Can anyone comment on intended use cases for simple vs variational patterns in NX? I've been told that the "Simple" method is more efficient than the "Variational" method (and my benchmarks certainly bear that out), but at the cost of reduced flexibility. However, I can't actually find a case where where the Simple method doesn't provide the same capabilities as the Variational method. For example, I can still vary pattern parameters, alter individual instances, clock them, etc. What does the Variational method provide that the Simple method doesn't?
When NX 8.0 was first released the differences were more significant but over time many of them have been mitigated to the point where you should always, by default, use the 'Simple' method. This itself was an issue with NX 8.0 because for that release you couldn't edit a 'Simple' Pattern and convert it into a 'Variational' Pattern if later on you discovered that you might actually needed to have used a 'Variational'. But that was addressed in NX 8.5 so now you can edit the style of the Pattern so there are no reasons to not always use 'Simple', until you're informed that it should have been a 'Variational'.
Variational allows you to pick which hole, in drafting, gets used when using feature parameters. Simple will allow only the master hole to be used for location of hole callout, atleast in NX8.5.3.