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post #31 of 35
no windows is not very good at smp, compared to linux for example, but it's not bad. quad core is great under XP, windows is not very good at threading but it can do it just fine. Look at some XP quad core benchmark results and you will see that quad cores definately have the edge on dual cores.
post #32 of 35
Well at least with real world 3D graphics, I found multithreaded Windows NT did way better then dual G5 Power Macs and SGI machines when it came to rendering. Multiple cores can use the same legacy SMP, so I don't see how it would be worst. The only difference is that multiple cores share the same memory busses, while processors are seperate. Keep in mind that it was the cost and speed of dual processor Xeons (running Windows 2000 or Linux) is what killed off the uber expensive proprietary workstations.

It should be noted, though, that multithreading is more dependant on your application, rather then the OS. You have to have an app that is optimized for it: otherwise you would see no difference with a single processor or a dual quad core. It makes sense to me to use multiple cores if you have tasks that require multiple simultanious executions. Rendering or business environments where you're running 4 apps at once. Games don't need so many cores, but would need faster execution cycles.
post #33 of 35
How does Server 2003/8 handle SMP differently from XP/whatever, as I've also been told that the above server OS's handle SMP correctly, but that XP et al. do not.

Edit: Actually, I've been told a lot of conflicting things. Some people say MS didn't do SMP properly in its desktop OS's, while others say it was Intel's fault, or something.

I'm getting confused.
post #34 of 35
It's the pro versions of Windows that have supported SMP. Windows 2000, Windows XP pro, and business versions of Vista all have SMP support (and derivative server versions as well). What's probably changing is that Microsoft has to now include SMP support for home versions as well, as home CPUs are now multicore.

As far as what doesn't do SMP: I've found it's really not so much a function of the OS (apart from the OS actually being able to handle it). All the OS has to do is say there's several processors from which to draw from. It's up to the program to utilize them. Maya for the Mac, for example, used to be extremely slow at rendering because they didn't port it well.....
post #35 of 35
I've spec'd out CAD workstations for about 4 years now, mostly running Solidworks, backed up by Autocad for legacy drawings.

We've pretty much stuck to Dell Precision Workstations for the whole time. They're pretty reliable, but have some quirks sometimes. We've lost power supplies, hard drives and noisy fans on the graphics cards.

I can say without any hesitation whatsoever that an nVidia Quadro card is hand's down a good choice. The higher the better.

Here's the system I'm running now at work
Dell Precision 390, 2gig ram, Core 2 Extreme 6800, Quadro 3500, 10k rpm hard drives, GigE NIC, Windows XP Pro (32bit), 3gig switch set.

Solidworks is highly dependent on OpenGL capability. The Quadros are just about second to none with it.

Memory is also key. I would go with 3 (or more) if you can. At least 3. I wish I had 3 instead of 2, especially if you're going to do any analysis.

As far as processor, go with the fastest you can afford, because you will use it. I can't comment on quad core because I don't have one, but from what I get from the official Solidworks forums, it's not the be all end all because SW can't use it except in a few areas (Photoworks, Cosmos Analysis).

CAD tends to be a linear process, rebuilding down the tree (feature history), so it can only process pretty much one thing at a time.

That said, it's real nice to have something running in the background (IGES transation, etc), and check email or do some file management at the same time. This is where at least a dual core is nice. When we went to the Core 2 on our latest machines, we came from a P4 3.4gig, and I immediately noticed a big difference.

A fast hard drive is nice, but not a necessity. We run mostly from our network (BOO!) so I get a bad hit anyway. Try opening a 10gig assembly from a network vs your hard drive. Night and day!

I can't really comment on the requirements on other programs like ProE or Catia, only to say it's probably very similar to Solidworks.

Autocad can use the processor speed, but I don't think it needs the graphics power the 3d packages do. Unless you're using Inventor, which is a different animal.

If you're doing a Solidworks install, it's absolutely imperative you disable antivirus when installing!!!

Here's a tip: go to ecost.com. They carry bargain basement quadro cards. I got a brand new pny quadro FX1000 (2+yr old tech) for $99!! This was to replace a Dell one that the fan got noisy.

Good luck!
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