Hi, I read this thread with some interest, and wanted to throw my two cents in... At the beginning of the thread, there is a statement about "not going back to E size drawings..." that I would like to elaborate on. If you don't want to read this whole thing, at least read from "OPTIMIZE..."
Most of us doing this can remember back to the first "8086" systems. AutoCAD was a "big deal". At this moment, I run a completely "paperless" design company, using tools like electronics CAD (OrCAD), SW, Lightwave 3D (for rendering stills and animations). I can design all aspects of a product, send files out and get real parts back. I can send a file to China for tooling and get parts back in 4 weeks - none of which was possible 10 years ago. This in contrast to the "old days" of marker renderings and hand made models (no SLA parts). Do some of the "bugs" and such bother me in these programs, absolutley. But what is the alternative; going from SLA models to hand made ones? No-F**cking way...
Granted, it seems like with every iteration of ANY program things get worse and worse; but in reality, we are still forging a path with a VERY immature technology. With every single high-level program I use, every release "seems" more buggy than the last. Let me tell you, take a program like Lightwave 3D; it is nothing short of magic the things that can be done (full motion pictures from your desktop?!). I feel the same way about SW; though there are alternatives, are any of them actually BETTER than the one you are using. I have a friend that has been using Pro/E since the beginning of time, an expert beyond experts; though some aspects (large assemblies) are better, there are just as many things "wrong" in Pro/E as well (as well as in the last release, they changed things so much in the interface, he says he may have to take a class just to figure out where things are now!).
Lastly, a word about the obvious, and a bit of personal "computer philosophy". It is a grand idea to have a "box that can do everything". Since the beginning, this is what has been forced down our throats. As someone that hand wired their first computer (6800 CPU, 1K memory, programmed in BINARY by flipping switches), I continue to state that the "ubiquitous computer" is a mistake. IMO, unless you are using MS Word as your main app, treating the computer as a "black box" is a mistake. We are professionals, and need to focus on what it takes to make our tools work their best. A carpenter would not try and get a smooth surface with a dull plane; you cannot expect SW or any other program of this nature to function well if "AIM" is on in the background, as well as Outlook, etc.Though it smacks in the face of the MS hype, a dedicated box is essential for running these apps like SW. Here is how I am "coping" with the current situation.
OPTIMIZE YOUR SYSTEM: It sucks, but if you really want to get the most from your tools, you MUST take the time and "undo" some of the "niceties" that have been provided for you. I took the extreme path here, but you will see what I am suggesting. In my case, I did the following:
1.) Removeable "C" hard drive: Get a new hard drive, and install the OS on it. Do all the updates from MS until you can't do anymore. Then, optimize the OS. Follow what "BlackViper"
has to say. Turn off all the crap that is on by default (system restore, remote monitoring), use Classic interface, set system for "performance" through the system panel. Use the "other" drive with Outlook, Word, etc. when you need it. Granted, it is a major pain inthe ass, but when you experience the difference in performance, you will become a believer.
2.) Using TweakUI, msconfig, whatever you'd like, go through all the startup processes. You are going to find that almost EVERYTHING RUNNING IN THE BACKGROUND IS NOT NEEDED! When you examine all the crap that is running, and how much memory it takes, it will make you sick to your stomach. I reclaimed over 100 MEG by stopping these background tasks. And that was JUST OS non-essential tasks! Once you do this, you will find that simple tasks seem to be "lightning fast" with the bare bones.
3.) DO NOT INSTALL ANY OTHER PROGRAMS, ESPECIALLY VIRUS PROTECTION SOFTWARE. Virus protection in particular is a killer. They are bloated, and try to protect the casual user from themselves. This is a CAD box, not a web-site browser. Avoid the urge to "go on" the internet with this setup, unless you are certain that the site is "safe". Fundamentally, stick with sites that you download new drivers for hardware; avoid looking at that "funny flash site" with the singing monkeys. This can't be stressed enough; only install programs that you know run in their "own space". In other words, things like MSO install "quick start" features that sit in the background waiting for you to click that icon and make it look like the program loads very fast. Actually, the application is already running in the background. KEEP AN EYE ON PROCESSES RUNNING. Stop any that are non-essential.
4.) Install SW fresh. You will find that, *magically*
it seems to load much faster. And no probelms installing service packs. Hmmm...
5.) Though I haven't run benchmarks between the two "systems" the performance is clear; SW runs faster, does not crash, lock-up NEARLY as much. I forget that the app does crash since they are much fewer and farther between. Large assemblies with many mates do in fact load ok. You will find that with the reclaimed memory, and only housekeeping going on in the background, things actually function well.
6.) Do your chores: Housekeeping is essential. Defrag, "registry mechanic", etc. Keep things up to date and clean.
It is perhaps extreme to have a seperate box (or in my case, switching hard drives) for running just one program, but I will trade the benefits over the bitching anyday. Of course, I completely skipped over the obvious things such as having a fast CPU, maxed out memory, good video card. These things are pointless to me if other things are "stealing" cycles away from the system. Also, I am not one of the extremist with a liquid cooled CPU, etc. I use a box that I bought at CompUSA with added memory and a good video card.