is a NVIDIA Quadro K2000M

        • Re: New Tower Not Performing as expected
          Scott Baugh

          And you have the correct video card driver for the Desktop? Seen an issue just yesterday, because the VC driver was never installed.


          Also I have seen the Intel HD onboard graphics cause some issues. I have it disabled in the Bios and the Intel HD card Optimus is shut down. Might be some of the problem as well.


          Personally I would have at least gone with a SSD for the main OS HDD and added the SCSI as a secondary drive.


          We have 2 BOXX PC's here strictly used for FEA and both were having some speed issues and crashing with GPU issues. BOXX sent us a replacement card that replaced our Quadro K2000, with Quadro K4000 and they are working great now. No crashing, no GPU errors. Turns out the 2000 was not large enough for the FEA software we were using.  we mainly use MSC (MARC) and Mold Flow on those PC's, but occasionally they use SW Simulation, which also crashed prior to replacing the VC.


          Message was edited by: Scott Baugh

            • Re: New Tower Not Performing as expected
              Mike Ramsey

              Interesting through on the driver. I think the video card card itself is sized ok since we have several other machines with the same one doing the same work faster.

                • Re: New Tower Not Performing as expected
                  Scott Baugh

                  I have to be honest we thought the K2000 would be sufficient since its the card we use on a majority of our laptops and most of our desktops, but it just so happened that the K4000 fixed all their issues. Not sure why, but the GPU's are not failing now and everything is working... its been quite over here ever since then... I am not complaining

                    • Re: New Tower Not Performing as expected
                      Mike Ramsey

                      Looks like the driver isn't the approved one currently listed. So that isn't helping anything that's for sure.

                        • Re: New Tower Not Performing as expected
                          John Burrill

                          Mike, your CFD and FEA calculations aren't going to use your video card, so aside of making sure you have certified drivers installed, you can't expect very much.

                          I'd put this question up in the simulation group

                          One thing to note, you mentioned you had a SCSI drive.  Do you have RAID 0 turned on for this drive?  If so, disable it, because it's wasting all of your bandwidth replicating itself.

                            • Re: New Tower Not Performing as expected
                              Mike Ramsey

                              John, I'm tending to agree that the video card shouldn't be the root cause of this but something isn't right. When I take a laptop with 100GB less RAM and a slower CPU I shouldn't be more than twice as fast as this high end PC. We spent a good chunk of change on this and want to get it working correctly.

                                • Re: New Tower Not Performing as expected
                                  Scott Baugh

                                  Have you tried contacting your sales Manager @ Dell and get their response to why its running slow? Maybe they forgot to install one of the CPU's... I know you think that sounds unlikely, but we got a Lenovo Desktop where they forgot to install the 2nd CPU.

                                    • Re: New Tower Not Performing as expected
                                      Mike Ramsey

                                      Well I can see 24 CPUs active when I pull up the task manager.


                                      I've got the same simulation running after the video card driver has been updated. Just passed the 45 minute mark and it still sitting there. One thing that's interesting is that it doen't seem to be trying very hard to solve. The CPU usage is at 3-6% and I'm using 10GB of memory. I've noticed a similar issue when running CFD on the tower that it doesn't ever seem to be taxing the CPUs at all but when I run simulations on my laptop it really pushes the CPU cores.

                                        • Re: New Tower Not Performing as expected
                                          Russ Johnston

                                          Try running this simulation benchmark on the 2 machines. SolidWorks Simulation Benchmark V3


                                          Check your Solidworks settings against the benchmark settings.  It may be that your 2 systems are different.  Specifically look at the setting in the image below...it can make a huge difference in solve time.


                                          Setup 04.png

                                          • Re: New Tower Not Performing as expected
                                            Alan Sweetenham

                                            Not all Simulations will tax more than say 6-8 physical cores although things have improved with recent releases.

                                            You have 12 physical cores however in my experience and the testing i have seen returns tend to diminish at some point between 4- 8 cores for most problems using SolidWorks simulation or Flow Simulation unless you run multiple studies at once.


                                            See here



                                            Things are improving as far as multi core support though.





                                            The key thing as far as i can see is that the i7 laptop can turbo boost upto 3.5Ghz for 4 active cores (8 threads) 3.6Ghz for 2 Cores and 3.7Ghz for one core.


                                            Presuming you have the latest v2 version of the Xeon E5-2630 this has a max turbo speed of 3.1Ghz, that as far as i am aware would be for 1 core. I would guess the max turbo for all six cores would be 2.9Ghz-3Ghz.


                                            This actually puts the e5 12 core CPU at a considerable disadvantage for most problems i think. I know its not what you want to hear but i have to answer this kind of question frequently (i work for a UK VAR) and this is my suspicion here.


                                            My quick calculation when recommending more than quad core is number of cores x CPU speed. Or more accurately number of cores x max turbo speed for all cores. I have the intel turbo boost monitor on my M6700 and find it runs at max turbo alot of the time when doing renders, simulation, crtl+ q etc.




                            • Re: New Tower Not Performing as expected
                              Anna Wood

                              What are the Power Settings on your systems in the Windows Control Panel.  By default Windows will install with a Balanced Power setting.  You will want to change it to High Performance.


                              I also think you do not have the best cpu.  Is it a generation V1 or a V2 generation?  It should be a V2 version at a higher clock speed. 6-8 physicals cores seems to be a sweet spot.  I was really impressed with the Boxx systems we benchmarked for our SWW2014 presentation.  Core i7-4770K @ 4.3 Ghz and a dual socket Xeon E5-2680 V2 at stock speeds. You can see the results at http://www.swtuts.com/?p=758


                              You need to be on SW2014 latest SP to take advantage of the improvements that are in SolidWorks in these areas.


                              Personally, I think your IT guys went for a lower cost options with CPU choice thinking all the lower speed cores would make up the difference.  For SolidWorks clock speed is king.





                              • Re: New Tower Not Performing as expected
                                Mike Ramsey

                                Thanks for the feedback everybody. I ran the benchmark on both systems and one of our older towers after going though and making a bunch of changes to settings based on something put together by CATI. I got the benchmark times as follows

                                Tower 769 sec

                                Laptop 820 sec

                                Random Tower 1026 sec.


                                I've got the IT guys checking into replacing the dual CPUs with a single faster one. I went back and I'd originally asked for a single Xeon at 3.3GHz and I got two at 2.3GHz.