Message 1 of 7
How much free memory is required to run VX.exe entirely in RAM?
How much RAM memory is used for a given model size?
In spec'ing the new PC, XP Pro, is 2 Gb RAM more than enough? Does any more memory make any difference? and if so how significant?
How important is the video card for VX?
Is there a notable difference in on screen performance of VX between a 128MB and a 256Mb or 386Mb or 512MB card.
Message 2 of 7
That's a bit of a "how long is a piece of string" question in that the overriding factor is file size. Currently, VX is strictly 32bit. It supports file sizes up to 4GB. Now, VX does not squander available RAM in the way that many other CAD systems and other software do. With the VX Session Manager enabled, VX only loads sufficient geometry for the work you are performing at any given time - the whole geometry database does not need to be loaded into RAM. You will also notice that when you build VX Assemblies, the Assembly Object requires very few KB to describe each component (try inquire in the Root Object List, you will find that a typical VX assembly requires less or similar KB to some of the Part Objects that are instanced within it!).
VX has been designed to work with the lowest-spec machines possible, but it all depends on what each User is actually defining. Let's not forget also that you are likely to be using other programs at the same time -some of which, such as graphic illustration programs, hog a lot of RAM. Windows itself is a RAM eater too. The more RAM you have, the more that is squirreled away by both Windows and the CPU. Frankly, RAM is now so inexpensive compared to only two years ago, fitting 4GB (for a 32bit system) just has to be a good move. Once Windows and the hardware have grabbed their share, there will be about 2.3 to 2.5GB available for your software and data files.
A good graphics card affects how quickly the display is updated, within the confines of the capability of the Monitor. The bigger your Monitor, the more grunt you need from the graphics card. Again, VX is not overly demanding but it is essential that the card fully supports OpenGL. The greater demand will likely be from other programs that you use. However, a high performance graphics card is essential if you want to run Windows Vista, which on identical hardware is very much slower than Windows XP. Vista is dependent on DirectX and is constantly demanding of the graphics card for its own purposes. This is in conflict with your CAD-CAM software which is simultaneously talking to the card in a completely different language, OpenGL. No prizes for guessing that might cause a headache. If you are investing in a new system, you might like to consider staying with Windows XP for now and wait to see what Windows 7 delivers in 2009/10.
What does make a difference is the speed of the CPU and the speed of the hard drives. For the hard drives, good maintenance is key since it is fragmentation of the drives that slows their performance. It is also sensible to have the program files and data files on separate drives (better than separate partitions of the same drive). The modern Core2 Intel processors are fast and economical to run too. I'm wary of the four-core processors because most programs, including VX, are not specifically designed to make the most of them - neither is Windows. Also, eight-core Intel processors will soon be available, possibly making the four-cores redundant.
So, at the end of the day it all depends on what the PC is used for and how much money you wish to invest. Some VX customers are running 64bit Windows (XP64/Vista64). VX runs on a 64bit OS, but as a 32bit application. A 64Bit OS will support a much larger amount of RAM, very useful for other programs (such as Renderers which, as a genre, tend to use the CPU and RAM rather than the GPU and G-RAM). No doubt Vista 64bit would be a good performer with a high-end graphics card and generous RAM. 16GB is common, 24GB+ motherboards are available.
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Message 4 of 7
VXQM uses another sepparate 2GB of RAM because is a separate process.
Both VX and VXQM stores a lot of information on the disk giving the feeling that can bypass 2GB OS limitation. So having 4GB (~3.5GB in reality after graphic memory shadowing) is a big plus because the OS can cache a lot pages in RAM too instead of going direct to the disk.
So what I suggest, in special for guys that uses VXQM, is to upgrade their memory to 4GB to work as smooth as possible. 4GB of RAM costs less then $70 so is a very small price to pay for better performance. A modern HDD is the next ~$100 update any 1GB HDD is a technological marvel. A bigger HDD isn't only a better performer intrinsically but loading it less then 50% avoids many fragmentation problems too.
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Message 7 of 7
I have just managed to get my new PC going. Had an issiue with the wrong RAID drivers loading via the MOBO install CD!
In the course of my research I discovered a bit more about Raid options with the Intel ICH10R chipset as used on my Gigabyte EP45 mobo.
With two drives I can and have configured two Raid arrays. The first is a Raid0 of 100Gb in which I will put my VX user directory and data. the second array is a 150 Gb Raid 1 and I will set up a twice daily data backup from the R0 > R1.
Point is that with the Matrix RAID controller you have both R0 & R1 on the same drives via partitions. I have yet to see it in effect but seems a good approach with out needing a powerstation to run numerous drives - 3 is enough. I also have a 4th out of chassis drive connected via Sata whci his a daily back up of the R1.
Without the problems I would not have been aware of the possibility of running both 0 & 1 on the same drive set. That's the Silver Lining effect.