how faster may i be with new workstations?

hi all. i asked my engineers to watch at how much time they think we're loosing due to old workstations. actually, we're using compaq ap-200 workstations: piii-500, 256mb,
donnow-scsi-disk, gvx1, 100mbit f-ether. files are located on a network server that we may never consider a bottleneck. our average 1st-level assembly is made of 300/400 parts and 70/80 subassemblies. now, it takes 2 minutes to 2 minutes 30 seconds to open a big assembly. it takes 1.10 to 1.40 minutes to save without mass properties and up to 2.30/2.50 minutes to close+save with mass properties. with bigger assemblies, i.e. 500/600 parts, 90/100 assemblies, it's taking 6 minutes 40 seconds to open it, 2.12 to save without mass properties, 3 minutes close+save with mass properties and over half a minute to rebuild/recalculate the whole assembly.
now the question is: should i buy new workstations *now*, how faster would these operations be? network speed is not the bottleneck because i'm keeping an eye on network traffic. we're experiencing just some swap problems but also graphics is still quite good. i would buy new workstations only after i'll be pretty sure we'll reduce *this* dead times.
we still work with 2003sp5.1 + dbworks 2003spsomething.
thanks in advance.
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Gianni Rondinini
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You can get a rough comparison if your run the SPEC SolidWorks benchamrk on one of your workstations. Compare the "file I/O" results against these:
http://www.spec.org/gpc/apc.data/specapc_sw2003_summary.html
This should give you an approximation of how much faster load and save time should be. The CPU category will show how to compare times for calculating mass properties.
Almost any new workstation will be a LOT faster than your current systems.
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Hello Gianni,
The step up to a modern system from what you are currently running will be drastic.
CPU speeds are not only 6 times faster, but also run more efficiently.
The bus speeds are up to 800 MHz from 100 MHz in the piii.
RAM prices have plummented, while their performance has increased to 800MHz from 133MHz. Minimum is now considered 1GB. New SATA technology, combined with RAID 0 configuration will give scsi a run at a fraction of the cost.
Graphics cards have also taken advantage of all these advances.
All this can be had for 1/2 the cost of a piii when it was fresh silicon.
The trend in software has been to pile on the code and let the hardware handle the work. Nothing lean or efficient. This causes enough problems on new machines and I'm sure yours are unbearable.
Good luck

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All I can say is "OH MY GOD" !!!
I can't even believe you have the patience to wait for Solidworks to load, let alone waiting for DBWorks to run as an add-in. 256Mb... I can't believe it. COMPLETELY UNBEARABLE. Not to mention the OS crashes you must suffer because you're surely not trying to run Windows NT or 2000 or Windows XP but I suppose you could. I have a PIII that my 4 year old daughter uses as her computer and that has Windows XP on it (we can't have Barbie.com crashing now can we?). :-)
Since you're running SW2003, get the 2003 benchmark from www.spec.org and see what you come up with. The fastest systems are running the bench in around 120 secs give or take. Your systems would probably be pushing twenty minutes, as a guess.
The move to a modern system above 2Ghz with a new Quadro card and a gig of ram would be as awakening as a cold shower and about one fifth the price of SW itself.
- Eddy

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Neither can I. I just bought a system like that for twelve bucks at the Salvation Army store... and it works!
Upgrade... while you still have your sanity.
Mike Wilson
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Damn Mike, I've got a basement full of that stuff I would have *given* you. It all works too. Unless I happened to need a wheel chock or make-shift hammer that day, and then it might just be missing a hard drive or something. LOL :)
I just went through my stuff and bandsawed a couple old PIII systems apart. I used a motherboard tray from one box and a drive cage from another to make a nice test fixture for new motherboards, etc. Now when I want to test a new board or card, etc. I can just go to the fixture, screw it down, and off I go. No sense in digging around inside a case when you've got a shop full of them to cut apart :)
- Eddy

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On Thu, 12 Feb 2004 20:59:20 -0600, "Eddy Hicks"
tried to expand ram but couldn't find right type. "common" ecc/non-ecc/registered/unregistered dimms can't fit in the compaq workstations.

we use nt4sp6a

i'll try. thank you.

err... in italy hardware costs at least as twice --or far more-- than in usa and this is the only reason i didn't change workstations earlier.
thanks to all of you for your suggestions.
regards.
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Gianni Rondinini
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I meant no offense Gianni, I just can't believe you are that patient. You would be far better off running SW2001+ and NOT using Compaq. You would be better off building your own systems using standard (cheap) components. Take a look at Dell's cheapest Precision Workstations. They use standard, widely available ram sticks. Let us know what you end up doing. But the answer to your original question is that the difference will be hugely noticeable.
- Eddy
wrote:

must
Windows
of
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On Fri, 13 Feb 2004 07:30:39 -0600, "Eddy Hicks"
never mind :) i absolutely didn't get offended :) it was just to add some information about our actual configuration, since i recognized i had forgot too much of it.

those were my first workstations and i was afraid --you know, psicologic terrorism made sometimes by vars...-- not to be able to configure the "right" pc's.
i think next workstations will be built using standard components.

this is the most important thing.
i'll let you know what i'll decide to buy, when i'll do it (unfortunately i had to buy *now* 2 digital copiers because our 2 previous copiers went out-of-order in the same moment --damn...-- and it wasn't convenient to repare them.
thank you again.
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A suitable machine for 530 Eu:
http://makeashorterlink.com/?C31A14567
(French, sorry), no screen, no software...
Can be widely improved for not that much money:
700Eu, Athlon XP 3000+ - ASUS A7V8X-X - 512 Mo DDR PC2700 - 120 Go 7200 trs/min 8 Mo cache - GeForce FX5200 128 Mo : http://makeashorterlink.com/?C3FA12567
There must be similar deals in Italy. (Sure there are a bunch here).
Taxes included...
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On Fri, 13 Feb 2004 15:28:09 +0100, "Jean Marc BRUN" <jean-marc.brun _arobace/at_ tgcp.fr> wrote:

not bad, even if i'm not too keen on amd processors.

nevermind: i'm taking french lessons :)
regards.
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One final addition Gianni... don't shy away from AMD. I've used them exclusively for over two years and comparable Intels can't touch them. For the same money you'll be faster, plain and simple. Please, no wars here, the facts have been out for a few years. There is less difference now between the top of the line Intel vs AMD but the difference is still in favor of AMD. For some reason, SW runs faster on AMD, going back to 2001+ running on Athlon XP.
The new Athlon64 cpus can be had for under $500 US, all the way down to less than $300 for the low-end version, and they smoke even the Xeon procs.
- Eddy

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On Fri, 13 Feb 2004 09:37:39 -0600, "Eddy Hicks"
no wars, don't worry :) the reason why i'm not too keen on amd cpus is that until few years ago, there were bigger problems with software --err... expecially microsoft's ones-- than with genuine intel processors.
since, unfortunately, software has many bugs and gives problems everyday, i wanted to stay away at least from the ones related to hardware compatibility.
but if you say that today there is no problem in running win+swx on amd, there is no problem with them. thank you for your suggestion.
cheers.
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Gianni Rondinini
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See my posting "benchmark results" (last post Feb. 4). Compare my results against what you see on your current workstations.
I don't know if this link will work or not:
http://groups.google.com/groups?dq=&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&threadm=v5SdnSuhOL4BkrzdRVn-tA%40dls.net&prev=/groups%3Fdq%3D%26num%3D25%26hl%3Den%26lr%3D%26ie%3DUTF-8%26oe%3DUTF-8%26group%3Dcomp.cad.solidworks%26start%3D150
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