Solid Edge Workstation Recommendations

Creator
Creator

Hi all,

 

Compliments of the season to all, I hope you all have a wondoerfull 2015 and beyond!

 

We are in the process of upgrading our entire CAD office IT infrastructure, and I'd like some assistance with hardware recommendations.

 

We require 2 levels of workstations, one for the product designers who spend most of their time designing and simulating products (mainly sheetmetal), and the other for the draughting guys who will predominantly be preparing drafts for the components designed as per the above. All users work in Solid Edge ST7 with the designers also running the built in Simulation module (SE Premium license).

 

The designers will have Dell T5810 workstations, whilst the drafting guys will use XPS8700 machines. The XPS machines we pretty much have figured out, as we currently have a few which work well. They are typically i7 machines with 16gb RAM and either Quadro 2000's, or in some cases Quadro 4000's.

 

I have a few questions with regards to the technical specs for the T5810's, which hopefully some of the more technically inclined can assist me with:

 

1.) Are we better off going with a dual CPU (Xeon 2630v3) workstation, or a single CPU (Xeon 2690v3) CPU?

 

As far as I can find, it would appear that Solid Edge only uses a single CPU and doesn't support dual CPU operation. In light of this a single, faster CPU would be preferential to  2 slower ones. Is this assumption correct?

 

2.) In terms of graphics performance, we can spec the workstations with dual Quadro K4200's for a similar price to a single K5200 graphics cards. Which of the 2 configurations would offer the best graphics performance?

 

From a pure hardware numbers point of view, it would appear that 2 x K4200's would outperform a single K5200, but the numbers don't always tie up with real world performance.

 

3.) How much memory can Solid Edge actually access?

 

We have a few machines here with 32gb of RAM, but we've yet to see any of the workstations actually utilise this amount of memory even when loading the biggest assemblies we have (2000 parts or so).

 

 

Aside from the above, the machines will only ever be used for basic MS Office applications (Word, Outlook and Excel), along with the occasional stint in AutoCad LT for our legacy drawings. We have also had our IT department upgrade our network and links to the servers to a fibre backbone, which will then run on Intel X540T2 NIC's (10G). Hopefully this will alleviate some of the delayed loading times we experience due to high network activity.

 

 

Any assistance and guidance with the above would be greatly appreciated.

 

David

16 REPLIES

Re: Solid Edge Workstation Recommendations

Phenom
Phenom

1. Unless you do other activities that require multiple cores, like rendering, then less cores but faster is the better choice. 

 

2. I've never talked to nor heard of anyone that runs dual Quadros. On the gaming side of life, I try to avoid dual cards because the cost of my time trying to set them up properly and running down application specific issues always outweighed any benefit I saw from my mild use case. If I wanted more performance, I always bought a better single card and saved myself the lost sleep. 

 

3. If you're running 64 bit SE, (and that's the only choice with ST7..), I think the answer to that question is 'All of it'. Memory utilization will depend a lot on the part geometry, duplicate vs unique parts, etc.. Assembly part count isn't a real firm indicator on how much memory it'll soak up.

-Dylan Gondyke

Re: Solid Edge Workstation Recommendations

Phenom
Phenom

1.) Are we better off going with a dual CPU (Xeon 2630v3) workstation, or a single CPU (Xeon 2690v3) CPU?

 

Get the fastest CPU you can get. At least 4 Ghz

 

As far as I can find, it would appear that Solid Edge only uses a single CPU and doesn't support dual CPU operation. In light of this a single, faster CPU would be preferential to  2 slower ones. Is this assumption correct?

 

2.) In terms of graphics performance, we can spec the workstations with dual Quadro K4200's for a similar price to a single K5200 graphics cards. Which of the 2 configurations would offer the best graphics performance?

 

From a pure hardware numbers point of view, it would appear that 2 x K4200's would outperform a single K5200, but the numbers don't always tie up with real world performance.

 

The 4200 cost less than $100 more than the 2200 for about 75% more performance. The Jump past 4200 is not worth it for cost to performance.

 

3.) How much memory can Solid Edge actually access?

 

More than you can practically put on a machine I believe. Past 32 will likly not help much unless you have HUGE assemblies.

Re: Solid Edge Workstation Recommendations

Creator
Creator

Thanks guys, appreciate the feedback.

 

12Gage, in light of your comments, would we then be better going with 2 x K4200's in SLI, or are you advocating a single K4200 and spending the extra cash on the CPU?

 

In some of our assemblies, when running the built in FEA analysis, the assemblies move sluggishly when manipulated and moved around. This is evident even on our systems which are runnning Quadro K4000's (albeit only with i7 CPU's). Is this due to display issues, or CPU limitations on the system?

 

I'm also assuming that the K4200 offers a significant jump in performance over the K4000?

 

With regards to the CPU, would a higher clocked i7 be preferable to a Xeon CPU, or are we better off sticking with the Xeon's? I don't see any workstations available to spec with i7 CPU's, so I am assuming a Xeon is the only way to go.

Re: Solid Edge Workstation Recommendations

Phenom
Phenom

Spend the cash on the CPU. Go I7 because it can be overclocked. The extra memorybuffers and stability of Xeons don't transpate into any gains with Solid Edge.

 

I just purchased a machine myself. Waiting on it to show up. I went with Raid-0 Solid state hard drives.

Re: Solid Edge Workstation Recommendations

Creator
Creator

I've been putting together a better desk workstation, a few questions, when running Analysis Express it doesn't seem more than a single core is used.... or is this off loaded to the Graphics processor? 

I have HP Z600 with a pair of Xeon 5650's (12C/24T) with a ATI V5900...  ( I have pair of 5690's coming and a Quadro 5000 as a performance bump...thans to eBay Smiley Happy ). 

The Xeons are great for Keyshot, but seems a missed opportunity if SE doesn't use the cores for analysis calc's.... As my Laptop is quicker with an i7 4810MQ

Re: Solid Edge Workstation Recommendations

Phenom
Phenom

Rendering and FEA should use as many cores as you can throw at it. It's the modeling and drafting that are single threaded.

 

Having at least two CPU is good because we all have email, PDF's, spreadsheets, and other stuff open while using solid edge.

 

The best configuration speed gain (after CPU clock) is Solid State Raid-0 Extreme performance hard drives. Seek times get very low.

 

My company just got me a new machine. I used the following logic.

 

1. I looked at the approved vendor list.

2. I looked at CAD hardware system reviews.

 

I went with a vendor who has great reviews for CAD systems and was on the vendor list:

Boxx Computers. They have the only approved and overclocked systems.

 

Xi computers is also worth a look. cheaper for overclocked system, but more prone to have a problem at some point. Cost vs. Risk thing.

 

I would stay away from Dell, HP, or any of the big boys for a fast system. They will charge you much more for something slower. The larger companies can't respond the changes in computer designs fast enough to be competitive for CAD systems. They will also give you a power supply that is margionally sized, preventing future upgrades. I started with a dell that could not be ugraded at all because of the power supply.

 

 

 

Because you are looking at an entire system, I would bring up the issues of going to optical 1000baseT connections to the network. That suggestion may be way out of date, is there 10,000baseT stuff now? The network traffic can be the bottleneck if you get good machines.

 

Re: Solid Edge Workstation Recommendations

Creator
Creator

Hi

Thanks for the reply.....  already bought the hardware, as I'm a "contractor" one man company so I've done it on the cheap !!!... Picked up a refurbished HP Z600 for a few hundred quid. Decided I'd up spec it a bit with faster CPU's and GPU.. the old ones will get sold off on ebay etc.

 

All in will see me about 700 GBP..... for a twin  Xeon (12C/24T) system at 3.5Ghz and Quadro 5000... Quite a lot of bang per buck... even for a yesterday's workstation I think 

I run a Samsung 840 Pro SSD on a 6Gbs sata card.... so can't get much quicker at this vintage. 

The Z600 well built bit of kit.. quite happy with it even if no O'C ... which I can't be bothered with these days. Smiley Happy 

 

Keyshot is maxing it out great... rock solid etc over night run..... 24 threads. 

Analysis express used 12% CPU !!!  .... Smiley Sad 

Re: Solid Edge Workstation Recommendations

Siemens Valued Contributor Siemens Valued Contributor
Siemens Valued Contributor

Just like to add other comments to keep in mind...

 

(1) consider multiple drives over 1 huge drive regardless of the type.This helps split up some of the work the system is doing to present sw or files to you. If you have a 2nd drive, it will be pushing data through another "pipe" so it can speed things up

(2) Create a partition for swap - this helps reduce the likeilhood that the swap file gets fragemented. If your system is looking to collect the swap file .. at run time then you can see why this would impact performance. Also make sure you set the size so its available from the start..don't let MS grow the file as needed

(3) Diskeeper - if you are doing lots of writes & reads with large amounts of data, your drive gets fragmented ( MS updates  will do this as well). The free defrag utilty in the OS won't move system type foldesr to defrag... but the full Diskeeper does. You can always download a 30 day trial and try it first...

Re: Solid Edge Workstation Recommendations

Phenom
Phenom

RE: DiskKeeper

 

I used to use DiskKeeper until I switched to SSD Drives. I believe they have a utility now to deal with this, but do check before using DiskKeeper.

 

Bob