64 bit computers again....

Hi all,
In a recent thread on 64 bit systems the following list was posted. I
actually got a quote on this exact system at 4,800 cdn. Now, that is a
lot of money when I can get a rockin' p4 3.6 system (without a fancy
video card) for 1500$.
Question is: Is this worth it for solidworks alone? Is the 64 bit
thing going to solve the 1.6gb memory limitation ( I read that sw2006
would be 64 bit by sp? ) My employer is willing to buy this but I'll
feel guilty if it's not worth it in the end.
Single CPU system
List of components for single CPU machine I would choose:
- 1 x Asus A8N-SLI Premium
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- 1 x AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800 Dual Core
- 2 x Western Digital 74GB SATA Drives (RAID 1)
- 2 x Seagate Baracuda 400GB SATA Drive
- 2 x Crucial Ballistix 2GB Kit (4x1GB) -
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Antec Advanced Super Mid Tower P180
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1 x 460W Noiseless PSU
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- 1 x CPU cooler Zalman CNPS7700-Cu
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1 x nVidia Quadro 4500 -
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sure if this card will fit in P180 chassis).
- 1 x Dell 2405FPW 24" LCD
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Using the word Rockin and Intel in the same sentence doesn't make sense. An AMD system of the nature you are building will be about 1.5 to 2 x the speed of the Rockin Intel in SW.
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I have just got my two Amd r2 4800 Asus force4 motherboard Nvidia 3400 PCIe 4Gb ram systems today. Problems getting hold of the processor as they are in short supply.
If you can hold off for a week, I will get some bench testing done and let you know the results.
So far xp64 is slower than xp pro, takes a long time to get out of a lockup, networking mainly( my fault!) Ctrl Alt Del end program, only works sometimes and takes longer to get your desktop back. Note this was built by a professional 3Dcad system builder, not by myself.
Internet explorer(32) and (64) in blooming fast!
Note if your are using a dongle, minimum is 2005 sp4.0.
Remember to NOT have the dongle connected to your pc.
Install sw, remove dongle driver, using the dos prompt window, (c:\program Files (x86)\solidworks\setup\i386\Hinstall -r -kp). Or where ever you installed SW. Download new xp64 dongle driver, (from hasp which is still in beta), install this.
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your pc, insert dongle and presto, it works!
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For that Nvidia card get a 550W supply, 440W is a bit low and will restrict any future upgrades. SLI, bigger or more hard drives etc...
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Hey Zander, I myself have changed philosophies over the last couple of years. I used to think getting the biggest, baddest, and fastest possible system was the way to go. Honestly, unless everyone besides myself has unlimited supply of money, have a different approach since computer technology is moving so fast (especially Video Cards).
I would go with what Zander initially purposed.... approximately a $1500 system. This should get you middle of the road processor (3.6 GHZ Intel or 3800+ Athlon) and a very modest amount of memory. Now TOP may be correct that his 4800+ Dual Core would be 1.5 - 2 times faster. This very well may be true.... but I highly DOUBT it. I bet you would only see maybe 10-20% speed gain in PURE, raw cpu computation. Unless of course your rendering pictures or something that takes advantage of two cores. Truth is, most applications (including SolidWorks), won't even utilize dual core or True 64 bit software for at least another year. (This year is including the time it takes everyone else to work the bugs out of it course!)
Now here's the Kicker.... Let's say about 2 years from now, the year is 2007 already folks!
For about the same amount of money... $1500-2000 in 2007 or early 2008 Zander or myself would purchase another system. It would be again all middle to top of line. It would contain of course Dual Athlon 6000+ 64 bit dual processors. The video card would be of course a middle of the road Nvidia 9800 GT and again a modest 4 gigs of system memory with a screaming new bus architecture from today's.
Now of course at this time Solidworks 2007/8 will be FULLY 64bit & Duel Core compatible and be now SCREAMING fast. This will also be run on Windows 64 Bit Vista or of course Apple's new OS Tiger-2 newly compatible with x86 architecture.
So what does this all mean? With these 2 combined systems I've still only spent $3000-$3500, which is still far less than $4800. And you can bet your ass the second system purchased a couple of years from now for $1500 will make today's $4800 system look like a dinosaur.
Sorry for rambling, but I guess it's just a matter of how much you have to spend. But remember, if you spend an extra thousand or two today to get that extra 10-20% of performance. That same thousand dollars 2 years from now gets you 1 to 200% in performance.
Don Van Zile
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I have just opened an assembly on my new system in less than 20 seconds.
On my P4 2.8, 2Gb ram,Quadro900glx, 2 x Raptor Sata in raid 0, it takes over 3 mins to open the same assembly!
Same sw2005 Office Pro sp 4.0
Am I happy at last?, you bet I am! :-)
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The only problem with that approach is that time is money. If take the cost of a computer across two years, and you're saving $3500, if I waste $1750 worth of time (at $75/hr = 23 hours) less per year, or am able to do that much more work, the new computer has paid for itself. It should be easy to save that much time over the course of a year.
I'm all for the 80/20 rule instead of the 50/50 rule. I get one or two ticks off of the top of the line where the price curve flattens out a bit. I get a small fast internal hard drive for work and a much larger external for storage, who cares about the speed. Old computer gets relegated to an email box or a backup for doing a couple of renderings / animations / FEAs at the same time.
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That all depends on how you are using SW. Mentioning a 1.6 Gb limitation leads me to believe that you are dealing with some fairly beefy assemblies, complex surfaces, or is doing some related analysis.
10-20% increase in CPU speed in those situations can easily lead to 5-10% increase in productivity. On an 18 month technology cycle, it does not take a very large salary to justify the increased cost, not to mention the intangible added benefit to an employer from the increased productivity. Maybe the employer manages to get an additional product to market or does not have to hire/train an additional operator.
For myself, every second I stare at the hourglass the aggrevation level increases exponentially. Less hourglass equates to a happier work environment. Generally I can refrain from strangling co-workers 30% more often on a new computer.
Even if you opt for the less expensive 1500 computer, spending a few hundred more for a good graphics card is a virtual no-brainer.
For reference, my work computer is getting a little bit old and I am beginning to notice it. Therefore, my opinion, of course, is biased and will only become more jaded with time until I get a new computer :-)
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I made this list of components in a previous tread assuming you are a power user; you want a silent and reliable computer which you are going to use for at least 3 years.
If you design only simple parts and assemblies are made of max. 100 components and you generally don't switch to other apps while you are waiting for SW to finish then replace the dual core A64 CPU with a single core. A64 3500 has become reasonably priced. I would still recommend you A64 CPU instead of P4, because of the following reasons: performance, power efficiency. Also remove two 400GB HDs from the list. 2GB of RAM is enough for small assemblies; also replace the Quadro 4500 with a cheaper Quadro. But don't replace the 24" LCD with any smaller LCD or CRT.
On the other hand if you design complex parts then let me explain, why I would buy the components from the list. For me, the computer must be silent, reliable and last but not least the performance must be top notch.
I simply can't tolerate noisy components. High end P4 CPU can generate more heat under load than the fastest dual core A64. That means fan on top of P4 cooler must rotate faster thus producing more noise. Also the intake fans must rotate faster to convey cooler air and exhaust fan must rotate faster to expel all the hot air. If more air is conveyed the chassis will sooner become filled with dust. That means cooling will be worse, fans will become noisy sooner. Also if the CPU needs more energy the power regulators on the motherboard generate more heat.
The reason why I would buy Asus A8N-SLI Premium motherboard is because it doesn't have noisy fan on top of nForce4 SLI chipset, in other words it's a silent solution. I always use Asus motherboards because in my opinion they are reliable.
Western Digital 74GB SATA Drives are simply the fastest desktop drives you can buy. Although they are not cheap, and spin at 10000rpms they are not noisy. On the contrary they are quite silent.
Seagate 400 GB drives offer you huge amount of disk space. If you are making any animations or you simply need a lot of space, then I recommend you Seagate drives. You probably wonder why Seagate. The answer is simple. I had a very bad experience with the Maxtor and IBM drives in the past. In a company where I work all 40, 80 and 120GB Maxtor drives died (more than 30 HDs). We all know about the IBM dead stars, but surprisingly we still have some IBM drives, also only a few WD HDs died, but not a single Seagate HD died so far. I repeat once again, not a single Seagate HD died. Maybe we are just lucky with the Seagate drives, but.
Crucial Ballistix 2GB Kit. Don't save money on RAM. Use the best quality RAM you can buy. Crucial is a spun off Micron which in my opinion besides Infineon produces the most reliable RAM modules. Before I install OS I always test RAM modules with the dedicated RAM test software. I run such tests at least a week on high end servers and a few days on a workstation machines. Some would say this is insane, but on servers I run simulations for weeks and I simply can't afford to have a bad DIMM module in my machines.
Antec Advanced Super Mid Tower P180. All fans are 12cm, which means they produce less noise than the 8cm or 92mm fans. Constructors of P180 realized that some people appreciate silence. Thus vibrations from the drives are not transmitted to the rest of the chassis. Also PSU chamber resides at the bottom of the case which is in my opinion the best location, because the heat from the CPU and other components don't compromise the PSU stability.
460W Noiseless PSU. This is one of the components for which I'm not sure if it was wise I recommended. Although it's completely silent, I'm not sure it will suite your needs best. Let me explain why. The theoretical maximum power consumption of PC with the components listed is around 370W (CPU ~90W, motherboard ~ 40W, RAM ~ 30W, HDs ~80W, graphics card ~ 109W, rest of the components ~20W). I repeat this is the absolute theoretical maximum and most likely the average consumption will be way bellow 370W. The PSU is rated at 460W and efficiency under load is 80%. That means under load 460*0.8=368W are available for the system the rest is transformed into a heat. In my experience the PSU work more reliable if it is not driven at its limit. Let's say, if it is driven at 50-70% of its max load then it will work more reliable.
CPU cooler Zalman CNPS7700-Cu. One of the biggest and heaviest coolers for A64 CPU and at lower speed setting it's almost silent, because of the 12cm fan. Check if it will fit on the Asus A8N-SLI Premium motherboard.
1 x nVidia Quadro 4500. Here is a review:
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Dell 2405FPW 24" LCD. If you want to increase your productivity, you are wearing spectacles or you just want to reduce the number of headaches buy this LCD. You won't regret your decision. This is the only piece of HW you are staring at all the time. Your eyes will be grateful, if not now then in 20 years, believe me.
A co-worker is a professional PCB designer. He was using 21" LCD (Samsung 213T, 1600x1200) for two years, until few months ago. Then we decided to buy him a 30" ACD (2560x1600). Lately our PCBs become quite complex with many 1000+ pin BGAs and other high density chips. In order to manually route large designs he had to first zoom in the starting region, place the trace segment pan and place new trace segments several times and at the end zoom-out. Each operation required a redraw of a display which took approx 2s. In his case placing 500 wires/day meant at least 500 zoom in, 500 zoom out, 2x500 pan commands. All in all display refreshing took 2000s/day or more than half an hour. Now, he doesn't have to zoom in, because he can see the whole PCB. He has become more productive because of the new display. Let's do some math. If he cost a company 70$/hour (I don't know how much he really cost the company, this is just a random number my head generated.) then the 3200$ investment in 30" ACD will return in just 90 days (1/2hour per day * 90 days = 45 hours, 45hours * 70$/hour = 3150$) just because he doesn't have to zoom-in, out and pan every 10s. Some would argue that you can't simplify things like that but at the end he really is more productive and he really finishes his jobs faster.
Think yourself how much time you wasted last year just because you had to wait for SW to finish? How many times you had to restart SW, because you broke the RAM limit? Ok, I admit you could go to coffee machine in such breaks but you must ask yourself "Do I really want to become a coffee addict?" :)
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Hi all,
Igl thanks for all the great hardware info! This is a copy of my quote based on your list, they've put a matrox card in the quote for some reason, I have to talk to them about that tomorrow.
1 AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core System 1 $4807.00
ASUS A8N-SLI Premium Motherboard 1 AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ Dual Core CPU 1 WD 74GB SATA 10,000 RPM Hard Drive 2 Seagate 400GB SATA 7200 RPM Hard Drive 2 Geil DDR400 Dual Channel 2048 MB RAM Kit (2x1024 MB) 2 Silverstone TJ05 Chassis 1 Silverstone ST65ZF 650W ATX Power Supply 1 ThermalTake A1838 CPU Fan 1 Matrox QID LP QID-E128LPA PCI-X16 128M Video Card 1
In Canadian money. So sounds good right? The speed argument is a no brainer, I charge 80 to 100/ hour. Last week I was working on a part with a sweep that everytime I touched it (causing a rebuild) it consumed 3-4 minutes of my life. This adds up fast. I've often wanted an 'efficiency' meter that would show in a given day that 'I' worked for 4 hours and the computer worked for 4 hours. You can kind of get a sense of this my viewing sw's cpu consumption time in the task manager.
Also OT: I've noticed lately that if windows media player is running while I'm using sw then sw crashes occasionaly, whereas when I keep wmp closed, sw rarely if ever crashes. Is this a coincidence?
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I for one would like to know where these people are obtaining their cards.
I run a very small business - I build CAD/3D workstations for clients. PNY announced on 07/29 that the Quadro 4500 was shipping (
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Over a week later no vendors or resellers had it available and either didn't return e-mails or replied that they had no idea what was going on.
I sent an e-mail to Nvidia who forwarded it to the Marketing Manager at PNY, who replied that it would ship out to resellers and vendors on 08/14.
Again it's several days later and NO ONE has it available for sale.
My business has come to a virtual standstill as everyone wants the new Quadro 4500 in their towers... and here I sit unable to buy them, with no idea what's going on, other than so far for me this card is VAPORWARE.
Now I read about other people selling systems with them and other people who are able to get ahold of them to test.
I apologize for the tone of my post but I am EXTREMELY FRUSTRATED with the way Nvidia/PNY handled the rollout of these new cards.. multiple announce dates and promises but so far no cards for sale anywhere. (Try searching on ibuyer.net, pricewatch.com, shopper.cnet.com, froogle.com, etc... you will see NO RESULTS.)
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Ron Fields
I guess it't a matter of what end of the productivity curve you look at. For the price of your 4800 dollar computer you keep for 3 or more years, I would be able to buy brand new hardware every year keeping up with the technology at the same cost. So, my productivity curve goes dramitcally back up every single year even though I losed some in the beginning. Conversely, at the end of your 3 year computer life, your productivy has dramatically went into the floor. I guess it would make for an interesting statistical analysis. I know when my company spends 5 grand on a computer, we don't get upgraded for at least 3.5 to 4 years. By that time, my productivity curve looks really bad compared to the beginning. The dividing hourly wages vs time or minutes saved in the beginning is definatley an easy calculable, but this doesn't necessarly reflect real life productivity gains over time. Either way... I wish we could by a top of line machine every year.
matt wrote:
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There is one problem with that. Look at the performance numbers I posted in this thread. $4,500 computer purchased in May 2004. Bested once and not by much and never by Intel. So my question is, "What computer are you going to buy every year?" The only choice you have is to buy a slower Intel and go along with their Ghz war with themselves. Right now performance has pretty much stagnated at really fast but not fast enough to keep up with the slow decline of SW performance. Until CAD can utilize multiple processors we are pretty close to hitting the wall on upgrades. So for a little while if you have to hit deadlines you have to spend the big bucks.
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I guess one approach for SW would be to use an older fast card. Rebuild time is what you are after. While graphics helps to an extent is isn't the end of the world. Benchmark the 4500 against what you have been using and show users where the real beef is.
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Wow. Almost a Terabyte of storage. I'm only using a few hundred MB, even counting my backup drive.
Do watch movies while you work? You could rip a nice DVD collection onto that system.
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Dale Dunn
There is a rumor going around about the unavailability right now, I have no idea if it's true or not: Nvidia made the heatsinks so big, that there are a substantial number of motherboards where two of them (for SLI mode) will not physically fit. So they are hurrying to correct the problem, which isn't an easy matter since Quadro's have to pass rigourous testing and standards. Again I have no idea if it's true. Nvidia forwards all inquiries to PNY, and PNY just keeps replying with "updated" ship dates. They told you 8/14, now they are saying 9/5, on 9/5 they will probably say 9/15. You can bet whatever the problem is, nobody from PNY or NVidia will comment.
R>I for one would like to know where these people are obtaining their >cards.
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Dave H.

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