AutoCAD Civil 3D General Discussion

AutoCAD Civil 3D General Discussion

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Distinguished Mentor
JeffPaulsen
Posts: 776
Registered: ‎09-01-2004
Message 1 of 9 (458 Views)
Accepted Solution

ROI for additional memory

458 Views, 8 Replies
01-30-2013 09:44 AM

I ma having a hard time justifying buying more ram for our computers and I;m wondering if I am going about it the wrong way.

 

We have not upgraded our computers in 5 years. We did upgrade the OS to Windows 7, 64 Bit and are running C3D 2012. We are currently using Core 2 Duo E8400 3.00 GHz with 4 GB ram. I am recommending upgrading the ram to 8GB.

 

We have a test computer with 8 GB of ram that I ran some timed tests to determine how much of a performance increase we will get. I timed opening C3D, opening drawings, rebuilding surfaces, rebuilding corridors, editing corridors with grips and switching layouts. Based on those tests I have seen almost no improvement that I can show with timed tests.

 

Memory usage was 70%-75% while running the tests when with 4 GB of ram and 45%-50% with 8 GB ram. The drawings I opened were from one of our largest project. The surface drawing is 50 MB with about 15 MB of xrefs.

 

Am I testing the wrong functions? Are our projects too small to take advantage of the additional ram? Why are most system recommendations I see in the DGs for 12 GB of ram or more?

Jeff Paulsen
Civil 3D 2012 SP3 | Win 7 64-bit SP1
Xeon E5-1620 @ 3.60GHz, 16GB Ram | NVidia Quadro 600

Did you also open other programs at the same time? More memory allows this more efficiently.

 

Do some grading with lots of feature lines and lots of gradings targeting surfaces, all in the same site. The 8gb machine is going to last longer before crashing.

 

Also, try testing the speed of various operations after you have been editing a drawing for a few hours. Open many drawings at once. That'll use up RAM. Have Outlook running at the same time. Import some large PDF's. A point cloud or two.

 

RAM doesn't add speed so much as it adds room to think. Less crashing. Less time watching the hard drive spin while the system writes to the swap file.

 

If you want something you can time with a stop watch, put in a solid state drive and test while opening drawings, loading xref's, starting AutoCAD and system boot.

*Expert Elite*
tcorey
Posts: 2,600
Registered: ‎12-18-2002
Message 2 of 9 (449 Views)

Re: ROI for additional memory

01-30-2013 10:26 AM in reply to: JeffPaulsen

Did you also open other programs at the same time? More memory allows this more efficiently.

 

Do some grading with lots of feature lines and lots of gradings targeting surfaces, all in the same site. The 8gb machine is going to last longer before crashing.

 

Also, try testing the speed of various operations after you have been editing a drawing for a few hours. Open many drawings at once. That'll use up RAM. Have Outlook running at the same time. Import some large PDF's. A point cloud or two.

 

RAM doesn't add speed so much as it adds room to think. Less crashing. Less time watching the hard drive spin while the system writes to the swap file.

 

If you want something you can time with a stop watch, put in a solid state drive and test while opening drawings, loading xref's, starting AutoCAD and system boot.

Tim Corey, Owner
Delta Engineering Systems
Redding, CA
Autodesk Authorized Value-Added Reseller
*Expert Elite*
Jeff_M
Posts: 4,385
Registered: ‎07-22-2003
Message 3 of 9 (441 Views)

Re: ROI for additional memory

01-30-2013 10:47 AM in reply to: JeffPaulsen

As Tim mentioned a few times, the more memory you have, the fewer crashes you will witness. The fewer crashes results in more time working. When I went from a machine with 4gb ram to one with 12, my crashes went from close to 1 per hour down to 1 or 2 per week. To me, that was more than worth the price of the upgrade.

 

Plus, I have Google Chrome with 10+ tabs, Live Mail, Thunderbird, an Excel sheet, a Virtual Machine for some testing, and 2 pdfs. All of these are open while I also have 3 drawings open in C3D2012. There is no way I could've even attempted that with my old 4gb machine.

Jeff_M, also a frequent Swamper
*Expert Elite*
neilyj
Posts: 3,789
Registered: ‎08-01-2008
Message 4 of 9 (430 Views)

Re: ROI for additional memory

01-30-2013 11:26 AM in reply to: JeffPaulsen

Increasing the RAM will give your 5 year old computers a new lease of life and is by far the cheapest "upgrade" you could perform , it's a no brainer as they say

 

I have 8Gb on both my desktop and laptop and have had few problems but as you have found I can't say I've noticed major file opening time improvements but I have noticed a major speed boost in rebuilding corridors so I can tighten up the assembly frequency to improve the models and quantities calcs

neilyj
(No connection with Autodesk other than using the products in the real world)


IDSP Premium 2015 (mainly Civil 3D 2015 UKIE & Infraworks with some limited 3ds Max Design)
Win 7 Pro x64, 240Gb SSD, 1Tb HDD
32Gb Ram Intel Xeon CPU E5-2650 v2 @ 2.6GHz (32 CPUs), ~2.6GHz
NVIDIA Quadro K4000, Dual 27" Monitor, Dell T5610
Distinguished Mentor
JeffPaulsen
Posts: 776
Registered: ‎09-01-2004
Message 5 of 9 (424 Views)

Re: ROI for additional memory

01-30-2013 11:57 AM in reply to: tcorey

tcorey wrote:

 

If you want something you can time with a stop watch, put in a solid state drive and test while opening drawings, loading xref's, starting AutoCAD and system boot.


Thanks for the replies.

 

We will be replacing about 10 of our computers next quarter and I did spec an SSD. The additional memory is for the remaining computers that we will not replace until next year.

 

Do you think adding an SSD to the older computers would give a good return on our investment? Without doing any testing we felt like they were a little too expensive to provide a good ROI.

Jeff Paulsen
Civil 3D 2012 SP3 | Win 7 64-bit SP1
Xeon E5-1620 @ 3.60GHz, 16GB Ram | NVidia Quadro 600
*Expert Elite*
dgorsman
Posts: 5,367
Registered: ‎10-12-2006
Message 6 of 9 (421 Views)

Re: ROI for additional memory

01-30-2013 12:07 PM in reply to: JeffPaulsen

Keep in mind that newer processors use newer chipsets and motherboards, so a direct speed comparison becomes rather iffy after a generation or two.  A new-release i5 at 2-point-something GHz may be a tad faster than your current 3 GHz system.  Still, RAM upgrades are one of the best mid-to-late life extension you can do.

 

The motherboard is also partially responsible for the recommendation of 12 GB.  Many motherboards from within the past 3-4 years are capable of handling dual *or* triple channel RAM; with dual channel RAM its advised to use identical pairs (2 x 2 GB, 2 x 4 GB, etc.), with triple channel identical triplets (3 x 2 GB, 3 x 4 GB, etc.).  12 GB works out evenly with both selections (three sets of 2 x 2 GB dual channel, or two sets of 3 x 2 GB triple channel) and provides a nice balance between price and performance.  Some motherboards will only support dual-channel, so thats where you typically see 8 GB or 16 GB configurations as common.

 

Over the course of an extended 5-year life cycle you could be seeing at least one OS upgrade and several software versions so its also a good idea to slightly over-spec your RAM requirements.  You may not be using them this year, or next year, but programs and operating systems are only getting bigger as are data files and models, and of course more calls for rendered images and animations.  It doesn't hurt to have one or two mondo RAM monsters in the building to handle those *really* nasty files for model reviews, rendering, and the like.

----------------------------------
If you are going to fly by the seat of your pants, expect friction burns.
Adopt. Adapt. Overcome. Or be overcome.
A good question will be halfway to a good answer.


Valued Mentor
gccdaemon
Posts: 462
Registered: ‎09-14-2010
Message 7 of 9 (413 Views)

Re: ROI for additional memory

01-30-2013 01:19 PM in reply to: JeffPaulsen

Here's the best way to speed you up.

 

1: Solid state drives - They boost your boot time and program launch speed. This WILL NOT affect how fast you pull data off of a network because of the transfer limitations and the fact that servers arn't using SSD's yet. I would suggest Corsair Force 3 SSD's. They have great read/write rates for the money.

2. RAM - This will allow you to open bigger more complex files without crashing as much.

3. Processor - To have your CAD actually run faster you need to look at the processor speed. 3.0 ghz is going to be slower to process your data than a new intel with 3.8 ghz. The number of cores will not help CAD, but will help other programs running in the background.

 

Hopefully this helps. Take a look at my computer build in my signature.

Andrew Ingram

Civil 3D x64 2012
Win 7 x64 Ultimate
I7 3820 (3.6ghz quad core with HT)
32gig RAM (Corsair XMS3 4x8g)
Intel x z79 mobo (BOXDX79TO 2011 socket)
Radeon HD 7850 2gb GDDR5
*Expert Elite*
tcorey
Posts: 2,600
Registered: ‎12-18-2002
Message 8 of 9 (405 Views)

Re: ROI for additional memory

01-30-2013 01:36 PM in reply to: gccdaemon

To get ROI on an SSD, you would have to multiple the time savings for boot-up, Civil 3D program loading, drawing loading and xref loading times the number of times a user does these operations in a day times the hourly charge-out rate.

 

So, here goes, using numbers I am making up:

 

Boot system: save thirty seconds. x twice per day.

plus load autocad, save thirty seconds times six times per day

plus load drawing with xref's (using Xref demandload = enabled with save), save a minute, times twenty times per day.

 

In this completely made-up scenario, we are saving 24 minutes per day, at $100.00 per hour =  $40 per day. Divide that into the $500 bucks for the SSD and it takes you twelve and a half days to get your money back.

 

But, users are different. Some are going to load AutoCAD once and leave it on all day. Many are going to only re-boot the system after it crashes. Some jobs will require a person to open a single drawing during the day.

 

The performance increase for saving files on SSD is not much, but it is something, so you might factor in autosave fifty times a day times eight seconds. Once again, a number I am pulling out of air. I have not tested.

Tim Corey, Owner
Delta Engineering Systems
Redding, CA
Autodesk Authorized Value-Added Reseller
*Expert Elite*
Joe-Bouza
Posts: 4,966
Registered: ‎12-15-2008
Message 9 of 9 (386 Views)

Re: ROI for additional memory

01-30-2013 04:07 PM in reply to: JeffPaulsen

Jason Hickey had a class at AU on this and he made a very good analogy: "If you put a bigger gas tank in you car it does go any faster"!

 

 

Thank you

Joseph D. Bouza, P.E. (one of 'THOSE' People) Civil 3D 2012 & 2013
HP Z210 Workstation
Intel Xeon CPU E31240 @ 3.30 Hz
12 GB Ram


Note: Its all Resistentialism, so keep calm and carry on

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