CAD/CAM discussion forum > ZW3D CAD > 2014 Hardware recommendations..?

2014 Hardware recommendations..?

    
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Paul

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posts: 354

Registered: 2011-9-17

Message 1 of 14

 2014 Hardware recommendations..?
04-04-2014 04:32 . am   |   View his/her posts only
Hi Guys, upgrade hardware time so I am looking some guidance.

What are the hardware features that will most improve the speed with which I can work with ZW3D?
Assume 64bit Win 7/8

Do multi cores make any difference? How many can Z3 use?

How much memory will actually get used and at what level is it a waste?

Etc...

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davej

Assistant Engineer

posts: 73

Registered: 2013-1-16

Message 2 of 14

04-04-2014 07:35 . am   |   View his/her posts only
I recently did some testing on one of my spare computers. My starting point on this computer was a mid-range dual-core AMD processor with an Asus x64 motherboard, older style DDR2 800 memory modules, Vista x64, and SATA hard drives. I can't pin down (related to ZW3D) exactly where I got the biggest bang for the buck but the following three things dramatically improved not just my ZW3D performance but also my overall computer performance.

1) A small (or a big one if you can afford it) SSD drive that contains your operating system and you most important applications. ZW3D was of course one of my important applications. The speed improvements (mostly opening, closing, and saving) with an SSD drive in my opinion is significant.

2) For my video card I went from a very low level GeForce 8 series to an entry level PNY Quadro 410. Much improved and more responsive video compared to the GeForce 8 series.

3) This computer had not been used much recently and never did have much RAM but because it is x64 I bumped the RAM memory from 2GB to 8GB. The recommendation generally is with x64 a minimum of 4GB of RAM. RAM is very cheap these days so I think with older motherboards as much as you can afford or as much as you motherboard can handle (often 8 or 16 GB) might be a good thing.

This computer had and still has two cores. Not that easy to test multiple cores so I will need to defer to ZWSOFT tech support for their opinions on moving to quad or eight or more cores.

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Colin

Manager

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Registered: 2012-1-19

Message 3 of 14

08-04-2014 04:37 . pm   |   View his/her posts only
Hi, All

We have been working to make better use of hardware for ZW3D, in the latest version, the CAM calculation are using multiple-thread computing, the 2D sheet generation are using multiple-thread computing, more and more operaitons which need faster speed will be optimized by multiple-computing in the future. In another word, for the moment, more cores you have, faster speed you can get.

Windows7 or Windows8 64bit is perferred, as the 64 bit OS are able to use more RAM than 4G. From my experience, it depends on your data, if it is huge especially in CAM, you'd better try 8G RAM or above, 16G could be pretty nice.

SSD is good if you have a lot of big files, it will immediately save huge time in opening or closing files.

Just for your reference, my laptop is i7 (4 Core, 8 thread), 16G RAM, Quadro 1000M, normal hard disk, it works pretty good when I deal with any big file.

My desktop is i5 (2 core), FX 580M, 4G, it works OK with the file like 1G, but it is slow to open. In the section view of 2D, as the file is huge, it needs to wait a little more time.

Best regards
Colin

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Paul

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Message 4 of 14

09-04-2014 02:34 . pm   |   View his/her posts only
Colin that is very useful information that we all need to know.
From what have discerned Colins laptop spec is probably close to the sweet spot.
Dave, I appreciate the effort you have put in too.

I have had this gem passed on....

"According to a team of researchers from the San Diego Supercomputer Center and Los Alamos National Laboratory, enabling ECC cuts the size of the system available by 10% because of the amount of memory consumed by the error correction codes. They note that additionally, turning ECC on “reduces simulation speed, resulting in greater opportunity for other sources of error such as disk failures in large file systems, power glitches, and unexplained node failures during the timeframe of the calculation.” But more interestingly, when it came to actually seeing how useful the ECC was overall for all of the systems, it turned out that there were very few errors—and in fact, the most significant errors or problems were based on the hardware itself, faulty motherboards or other variables…not the types the errors ECC is designed to address—at least for the AMBER molecular dynamics code that was used as the basis for the cross-system testing. As the researchers summarize, “Although the ability of ECC to detect and correct single bit errors is undeniably useful in theory, the practical application of this technology may not be in the interests of the MD community.”
Source: Is the ECC Performance Price Worth it for GPUs?
Nicole Hemsoth,
http://www.hpcwire.com/2014/03/1 ... price-worth-gpus/#/

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Paul

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Registered: 2011-9-17

Message 5 of 14

15-04-2014 01:45 . pm   |   View his/her posts only
Reply 4# mudcrab

Doing some investigating about the Z87 Haswell Intel chipset. With the latest i7 4770k it supports the new HD4600 graphics on board. Now I wondering if this means that the Quadro card is now redundant?
Considering a Quadro K2000 is about 25-30% of the box cost....

  • Up to 20% performance increase over the integrated HD4000 GPU (Haswell HD4600 vs Ivy Bridge's built-in Intel HD4000).[9]


Elsewhere is I find it supports Open GL 4.0 but I cannot find any reviews etc.



Kinda curious to know if it works in CAD...


Cheers

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Paul

Moderator

posts: 354

Registered: 2011-9-17

Message 6 of 14

23-04-2014 03:23 . pm   |   View his/her posts only
Hi Guys,
Been doing some research and am wondering if Z3 on Win7 64b will actually use more than 8Gb Ram?
e.g. "Recent tests of a mid range Windows 7 based PC with configurations of 4GB, 8GB and 16GB of system memory have shown only a marginal overall performance benefit between 8GB and 4GB. No performance improvement was evident when moving from 8GB to 16GB, therefore I do not see the 16GB physical memory limitation of Home Edition to be an issue when choosing an operating system."http://www.pcworld.idg.com.au/article/386085/windows_7_home_premium_vs_windows_7_professional/

As far as I can tell, the issue is if the application(Z3) can actually use the additional RAM >8Gb. I suspect that this is something only ZW can tell me. If the App isn't designed or even need the RAM then the OS cannot use it.
Any one know for sure?
Cheers

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davej

Assistant Engineer

posts: 73

Registered: 2013-1-16

Message 7 of 14

06-05-2014 04:08 . am   |   View his/her posts only
Reply 6# mudcrab

As you mentioned in the message I was hoping that an educated response from ZWSOFT tech support will answer this. I've always guessed (but don't know or sure) that an application such as ZW3D in theory could use at or beyond 8GB but in practice it really never gets there. ??? Therefore beyond 8GB for a single application such as ZW3D is kinda meaningless. ???

Primarily running CAD/CAM applications (usually one at a time) I've seen significant improvements from 1 or 2 GB to 4 or 8GB. Beyond that I can't measure or notice improvements. It's also my belief that the real advantage in these small memory bump ups is to the operating system not necessarily the applications.


It always been my guess that RAM beyond 8GB is useful for provide the operating system the headroom it needs to orchestrate multi-tasking many applications at the same time. Some combination of multi-tasking, multi-threading, parallel processing, and caching in memory can grab pieces of that excess ram from the operating system and limit the applications from paging to the slow hard drive.


If I'm correct and your not a big time multi-tasker then that money beyond 8GB perhaps more wisely can be spent on a new computer, bigger processor, a faster hard drive, or a better video card.

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Colin

Manager

posts: 144

Registered: 2012-1-19

Message 8 of 14

06-05-2014 02:45 . pm   |   View his/her posts only
Hi, All

The limitation of the 32 bit is that it only use the RAM less than 4G, the benefit of 64 bit allows us to use more RAM, the biggest advantage is we can open huge files without the limitation of the operating system. Therefore, you can decide how much RAM you need by the fie size you use daily,

If the file is more complex, the higher configuration of the RAM will helps a lot, especially when you are importing files. According to my experience, the benefit of upgrading from 4G to 8G is obvious as it fixed my problem in importing the big file for test purpose, but I have not tried if the 16G is better than 8G, as I don't have such a big file to test for the moment. I did test in running the solid simulation for half a hour, but it only uses less than 2G RAM, in another word, more RAM doesn't speed up the performance if the file you are dealing doesn't need too much RAM.

In my opinion, if you are deciding if you would like to upgrade RAM and hard drive, my choice could be 8G RAM + SSD rather than only 16G RAM.

Best regards
Colin

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Paul

Moderator

posts: 354

Registered: 2011-9-17

Message 9 of 14

06-05-2014 03:36 . pm   |   View his/her posts only
Hi Colin,
What you are saying makes sense and is consistent with much of what I have read.
I start building the new PC tomorrow. I chose 16Gb RAM and a 256G SSD. It is a huge amount of RAM and maybe never used by any Windows app. 8GB is a huge amount of data when a few years ago we thought 256MB RAM was huge. You are also obligated to put RAM in pairs anyway so better now than a later upgrade.
However I wish to also run Linux and OpenFOAM for CFD as 'night shift job' on occasions. In this case 32G or more would be better. So it is a compromise.

TIPS:
* The lower the CL number for RAM the better.
* Not all SSD data IO is the same. Some are slow, while others are very fast. The price doesn't indicate that.
* The cheaper i7 4770 is clock locked whereas an i7 4770K is unlocked. BUT there are several hyper threading instruction sets missing from the K series so in those tasks the locked unit can be faster.

It is all a bit silly in the end. I spend much more time figuring out what to do than waiting for computation to take place!
What is most important to me is fast file access and fast 2D drawing. I am hopeful the shift to 64bit, SSD and more cores for hyper threading capability will make those improvements.
I will report on the experience in week or so.
I am also going Win8. Brave or what!
Cheers - Paul

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chris

Junior Engineer

posts: 47

Registered: 2011-5-24

Message 10 of 14

06-05-2014 08:19 . pm   |   View his/her posts only
I do not know if brave is the correct word referring to Windows 8.

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Colin

Manager

posts: 144

Registered: 2012-1-19

Message 11 of 14

12-05-2014 09:35 . am   |   View his/her posts only
I have been using Windows 8 for more than one year, the performance is faster and it is like Windows 7 after you install the third-party App to show the START menu, otherwise, it is a little confused to work in Desktop Mode. Furthermore, if you have high-resolution monitor, you should be careful to upgrade to Windows 8.1, which still have a bug 'DPI Scaling Size issue' and cause the those non-Microsoft App show the fuzzy menu. That was why I still keep using Windows 8 instead.

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Paul

Moderator

posts: 354

Registered: 2011-9-17

Message 12 of 14

13-05-2014 06:12 . pm   |   View his/her posts only
Hi Chris, if you were to read all the negative press about Win 8 - ire ad some, then you would be brave. However in reality learn a few new things, remember a few old things and it is good. lots of choice as to how you use it. Actually I think they have been a bit hard on users by making some things harder to get to than in XP! But even ZWSoft has done some of that!

I am running 8.1 no problems.
Love the SSD Open and Save times.
Love the quantum leap in speed.
So now to get productive....

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chris

Junior Engineer

posts: 47

Registered: 2011-5-24

Message 13 of 14

13-05-2014 08:38 . pm   |   View his/her posts only
I was just making some lite humor Paul, I did not mean to be critical or offend. I have some experience using new software and try to be objective and actually have found that most of the time the changes are actually better and faster. It is good to learn that 8.1 is performing well with ZW3D

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Paul

Moderator

posts: 354

Registered: 2011-9-17

Message 14 of 14

14-05-2014 03:35 . am   |   View his/her posts only
Hi Chris, no offence taken at all.
I thought it was a fair comment considering the variable and ongoing bad press Win 8 has received. How can any software be brave. After if you don't like it you turn it off. Physical items are not so easy to remove and that's the world I am really interested in.
2 most powerful forces in the universe???
* Peer pressure ...
* Resistance to change ...!

Cheers
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