People talk about memory because it's a cheap easy upgrade that most computer resalers skimp on. If it is your computer, everything comes into play. Processor, hard drive speed, graphics card, Ram, etc.
If you have a network install or are pulling information across a network it may be slower than pulling from your own hard drive if you have many people on the network at the same time.
I've noticed slower performance as well. I have a new computer now and AutoCAD sometimes just closes due to the amount of data for a very large 3D drawing...I use AutoCAD 2010 64bit.
My computer is a hexacore 2.8GHz 64bit with 8GB's of RAM, 1GB video card with dual display, 1TB hard drive, SataII connections, in other words, it's as fast as they get.
Is there a setting in AutoCAD that allows it to use more of the processor for drawings? Some 3D drawings I do add up to almost 121,000 KB's or more. When there's more than 300,000 lines, it slows quite a bit....
My CPU clock shows that AutoCAD is using very little RAM, About 20% during complex operations. Is this a windows limitation?
My install is a local install as well so the network doesn't contribute. Other programs run quick. (Vulcan, Solidworks, Microstation)
Version 2010 is the slowest version to date, partly because of al the features we customers continue to demand of Autodesk. The feature to speed ratio was at its fastest in version 2008. I very much liked version 2008. But by comparison to version 2008 is an antique. The more they add, the more subroutines the code expects your CPU to run, and the more demand is made upon RAM and system resources in general. It's quite complex. Improvements were made to version 2011 and I am happy to report that it is noticeably faster. Other improvements, like the new Catalog Lookup interface, are quite a bonus. The new catalog Lookup is much more intuitive, with the look and feel of a spreadsheet. Numerous filters can be set to narrow your search. You can also create a project-specific parts catalog that includes only the parts in your project. This speeds your Catalog Lookup operations but also makes it easy to send your project to your customer, along with the parts database that supports it. Another great feature is the ability to import wire types to one drawing from another, in case you have added new wire types after starting your project. There are enhancements to the item number utility so you can assign item numbers based upon manufacturer names.
One thing you can do to improve the speed of version 2010 is to use a preferred parts catalog. I explain how to do this on the tips and tricks page at www.ecadconsultant.com. As mentioned before, operating across a network will slow things. Try to only network things that must be shared, such as project folders and the parts catalog. If you follow my advice on the tips and tricks page regarding networking, you will streamline AutoCAD Electrical for networking. I keep the standard JIC, IEC, etc. libraries on the local drive to speed up symbol insertion. I make a separate custom symbols folder on the network so we can all share symbols we make. This folder is always listed first in my project. If I decide to modify a stock JIC or IEC symbol, I make no change to the original. I copy the original to the custom symbols folder (I named mine UserLib) and I modify it there, leaving the modified symbol's filename name the same as the original. AutoCAD Electrical will find the modified versions first, even though you select from the icon menu, because the UserLib folder is listed first in the project properties.
Finally, if you really, really have the need for speed, you can choose to keep the UserLib and catalog database local, maintaining duplicates on the network. If anyone updates a symbol or catalog database entry, everyone just copies the latest version from the network. To streamline this process your network administrator can create a batch file that automatically updates your local UserLib and catalog database with the latest from the network. Some companies assign one or two people to create new symbols and maintain the catalog database. Requests are made by the design team for new symbols or catalog entries and, once approved, the requests are met and batch processed to each user's local disk using the batch file.
Electrical CAD Industry Specialist
AutoCAD Electrical, VIA/WD, Toolbox/WD, ecscad, promis-e, RSWire
Web site: www.ECADConsultant.com
Phone: (770) 841-8009