If I have a small structure of lets say 12 tubes to form a cube and I need this cube in 20 locations along a straight line. I can create the cube in my assembly file, group it and then apply a pattern. Alternatively, I can create a sub-assembly of the cube and locate that in my assembly and then pattern that.
Which will regen faster, the patterned cube group or the patterned sub-assembly?
Which will be less memory used?
"Morning Ben! Actually, I would create the sub-assembly simply because that's the most likely way it would actually be fabricated, wouldn't it? It may slow regen time, but I'd think it would be more correct. But then it might actually be faster because the assembly constraints for the tubes are in the sub-assembly and not the top assembly. The only way to know is to test it, and make sure to let us know the results!
I did a test this morning of taking 24 legs that had been positioned against datum planes and removed the datum planes and legs and replaced the 24 with 2 patterns. One pattern for the 4 corners and the second pattern for the 20 interval legs that had different spacing from the end than their spacing. Not sure about regen times, but file size went from 1900305 to 1846567, about a 2.4% reduction.
I agree that the CAD model should reflect the manufacturing operations and utilize sub-assemblies where practical.