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Help with specifying new computer hardware

Garnet

Help with specifying new computer hardware

We have been using Creo Elements Direct Modeling and Model Manager since the late 80's when it was Hewlett Packard's ME10, ME30, and WorkManager. Our Model Manager database currently has over 200,000 models and drawings and the file storage area is about 200GB in size. Our largest assembly contains close to 100,000 parts and takes 45 to 60 minutes to load. I am working on specifying new harware (client computers and servers) to upgrade to. One major goal is to get these load times down as much as is reasonably possible. Our current hardware is listed below...

 

Clients:

Dell Precision T7400

Windows XP Pro 64-bit

Intel Xeon X5482 3.20GHz Quad Core Processors

16.0 GB of RAM

7.2K RPM Hard Disks

NVIDIA Quadro FX 5600 Graphics Cards

 

Server:

Dell PowerEdge 2950

Windows Server 2002 R2 64-bit

Intel Xeon 5160 3.00GHz Quad Core Processor

8.0 GB of RAM

15K RPM Hard Disks setup in a RAID5

 

We have 15 users and a Gigabit Network.

 

My question is where is our biggest bottleneck? I am looking at using Solid State Disks in our new client machines and increasing the RAM to 32 GB. Will a larger number of processor cores help with performance? I am thinking no since I do not believe that Creo is written to use mulitple CPUs. How about NVIDIA Tesla technology (offloading processes to the graphics card)? Can Creo take advantage of this? Are there any networking tricks that can help with load speeds? Multiple networks cards on the server?

 

I am a mechanical engineer and our "computer guy" although I do not have a background in anything computer related so any help is much appreciated. Thanks!

 

-Dan

18 REPLIES 18

Re: Help with specifying new computer hardware

My guess would be that the RAM in your client machines may be your bottleneck-at least that's where I would start looking.

Start up a new session and load your large assembly. After it has loaded, see how much memory is being used. You can use TaskManager to do this, but I prefer to use this command in Modeling:

(uic-show-memory-usage)

It will tell you how much memory you are using. For example:

Memory requested from system: 440.3 MB

If this value is more than 16000 MB, then you have exceeded the amount of RAM in your computer and it will start using your hard disc-which is significantly slower.

If that doesn't explain it, you might try using the Partial and Lightweight load options and see how much they help. And when you are doing that, pay attention to the steps that ModelManager is taking to load and see which ones seem to take the longest (for example, if you are loading "Highest Version", does it take a while for ModelManager to find the highest versions?).

Re: Help with specifying new computer hardware

Thanks for the reply Peter. We will definately be increasing the RAM in both our clients and server when we upgrade. We currently use Partial or Lightweight load options when we can and it does help a bit. PTC support suggested teaming NICs on the server and "tuning" the database. I'm going to have to do a bit more research on that.

Re: Help with specifying new computer hardware

Hello Daniel,

Can you please explain a bit about the need to load a 100.000 parts assy in one go? I'm sure you have a good reason for it, but I am curious! We design printers that can contain up to 25.000 parts, but we never load the entire machine. Instead we have divided the printer in relatively small sub-assy's. Individual engineers load e.g. 3 or 4 subassy's of their own and a few in the proximity of the design area, belonging to other engineers (possibly light-weight) and store this group into one personal design. Load times 5-10 minutes. So we have solved it in working methods. We have been working like this since over 14 years and hardware was much more limited then. Nowadays we have more powerfull hardware, but yours seems to be faster than ours. Of course it's never fast enough

Re: Help with specifying new computer hardware

Daniel and Ernest,

When you tell respectively 100.000 parts and 25.000 parts, are these unique parts or the total number of parts of your model ?

Re: Help with specifying new computer hardware

I work in a research facility that contains more than 20 instruments located around a source. Each instrument contains an average of about 3,000 unique parts. On occasion we have to load the top-level assembly of our entire facility which contains the instruments, building with utilities, and other miscellaneous items in order to create layout views, plan for new instruments, create installtion configs, or other similiar tasks. The last time I checked this top-level assembly contained about 85,000 unique parts.

Our new client computers are now up and running and the load time of this top-level assembly has been cut in half! The new computers are running Windows 7 64-bit with 3.30 GHz Quad Core Processors, SSDs, 32 GB of RAM, and Quadro 5000 Video Cards. Dynamic video performance (panning, rotating, zooming, etc) is now the same whether I have a single part loaded or the top level assembly loaded.

I still hope to upgrade our server but have not done so yet.

Re: Help with specifying new computer hardware

The number of unique parts in our top-level assembly is about 85,000

Re: Help with specifying new computer hardware

Daniel,

You say :"Our largest assembly contains close to 100,000 parts and takes 45 to 60 minutes to load".

Is that from ModelManager or from hard disk ?

Re: Help with specifying new computer hardware

From Model Manager. Sorry for not specifying.

Re: Help with specifying new computer hardware

Daniel,

Do you load your 100,000 unique part assy from ModelManager in one shot ?