Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Processors’

Cadalyst Systems Benchmark, Part 1: Evaluate and Compare Workstations Running AutoCAD

August 16, 2011 3 comments

Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary lists one definition for benchmark as: a standardized problem or test that serves as a basis for evaluation or comparison.

The Cadalyst Systems Benchmark is designed to help you evaluate and compare the performance of workstations running AutoCAD. Comparing the performance scores between workstations (or different configurations) will help you make intelligent choices when purchasing a new computer or upgrading an existing one.

The Cadalyst Systems Benchmark reports a total index score and four component index scores keyed to specific performance areas, as well as individual numbers for each subroutine of the test. Note: the index numbers are simply a ratio of the base time for an operation compared to the current test time for an operation. Larger index numbers indicate better performance.

Total Index: This is an average of the four component indexes: It gives a quick look at the overall performance for a workstation. The Total Index score is the number we focus on for our reviews, but you can dig a little deeper for additional performance information relevant to your specific requirements.

3D Graphics Index: This is closely tied to a workstation’s graphics card. Depending on the rendering mode you typically use when working with 3D models in AutoCAD, you may want to focus on just one of the 3D graphics subcategories: Wireframe, Hidden, Conceptual, and Realistic. If you don’t work with 3D models, you can safely ignore this index all together.

2D Graphics Index: This measures more than just 2D graphics performance: It effectively measures all onscreen performance that does not involve rendering a 3D model. This component of the test creates, copies, blocks, moves, arrays, changes layers, changes colors, explodes, and erases three different types of objects: orthogonal lines, radial polylines, and text. Zoom and Pan commands are sprinkled throughout each test. Don’t pay any attention to the individual subcategories for this one, what matters is the total score.

Disk Index: This measures a workstation’s performance for reading and writing files to the hard drive. Most of the drives on the market today provide similar performance. What will make a big difference is having a pair of drives in a RAID 0 configuration. For RAID 0, file operations are simultaneously split between the two drives, nearly doubling performance.

CPU Index: This gauges the performance of the central processing unit at the heart of each workstation. It has proven to be an accurate measure of relative performance, especially with the turbo-mode of the new generation CPUs.

Cadalyst Systems Benchmark Results Page

Cadalyst Systems Benchmark Results Page

Next time, we’ll discuss the operation of the Cadalyst Systems Benchmark in some detail.

Author: Art Liddle

TwitterChat Archive: SolidWorks Optimization with Josh Mings, SolidSmack

August 1, 2011 Leave a comment

SolidWorks Optimization with Josh Mings

by cadalyst_mag

Dell- and Cadalyst-Sponsored TwitterChat abput optimizing your system for SolidWorks.
RT @DellEnterprise: Live #CAD chat! Join Dell, @Cadalyst_Mag, & @SolidSmack at #DellCAD, Thursday 4pm East. Info- http://del.ly/6019Rzi5

Robinson11976


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July 28, 2011

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RT @Cadalyst_Mag: Using #SolidWorks? Join our @SolidSmack TwitterChat today 3pm CST #dellcad http://t.co/3juQzy1

SolidSmack


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July 28, 2011

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RT @SolidSmack: RT @Cadalyst_Mag: Using #SolidWorks? Join our @SolidSmack TwitterChat today 3pm CST #dellcad http://t.co/3juQzy1

bcbenton


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July 28, 2011

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Do you use SolidWorks? Join our chat with @SolidSmack & @Cadalyst_Mag that starts –in just 3 hours– using #DellCAD http://del.ly/6012RzUe

DellSMBnews


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July 28, 2011

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RT @DellSMBnews: Do you use SolidWorks? Join our chat with @SolidSmack & @Cadalyst_Mag that starts –in just 3 hours– using #DellCAD http://del.ly/6012RzUe

DanitaBlackwood


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July 28, 2011

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RT @DellSMBnews: Join us, @SolidSmack and @Cadalyst_Mag TODAY at 3pm Central for a TwitterChat on #SolidWorks. Hastag = #DellCAD http://del.ly/6012Rzmu

LaurenatDell


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July 28, 2011

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RT @DellSMBnews: Join us, @SolidSmack and @Cadalyst_Mag TODAY at 3pm Central for a TwitterChat on #SolidWorks. Hastag = #DellCAD http://del.ly/6012Rzmu

LPT


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July 28, 2011

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RT: Do you use SolidWorks? Join our chat with @SolidSmack & @Cadalyst_Mag that starts –in just 3 hours– using #DellCAD http://t.co/vY2U7gd

DellChannel


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July 28, 2011

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RT @DellSMBnews: Join us, @SolidSmack and @Cadalyst_Mag TODAY at 3pm Central for a TwitterChat on #SolidWorks. Hastag = #DellCAD http://del.ly/6012Rzmu

DellSmbUS


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July 28, 2011

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#DellCAD TwitterChat in 1 hour with @SolidSmack: Performance optimization with #SolidWorks. http://t.co/3juQzy1

Cadalyst_Mag


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July 28, 2011

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30 min until our tweetchat w/ @SolidSmack & @Cadalyst_Mag to talk SolidWorks performance & workstations. #DellCAD http://del.ly/6011RzSt

DellSMBnews


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July 28, 2011

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RT @DellSMBnews: 30 min until our tweetchat w/ @SolidSmack & @Cadalyst_Mag to talk SolidWorks performance & workstations. #DellCAD http://del.ly/6011RzSt

digitalworldsam


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July 28, 2011

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20 minutes till @joshmings fills your tweet stream with sweet #SolidWorks Performance Q&A. Grab a ham and follow #DellCAD @Cadalyst_Mag

SolidSmack


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July 28, 2011

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Live Twitter chat on CAD starting now! See #DellCAD to join in the conversation.

DellEnterprise


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July 28, 2011

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#DellCAD TweetChat in 5 min with @SolidSmack. Grab a cup of coffee and let’s talk #SolidWorks. http://t.co/3juQzy1

Cadalyst_Mag


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July 28, 2011

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Twitter chat with @solidsmack starting in 4 minutes. Shantanu Kedar from the SolidWorks Partner Team will be helping out on our end #DellCAD

SolidWorks


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July 28, 2011

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getting ready to hang with @joshmings to chat about SolidWorks performance and workstations – join #DellCAD (I’ll be there as @DellSMBnews)

LPT


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July 28, 2011

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RT: @DellEnterprise Live Twitter chat on CAD starting now! See #DellCAD to join in the conversation.

DellChannel


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July 28, 2011

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Welcome to the #DellCAD TwitterChat with @SolidSmack. We’re talking about #SolidWorks optimization right now.

Cadalyst_Mag


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July 28, 2011

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I’m Michelle with @Cadalyst_Mag. Please use #DellCAD to follow along as we chat with Josh Mings of @SolidSmack about #SolidWorks.

Cadalyst_Mag


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July 28, 2011

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One of Cadalyst’s favorite bloggers, Josh Mings @SolidSmack is ready for your questions. Use #DellCAD to ask a ?.

Cadalyst_Mag


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July 28, 2011

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We’re excited to be partnering with @CADalyst_Mag and @SolidSmack today to talk workstations and SolidWorks performance at #DellCAD!

DellSMBnews


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July 28, 2011

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Want to optimize the gravy bits out of #SolidWorks on your workstation? Tell us your story at #DellCAD right about… now.

SolidSmack


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July 28, 2011

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Please introduce yourself at any time in the conversation by using the #DellCAD hashtag.

Cadalyst_Mag


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July 28, 2011

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#DellCAD tweetchat starting now. Join the discussion about optimizing your workstation performance for #SolidWorks

LaurenatDell


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July 28, 2011

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Remember to use #DellCAD in your tweets to join in the conversation about optimizing #SolidWorks.

Cadalyst_Mag


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July 28, 2011

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My favorite way to optimize SolidWorks? Smart modeling practice – minimize external ref, reduce relations, complex features last #DellCAD

SolidSmack


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July 28, 2011

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checking out #DellCAD looking forward to what Josh has to say
John

waldenweb


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July 28, 2011

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RT @Cadalyst_Mag: I’m Michelle with @Cadalyst_Mag. Please use #DellCAD to follow along as we chat with Josh Mings of @SolidSmack about #SolidWorks.

bcbenton


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July 28, 2011

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RT @LaurenatDell: #DellCAD tweetchat starting now. Join the discussion about optimizing your workstation performance for #SolidWorks

bcbenton


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July 28, 2011

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@waldenweb nice to see ya John. How’s the SolidWorks performance these days? #DellCAD

SolidSmack


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July 28, 2011

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Jumping into TwitterChat now w/ @SolidSmack #DellCAD – I’m mostly a PDM/PLM guy, but Josh is 2 cool to miss and I’ve been a SWX fan for yrs

jonathanpscott


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July 28, 2011

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#SolidWorks optimization on the hardware side? Maximize CPU speed. You’ll be glad you did. #DellCAD

SolidSmack


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July 28, 2011

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RT @jonathanpscott: Jumping into TwitterChat now w/ @SolidSmack #DellCAD – I’m mostly a PDM/PLM guy, but Josh is 2 cool to miss and I’ve been a SWX fan for yrs

DellSMBnews


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July 28, 2011

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RT @LaurenatDell: #DellCAD tweetchat starting now. Join the discussion about optimizing your workstation performance for #SolidWorks

CamilleATX


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July 28, 2011

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How do you optimize file colaboration with Solidworks? #DellCAD

bcbenton


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July 28, 2011

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RT @SolidSmack: #SolidWorks optimization on the hardware side? Maximize CPU speed. You’ll be glad you did. #DellCAD

DellSMBnews


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July 28, 2011

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#DellCAD: Josh, we’ve got a reader who needs to upgrade to run the latest #SolidWorks. What do you recommend?

Cadalyst_Mag


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July 28, 2011

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RT @LPT: getting ready to hang with @joshmings to chat about SolidWorks performance and workstations – join #DellCAD

JohnEvansDesign


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July 28, 2011

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Running SW2010 on Windows 7 64bit with 8G Ram, working pretty well #DellCAD

waldenweb


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July 28, 2011

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If upgrading to SolidWorks 2011, go Windows 7 64bit, 6GB RAM minimum (It’s cheap!), 1GB graphics card is nice too. @Cadalyst_Mag #DellCAD

SolidSmack


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July 28, 2011

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Ooh, question about #SolidWorks file collaboration optimization on #DellCAD – now you’ve got my full attention!

jonathanpscott


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July 28, 2011

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RT @Cadalyst_Mag: #DellCAD: Josh, we’ve got a reader who needs to upgrade to run the latest #SolidWorks. What do you recommend?

DellSMBnews


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July 28, 2011

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RT @johnevansdesign: RT @LPT: getting ready to hang with @joshmings to chat about SolidWorks performance and workstations – join #DellCAD

bcbenton


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July 28, 2011

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RT @Cadalyst_Mag: One of Cadalyst’s favorite bloggers, Josh Mings @SolidSmack is ready for your questions. Use #DellCAD to ask a ?.

olegshilovitsky


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July 28, 2011

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@waldenweb – 8GB of RAM — worth it, you think? I believe the more RAM, the better. #DellCAD

Cadalyst_Mag


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July 28, 2011

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@bcbenton file collaboration: two ways – 1) work off network with established file name convention #DellCAD

SolidSmack


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July 28, 2011

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RT @SolidSmack: If upgrading to SolidWorks 2011, go Windows 7 64bit, 6GB RAM minimum (It’s cheap!), 1GB graphics card is nice too. @Cadalyst_Mag #DellCAD

DellSMBnews


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July 28, 2011

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@bcbenton file collaboration (cont) 2) invest in PDM system. sad but true with that. pricey but worth it for med to large company. #DellCAD

SolidSmack


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July 28, 2011

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On the @solidsmack tweet stream listening to @joshmings #SolidWorks performance Q&A #dellcad

olegshilovitsky


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July 28, 2011

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RT @SolidSmack: If upgrading to SolidWorks 2011, go Windows 7 64bit, 6GB RAM minimum (It’s cheap!), 1GB graphics card is nice too. @Cadalyst_Mag #DellCAD

Lanett78


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July 28, 2011

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@Cadalyst_Mag – your reader that is upgrading might find our workstation advisor tool helpful, too: http://del.ly/6011RztB #DellCAD

DellSMBnews


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July 28, 2011

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RT @JohnEvansDesign: RT @LPT: getting ready to hang with @joshmings to chat about SolidWorks performance and workstations – join #DellCAD

vzinkus


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July 28, 2011

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I like answer #2 to @bcbenton question on SWX file collaboration – use PDM if you can afford it. You get collab AND other benefits #DellCAD

jonathanpscott


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July 28, 2011

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Did you know Dell Precision workstations are specifically designed for professionals like those of you who use #SolidWorks? #DellCAD

DellSMBnews


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July 28, 2011

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@Cadalyst_Mag @waldenweb running one rig with 2 Processors and 24GB of RAM…. wooooow, worth it. #DellCAD

SolidSmack


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July 28, 2011

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lightweight components and large assembly mode will help with the optimization. #Dellcad

lazytrax


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July 28, 2011

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@jonathanpscott what are your thoughts on how PDM helps optimize SolidWorks and Workstation? #DellCAD

SolidSmack


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July 28, 2011

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I just drooled a little: @SolidSmack @waldenweb running one rig with 2 Processors and 24GB of RAM…. wooooow, worth it. #DellCAD

Cadalyst_Mag


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July 28, 2011

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Questions about CAD hardware configurations? Ask a #Dell expert – @DellRonnie – on #DellCAD

LaurenatDell


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July 28, 2011

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true, and SpeedPacks! @lazytrax: lazytrax: lightweight components and large assembly mode will help with SolidWorks optimization. #Dellcad

SolidSmack


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July 28, 2011

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#DellCAD @SolidSmack One big way is thru view/search ability – non-PDM SWX users sometimes load everything into session just to find 1 part

jonathanpscott


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July 28, 2011

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@SolidSmack @bcbenton 1/file share or 2/PDM is pretty much all what available today mainstream for collaboration. #dellcad

olegshilovitsky


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July 28, 2011

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#DellCAD: We’ve got another reader who is new to #SolidWorks RealView. Any tips on hardware or software optimization?

Cadalyst_Mag


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July 28, 2011

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#DellCAD @SolidSmack Another PDM plus is managing the 3D->2D link. SWX is OK on the 2D->3D direction. But can cost time to find drws from 3D

jonathanpscott


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July 28, 2011

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RT @dellsmbnews: @Cadalyst_Mag your reader that’s upgrading might find our workstation advisor tool helpful http://del.ly/6011RztB #DellCAD

bcbenton


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July 28, 2011

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RT @LaurenatDell: Questions about CAD hardware configurations? Ask a #Dell expert – @DellRonnie – on #DellCAD

DellSMBnews


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July 28, 2011

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Is anyone using/not using #SolidWorks RealView? Why or why not? #DellCAD

SolidSmack


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July 28, 2011

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RT @Cadalyst_Mag: One of Cadalyst’s favorite bloggers, Josh Mings @SolidSmack is ready for your questions. Use #DellCAD to ask a ?.

tonyisme


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July 28, 2011

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If there are any specific #Dell questions about CAD workstation configurations, let me know! #DellCAD

DellRonnie


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July 28, 2011

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unreal RT @Cadalyst_Mag: I just drooled a little: @SolidSmack @waldenweb running one rig with 2 Processors and 24GB of RAM.. #DellCAD

JohnEvansDesign


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July 28, 2011

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@Cadalyst_Mag One way to ensure a good RealView experience is to have a professional level graphics card. #DellCAD http://bit.ly/brRb6X

SolidWorks


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July 28, 2011

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#DellCAD @bcbenton One more collab tip for SWX is using “multi-user env” options – bad news is it doesn’t always play nice with PDM systems.

jonathanpscott


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July 28, 2011

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A SolidWorks certified GPU will help with RealView. Can view here… some req’ additional file http://bit.ly/oyunZT @Cadalyst_Mag #DellCAD

SolidSmack


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July 28, 2011

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@Cadalyst_Mag – speaking of drooling… here’s a fun workstation-related video for motorcycle fans joining #DellCAD http://del.ly/6013Rzt3

DellSMBnews


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July 28, 2011

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Introduce yourself at any time in the conversation by using the #DellCAD hashtag.

Cadalyst_Mag


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July 28, 2011

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#Dellcad RealView feels distracting/unnecessary, not real. Zebra stripes w/surfaces and preview w/PW pretty much removes the need also

tonyisme


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July 28, 2011

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#Dellcad that should be: preview with PhotoView, PV, not PW

tonyisme


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July 28, 2011

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RT @bcbenton: RT @dellsmbnews: @Cadalyst_Mag your reader that’s upgrading might find our workstation advisor tool helpful http://del.ly/6011RztB #DellCAD

Kylee_Dell


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July 28, 2011

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RT @DellSMBnews: @Cadalyst_Mag – speaking of drooling… here’s a fun workstation-related video for motorcycle fans joining #DellCAD http://del.ly/6013Rzt3

Cadalyst_Mag


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July 28, 2011

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@SolidWorks: Graphics cards! Such a hot topic on #CADspeed. Great link: http://t.co/jy0baxR #DellCAD

Cadalyst_Mag


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July 28, 2011

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def for heavy surface modeling! @tonyisme: Zebra stripes w/surfaces and preview w/PW pretty much removes the need for RealView #Dellcad

SolidSmack


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July 28, 2011

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RT @DellSMBnews: Did you know Dell Precision workstations are specifically designed for professionals like those of you who use #SolidWorks? #DellCAD

cadesigntek


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July 28, 2011

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RT @LaurenatDell: Questions about CAD hardware configurations? Ask a #Dell expert – @DellRonnie – on #DellCAD

cadesigntek


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July 28, 2011

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Questions about CAD hardware configurations? Ask a #Dell expert – @DellRonnie – on #DellCAD #dellcad

Kylee_Dell


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July 28, 2011

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and not to leave F1 fans in #DellCAD out, we’ve also got video of Dell workstations helping Cosworth build engines: http://del.ly/6016Rztu

DellSMBnews


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July 28, 2011

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#DellCAD Anybody using Solid State Drives to help their #SolidWorks performance? Made a huge difference on my laptop!

jonathanpscott


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July 28, 2011

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#DellCAD If you missed Josh’s blog on #CADspeed: Optimize #SolidWorks & be a happier user – http://t.co/BJ1A8MC

Cadalyst_Mag


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July 28, 2011

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RT @SolidSmack: Is anyone using/not using #SolidWorks RealView? Why or why not? #DellCAD

DellSMBnews


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July 28, 2011

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Do you have a dedicated computer just for #SolidWorks? or do you run everything on one? #DellCAD

SolidSmack


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July 28, 2011

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Another hot topic – opinions? @jonathanpscott: #DellCAD Anybody using Solid State Drives to help their #SolidWorks performance?

Cadalyst_Mag


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July 28, 2011

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Dell Precision certified Workstations are optimized for #Solidworks. Check out our latest workstations: http://t.co/YylUTNW #DellCAD

DellRonnie


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July 28, 2011

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@solidsmack I run SWX alongside all my other apps – but then again, I am a PDM guy… #DellCAD

jonathanpscott


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July 28, 2011

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RT @Cadalyst_Mag: #DellCAD If you missed Josh’s blog on #CADspeed: Optimize #SolidWorks & be a happier user – http://t.co/BJ1A8MC

DellSMBnews


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July 28, 2011

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Have you checked out the CADspeed blog yet https://cadspeed.wordpress.com #dellcad

Kylee_Dell


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July 28, 2011

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@jonathanpscott #Dellcad ssd impr. file loading a lot. Not much to gain on modeling or sim performance though. The CPU still needs to chew

tonyisme


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July 28, 2011

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RT @jonathanpscott: #DellCAD Anybody using Solid State Drives to help their #SolidWorks performance? Made a huge difference on my laptop!

DellSMBnews


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July 28, 2011

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@jonathanpscott exactly! you are running SolidWorks (btw me too), but actually not using it (lol) @solidsmack #dellcad

olegshilovitsky


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July 28, 2011

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@olegshilovitsky #DellCAD Oleg – you are right about that! LOL I rarely model much more than a plate. 🙂

jonathanpscott


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July 28, 2011

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@Cadalyst_Mag @jonathanpscott @solidsmack I’m using SSD. Not only for Solidworks. It helps a lot for performance. #dellcad

olegshilovitsky


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July 28, 2011

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@cadcompany : Questions about CAD hardware configurations? Ask a #Dell expert – @DellRonnie – on #DellCAD

PattyGroenland


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July 28, 2011

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Follow a workstation guru > RT @DellRonnie: Dell Precision certified Workstations are optimized for #Solidworks. dell.com/precision #DellCAD

DellSMBnews


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July 28, 2011

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RT @olegshilovitsky: @Cadalyst_Mag @jonathanpscott @solidsmack I’m using SSD. Not only for Solidworks. It helps a lot for performance. #dellcad

DellSMBnews


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July 28, 2011

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SSD and SATA combination environment is a good way to optimize speed and storage. SSD’s getting cheaper. @tonyisme @jonathanpscott #DellCAD

SolidSmack


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July 28, 2011

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@DellRonnie: Any advice on switching to SSD? #DellCAD

Cadalyst_Mag


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July 28, 2011

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RT @SolidSmack: SSD and SATA combination environment is a good way to optimize speed and storage. SSD’s getting cheaper. @tonyisme @jonathanpscott #DellCAD

DellSMBnews


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July 28, 2011

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RT @Kylee_Dell: Have you checked out the CADspeed blog yet https://cadspeed.wordpress.com #dellcad

LaurenatDell


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July 28, 2011

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#DellCAD Not all SSDs are created equally – remember to check the specs. Its like the difference between 4200 RPM drives and 10k RPM drives.

jonathanpscott


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July 28, 2011

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@SolidSmack @jonathanpscott #Dellcad SSD for system disk & SATA for storage/simulation dumping ground <- would be my ideal combo

tonyisme


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July 28, 2011

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@tonyisme Sounds like a good combo. #DellCAD @DellRonnie – are there Precisions that have multiple HDD config options?

jonathanpscott


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July 28, 2011

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RT @jonathanpscott: #DellCAD Not all SSDs are created equally – check the specs. Its like the diff between 4200 RPM and 10k RPM drives.

SolidSmack


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July 28, 2011

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RT @jonathanpscott: #DellCAD Anybody using Solid State Drives to help their #SolidWorks performance? Made a huge difference on my laptop!

Lanett78


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July 28, 2011

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In case any #DellCAD tweeters need a new workstation quick, 17’’ Precision M6600 w/LCD touch screen now Ships Fast http://del.ly/6014Rztk

DellSMBnews


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July 28, 2011

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@jonathanpscott @tonyisme Yes! All of our Precision workstations support multiple HDD configs with RAID options #DellCAD

DellRonnie


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July 28, 2011

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This #DellCAD TwitterChat is sponsored by #Dell. Thanks to @DellSMBNews for their support!

Cadalyst_Mag


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July 28, 2011

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@SolidSmack: Is anyone using #SolidWorks RealView? Not often – hurts my eyes when doing detail work #DellCAD

cambridgedesign


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July 28, 2011

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Thanks also to @AMD_Unprocessed for its support for #DellCAD TwitterChat and the #CADspeed blog.

Cadalyst_Mag


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July 28, 2011

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Special thanks to one of our favorite bloggers, Josh Mings @SolidSmack for a great #DellCAD TwitterChat.

Cadalyst_Mag


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July 28, 2011

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#DellCAD: @solidworks Thanks to the #SolidWorks team for their support!

Cadalyst_Mag


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July 28, 2011

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@DellSMBnews you need to remove the insanely annoying floating “wanna chat” box. Seriously #Dellcad #offtopic

tonyisme


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July 28, 2011

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A full transcript will be available after the TwitterChat. Watch for #DellCAD or follow @Cadalyst_Mag for the link.

Cadalyst_Mag


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July 28, 2011

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@Cadalyst_Mag – you’re very welcome. And thanks to you, @SolidSmack and everyone else who joined us for #DellCAD today!

DellSMBnews


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July 28, 2011

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The #DellCAD TwitterChat is officially closed. Please feel free to keep chatting amongst yourselves. Thanks to all for participating!

Cadalyst_Mag


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July 28, 2011

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RT @Cadalyst_Mag: A full transcript will be available after the TwitterChat. Watch for #DellCAD or follow @Cadalyst_Mag for the link.

olegshilovitsky


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July 28, 2011

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#DellCAD Thanks, Josh (@SolidSmack). Good TwitterChat.

jonathanpscott


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July 28, 2011

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@Cadalyst_Mag great initiative! #Dellcad

tonyisme


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July 28, 2011

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learned about tweet chat made by #dellcad and @solidsmack. maybe we need to have one about #PLM?

olegshilovitsky


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July 28, 2011

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Also, check out the #SolidWorks performance article here on the CADSpeed blog http://bit.ly/papOs0 #DellCAD

SolidSmack


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July 28, 2011

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Thanks @solidsmack @cadalyst_mag @DellSMBNews for a nice TwitterChat today #DellCAD

razorleaf


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July 28, 2011

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While today’s #DellCAD tweetchat has officially ended the conversation doesn’t have to stop! Continue to use the hashtag, follow @DellRonnie

DellSMBnews


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July 28, 2011

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RT @SolidSmack: Also, check out the #SolidWorks performance article here on the CADSpeed blog http://bit.ly/papOs0 #DellCAD

JohnEvansDesign


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July 28, 2011

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Also > RT @SolidSmack: […] wondering about SolidWorks/Workstation performance email josh@solidsmack.com or stop by solidsmack.com #DellCAD

DellSMBnews


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July 28, 2011

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And > RT @Cadalyst_Mag: A full transcript will be available after the TwitterChat. Watch for #DellCAD or follow @Cadalyst_Mag for the link.

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July 28, 2011

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@razorleaf – you’re very welcome! thank you for joining #DellCAD ~LPT

DellSMBnews


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July 28, 2011

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RT @DellSMBnews: In case any #DellCAD tweeters need a new workstation quick, 17’’ Precision M6600 w/LCD touch screen now Ships Fast http://del.ly/6014Rztk

DellChannel


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July 28, 2011

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RT @DellSMBnews: In case any #DellCAD tweeters need a new workstation quick, 17’’ Precision M6600 w/LCD touch screen now Ships Fast http://del.ly/6014Rztk

adaptivecorp


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July 28, 2011

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RT @DellEnterprise: Live Twitter chat on CAD starting now! See #DellCAD to join in the conversation.

mandheer


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July 28, 2011

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Four Practical Approaches to Improving SolidWorks Performance

July 27, 2011 4 comments

SolidWorksWhat goes into improving SolidWorks performance? Way too much. Really, programs, CAD software should be more simple. Hardware should be more simple, but for the very reason that software and hardware are not developed together, we’re faced with attempting to optimize both and you… are faced with this article.

You can break all the aspects of performance and what goes into optimizing your system into four practical approaches. You can apply these to a large company, small company or an individual. You can use it as a checklist or give it to IT and tell them to get their act together.

Software Performance

SolidWorks is a strange beast. You’ll get optimal performance one time and then something changes to totally confuse you. How you create your model — keeping files together, reducing external references, optimizing relations — helps. These are all things that a bit of training and a solid slap can solve. Beyond that, you can improve performance by going into the SolidWorks options and turning off the SolidWorks news feed, reducing level of detail and setting the search to index only when idle. RealView adds more realistic visuals for material and environments. If you notice lag, try toggling it off under View / Display / RealView. All good things to know, but none of this will matter as much if you have optimized hardware.

Hardware Performance

For best performance with SolidWorks, it’s always best to start with hardware. You’ll find better performance with SolidWorks with a faster CPU. Max that sucker out. Multiple CPUs, even better. Recommended RAM for current SolidWorks versions is 6GB. It’s cheap, toss it in. A 1GB graphics card will provide smoother visuals. Turn off visual effects for Windows. Go to Performance Info and Tools in the Windows Control Panel and adjust for best performance. Keep your computer clean. Use programs like Speccy to monitor your system, Defraggler to keep your system defragged and CCleaner to keep that registry and program list optimized.

Software Life Cycle

Keeping software updated can be challenging, particularly when new versions of software that are used together come out at different times throughout the year. For best performance increases and time to allow testing of new functionality, I suggest a 14-18 month update cycle. This allows for at least one Service Pack (point release) of SolidWorks and provides time for a soft roll-out of the update.

Hardware Life Cycle

I list this last because it’s often the coldest piece of cod to swallow. Hardware is expensive. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare for the necessary upgrades that you will need over the years, especially in light of SolidWorks software updates and the need to keep employees or yourself super efficient. 2-year hardware cycles are often ideal for three reasons. It keeps you apprised of the technology, improves power efficiencies/capabilities and you get a better tax break for donating the old stuff to charity.

We view performance as software that doesn’t crash and hardware that doesn’t make us wait around. There’s always something you can do to make it all run a little better. The bottom line is this: Keep on a clear update cycle for software and hardware. Deal with hardware performance first, maxing out CPU speed, then deal with the intricacies of the software itself. You’ll have a smoother running system and you’ll be a much happier SolidWorks user.

Join Josh Mings for a TwitterChat on Thursday, July 28 at 4 p.m. ET. We’ll be talking about performance on SolidWorks. Follow the conversation at #dellcad and jump in!  Click for more information.

Josh Mings is a mechanical engineer in the aircraft interiors industry. He is a CSWP with certified training and support for SolidWorks. He is editor of SolidSmack.com covering CAD, design and technology and is co-host of Engineer vs. Designer at evd1.tv. Follow him on Twitter@joshmings and @solidsmack or find him at LinkedIn or Google+.

Optimize AutoCAD Civil 3D Performance: Hardware, Operating System and Workflow Upgrades

July 25, 2011 3 comments

AutoCAD Civil 3D 2012Many AutoCAD Civil 3D users are aware that upgrading to a 64-bit operating system, preferably Windows 7 and Windows Vista (in that order), will give the biggest return on investment when looking at improving performance.  Other opportunities to improve performance also exist.

One is multiple or multi-core processors.  For the most part, AutoCAD Civil 3D runs as a single process, which means it will not utilize more than one processor, even if they are available.  The exception to this is rendering, where multiple or multi-core processors can result in as much as a 250% decrease in render time.  Though Civil 3D does not take advantage of multi-core processing, having multiple processors can still be beneficial since it enables you to run processes, such as anti-virus and firewall software, as well as other applications—such as Outlook—on separate processors and provide a more dedicated processor for AutoCAD Civil 3D. If you are a user who multitasks throughout the day and runs several applications at the same time, you may see added benefits in multiple or multi-core processors.

When contemplating hard drives, you should consider the data transfer rate.  Faster data transfer rates will help decrease the time it takes to open Civil 3D, as well as load and save drawings that are stored locally.  In addition, a faster transfer rate can increase performance when utilizing the hard drive for virtual memory, especially with 32-bit operating systems.

Beyond hardware and operating system changes, there are tactics you can implement to improve the performance of your day-to-day work in Civil 3D.  These include

  • Using code set styles with no fill or a solid fill. Stay away from hatch patterns.
  • Avoid using the option to grid clip profile views until producing construction documents.  When working with pipe networks, turn off hatching, pipe cleanup and masking until producing construction documents.  Using the option ‘Display as boundary’ is also optimal.
  • Use single-label components versus multiples.
  • When working with surfaces use 1) external point files versus COGO points, 2) surface snapshots when possible, and 3) Level of Detail (LOD) display
  • When working with corridors, turn off rebuild automatically and don’t display regions you aren’t working with. Additionally, create cross sections in a separate drawing.

This combination of operating system, hardware, and workflow adjustments can help to optimize your experience working with AutoCAD Civil 3D.

Authors: Karen Weiss, Transportation and Land Infrastructure Industry Marketing Manager, Autodesk; Jason Hickey, Senior Support Specialist, Autodesk

A CAD Manager’s Guide to Hardware Upgrades, Part 2

June 21, 2011 5 comments

The first post in this series discussed upgrade procedures under various organizational structures. Now, we dive into prioritizing upgrades. One thing is certain: as long as CAD software increases in power there will always be a need for upgrading and replacing CAD workstations.

Hardware Upgrades for CAD ManagersUpgrades Based on Workload

While some companies have a policy of replacing all of the CAD workstations simultaneously, others provide workstations based on workload. “Typically I have prioritized computer upgrades in offices in a method similar to a nurse’s triage at a hospital,” Chris Currie wrote in the Cadalyst LinkedIn group.

Currie’s practice is certainly not unusual in the CAD world. With any one office participating in several disciplines or practices, it is very common for users in the same office or department to have differing needs. That is to say that the entry level CAD professional may not be doing the more complex, intense work of a senior employee.

Reusing Hardware Based on Functionality

Often companies seek cost savings in the area of hardware by moving workstations down. Drafters performing complex work may receive new workstations while more junior drafters receive the workstation being replaced. In effect, everyone gets a “newer,” more powerful workstation while providing a cost savings to the company.

Standardizing the Process

CAD software becoming increasingly powerful each year and the need for upgraded hardware does not look to end any time soon. It would help any CAD manager to standardize the process for upgrades to make the process less difficult. Take the lessons learned from this year’s hardware upgrade and document them to help you during future upgrades.

Whether your hardware upgrade procedure is well defined or a haphazard per event trial, leave us a comment below and tell us about it. CADspeed would love to hear from you whatever your process for requesting and providing new hardware may be.

Author: Curt Moreno

A CAD Manager’s Guide to Hardware Upgrades, Part 1

June 16, 2011 1 comment

Previously on CADspeed, we’ve talked about upgrading CAD hardware from the IT perspective. Now let’s talk about the same subject, but from the perspective of the CAD manager’s desk.

It is that time of the year again when summer is in full effect and the fiscal year is well under way. The new releases of your favorite software programs are starting to roll in and you cannot wait to get them all installed. But, are you sure that your hardware is up to the task of all that new software? Will your current workstation have enough RAM? Will that old video card be enough to create the shiny 3D images on the developer’s website? As the CAD manager, these are all things that need consideration. So, exactly how do you go about the process of deciding what hardware needs to be replaced, who gets new workstations and what do you do with the old hardware?

The Responsibilities of IT Personnel vs. CAD Managers

We discussed hardware upgrades with several CAD professionals in the LinkedIn Cadalyst group to learn about their upgrade procedures. Some participants said their company has a dedicated IT professional who steps in to assist the CAD manager in hardware decisions. In some cases, the IT department had set schedule for hardware upgrades and cycling out workstations.

In other cases, IT would fulfill upgrade requests on an “as needed” basis. While this can be a real time saver for the CAD manager, it can easily turn into a difficult time sink. Difficulties can arise when IT does not fully understand the needs of the CAD department or its software.

Convincing the Decision Makers

One CAD manager said that his IT department did not fully understand the needs of modern CAD software. “I have a constant uphill struggle to convince the [IT] policy makers that CAD and GIS stations exist in much more demanding environment.” This type of situation results in hours and hours of research for CAD managers. Time is spent visiting developer and hardware maker websites and collecting data to convince the policy makers. All of which is needed because the IT department may have a standard, preapproved, specification for office computers. However, as most CAD professionals already know, the hardware needed to run Microsoft Word is very different from that needed to run GIS software. All too often, this situation resolves into an adversarial relationship between the CAD and IT departments.

On the other end of the spectrum is the CAD manager with little or no IT support. Whether or not there is a designated IT department in the company, these CAD managers are the main support for the CAD department. This creates a situation where the CAD manager has increased input on the need and specification for CAD hardware making for a Wild West tech situation. Of course, it is always nice to have more input on the hardware used every day, but this too can equate to a great deal of time and effort. In addition to researching and being aware of changing hardware needs, the CAD manager is now responsible for the success of that hardware and the reallocation of old hardware. That can be a good deal of unwanted pressure for any CAD manager.

Finally, somewhere between the above situations, is the mix of IT support and CAD manager input. This is probably the most common situation found in engineering and architecture offices everywhere. CAD managers and IT work together to create a specification that will suit the particular workflow. While IT may be key to acquiring, assembling and deploying hardware, it often falls to the CAD manager to recommend which users get the newest hardware.

Next we will talk about prioritizing upgrades.

Author: Curt Moreno

Hardware Configurations for Solid Edge and Other CAD Applications

June 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Since high performance, high scalability workstations can cost a bit more than traditional desktops or laptops, people should do some comparison shopping first. An entry-level desktop workstation can be both price competitive and still offer many features of traditionally higher priced workstations. So what should you look for when you are comparing hardware features?

Dual Core vs. Quad Core

One thing to consider is that CAD is still mostly a single-threaded application (yeah, there are some places it is not like rendering and FEA and it is slowly creeping into other aspects of CAD), but if you mainly do CAD modeling, max clock speed is the goal. On a desktop workstation, the quad core offers highest frequency (3.2 GHz) vs. the dual core (2.53 GHz). While six cores are not necessary for Solid Edge, you should consider what other applications you will be running, perhaps simultaneously, to determine the total number of cores you will need.

On a mobile workstation, however, both the quad core and dual core processors offer the same frequencies (max turbo), the quad core does so at a much higher price point. The base frequency on the quad core is lower (2.50 GHz).

More Power

Higher power graphics and more memory are both are important for CAD when loading complex models and assemblies and of course manipulating them fluidly. It is the workstation where the delineation between these components (memory, OpenGL graphics and CPU speed) and a normal desktop is most noticeable.

A couple folks on the Solid Edge forum pointed out they have gotten some good deals at the Dell Outlet store. These are not brand new systems and the inventory can fluctuate, but if you are on a tight budget this option may be for you. I’d hate to manage a CAD team where every designer has a different model, but for an individual or small shop, it might be worth considering.

Below are some sample configurations to help you in your research. These configurations were provided by Dell so Solid Edge users could have some comparisons during the Solid Edge ST4 Global Launch Event, held June 15-16, 2011, in Huntsville, Alabama.

Hardware Configurations for CAD Workstations

Hardware Configurations for CAD Workstations

Hardware Configurations for Mobile CAD Workstations

Hardware Configurations for Mobile CAD Workstations

Author: Mark Burhop – Programs Director, Velocity Technology Ecosystem – Siemens PLM.
Find Mark Burhop on Twitter http://twitter.com/burhop

OpenCL Will Rock the CAD World, Part 4: What You Should Do About It Now

June 2, 2011 2 comments

So far in this series, we’ve talked about why you want OpenCL, how it works, and how it will affect your CAD workflow. The question remains: what should you do about OpenCL right now?

Avoiding the VHS vs. Betamax War

OpenCLArguably one of the most important elements of OpenCL is that it is an open standard, not controlled by any one vendor and not limited to one kind of graphics cards or CPU. Microsoft has DirectCompute. Nvidia has the proprietary GPU-only CUDA.  But OpenCL is vendor neutral with incredible momentum and the only solution that is designed for the next generation of heterogeneous computing coming from Intel and AMD.

Heterogeneous Computing Makes OpenCL Even More Relevant

Heterogeneous computing is the new term you will hear to refer to integrated CPUs and GPUs on a single die  (e.g., AMD’s Fusion APUs or Intel’s Sandy Bridge). This is the future of mobile, handheld and desktop computers.  The APU design is both more power efficient and solves the problem of data transfer latencies between the CPU and GPU.

This shift in processor design makes OpenCL even more relevant and ubiquitous. Because GPU and CPU are on the same die, there is no bandwidth or bus latencies when transferring data between CPU and GPU. OpenCL code runs full throttle.  For additional performance, add in a discrete workstation graphics board. Any OpenCL-savvy application will automatically and seamlessly take advantage of the additional compute power.

What’s a CAD User to Do Now?

Chances are you already have a workstation graphics card in your desktop or mobile workstation. What you want are applications that take advantage of OpenCL.  The best way to accelerate this is to contact your preferred CAD/CAE software vendor (e.g. ANSYS, Autodesk, CEI, Dassault, ESI, Intelligent Light, MCS, Siemens to name a few) and ask them when they will be adding OpenCL for new features or to accelerate existing features in their application.  Most of the significant players are already working on it, so your voice just helps them get their products to market faster.

I’m going to be following the upcoming AMD Fusion Developer Summit very closely. Much of this conference is focused on OpenCL, so I am expecting to see some interesting announcements and demonstration that show off OpenCL capabilities.  I’ll post updates as I hear them.

Author: Tony DeYoung

OpenCL Will Rock the CAD World, Part 3: How It Will Affect Your Workflow

May 31, 2011 3 comments

The first post in this series discussed why you want OpenCL. The second post described how it works. This post discusses how OpenCL will affect your workflow.

Below are some “compute” examples of where OpenCL will impact the CAD workflow:

  • Linear algebra
  • Signal/Audio/Image Processing/Video
  • Finite difference method app
  • Finite-element solving and direct solvers
  • Finite particle Method FPM and airbag simulation
  • Constraint Solving
  • Contact search / contact analysis for nonlinear simulation
  • Post-processing
  • CAD modeling engine
  • Boolean operation, interference and clearance calculation
  • Model tessellations
  • Hidden-line removal
  • Graphics visualization and rendering
  • Injection molding flow simulation
  • Cloth simulation
  • NC tool positioning and material removal simulation
  • Robotics and plant automation with robot tool path planning
  • Data sorting and database operations. See PostgreSQL with OpenCL.
ANSYS FLUENT

Internal combustion engine modeled using ANSYS FLUENT. Image courtesy of ANSYS.

NX Nastran

Finite element analysis of a helicopter crank mechanism using NX Nastran from Siemens PLM Software.

The greatest impact for CAD and designer productivity will be workflows where there is a tight coupling between visualization and compute or optimization and visualization. Examples are simulation-based optimizations and design studies on full vehicles (from automobiles to aeronautics to yacht design).

The Holy Grail of Rendering: Real-Time Ray Tracing

I’m a visual guy attracted to shiny spherical balls that reflect the environment off of their surface, i.e., ray tracing. OpenCL is a formidable tool to accelerate any ray tracing application by at least an order of magnitude. To me perhaps the most interesting right now is Caustic Graphics and OpenRL (Open Ray Tracing Library), their standard for writing ray tracing applications that execute across heterogeneous compute platforms. OpenRL uses OpenCL to take advantage of any GPU in the system (add-in board or APU) to accelerate ray tracing.

Ray Tracing

Ray Tracing

As a note: Apple developed OpenCL (before submitting to the open standards Khronos Group).  Apple is already a major investor in Imagination Technologies, which recently bought Caustic Graphics.  My conclusion: it is only a matter of time before you see the benefits of OpenRL/OpenCL on iOS devices.

Next I’ll discuss what you should do about OpenCL right now.

Author: Tony DeYoung

OpenCL Will Rock the CAD World, Part 2: How It Works

May 20, 2011 6 comments

The first post in this series discussed why you want OpenCL. This post will describe how it works.

The GPUs in present day graphics cards like the AMD FirePro/Radeon and Nvidia Quadro/Geforce lines are massively parallel, multithreaded, multicore processors with enormous computational power and high bandwidth. Traditionally these multicore processors have been used for graphics processing, leaving the CPU to do everything else.

More Computing Power Using Massive Parallelism

The paradigm shift with OpenCL is a non-proprietary, standardized (and familiar) language to divide up general-purpose computational code into parallel threads so the GPU and CPU can work in tandem to deliver new functionality or tackle large processing tasks.

One of the key elements about OpenCL is its ability to allocate resources to the GPU or multicore CPU depending on how much power is needed and how data intensive any given task is.  An OpenCL CPU+GPU-based solution means you can get simultaneously high performance for a design as well as its analysis and simulation.

In business terms, what OpenCL means is that responsiveness and speed from existing servers to handheld devices, will improve dramatically.  When algorithms are redesigned to use OpenCL, speed-ups of 10x are common, and speed-ups of 30x are not unusual. (See, for example, EDEM Simulation Engine.)

Next I’ll discuss how OpenCL will affect your workflow.

Author: Tony DeYoung