New graphics card or Pro/E written badly? :-)

Hi,
I noticed a problem with Pro/E Wildfire. If I have three parts open then everything works fine, but as soon as I open the fourth part, it absolutely
crawls along. It updates the display at about 1 frame per second, spinning and zooming is impossible.
Why is this? It's not as if I'm trying to have more than one part on the screen at a time, the other windows are minimised. I've got the latest drivers for my graphics card (64Mb Intel 82845 type). Is this a bug in Pro/E, or do I need to get a better graphics card?
Thanks
Scott
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Scott,
unfortunately it sounds like the latter one, you need to spend a few bucks. Have your tried changing the graphics mode in the config.pro? The option should be something like 'graphics open_gl' Change that to win_gdi. You may lose some of your hardware acceleration, but depending on the type of work you are doing that may be just fine.
Tom
scott schrieb:

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I believe your problem might be the hardware. The Intel 82845 is a memory controller and not a video system component. You probably have an integrated video system that uses shared ram. This means that it is a part of your motherboard and uses the same relatively slow ram that you use for applications. This type of system is EXTREMELY slow. If you can get either an AGP or even a PCI card you will see a huge jump in performance. If this is not possible reduce your resolution and color depth as much as possible. This will give you some performance boost but probably not enough. You might have to actually get another computer.

absolutely
spinning
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First of all try to set in Windows 16-bit color mode.
Tom

absolutely
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cadmaniac wrote:

Well, that lets me have 4 parts open and rotating smoothly, but opening the 5th part it all crawls again :-(
I don't understand why this happens though, surely Pro/E only needs to redraw quickly 1 part at a time nomatter how many other windows are minimised at the bottom? This indicates to me that they are taking up video RAM with the minimised windows, surely a bad way to program a package like Pro/E?
And why the hell do I need to click Window->Activate??? Why can't it do that automatically when I maximise the window? Grrrrrr, I've only been using Pro/E for a few months, but there are so many stupid things for that much money.
Scott

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As someone else stated, the reason this is happening is due to your graphics card (your graphics appear to be integrated with the motherboard). Your video probably does not support a 'unified back/depth buffer' which causes video performance to decrease after multiple 3D windows have been opened (even if they are not shown, or minimized). The number of windows you can open without a decrease in performance is tied to the available video memory, which explains why you can gain a couple windows by decreasing your color depth and/or resolution.
Most graphics cards are targeted and optimized towards either the small office/home user or 3D gamer. They are not targeted or optimized for serious professional 3D OpenGL applications like ProE.
Your video chip, unfortunately, is of the small office/home user variety. Which means it will not work very well with applications such as ProE. If you want better performance, you will need to purchase a video card that was actually meant to run applications like ProE. I would suggest any of the nVidia Quadro or ATI FireGL series cards. Even the old, very cheap versions of these cards will easily outperform you current card.
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Arlin
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Arlin wrote:

I know it's to do with the graphics card, but *why* is Pro/E written so badly that even if you have 10 windows minimised and just one open it won't work? Surely it should release the video surface memory when the window is minimised? Every one who has followed an OpenGL or DirectX programming tutorial for Windows knows that you need to release the surfaces when they are no longer needed, to stop exactly the problems that I am getting with Pro/E!
Seems a weird way to write a CAD program, or did they do it on purpose to get people to buy better video cards?
Scott
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You can look at it two ways: Graphics card manufacturer's fault or Software application's fault
Actually, I believe it is mostly the graphics card's fault for not fully supporting the OpenGL standard in all cards (including their consumer level cards). The exact same issue is present in SolidWorks, 3D Studio, and other professional 3D software.
I assume there is some sort of GOOD reason for the application programmers to 'limit' their software in this manner. If not, why do they all do it? If they could correct this issue and allow lower cost consumer level graphics hardware without any adverse effects overall, they would. They would only gain market share.
No, I am pretty sure the blame is squarely on the hardware manufacturers (nVidia, ATI, and in your case, Intel). They are just using some classic marketing techniques to make more profit. Here is the scenario: Consumer graphics is a high volume, EXTREMELY competitive market where cost generally rules above performance. Professional graphics a lower volume, less competitive market, but (more importantly) performance rules above cost. What manufacturers end up doing is making a chip that can do both consumer and pro applications. Then, to compete in the consumer market AND make a good profit in the pro market, they disable some key pro features in the consumer versions of their product. Thus, they can sell LOTS of consumer products at a low price, and they can sell fewer pro products at a high price.
This is done all the time in any industry. For example, Intel disables some features on its Pentium and calls it a Celeron. John Deere has different horsepower tractors where the only difference is how they adjust the fuel mixture (one little screw or software setting).
There are all sorts of examples like this...
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Arlin wrote:

So, specifically, what feature do I need to have on my new graphics card to have more Pro/E parts open? Is it just more video RAM? My models are quite simple, mostly just a handful of cuboids and a couple of rounds. I have used *far* more complex models in 3D studio with no problem on this machine.
Cheers
Scott
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What you would need is a graphics card specifically targeted at professional level 3D applications (like ProE).
Currently, the nVidia Quadro and ATI FireGL series cards are the most popular.
More video ram would help, but eventually, you would still run into the same problem (10 windows instead of 3).
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Arlin wrote:

Oh ok, so what is different in the pro cards then? It seems from your suggestions that all they do is swap in and out of video ram various images instead of the software having to do it?
The fact that Robert suggests you can get bog-standard cheap GF2 to perform well in Pro/E suggests to me that we are being conned into buying expensive video cards...
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The differences are really just drivers and how they are optimized. nVidia and ATI PURPOSELY disable features in their "cheap" cards so that you need to purchase their more costly professional cards to perform well in ProE.
The reason Robert suggests a good ole GF2 is simply due to the fact that back in the days of this card, nVidia did not yet disable all those professional features in the "cheap" card. Thus, if you get that card, along with some very old video drivers (5.32 I think), it will not have the multiple window slowdown.
If you wish, you can also get one of today's "cheap" consumer GF cards and use a utility called RivaTuner to trick it into thinking it is a Quadro, thus gaining the professional features of that card. This can be an involved and difficult process, however. Thus, I don't recommend it unless you really know what you are doing AND have lots of patience.
In the end, I recommend just getting a nice Quadro or FireGL for use with CAD applications. It is just less hassle and less costly in the long run.
A very respectable QuadroFX 500 can be had for ~$250. This card WILL perform well with ProE.
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Arlin wrote:

Oh OK, so the hardware is essentially fine, it's just the software that is deliberately screwed to make me buy a more expensive card that isn't actually any better, just has better drivers. Right.

I guess they take advantage of people mostly buying these from work and not caring about the cost or questioning why they are any different!
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Scott,
I agree with Arlin's comments. Just one more thing: you seem to think that this slowing down after 3rd (or fourth, fifth, etc.) window is unique to ProE. It is not. I have experienced very similar behavior in SolidWorks. If you check their newsgroup you will find complaints aplenty about it. So it DOES seem to be the graphics card (and/or driver) problem rather than a problem with particular CAD software.
Also, according to the reviews I've been reading, the latest models of both NVIDIA and ATI consumer graphics chipsets have the performance features available in the high-end graphics cards disabled IN HARDWARE. Up until fairly recently, you could buy a gamer-oriented NVIDIA card and use the software hack called SoftQuadro to make it (and its driver) believe it was actually a professional-grade QUADRO card. The same kind of hack was available for ATI cards. Unless somebody has figured out (again) how to circumvent these new 'design improvements', I believe this trick is no longer possible with the latest NVIDIA and ATI gamer cards. Now, how is that for fair business practices and truth in advertising?
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Alex Sh. wrote:

I disagree with you there, from a programmers point of view, there is no reason at all why the graphics on Pro/E shouldn't work with consumer video cards. It has just been written badly, that's all. If you follow the DirectX or OpenGL tutorials it tells you to release any video ram when you minimise the window. Pro/E (and SOlidworks if you say) appear *not* to do this. I can write a program that will have 100 minimised windows and still manage to rotate all the views nice and smoothly, one at time on my crappy graphics card.
I bet it would only take a few lines of code to fix Pro/E so it worked with consumer cards, but they don't want to do it because I'm sure they benefit from all the expensive hardware people have to buy.

Just exactly what are these "performance features" that are only available on the pro cards?
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The main one you are experiencing is the 'Unified Back/Depth Buffer.' Consumer cards don't support this while pro cards do. By enabling this setting, your multiple window problem will go away.
Another 'Pro' setting is Hardware antialiased lines. There are others, but not at the top of my head now.

Why? ProE does not sell hardware. If they could do a you suggest, they would only gain market share as it would reduce the total cost of ownership due to the less expensive hardware required. I assume it is this way due to some other limitation(s) (other than simply releasing the video memory).
Not to be rude, but this is the way it is; You will have to live with it. If you still want to beat this dead horse, you will need to take this up with PTC themselves or the video card manufacturers.
I have no more to say on this issue (even my above comments were already stated in previous posts to this thread).
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Arlin
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Scott,
If you're interested in curing this problem cheaply, let me know.
Robert

still
with
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On some graphic cards you can set 'Enable backbuffer' under advanced OpenGL settings. This helped a lot on Geforce2 for example, but as the other replies says, your graphics is probably to 'low end'

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You can get a Geforce 2 and run a modified driver to enable the quadro code. This works absolutely flawlessly. You can open the full 15 pro windows all of which are fully accelerated. I use a pny quadro 750xgl. Except for the dual monitor capability it runs no better then the geforce 2 cards I've seen running the modified driver.
The cards are available cheap! (matbe $30 or less)
wrote:

absolutely
spinning
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