I got the 490. After upgrading its video card, its processor and its memory, it's still a piece of shit, and the warrenty is void when you open the box. I built up a custom computer with an AMD Athlon x2 that benchmarks TWICE as fast for 1/4 the money.
i just finished testing the Dell M65 (core2duo) and Dell690 (xeon core2duo 3GH, 4GB ram, single 4500 nvidia) workstations. in WinXP (x32 mode) running SWx 2006 SP5.0. (baseline dell 670 specs, 3.6GH, 4GB ram, nvidia 4500). the M65 took 20% less time than my previous Dell
670. the Dell690 took 30% less time then my previous Dell 670. i almost went for the laptops. this was testing on our product line.
670 had SCSI but i got the SAS on the 690. noise level on the 670 was disturbing, more of a vibration to desktop than anything. the 690 is real quiet, you can hear the hard drive a little when it hits.
the only problem on the 690 that i had was the size of the box (and the stabilization rack below the unit. actual size with the rack is 12" wide x 22.5" tall x 22" deep (deep not including the 4" of space behind unit for cables). and we opened it up and it is full. what ever happened to the shrinking PC? iQ
There are always a number of issues that define a particular person's work and needs, and then what 'Extras' they would like. Everyone is a bit different.
Workstation today has different meanings: I consider my Dell M60 Laptop a workstation, and for my size of assemblies, it does not limit me in any way but the 1900 across pixel screen, and I have learned to live with that as being entirely adequate for me. My understanding is the m90 has made a considerable jump in performance.
XP Pro vs Vista: SolidWorks will no doubt have to support XP Pro for at least 2 more years. Early corporate users doing evaluation are frank in their note that Vista is snail slow and prone to numerous problems just with things they normally use. It is going to take a year or two for Vista to shake out, and probably likewise for SolidWorks and its Patners add-ons.
CPU box compatibility w/Vista DRM: It sounds like Microsoft is going to make future Intel/AMD boxes comply with some draconian sets of requirements which mean Vista is going to be permanently crippled by the cycles required to constantly checke everything in the OS for 'banned' or unauthorized transmissions of data. My personal ultimate worry, is that we are heading into an era where the OS & Hardware are constantly checking your applications and work with the intent to deprive you of the use of something if it 'detects' you are 'not authorized' to be say using that DVD from SolidWorks, or maybe could it be, even SolidWorks itself at some time in the future when SolidWorks changes the terms of its license to make it mandatory to keep maintenance fees every year or your SolidWorks is zapped (plus if you do not connect to the internet every week or so, the OS &/or SolidWorks could simply tell you to connect or your OS will go down to low level functionality. I do not like the direction I see the Vista/DRM/authorization/mandatory connections to the Internet going.
---------Thus I recommend buying a PC now for running Win XP only which is not optimized for Vista, which assumes that I might avoid some of the Vista cost, complexity, and potential slowdowns.
WinXP, for all its faults is known, can be stripped down to minimize processes, does NOT have to be connected to the Internet to operate (more than once), and has limited behind the scenes DRM crapware stuff hidden in the OS. I'll look at Vista when it is production ready, but XP will rule for at least 2 years.
Working in a multi-user office versus alone: If you must plug into and use network servers etc, then it looks like you will have to "follow the pack", but if you are a single user and work as a mobile consultant, then a different set of requirements evolve.
I think the Windows world is getting more complex, yet I wonder if it will be better any time soon, as it seems the audio-visual mega-corporations & Microsoft have come up with a way to string people up into a VistaBox that looks a bit more like a prison than a free computing environment.
I just had a chance to run my STAR2.1 benchmark on a brand new out of the box Dell 390 with a:
Dual-Core Intel=AE CoreTM 2 Extreme X6800 (2.93GHz, 1066MHz FSB, 4MB L2 Cache) and 2mb of RAM.
It had times averaging around 56 seconds compared to a AMD64 FX53 that runs the same in the 35 second time frame and AMD64 4400+ that run in the 40s time frame. I'll try to get Ship in a Bottle times tommorrow. It isn't much improvement over the old 2.6Ghz Pentium it replaced. That machine was also a Dell and four years old.
This particular test is not affected by either graphics card or memory. It is almost pure CPU. I'll try a more scientific test in coming days.
This was right out of the box. I didn't have a chance to really dig into it. I squeezed the test in during a dbWorks install. Unless Dell is in the habit of turning on HT I would say it doesn't have it turned on. And if it does I would have to wonder if they have a switch in the BIOS to turn it off. 32 bit XP with an Nvidia Quadro high end card, although STAR2.1 really doesn't need much memory or graphics. SW2007 SP2.2
published benchmarks with other software, but none of them have done SW. SW has traditionally fared quite well on AMD in comparison with Intel. The Extreme might be good if overclocked, but the results I saw would make me wonder. I am surprised we haven't seen some results posted here based on the Duo platform.
Since top end AMD will get below 30 seconds on this and I have seen even lower posted here I fully expected this box to crack the 10 second barrier. Either the machine has a problem or that is what it is. Last year's SWW boxes did way better than 55 seconds.
The other possible caveat is that I haven't added SW2007 support to the STAR benchmark and ran it in 2006 mode. I wouldn't think that anything in the API changed that radically but it is something else to look into.
In coming days I'll try some real world comparisons and other benchmarks.
Interesting data. From everything I've read comparing the two architectures, the only thing AMD is supposed to be doing better right now is memory throughput. Is there something about the STAR benchmark that would cause a lot of traffic out to main memory instead of being able to work in the L2 cache?
One of the criticisms of Ship-in-a-bottle and the STAR benchmark is that they are focussed on just a few functions of SW. The difference between these two tests seems to highlight the fact that different parts of SW have different needs, and will therefore perform differently on different platforms. Do you have any plans to run something more "comprehensive" like SPECapc 2005?
a very thorough comparison of the Core2 Due and Athlon X2 architecture. You have to get into the spreadsheet to see the actual SPECapc for SolidWorks 2005 scores.
The 2.66GHz Core2 Duo E6700 outperforms the 2.8 GHz Athlon FX62 on both ProE and SolidWorks benchmarks. (SPECapc benchmarks are CPU bound and scale directly with processor speed. There's actually very little spread between different "professional" graphics cards. )
The AMD architecture still holds an edge in pure floating point operations, thus the Athlons excelled on the MATLAB tests.
There is virtually NO DIFFERENCE in performance between the old Athlon64 platform and the new AM2 platform. While I haven't seen any SPECapc scores, the new 3.0GHz 6000+ is NOT proving to be a great performer. The E6700 beats it on nearly every benchmark and even the E6400 is right on its tail - and a fair amount cheaper.
The next step is to run actual assemblies of the large variety. That is what we really do. I run the quick tests to get a feel for the lay of the land. I don't go much for the SPEC benchmarks. In the past they were heavily weighted to graphics. I haven't looked at the code for the newer benchmarks. They may have changed, but I believe many graphics card companies were on the committee that controls this test. What I don't like about SPEC is that there is a new benchmark every year which means that you can't test the software itself from release to release. STAR2.1 gets past that by generating it's own geomtry in whatever version it is running in.
The Core2 may outperform the FX62 in those benchmarks, but I am comparing an out of the box Dell with an older FX53 that has been optimized. It isn't overclocked, just optimized.
The next thing I will post is comparisons of assembly open/rebuild and then open and rebuild drawing.