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cbenner
Posts: 3,172
Registered: ‎04-06-2010
Message 1 of 21 (676 Views)
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Quad core performance question

676 Views, 20 Replies
02-17-2014 07:25 AM

Hey,

 

We just started using our new CAD stationa a couple of weeks ago, and I'm noticing what appears to be a disturbing trend.  These (I am told by IT) are Quad Core - 8 Thread systems.... I have no idea what that really means.  I do know that as of IV 2013, IV is still only using one processor for most if not all functionality.  But with each core split into two threads, does this mean IV is only using one thread? 

 

Here is what I noticed besides slow performance.  On our old machines, when we were really pushing the limits with some of our largest designs, i could look at Task Manager's "Performance" tab.  It showed the 4 CPU's... and the one that was doing all of the work was, naturally, spiking toward the top.  The top being 25% CPU usage.  If we hit that magic 25% number.... usually that meant we were dead in the water.  With these new systems, the same screen shows 8 CPUs, with one doing all of the work and spiking towrd the top... at 13% CPU usage.  To me this means that we are going to crash a lot sooner than before.

 

Anyone here have any insights into these processors, and how they behave with Inventor?  Here are the Specs:

 

Win 7 x64, Dell Precision T7600, Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2643@3.30GHz, 32 GB RAM; GeForce GTX580; 3DConnexion Wireless Space Mouse, Penguin Vertical Mouse

 

TIA!

ChrisB

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MikahB
Posts: 206
Registered: ‎10-11-2009
Message 2 of 21 (668 Views)

Re: Quad core performance question

02-17-2014 07:42 AM in reply to: cbenner

I'm not an expert on CPU's by any means, but I think what you're seeing (13% now versus 25% previously) is the same indication of the same issue.  Inventor is single-threaded for all intents and purposes, so it can only utilize 1 CPU at any given time.  Since before 1 CPU was 1/4 of your CPU total capacity it was 25%, now it's 1/8 = 12.5% ~ 13%.  So long as the new CPU's are faster in speed, you should see a performance increase.  More directly to your question, I would not expect the lower % number is any indication you'll have more issues now.  If your new CPU's are faster than the previous ones, that should be a net gain.

 

About the only time I see 100% usage on any core with Inventor is during rendering.  Are you seeing it regularly?

Mikah Barnett
All Angles Design
Product Design Suite Ultimate 2014
Windows 7 Professional x64
Intel i7-3770k @ 4.5GHz
32GB DDR3-2400 RAM
GeForce GTX 670 4GB
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cbenner
Posts: 3,172
Registered: ‎04-06-2010
Message 3 of 21 (664 Views)

Re: Quad core performance question

02-17-2014 07:44 AM in reply to: MikahB

So far today I have been seeing it all morning.  I am updating to the latest service packs and updates etc... to see if that makes a difference.

 

And I might add that the assembly I am working on is by no means a large one... one of our smaller ones in fact.  I should not be pushing a CPU to the max for any reason.... gotta be something going on here.

ChrisB

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mrattray
Posts: 2,470
Registered: ‎09-13-2011
Message 4 of 21 (657 Views)

Re: Quad core performance question

02-17-2014 07:48 AM in reply to: cbenner
I'm running the exact same processor as you. Actually, my system specs are nearly identical to yours except I have an AMD GPU.
I'm far from an expert, but when I was doing a ton of FEA work (using a special electromagnetic add-in, not native Inventor FEA) I found the same behaviour in task manager as what you're describing. As an experiment I disabled hyper-threading (the feature that causes your quad core to behave like an 8-core) in the system BIOS. I saw no appreciable difference in solve times and ended up switching it back on.
My understanding is that these new processors are "smart" enough to know when it's appropriate to "split" processing power and when it's not and adjust themselves to suit.
If you're really curious do some googling. You'll give yourself a headache trying to understand this stuff!
Mike (not Matt) Rattray

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MikahB
Posts: 206
Registered: ‎10-11-2009
Message 5 of 21 (657 Views)

Re: Quad core performance question

02-17-2014 07:50 AM in reply to: cbenner
Agreed, that doesn't sound right. Let us know if the updates help at all.
Mikah Barnett
All Angles Design
Product Design Suite Ultimate 2014
Windows 7 Professional x64
Intel i7-3770k @ 4.5GHz
32GB DDR3-2400 RAM
GeForce GTX 670 4GB
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swalton
Posts: 1,170
Registered: ‎06-19-2006
Message 6 of 21 (656 Views)

Re: Quad core performance question

02-17-2014 07:50 AM in reply to: cbenner

IV is slowly becoming more multi-core/thread aware.  Idw rendering or FEA, for example.  Some of the graphics system in IV 2014 is too.

 

However, lots of IV is still single-threaded.  That means that IV must calculate each modeling feature or other program step one-after-another.  

 

Your task manager is showing you that IV is running a complex single thread.  Your processor has 4 two-thread cores for a total of 8 execution units, 100%/8 is 12.5%, round up to 13%. 

 

As long as you are not hitting any other system bottlenecks, and the new processor has a faster single-thread performance than your older processor, you should spend less time waiting on IV and more time designing.  Check http://www.cpubenchmark.net/singleThread.html for some benchmarks. 

 




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mrattray
Posts: 2,470
Registered: ‎09-13-2011
Message 7 of 21 (642 Views)

Re: Quad core performance question

02-17-2014 07:57 AM in reply to: swalton
You guys all slipped in while I was typing. I must be slow!
Swalton, you bring up an important point: that FEA add-in I was benchmarking with is 100% single threaded.
Also, as Swalton and Mikah mentioned: as long as the clock speed is higher you should be running faster. It's a myth that the total clock speed is split among the cores; more is better but clock speed is more important than cores for some applications (including modeling in Inventor).
Mike (not Matt) Rattray

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swalton
Posts: 1,170
Registered: ‎06-19-2006
Message 8 of 21 (623 Views)

Re: Quad core performance question

02-17-2014 08:10 AM in reply to: mrattray

Yeah, there were no responses when I started typing...

 

Its not just processor clock speed, but also how clock ticks it takes to run a segment of code.  If two cpus have the same clock speed, and the generation 1 cpu takes 100 ticks to run a segment of Inventor code and the generation 2 takes 75, it will take 25% less absolute time to run the task on the gen 2 processor. 

 

Like was said upthread, you can confuse yourself with lots of details from online research.:smileywink:




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cbenner
Posts: 3,172
Registered: ‎04-06-2010
Message 9 of 21 (619 Views)

Re: Quad core performance question

02-17-2014 08:12 AM in reply to: mrattray

IT has been looking at this as well, and also came up with the hyper threading question.  We're going to look into that.  Of course this whole thing could be very simply a case of Monday.

 

Thanks for the input guys!

ChrisB

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Distinguished Mentor
pcrawley
Posts: 671
Registered: ‎05-23-2002
Message 10 of 21 (580 Views)

Re: Quad core performance question

02-17-2014 12:59 PM in reply to: cbenner

There are lots of references to hyperthreading and hardware setups.  Until recently I would have disagreed with anyone who suggested turning it off, but I have now seen first hand the effects, so I've reconsidered!  

 

I wish there was more information about this from Autodesk.  These are a couple of useful references on the subject;

 

This one: http://www.cadlinecommunity.co.uk/Blogs/Blog.aspx?ScoId=60dd95bf-8cad-4857-991c-f851d3583f45

And you'll find the link in the story doesn't work any more because Autodesk have changed all their tech-doc links... Grrr!

 

The new reference is here: http://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/inventor-products/learn-explore/caas/CloudHelp/cloudhelp/2014/...

 

Peter

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