PC Hardware Reliability for SolidWorks?

Everybody & their brother can "make" a PC, and half a dozen or so manufacturers push them out in lots of models.
But we rarely get more than a few comments back from the ocassional user on reliability. Recently someone noted their group had some issues with Dells 690, as an instance.
Can we get some votes for what has worked and what has had "issues" in hardware from manufacturers, so there is at least a little more feedback into this group?
Thanks - Bo
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iQ here, here is my best reliability platform. First I typically use Dell hardware. We have models 650, 670 and 690 currently. All computers have 2 hard drives, dual core CPU's or multithreaded CPU's (650 will not work this way). We rebuild them as a XP64 platform. Under this OS I install CAD, virus (NAV), and WinZip, that is all on the first hard drive. On the second hard drive I build a virtual PC using Vmware on a portion of the drive, typically this is about 40GB of second drive and split the CPU function. On the Vmware I install XP32, and all other required software (word, excel, email, virus, ...). XP64 is intranet limited and has no access to the Internet, keeps this OS as clean as possible. All temp files go to second hard drive on XP64. Now the Vmware and the XP32 has full internet access, but no CAD. Of course I use 2 monitors, one for XP64 and the other for XP32. So basically I have turned one computer into two by doing this. This has made SolidWorks very stable, which I am using SWx 2008 SP3.0. Cost of doing this is about $1K ber computer if it only has one hard drive, which i am using SAS drives. I have had issues which is why i have built my computer platforms this way. In future platforms i expect to purchase them with a pair of dual-core CPU's so i can utilize the capability of dual core functionality in future versions of SWx and split them up so i can use dual cores in each OS. This will help for stability and reliability. iQ
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iQ, this sounds very straightforward, though this is the first time I've seen someone detail it as such.
In fact, this is what I do with my Intel Mac right now. My XP Pro never goes on the Internet (after the massive amount of MS updates finishes one time & any other required Internet registrations). That has kept XP Pro clean as a whistle.
Bo
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Sounds like a good idea.
I am gonna try that out on our 64bit machine next week, cuts away 1 CAD workstation for the cost of Wmware and licenses... (or maybe nothing if I can get windows virtuel running - which I dont have much confidence in but what the heck lets see).
I presume you run your 64bit machines with 8gb ram like we do? How much do you dedicate to which?
Do I understand it correctly if the first installed OS is 64bit and then you add the 32bit as a virtuel machine?
If you have anymore usefull info for someone who just have to play around with this please send it to me or post it here.
Thx in advance
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i commit only 1 GB of ram to the virtual computer and 20 GB of hard space. XP64 and SWx 2008 seem to take up less resources then a comparable in XP32. i have many computers with only 4GB ram and are running fine. but i also have a user with 10GB and has ran out of physical memory, swap disk space (virtual memory). FYI i monitor memory usage with process explorer and preformance monitor rather than using the task manager (this is because task manager memory display does not trully represent the individual process and its memory usage).

yes this is correct, install XP64 as the primary OS. and the virtual machine is XP32.

VMware comes in many flavors. to create a virtual computer you need to purchase a license of their VMware Workstation, VMware ACE, VMware Server, VMware ESX, or VMware VirtualCenter products. these cost around $200+. i run VMware player, which is free, to access the Virtual PC on the workstation. you could run VMware workstation also to access the virtual PC. there are slight limitations in the difference between the player and the workstation product and some may want to run the workstation as it gives more control. i may change to the workstation if the player does not work out. once you have the virtual computer made it can just be copied to other computers and accessed via the player/workstation software. the worse item that i have found is that with the player and you minimize the window it changes the pixel display and moves all icons to support the resolution. this can be a pain for users so i also install wintdy program to correct this event after you maximize the display again (works better to have two monitors rather than one, on a single screen this can be a pain with the player). the workstation allows the screen to just shrink and maintain the same resolution which i feel is better. but i am going to run with the player for now.

you are most certainly welcome. iQ
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Running Windows XP Pro in Parallels on the Intel Macs works fine for me, but haven't tried VMware. Backup of the Parallels install is a simple zipped copy of the mega-file that holds the virtual hard drive or the whole folder which holds the virtuall hard drive. That means that "going back" to a prior good XP install is just minutes away. Much easier than anything I've done on my Dells when things go bad.
I think Microsoft is increasingly supporting virtualization.
In spite of comments to the contrary by someone else, I find XP Pro a pleasure to use as long as it doesn't get on a network or the Internet and get corrupted. I do find MS as a company to be lacking in 21st Century relevant innovative products, as is observed by their lack of market share in their new products. I think their very large profits on software seduced them into thinking software would ALWAYS produce 85% profit margins, and failed to develop an appreciation for hardware...until now. Now they lose billions per year on XBox360, and have extra billions/yr on warranty costs. Dell is in the same situation and has hired 20 times as many product designers in the last few years. Apple did it right...software + hardware = satisfied customers.
I use both Apple & Dells, and both are good, but Apple delivers flexibility and reliability to me. I have run Mac, Ubuntu, & XP Pro at the same time, and can reboot into native XP Pro.
Virtualization on any PC platform looks like a winner to me.
Bo
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quick update on this. i have been working with the VMware free player on the XP32 side. it is not enough for our needs and i am purchasing the VMware workstation. this will give me better control of the VMware computer. just FYI, iQ
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