Recommended Computer

I am planning on purchasing a new computer. The main reason for
upgrading is to improve the performance of my FEA program. It uses
large amounts of memory. The general details are:
Xi System
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ 64Bit Dual Core 2x1024KB Cache
4GB DDR 400MHz ECC Ram
2x 150GB 10000RPM SATA 150MB/s WD Raptor 16MB Cache
nVidia Quadro FX 1400
This system is going to be set up for dual boot, so I will run my
standard office programs under WindowsXP-Pro on the first hard drive.
The second hard drive will be used for Algor FEA and SolidWorks. I may
install SolidWorks on the first hard drive as well, so that it can be
used with the regular office programs. Do any of you have experience
with the different 64 bit operating systems? Which one would you
recommend? My choices are:
Windows® XP-64
Linux Red Hat® Enterprise Workstation 4 STD
Also, on the hard drive, for the same cost, I can get a "73GB 10000RPM
USCSI-320". Would the SCSI be faster?
I appreciate any input you may have.
Sincerely,
Brian Putnam
Reply to
Brian Putnam
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If you actually intend to run SW on your second hard drive, you only have one 64 bit choice, SW cannot run in a linux environment.
Reply to
Brian
I don't have any direct experience with 64 bit operating systems, but I have also been looking at purchasing a new computer, and most manufacturers recommend against them right now. The problem that they have typically has been for hardware drivers, you may want to make sure that there are drivers available, or drivers that are stable.
As for your computer hardware, it sounds like a great machine.
Reply to
YouGoFirst
Your system looks just like the one I use. You will be very happy I think.
As for hard drives, I do not think that you will be able to tell the difference between the Raptor and a SCSi drive. I used to use 15K SCSI drives, but I switched to the Raptor and was surprised at how fast it was!
Reply to
markslabaugh
Upgrade to the Quadro FX 1500 for $60 over the FX 1400. It has twice the memory and twice the bandwidth.
I believe only Opterons require ECC Ram, you can save a few bucks by using the standard DDR.
Stick with SATA drives, but configure for RAID 0 operation. You should notice a difference in FEA. Use a boot loader to select between Windows and Linux.
For a business PC, XP-64 is IMHO a good choice. I have not had any driver issues other than having to wait for x64 Spaceball drivers for the newly released Solidworks x64.
Reply to
johnmhill
Upgrade to the Quadro FX 1500 for $60 over the FX 1400. It has twice the memory and twice the bandwidth.
I believe only Opterons require ECC Ram, you can save a few bucks by using the standard DDR.
Stick with SATA drives, but configure for RAID 0 operation. You should notice a difference in FEA. Use a boot loader to select between Windows and Linux.
For a business PC, XP-64 is IMHO a good choice. I have not had any driver issues other than having to wait for x64 Spaceball drivers for the newly released Solidworks x64.
Reply to
johnmhill
I have been using Registered ECC memory on my system because the mobo likes it. AMD64 FX53. Works fine and no memory related problems.
The Raptors are very fast.
SolidWorks won't run on Linux so that is out. With only 4GB of ram you don't need to run 64 bit. If you plan on more RAM then 64 bit is a good idea.
Reply to
TOP
The Raptor will actually be faster than the SCSI for single user application use. Although we are talking minimal difference. SCSI really excels in server environments where the raptor is sometimes used as an entry level drive.
I believe TOP is spot on. 64-bit windows won't get you anything unless you plan on addressing >4gb of ram. You won't be finding any consumer mobos that support >4gb. If FEA is really a memory hog then I'd go Dual core Opteron and 8gb of ram. Of course at $400-$500 a 2gb stick you are talking some serious bank. Hopefully your employer pays for it. Raid 0 I can't really comment on for performance. You are much better off using your $200 for more RAM than Raid.
Reply to
Mr. Who
I've had poor expereinces with RAID. I place all applications on one drive, store all data on another drive, and use another drive just for the page file. My current desktop uses 2x 74GB Raptors and 1 36GB Raptor. Even with my cheapie 4400 X2 939 and 2GB RAM, this system is very fast for me.
Cheers, Devon T. Sowell
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Reply to
Devon T. Sowell
An XP-64 machine does not need more than 4GB of RAM to demonstrate advantages. XP-64 will use drive paging to contine to access memory (RAID0 helps make this a little less painful performance wise). As an example, the "patbench" benchmark will crash on a 32bit machine at 12 rebuilds. A 64bit machine with 2GB of RAM will complete 13 rebuilds with no problem. I suspect with a large drive and some patience, it could complete more.
This can make those impossible large assemblies or FEA analysis doable. I'm also convinced that it results in less system lockups and CTD's.
Reply to
johnmhill
Get two single core Opterons on a Socket 940. Performance is slightly better than a single dual-core CPU running at the same clock speed and less expensive in the Opteron 200 series. (Two 2.6GHz Opteron 252 CPUs cost $160 less than a dual-core 2.6GHz Opteron 285. Most importantly, with two CPUs, you can populate all 8 memory sockets with low-cost 1GB DIMMs.
The memory type will be dictated by the socket type.
Socket 940 (Opteron 200 and 800 Series) requires Registered ECC DDR400 DIMMs (some systems may only support DDR333 if populating all 8 sockets.)
Socket 939 (Athlon and Opteron 100 Series) supports unregistered DDR400 DIMMs. ECC is strongly recommended for 64-bit operation.
Reply to
jimsym
Jimsym is a smart man! That is a much better way. Especially saving on the memory!
John: I suppose you could use a RAID0 + x64 to address larger amount of RAM and get some things done, but why bother? You are way better off with 8gb of ram than relying on paging. I'm not saying you are wrong. It is a very good point and something I missed. If you are really pushing the system then you can rely on your hard drive to provide the additional memory addressing to get something done.
But because he is going new system I think he should really just shoot for a system that can handle gobs of memory. You should be able to put together a dual opteron + 2 raptor + 8gb memory + FX1500 box for around $4-$5k USD. Go for it!
Reply to
Mr. Who
Mr. Who: I completely agree with you. The system you describe should be on every Solidworks users desk. However, many finance departments balk at computers that cost more than $1K, regardless of the fact they are used to run $5K (and more) software by people that cost in excess of $100 per hour. A CAD magazine recently mentioned that they where going to start reviewing low end PC's since so many readers complained that their corporations would not purchase the workstations the magazine commonly reviewed.
My primary point was that no matter what you have, x64 is a better solution than staying in the 32 bit world.
Reply to
johnmhill
RE: "x64" are drivers available for printers, sound cards, and other devices?
Best Regards Devon T. Sowell
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Reply to
Devon T. Sowell
I had to switch back to 32 bit XP because I couldn't get into our PDM system or the big plotter. Both were show stoppers.
WT
Reply to
Wayne Tiffany
Thanks to everyone for their input. I like the idea of going with dual Opterons and 8GB of memory, but that is too much for my budget. I'm going with my basic configuration I started with. It will be a dual boot system with Win XP and Win XP-64. I'm going with the dual boot so I don't get burned by driver issues, plus I don't think our ERP system will work with 64 bits yet. It's going to have the hardware available so that I can set it up as Raid 0 in the future. Now I just have to wait for it to get here. I'll run some benchmarks when it gets here and let you know how it works. Brian
Brian Putnam wrote:
Reply to
Brian Putnam
Because most finance depts. don't understand any software other than Excel! ;) It's the same mentality as when they purchase company fleet vehicles. What are the minimum requirements to do the job. A work van with no radio, A/C, no frills, etc. Same as when they buy PC's. Regardless of what you ask for, they look at the side of the Solidworks box for the minimum requirements and that's what you get. Now, what would help us is if SWx changed the min. requirements to be a mid/top line PC, even if it will technically run on something less!! :) (well, it would help me anyway!)
They'll never do that however because they'll be afraid of scaring off potential new customers that they need to purchase new top PC's in addition to seats of SWx. Oh well......
Scott
Reply to
IYM
So, if you're working in x64, everytime you want to print a drawing, you might have to reboot?
Best Regards, Devon T. Sowell
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Reply to
Devon T. Sowell
Here is a good solution Devon - install VMWARE and use it to print your things. It wouldn't handle SW well (i think), but you could save as pdf then use it just for printing. No rebooting! I'd still keep a 32bit boot around just in case VMWARE doesn't work though.
Reply to
Mr. Who
Hopefully you will run these benchmarks:
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Run them on your current machine too so you can see the difference.
Reply to
TOP

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