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PC Upgrade Questions

LouGeier
1-Newbie

PC Upgrade Questions

We are going to be buying new PCs for our engineers in July and I have a few questions about what would be the best to get. We are currently using WF5 and plan to move to Creo 2 this summer.

1. What should be the priority on the CPUs? I am not sure which will give the most benefit. Should we get a single high clock speed multicore processor, or dual processors with a slightly lower clock speed? Will Creo2 be able to make use of the 6 or 8 cores if we get them? Or the 2nd processor?

2. Which graphics cards are the best performing right now? Nvidia's quadro 4000 or AMDs firepro v7900? And would dual cards be more optimal as well?

I don't know much about the new improvements Creo 2 has made to support these kinds of setups and I want to make sure we get our moneys worth out of our new PCS.

If anyone has any experience or knows the best path for us to take, please comment!

Thanks

Lou

8 REPLIES 8
Dale_Rosema
23-Emerald II
(To:LouGeier)

Sorry I cannot answer those questions, but if you are not using dual monitors, I would recommend that.

Get the raw horsepower in CPU speed. Creo is still not a multithreaded application.

Lots of fast memory and 64bit OS.

AMD is making strides with PTC. NVidia makes great cards but I've had trouble with comparability. This could be Dell and it could be PTC... but driver updates rarely play nice with Creo. I have to wait for Dell to create the update because the NVidia drivers always mess with my Creo windows.

Creo is a bigger overhead on graphics than older versions. Get power here too if you like to set your graphics quality to high and/or use a lot of textures. Personally, I like seeing circles as circles, not hexagons.

I would only consider dual cards if you plan on dual monitors. This is more of an OS load sharing choice than Creo itself.

StephenW
23-Emerald I
(To:LouGeier)

I just upgraded and we did several benchmarks to try to get the best bang for our $$$.

1. Get the fastest processor speed, this will benefit Creo the most. Multithreading will only help in the other tasks you are doing.

2. I recommend the Quadro cards but I have never tested the Firepro card. Creo 2 is supposed to start using the video card more effectively. Get the best quadro you can afford. I got the 2000 because during our benchmarks on WF5, there was no improvement in performance with the 4000 or 5000. But others who have benchmarked with Creo 2 have noted improved performance with these higher end cards.

RAM: get as much as needed and fastest available. We use 16gig and only once so far have I ran out of RAM. We do a lot of large assembly management and the model I was working on had basically been destroyed as far as large assembly management, so I had to fix sub-level models until I got it back to working

I run dual monitors with my Quadro 2000 with no problem. I recommend 2 monitors.

Steve

Some of our engineers are already set up with dual monitors and they love them. Others like the big 27in ones.

Thanks for the good info guys. Should make my life a lot easier.

Hi Lou,

We are using Dell M6600 mobile workstations (don't use the term laptop unless you are prepared to try and use one that way). We run these with a 24" Dell monitor and have that as our primary screen and the workstation LCD as the second screen sitting in a docking station. We went for the one back from top CPU and this turbos up on one core to the same as the desktop units I looked at. If total performance is your goal then overclocking seems to be the only solution and this is better done in a desktop and assumes you will bear the responsibility if anything goes wrong cos warranty will be out the window.

I have used, as many have, Olaf Corten's proesite.com for looking at benchmark results when specifying new hardware. Like everybody we have a budget and we tend to back off from the bleeding edge to get more machines but that is a compromise as is everything to do with our work.

Some things you may want to consider:

  • Make sure your monitors are 1200 lines deep e.g. 1920x1200. This is not quite the same as HD which is 1920x1080. The later will work but it squashes the available workspace and this is especially important now that we are "slaves to the ribbon" (apologies to Grace Jones).
  • Our mobile workstations do have 1920x1080 but this is just for the second screen or if we are working on the road. Also can be good if you use the HDMI connection to a HD TV or projector to have that resolution the same. Brilliant for training or meetings.
  • I like mobile workstations as the have a built in uninterruptable power supply meaning if there is a twitch or outage you are still OK. Also they are good for being able to up sticks and go to another room for some purpose (training, brainstorming, whatever) or going off site.
  • Our Nvidia 3000M cards are OK but I was hoping they would be better.
  • I think one quad core CPU of the fastest speed you can afford will be the best for mostly Creo work. Agree that you don't even want to be thinking 32bit but need to be on 64bit.
  • We like 16GB RAM too and strangely we were able to spec faster RAM in the mobile workstations than the equivalent T3600 desktops at that time though this may not still be true. Only downside is that only desktops offer ECC RAM so hope I never get tripped up there.
  • We run SSD for the operating system and software and day to day working and a bigger second 7200RPM HDD for file dumps and road warrior stuff. We could even back up to this but normally we do this to a server anyway. Supposedly SSD also helps if one day we ever get to Windchill with workspaces.

That's about it for now.

Brent

I have this same PC with the HD screen. I would definitely recommend upgrading the CPU the max clock speed.

Mine came with the i7-2760QM 2.4GHz and it really needs a boost. So far the standard 8 GB has been sufficient. If the 8GB fills up, the CPU is already huffing and puffing.

I also noticed that sheetmetal module really gives these machines a real workout. I've noticed that the power supply gets pretty warm when you are working hard on sheetmetal design... just a heads up. Nothing else in Creo, or any other software for that matter, has done this. It took me a while to chase down the "warm plastic" smell. A fan would be a good.

Brent, do you see a performance hit on the 3000M GPU when you run dual monitors?

Like all benchmarks it's only an indicator, but this might be worth referring to:

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/singleThread.html

As already mentioned, single-core speed is king for almost everything in Pro/E / Creo. Mechanica will use all the cores for part of an analysis, but that's only with lots of memory and other tricks to avoid disk bottlenecks; and even then it still spends a long time flat-out on one core.

Re monitors, we've been running dual monitors off a single Quadro FX 3800 for several years now with no problems. Most things still seem to be CPU limited - I haven't yet found a way to properly stress the graphics card using Pro/E, although again as said, Creo seems to at least make better use of the GPU.

Hi Lou,

Here is a hardware notes for Creo 2.0 release: http://www.ptc.com/WCMS/files/135225/en/creo2_hw_notes.pdf

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