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Wes Macaulay
2005-08-31, 04:32 PM
***updated 10 September 2007***

Operating System
While Windows XP is a safer bet than Vista, its days are numbered. Users are installing and using Revit successfully under Vista, and the latest build of Revit (20070810_1700) addressed some outstanding Vista compatibility problems.

Vista may still have some display driver problems under Revit, and thus XP is still recommended over Vista.

Windows XP 64-bit
Driver support for XP64 is spotty and many Reviteers who have gone down this road have been burned. The way to maximize Revit's memory is to use 4Gb of RAM and the 3Gb bootswitch.

Got a Mac?
New Mac desktops and notebooks that use the Intel processors are working very well with Parallels or Boot Camp (using Windows XP). See this stuck thread:
http://forums.augi.com/showthread.php?t=35939

The Macbook Pro notebooks are well-built, and if you think backlit keys are a gimmick, try working in a room with poor light without this feature. It's incredible that no other notebook manufacturer hasn't made backlit keys "standard issue" on their products as well. The regular Macbooks will be less suited because they use integrated video, a no-no for a CAD-capable laptop.

Processor
Revit will take the best processor you can afford, though you should spread the money around on other parts of the computer, too.

Revit does NOT make use of multiple processors, but Accurender and other apps do. If you're planning on doing a lot of rendering work, two processors will save you time. Modeling and general drafting do not benefit from multiple processors -- the processing power of any single core is what matters here.

Athlons, Turions, Core / Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad processors are all excellent choices in anything over 1.7 Ghz. Avoid Semprons and Celerons as they lack memory on the CPU; these are found on lower-end models anyway.

Memory
Revit needs a lot of RAM. The rule of thumb: you're going to need 20 times the amount of RAM versus the size of your file (this ratio relates to the size of a compacted 8.1 central file). 1Gb is really the minimum you want to have if you're working on anything larger than a house. 2Gb up to 4Gb is a safer bet, and is the useful maximum that 32-bit Windows can handle. You can read up on the 3Gb Windows boot switch that will give more RAM to applications, but it can cause stability problems for Windows. Note that this boot switch can cause problems with video cards; see this page at Microsoft: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/319043

Memory specs vary, but the faster RAM specs like 533 and 667Mhz dual channel RAM are a good choice.

Hard Drive
This is less critical since the hard drive should only be used to load the data in the first place. Yes, you can buy SCSI or SATA drives for your workstation, but this is not a real bottleneck for day-to-day use of Revit. 60Gb drives are about as small as they come -- and you don't need more than this unless you need it for your MP3 collection ;-)

If you're not sparing any expense, get a second physical drive to use for your Windows swap file, the idea being that data access and swap file access can happen concurrently. Having tried this on a couple of computers I haven't seen any difference in performance, but you might. I recommend setting the Windows swap file's minimum and maximum size to the same value (twice the value of your installed RAM) so that Windows isn't working to change the size of the file while you work.

Video Card
At this time, the only way to be sure that your new computer will be able to use Revit's OpenGL acceleration is to use ATI video cards made by ATI (not other manufacturers, such as Dell). Only a handful of nVidia cards have been seen to work for Revit with OpenGL acceleration enabled. Revit does not benefit from a high-end card... all you need is a solid video card that supports Revit's implementation of OpenGL. Integrated video, while some models do work, (Intel most notably) should be avoided since it shares RAM with the main memory. Revit does not benefit from high amounts of video RAM.

In Revit's Options dialog box there are two checkboxes:

OpenGL speeds display performance noticably in ortho views, and dramatically in 3D views, particularly with shadows enabled
Overlay planes may increase stability on some cards, but otherwise should be left off to improve display of annotations with transparent backgrounds To test OpenGL: in Revit go to Settings > Options > Graphics and enable OpenGL. In a plan view hold Ctrl and your middle mouse button down and move the mouse up and down and see if any objects disappear/reappear in the view. If they do, you have a problem.

ATI
ATI cards are usually compatible with Revit.
FireGL entry level cards such as V3100 and V3400
Radeon, all models (consider getting at least an X1300)nVidia
The GeForce cards are gaming cards; the CAD cards are marketed under the name "Quadro" and are similar to the GeForce cards but use different drivers. We have reports that the following cards are working with Revit:
PNY and Leadtek, various models (FX540, FX1300)
Some GeForce cards (often requiring use of Forceware drivers and/or Rivatuner)
Dell nVidia video cards using Dell's driversIf you run into problems with OpenGL enabled in Revit search on this forum for how people have solved this problem with their nVidia cards, either by altering settings in the nVidia display control panel or by downloading and installing Forceware drivers (GeForce cards only). If the Forceware drivers do not help, you may also try changing settings using Rivatuner to see if you can get your card to work. These instructions may also help. Forcing Vertical sync off has allowed some nVidia cards to work with Revit with OpenGL enabled without objects disappearing in views.

Under the Nvidia Control Panel, 3D Settings->Adjust all image settings: first I tried checking "Extension Limit" but Revit still crashed. Then, I left this setting turned on and set the "Image Settings" to Best Performance and changed "Vertical Sync" to Force Off. Trilinear optimization and Anisotropic optimization are also unchecked.

Other Makes
Other than nVidia and ATI there are no other video cards recommended for Revit. Intel Integrated Graphics sometimes works but don't count on it.

Drivers
Generally, newer is better. But in some cases, an older driver may work better than a newer one. The key is knowing exactly which manufacturer made the card and using their drivers. nVidia does NOT manufacture video cards -- they make the chips for the manufacturers. This is also the case with some ATI cards, though the majority of ATI-powered cards out there are built by ATI. In both cases make sure you have the right driver. Dell computers may use ATI video cards and nVidia drivers that can only use Dell drivers, and these combinations may not have been tested with Revit.

Dual Screen
Revit does not really support dual monitors, but users are noticing that recent versions of Revit are more friendly to this configuration than previous versions of Revit.

Monitor
Resolution needs to be at least 1152 x 864 -- 1024 x 768 is really not enough.

Server and Networking
Use gigabit technology for your network -- switches, network cards on all computers. The server could be equipped with dual network cards for better throughput. Your server's hard drive should be blazing fast to speed up saving and loading of the central file across the network. It should be equipped with plenty of RAM, and consider multi processor models if you can afford it.

Recently we have seen some problems with RAID-5 servers causing some minor corruption of central files, either resulting in a crash or an error requiring the save to be repeated. I would recommend another RAID flavour if it is possible.

Dimitri Harvalias
2005-09-02, 06:42 AM
Very thorough and well stated, as usual, Wes. The only thing I might add has to do with hard drives. If possible install two separate drives (not just partitions of one drive) and have your swap file located on the drive that does not contain your data. This should improve save times.
Refer this thread.
http://forums.augi.com/showthread.php?t=6754&highlight=page+file+hard+drive

blads
2005-09-05, 08:15 AM
I'm currently assessing computer components for "beefing" up my system and have read Wes's comments above...

However, my computer supplier has given me a price for a graphic card that's NOT on the "good list" & even better not on the bad one either. I have never heard of this company, but that is not saying much...

The card in question is a SPARKLE PCIE GF 6600GT 128MB HDTV/DVI (utilizing the nVIDIA chipsets)...

can anybody offer anything about this manufacturer

many thanks

GuyR
2005-09-05, 09:08 AM
SPARKLE PCIE GF 6600GT 128MB HDTV/DVI (utilizing the nVIDIA chipsets)

That will be fine. If you have driver trouble look to rivatuner and the detonator drivers for a fix.You can always try the card and if it's not working exchange it for something else.

Regarding harddrives, isn't there a significant speed advantage running 2 drives in a RAID 0 configuration? Can anyone confirm?

Guy

blads
2005-09-05, 01:35 PM
That will be fine. If you have driver trouble look to rivatuner and the detonator drivers for a fix.You can always try the card and if it's not working exchange it for something else.

Regarding harddrives, isn't there a significant speed advantage running 2 drives in a RAID 0 configuration? Can anyone confirm?

Guy

Thanks Guy for the info :-D
:beer:

Scott Hopkins
2005-09-05, 09:06 PM
That will be fine. If you have driver trouble look to rivatuner and the detonator drivers for a fix.You can always try the card and if it's not working exchange it for something else.

Regarding harddrives, isn't there a significant speed advantage running 2 drives in a RAID 0 configuration? Can anyone confirm?

GuyGuy,

Are you sure about this?

I have yet to hear from anyone who has gotten any brand of Geforce 6600 or 6800 to work with OpenGL and Revit. Also I tried installing and using Revit on a friend's Asus Geforce 7800 GTX (the newest of the new) and it also failed to work correctly in Revit with OpenGL. It appears that Revit will only work with low-end or outdated nvidia cards.

With Raid 0 (Data mirroring) there is no real speed advantage. Drawings load a tiny bit faster and save a tiny bit slower so it is really just a wash.

Wes Macaulay
2005-09-05, 10:24 PM
I have yet to hear from anyone who has gotten any brand of Geforce 6600 or 6800 to work with OpenGL and Revit. Also I tried installing and using Revit on a friend's Asus Geforce 7800 GTX (the newest of the new) and it also failed to work correctly in Revit with OpenGL. It appears that Revit will only work with low-end or outdated nvidia cards.I would tend to agree. It looks like ATI is one of the few that have ensured their new cards work with Revit. (http://forums.augi.com/showthread.php?t=22443)

GuyR
2005-09-06, 12:58 AM
Well... My current machine has an ATI mobility 9000 card and I won't be buying an ATI card again. My old GF2 is faster with Revit than the ATI. I had trouble getting the GF2 to work well with Revit using OpenGL but as soon as I tried the detonator(forceware) drivers and rivatuner with the solidworks presets it was as stable as the price of oil :-) Just kidding, with the solidworks presets it was smooooth and stable.

http://www.guru3d.com/rivatuner/ for forceware and rivatuner downloads

So yes my nvidia experience is with older cards but I'm not going to buy ATI next. If forceware drivers and rivatuner won't give me a stable setup then it'll be quadro. Never rely on the drivers that come with the card.

If anyone is having trouble with nvidia cards do try rivatuner with the latest forceware drivers and the latest directx. Tell me these don't fix the problems and I'll admit the ATI is it for now. OpenGL is important for games. I'd be surprised if nvidia had let their hardware go backwards in this area.

HTH,

Guy

iru69
2005-09-06, 02:07 AM
I would tend to agree. It looks like ATI is one of the few that have ensured their new cards work with Revit. (http://forums.augi.com/showthread.php?t=22443)
While I think I know what you're getting at, the phrasing of this seems a little backward to me. Revit needs to ensure their software works with the graphics cards - whether nVidia, ATi, 3Dlabs, etc.

While a couple of recent posts in other threads indicate that the Factory is aware of the problem and working towards a fix, it's a bit ridiculous that it's come to this. Here we are scrounging around for a few cards that work, having written off entire brands and chipsets.

You can blame one or two bad experiences on the graphics card - but until someone can explain this mess, from my vantage point, the blame falls squarely on Revit..

GuyR
2005-09-06, 02:28 AM
While a couple of recent posts in other threads indicate that the Factory is aware of the problem and working towards a fix,

Can you point me to this thread? Searching didn't bring up anything. OpenGL is a platform neutral graphics API. I would have thought if Revit is using standard OpenGL API calls then any problems lay squarely with the videocard drivers. Like anything I'm sure it's not that simple. If there is a fundamental flaw with Revits OpenGL and nvidia cards it would be nice if the factory can confirm. If nothing else it stop us wasting time with driver upgrades.

Guy

iru69
2005-09-06, 02:30 AM
With Raid 0 (Data mirroring) there is no real speed advantage. Drawings load a tiny bit faster and save a tiny bit slower so it is really just a wash.
Probably just a typo, but to clarify:

RAID 0, referred to as "Striping", splits the data at the controller and writes to two hard drives at the same time. Since theoretically twice as much information gets written to the hard drive in the same amount of time, it can greatly increase data writes. Reading is the same - both hard drives are pulling data at the same time. Theoretical versus real-world is another thing altogether - though you should see noticeable speed improvements. The danger with Striping is that if one hard drive fails, you lose all your data since the data is split between the hard drives.

RAID 1, referred to as "Mirroring" provides data redundancy by duplicating the data to both drives at the same time. There are really no noticable speed benefits (maybe a small bit on reads), and there can be small slowdowns (on writes, but probably not noticable) - but if one drive fails, the other will keep on working with your data stored safely.

There are several other RAID types, such as RAID 0+1 and RAID 5 that use more than two hard drives to achieve both Striping and Mirroring at the same time.

iru69
2005-09-06, 02:37 AM
Can you point me to this thread?
See Scott's post here (http://forums.augi.com/showthread.php?t=2927&page=2) about half way down the page.


I would have thought if Revit is using standard OpenGL API calls then any problems lay squarely with the videocard drivers.
I know better than to let the manufactures completely off the hook - it's not uncommon for the kinks to need to be worked out of drivers for new cards. But there's a ton of OpenGL software that's working fine with all these "bad" cards - there comes a point where you've got to change the direction of where you're pointing the finger.

GuyR
2005-09-06, 02:52 AM
Thanks, it would be interesting to know exactly what the problem is. Especially for those of us looking at new gear. Looks like there isn't much point getting a SLI PCI-e card at the moment. Is it hardware OpenGL that's the problem or software OpenGL?

We could certainly do with a Revit test suite. I wonder if the API could help. Testing performance improvements between RAID0 stripping, 2-3-4GB RAM, SLI videocards, X2 CPU's etc would be useful.

Guy

iru69
2005-09-06, 07:07 AM
Regarding harddrives, isn't there a significant speed advantage running 2 drives in a RAID 0 configuration? Can anyone confirm?
To further comment on this, while you should see a speed advantage (significant is relative), it may not be worth it. The biggest problem with a RAID 0 configuration (aside from the obvious lack of data redundancy - which you wouldn't have anyways in a single non-RAID configuration) is that of hard drive failure.

The more complex the system, the more likelihood of system failure. With two hard drives in a RAID 0 configuration, you're twice as likely to have a hard drive failure as you would with only one hard drive (that's still fairly remote within the expected two to three year life of a computer). And, if either one of the hard drive fails, you lose all your data. Considering that, you might appreciate the reliability over the extra speed.

funkman
2005-09-06, 09:58 AM
irusun, how about the pros and cons of RAID-5?

iru69
2005-09-06, 02:58 PM
irusun, how about the pros and cons of RAID-5?
First, I just want to be clear that I'm not an expert in RAID (or computer hardware in general), and I've only read up on it - so this is how I understand it:

RAID 0 uses striping and RAID 1 uses mirroring. RAID 0+1 (also referred to as RAID 1+0 or simply RAID 10) uses a combination of striping and mirroring. RAID 5 uses striping with "parity". The way parity works is so cool that I wrote up an explanation for myself that I've attached if you're interested. You kind of need to understand how parity works in order to fully understand the pros and cons of RAID 5, but in a nutshell, RAID 5 spreads parity information across across the drives as well.

So this means that if you have 4 100GB drives set up in a RAID 5, you'll have 300GB of storage (3 x 100GB) with one drive's worth being used for the parity information. If you had the same setup as a RAID 0+1, you would only have 200GB of storage (2 x 100GB and the other two drives mirror the data). The more drives you have, the more efficient RAID 5 is (you wouldn't have a RAID 5 with just two drives). Those striped drives can have the appearance of one large drive simplifying the appearance of data storage (i.e. no drive e, f, g, h in windows explorer). And you get the data redundancy of parity. While things stay relatively fast on reads, you don't get the same performance increase as RAID 0.

The cons are that parity makes data recovery a little more complicated when a drive does fail. And with more drives, there's more chance that a single drive failure brings the whole system down until it can be replaced (where a mirrored system can continue to work even after a drive has gone down). Also, even though the RAID controller takes care of parity, with all the calculation overhead, it slows hard drive writes down a bit (definitely slower than a single drive and usually slower than mirroring)... but that's all relative.
Also, as I indicate in my post above, each additional drive increases the chance that the RAID will fail due to drive failure. If you have four drives in a RAID 5 configuration, the chance of the RAID failing is four times as likely as that of a single drive configuration.

While RAID 5 is kind of "in" right now, it really makes more sense if you truly need to take advantage of huge amounts of drive space at minimal cost - usually with multiple redundant servers so that if one RAID 5 server goes down, there's another still working. I guess my point would be that if you really need RAID 5, you probably already have in-house professional IT support and shouldn't be listening to me ;). Smaller offices should probably stick to RAID 1 or RAID 0+1 even though it means additional investment in hard drives. But that's just my opinion based on what I've read.

Regarding "reports" of Revit data corruption due to RAID 5 - as I said, I'm not an expert by any means, but that just doesn't seem reasonable. If there are corruption problems with a RAID 5, it would be due to hardware problems or bugs on the OS level that would corrupt all sorts of files. It seems highly unlikely that only Revit saves data in a manner that would expose such problems.

Here's a link (http://www.storagereview.com/guide2000/ref/hdd/perf/raid/) to a very in depth article on hard drives that is extremely informative - though even more long-winded than my summary.

Clarified above that there isn't a single parity drive but rather the parity information is striped across the drives.

Wes Macaulay
2005-09-06, 03:36 PM
Wow, Irusun -- thanks for the RAID explanation (as painful as it is to read, it explains why it works, and why it's popular).

As for video cards, out there, I don't know why the list of video cards that work for Revit seems to be shrinking. But if you can get new 6xxx GeForce cards working with Rivatuner and Forceware drivers, it would be great if you can post instructions. The reason I'm recommending ATI cards now (and I recommended AGAINST them 18 months ago) is that they've pulled up their socks to work with Autodesk products.

I think it's a drag that you can't just stick in a new Asus video card and go to work. Someone ought to try the Asus FX5750 PCI-E model since the AGP-powered FX5700 at its low price was a great card with Revit: you didn't need anything more than that.

funkman
2005-09-06, 11:03 PM
irusun, thanks very much for that. Even though I had to read it twice to understand it, the concept has now sunk in. And thanks to everyone on this thread especially - it is of great help. I expect delivery of the new computer some time today or tomorrow.

Mr Spot
2005-09-07, 02:46 AM
Scott,

I'm using a 6800GT with the latest nvidia drivers and all is working fine with Open GL and overlay planes on...


Guy,

Are you sure about this?

I have yet to hear from anyone who has gotten any brand of Geforce 6600 or 6800 to work with OpenGL and Revit. Also I tried installing and using Revit on a friend's Asus Geforce 7800 GTX (the newest of the new) and it also failed to work correctly in Revit with OpenGL. It appears that Revit will only work with low-end or outdated nvidia cards.

With Raid 0 (Data mirroring) there is no real speed advantage. Drawings load a tiny bit faster and save a tiny bit slower so it is really just a wash.

Wes Macaulay
2005-09-07, 05:03 AM
Chris, what brand is your card?

Mr Spot
2005-09-07, 06:31 AM
Chris, what brand is your card?
It happens to be MSI... Which i find interesting myself as i've had issues with ATI based cards made by MSI.

Scott Hopkins
2005-09-07, 05:24 PM
Scott,

I'm using a 6800GT with the latest nvidia drivers and all is working fine with Open GL and overlay planes on...Chris - It sounds like that might be a good card to get.


Have you tested it on large models with shadows turned on while zooming and rotating in a 3D view?

Are 3D rotations smooth and sputter free?

Do any annotation symbols or grid lines disappear or reappear when zooming in and out on complex 2D drawings?

Are lines crisp and clear without any grey or fuzzy edges?

What differences do you notice with OpenGL turned off?

Are you using the MSI drivers or the Nvidia Drivers?

What components make up the rest of your system?


Thanks very much,

Scott

Wes Macaulay
2005-09-07, 05:28 PM
And I've had problems with nVidia-based MSI cards. Which goes to show that eating crow is just something you can expect to do in this life.

iru69
2005-09-07, 06:29 PM
What's a little disconcerting about all this, and becoming increasingly clear to me, is that entire lines of graphics cards have been written off based on very little information. That's not to say that there aren't specific cards that are legitimately a problem. Graphics cards have always been one of the more tricky aspects of any system, and most people really don't have very much experience in dealing with hardware and drivers... so a bad experience is easily translated into being written off as bad hardware.

Chris is using six-month old drivers (71.84). He's indicated they're working fine. Someone else could be using the same card with any driver between then and the current one (78.01 at the time of this post) and be getting different results.

Revit may be overly sensative to these nuances - but I'm starting to wonder how many cards just flat-out don't work under any circumstances, and how many cards just need a little more expert attention than they are receiving.

Wes Macaulay
2005-09-07, 09:11 PM
To get on the "not recommended" list I would have to have seen three or more cards of a certain brand that did not work. Plus people reporting to the cards-that-don't-work thread allows a little more information to be disseminated before we scratch the brand from the list.

It's a pity video cards are a hassle, since almost any other hardware item isn't a problem with Revit. I wish that EVERY Revit user would post their video card information so we could have a more comprehensive list of cards that work, or don't.

Mr Spot
2005-09-07, 10:25 PM
Have you tested it on large models with shadows turned on while zooming and rotating in a 3D view?
90MB model zooming and rotating in a 3d View works as expected, i'd say equivalent if not better than my ATI x800 PCI-E. If i were to turn shadows on i'm sure it would die...


Are 3D rotations smooth and sputter free?
Clean transitions and very little elements turn off when rotating. 25MB model.


Do any annotation symbols or grid lines disappear or reappear when zooming in and out on complex 2D drawings?
No, and no need to hit F5 when **** is left on the screen as it doesn't happen. I did experience this with the ATI card.


Are lines crisp and clear without any grey or fuzzy edges?
I'd say crisp and clear, although the BenQ FP937s LCD doesn't have that much clarity so i probably wouldn't notice the difference.



What differences do you notice with OpenGL turned off?
More elements turn off when rotating than if its on as well as being smoother.



Are you using the MSI drivers or the Nvidia Drivers?
I'm using the original drivers that came with the card.



What components make up the rest of your system?
P4 3.2GHz Prescott
1Gb DDR RAM PC3200
Intel 915GAGL Mainboard
80GB WD 8MB Sata HDD
D-Link DGE-530T Gigabit network card.

iru69
2005-09-07, 10:30 PM
To get on the "not recommended" list I would have to have seen three or more cards of a certain brand that did not work.
Right - I didn't mean to question your information...

Plus people reporting to the cards-that-don't-work thread allows a little more information to be disseminated before we scratch the brand from the list.
This is where it maybe becomes a double-edged sword... freedom of information also sometimes results in bad information.

It's a pity video cards are a hassle, since almost any other hardware item isn't a problem with Revit. I wish that EVERY Revit user would post their video card information so we could have a more comprehensive list of cards that work, or don't.
This would be really beneficial - I know this has been attempted in various capacities before. Too often, people try to be helpful by contributing, but they don't know enough about their hardware or drivers for the information to be beneficial.

If we could isolate just the brand and model number, chipset and driver versions and version(s) of Revit - that would be great - I don't think the rest of the the system specs are really necessary. There would only need to be one entry per card. There could be a notes section for any specific issues with certain drivers, hardware, etc. People could add to each card entry over time. I guess I want a wiki for graphics cards that work with Revit. Anyone want to host a wiki?

Wes Macaulay
2005-09-07, 10:37 PM
If we could isolate just the brand and model number, chipset and driver versions and version(s) of Revit - that would be great - I don't think the rest of the the system specs are really necessary. There would only need to be one entry per card. There could be a notes section for any specific issues with certain drivers, hardware, etc. People could add to each card entry over time. I guess I want a wiki for graphics cards that work with Revit. Anyone want to host a wiki?You're right on here -- this is exactly what we need. Well, the OS might be a factor. But RAM and all the other stuff shouldn't matter!

blads
2005-09-23, 08:11 AM
I've just upgraded my computer sytem and all is working brillantly with Open GL and overlay planes on.

Computer System:
Intel P4 3.4GHz HT CPU with 2G DDR Ram
Intel 915 Mainboard
Quadro nVIDIA FX 540 128Mb PCI-E video card
Sony SDM-HS94P DVI-D 19" LCD Monitor

muttlieb
2005-09-23, 01:36 PM
Blads,

What brand is the Quadro card you've got? And what driver version are you using?

blads
2005-09-24, 04:31 AM
Blads,

What brand is the Quadro card you've got? And what driver version are you using?
Brand = ATI

driver version = 7.1.8.4

video bios version = 5.43.02.18.07

otherwise refer to screen shot

hope that helps

muttlieb
2005-09-24, 05:06 AM
Blads,

Thanks for the info, but ATI can't be the manufacturer of the card. As you noted, your graphics card contains the nVidia Quadro FX 540. The Quadro FX line of graphics processors is manufactured by nVidia, and the Quadro line is available through hardware partners such as Dell, HP, PNY, Leadtek, and Elsa. ATI is the other major manufacturer of graphics processors, such as the FireGL and Radeon line of cards. So ATI and nVidia are competitors. Sorry to get nit picky about this, I only ask about the manufacturer of the card and other details because several people have been having problems with different manufacturers of the Quadro line. I just ordered a PNY Quadro FX 540 card for myself, and I'm hoping it will work fine. Since yours seems to be working well, it would be nice to know exactly the manufacturer of the card. You might try right-clicking My Computer > Properties > Hardware > Device Manager > Display Adapters > Properties to find the manufacturer of the card. Or maybe try that 'nVidia information' button on that screen shot you posted? Thanks.

blads
2005-09-24, 06:14 AM
Blads,

Thanks for the info, but ATI can't be the manufacturer of the card. As you noted, your graphics card contains the nVidia Quadro FX 540. The Quadro FX line of graphics processors is manufactured by nVidia, and the Quadro line is available through hardware partners such as Dell, HP, PNY, Leadtek, and Elsa. ATI is the other major manufacturer of graphics processors, such as the FireGL and Radeon line of cards. So ATI and nVidia are competitors. Sorry to get nit picky about this, I only ask about the manufacturer of the card and other details because several people have been having problems with different manufacturers of the Quadro line. I just ordered a PNY Quadro FX 540 card for myself, and I'm hoping it will work fine. Since yours seems to be working well, it would be nice to know exactly the manufacturer of the card. You might try right-clicking My Computer > Properties > Hardware > Device Manager > Display Adapters > Properties to find the manufacturer of the card. Or maybe try that 'nVidia information' button on that screen shot you posted? Thanks.
Muttlieb

sorry for confusion...at the time I was getting various quotes on video cards and got one for an ATI FireGL and promptly went into :shock:, so I picked the second option listed NVIDIA Quadro FX540. As that's all it listed, I assumed it was by the same manufacturer.

I researched your two options and both yeilded the same results... zip. Best I could do, is contact my supplier on Monday and hope he can supply the manufacturer's name & I'll report back later...

muttlieb
2005-09-24, 04:38 PM
Blads,

Thanks for trying to track down the maker of the card. The Quadro FX 540 'should' work with Revit. Since there have been reported problems with some brands of the 540, it would be great to know which brands are working. Thanks.

blads
2005-09-26, 03:01 AM
Blads,

Thanks for trying to track down the maker of the card. The Quadro FX 540 'should' work with Revit. Since there have been reported problems with some brands of the 540, it would be great to know which brands are working. Thanks.
As best as I can asertain, the video card came from a supplier called Xenon Systems (http://www.xenon.com.au/?range=01products&page=07graphic_cards)Pty Ltd.

Their product code is : VGA.WE.RET.034
The invoice description is : NVIDIA Quadro FX540 PCIe 128mb Professional Graphic Card.

A contact there is : dragan.dimitrovici@xenon.com.au (dragan.dimitrovici@xenon.com.au)

HTH

Wes Macaulay
2005-09-26, 05:18 AM
Hmm -- not something we're likely to be able to get over here in North America!

GuyR
2005-09-26, 05:57 AM
Hmm -- not something we're likely to be able to get over here in North America!

I'd be very surprised if it's a card that you can't get locally. N.America is a significantly larger market than AUS. It might not have the same brand name as in AUS but I'm sure it will be available.

Guy

blads
2005-09-26, 05:59 AM
Hmm -- not something we're likely to be able to get over here in North America!
Well I could be wrong, but chances are they don't actually make the card but re-badge it under their "own" name. If you or anybody else for that matter email them, they may tell you whose card it is or was or an equivalent "clone"

Otherwise you just pay for frieght... the exchange rate is pretty good in the US>

MartyC
2005-09-27, 09:15 AM
Hi everyone.

AN URGENT QUESTION??

I am sitting in front of a new Sapphire ATI Radeon X800GT 256mb PCi-e wondering whether this is going to work in the new stonkin PC I'm building. Came highly recommended from everyone other than Revit users. Price is good, helped pay for loads of DDR2 ram.

Is this card going to work with Revit openGL HWacc????

Anyone have any experience of this card??

Urgent info would be good, pleeease.

Thanks and CheersM

Wes Macaulay
2005-09-27, 03:38 PM
I don't know. I have heard of Sapphire cards before -- but they're not too well known in these parts. And it looks like this is a gaming card, so hard to say if it's going to be compatible with OpenGL in Revit.

If you can exchange the card, go for it... get the card and test it -- or bring your Revit 8.1/8.0 CD and try installing it in their shop. For maximum performance, test it with OpenGL on and overlay planes off.

Keep us posted!

Don Sutherland
2005-11-02, 06:17 PM
I was looking at the PC table, which one is a good one to get? Best buy has a Tosiba M Process725, w/ 512 MB PC22700 DDR Sdram for $1399.00. I was going to up grade the ram to 1 GB.

Any comments if this would be good w/ REVIT?

iru69
2005-11-02, 09:06 PM
I was looking at the PC table, which one is a good one to get? Best buy has a Tosiba M Process725, w/ 512 MB PC22700 DDR Sdram for $1399.00. I was going to up grade the ram to 1 GB.

Any comments if this would be good w/ REVIT?
Well, you'd have to be a bit more specific about the model number, but what I think you're looking at is the P M 725 (1.6 GHz) with a 1024x768 (14.1") screen and Intel Extreme Graphics 2 integrated video.

For a general purpose computer, it's pretty cool. For Revit, it would not be a good choice for all but the most simple models.

The CPU is under powered (I wouldn't consider anything less than a 755 for a new laptop), the screen resolution is boderline inadequate (all the toolbars won't fit on the screen at the same time), and the Intel graphics just doesn't cut it.

Don Sutherland
2005-11-03, 12:55 AM
Thanks for your comment:

Toshiba direct has also a model:
Tecra® M4 Tablet PC
with The 760 custom order processor and the the display at 1400x1050.
and could add 1 - 512 ram for $80.00 for a 1 GB total.
At the tosiba web page the total would be $1800.00.

I'm Not sure if is worth paying extra for the PC Tablet type computer.
For use on the plane and in the field it would be great.

Would this work OK?

iru69
2005-11-03, 03:13 AM
I'm Not sure if is worth paying extra for the PC Tablet type computer.
For use on the plane and in the field it would be great.

Would this work OK?
I can't comment on the make or model (maybe someone else can), but just by the specifications, yes, that should work with Revit adequately - certainly seems like a good traveling laptop. You should make sure you can return it if it doesn't work with Revit the way you'd like.

(btw, selecting a computer is an involved process. The questions you pose is kind of like someone saying that they plan to drive from New York to California and they're thinking of buying a Toyota Corolla - is that a good car for the trip? The answer depends on a lot of things. You might get more responses if you frame your question with a little more info about how you plan to use it, will it be a second computer or your main computer, and so on. The chances that there's someone using Revit who uses the models you've mentioned will read this, is rather slim, so if other people are going to help with advice, it might help to give a little more to work with. Also, it may be a little late now, but you might have been better off starting a new thread on your specific topic. Good luck! :)).

BomberAIA
2006-04-21, 05:44 PM
Is there an advantage running Revit on a Duo Core Laptop for speed? Is the Mac graphic card better?

patricks
2006-05-04, 03:01 AM
Blads,

Thanks for trying to track down the maker of the card. The Quadro FX 540 'should' work with Revit. Since there have been reported problems with some brands of the 540, it would be great to know which brands are working. Thanks.

I have been running an Nvidia Quadro FX500 AGP 8x interface in my machine at work for nearly 2 years running Revit. It's been working decent so far w/ 1.5 GB DDR memory.

However I'm about to upgrade to an FX3000 and 2 GB memory tomorrow or Friday, can't wait to see how she runs!

kshawks
2006-05-05, 01:22 AM
We are looking at upgrading and I just wanted to run a couple systems by the everyone and see if we are going in the right direction.
system 1:
xps 400
pent d 830 w/ dual core 3 ghz 800fsb
256 nVidia Geforce 7300le turbocache
2 gb dual channel ddr2 sdram at 533mhz
250 gb serial ata 3gb/s 7200rpm w/ 8mb cache
19inch e196fp analog flat panel

system 2:
xps600
p4 670 w/ ht 3.80 ghz 800fsb
256pci express (dvi/vga/tv-out) nVidia GeForce 6800
2 gb dual channel ddr2 sdram @ 533mhz
160 gb serial ata 3 gb/s 7200rpm w/ 8mb cache
same monitor

system 3 (laptop):
inspiron e1705
intel core duo processor t2600 2.16ghz/667mhz fsb
17in ultrasharp wide screen uxga w/ truelife
2gb shared dual channel ddr2 sdram @ 533mhz
60 gb 7200 sata hard drive
256mb ati mobility radeon x1400 hpermemory

any comments or suggestions would be great

iru69
2006-05-05, 02:14 AM
Here are a few comments:

2GB is good. Unless you're doing a lot of video work (movies), just about anything is fine for the hard drive in my opinion. You hopefully have an office file server anyway?

I have the 19inch e193fp analog flat panel at home, and it sucks compared to the Ultrasharp 1901FP I have at work... these days there's hardly enough difference in price to justify getting the e195 - I'd highly recommend getting the Ultrasharp 1907FP instead (there's a reason why they're giving the away the e195 for free).

My feeling is that the Pentium D @ 3GHz isn't fast enough for a brand new computer. The dual cores will be helpful for rendering, but I'm already bogged down on an 18 month old P4 @ 3GHz at work... I just don't think that's a good investment. Don't know much about the GF7300LE, but it's at the rock bottom of the nVidia line... so that says something.

If you're going to get a Pentium, I'd definitely go with the P4 @ 3.8GHz... there's a big difference in speed (compared to 3GHz) for Revit in everything but rendering. The GF6800 should be fine.

The XPS is oriented towards the home gaming/entertainment segment... have you checked out the Dell Precision 380? I think it's more appropriate for the office than the XPS. Has a decent 3 year on-site warranty to boot. You don't mention price, but I'd check out the Dell Precision 380 w/ P4 67x @ 3.8GHz, 2GB RAM, ATI FireGL 3100 card and 80GB HD - you should be able to price a system around ~$1,500 - not including any fancy DVD burners, monitor, etc.

It's really too bad that Dell doesn't build systems with the Athlon x2... that's the winning chip - we're a Dell office, but I just built a system (for personal use) using the Athlon X2 4800+ that is really fast. Unfortunately most of of the pre-built systems based on AMD are either too oriented towards gaming or just too expensive.

The laptop looks good based on specs (I don't have personal experience with that particular laptop)... my only complaint is that I absolutely detest the "truelife" LCD screens because they don't have an adequate anti-glare coating and the reflections from light drive me nuts - but that's a personal preference. If you're not familiar with the "truelife" screens, I'd suggest checking one out at a local store (even if you can't see the Dell version, there are lots of laptops out there that have basically the same thing). Also, not so sure about the graphics chip, but it should be adequate. I'd recommend checking out the Dell Precision M90 laptop... more of a workstation class laptop compared to the Inspiron.

Hope that helps.

kshawks
2006-05-06, 03:41 PM
Well I have revised my search to the following to systems:
System 1:
precision 380
p4 660 3.6ghz/800mhz/2x1mb l2 cache HT
2 gb 667mhz ddr2 sdram, ecc
160 gb sata 3.0gb/s w/ NCQ & 8mb databurst cache w/out raid
48xcd & 48xcd-rw/dvd combo
19inch ultra sharp 1907fp vga/dvi
128mb pcie x 16ati firegl v3100 dual monitor vga or dvi/vga

system 2 (laptop)
precision m70
pent M 770 (2.13 ghz, 2mb l2 cache, 533fsb) 15.4 wuxga lcd
2 gb, 533, ddr2 sdram
80 gb hd 7200 rpm
nvidia quadro fx go1400 256mb opengl graphic

I have two concerns, first i believe i have read elsewhere in the forums that there might be a problem with the pcie cards with revit. The second concern is the processor speed on the m70 is it enough for 9.0.

iru69
2006-05-06, 05:12 PM
System 1:
precision 380
p4 660 3.6ghz/800mhz/2x1mb l2 cache HT
That's almost as fast as you can get with a Dell without getting into the "funny money" level of dual xeon processors. Can I get you to spend just another $180 for the P4@3.8GHz. That's a $1.70 extra a week over two years. I understand you've got to draw the line somewhere, but come on, you deserve it... a starbuck's coffee is more than $1.70.



system 2 (laptop)
precision m70
pent M 770 (2.13 ghz, 2mb l2 cache, 533fsb) 15.4 wuxga lcd

Did you look at the m65? For less than a $100 more, you could get the Core Duo T2600 @ 2.16 for almost the exact same setup. The graphics chip on the m65 isn't as good, but the 1400 is overkill anyway, and you'll appreciate the speed of dual cores more than the speed of the graphics.


I have two concerns, first i believe i have read elsewhere in the forums that there might be a problem with the pcie cards with revit. The second concern is the processor speed on the m70 is it enough for 9.0.
There's nothing wrong with PCIe cards. There seems to be more issues with certain nvidia cards than ati cards, but I don't think you'll have any show-stopper problems with any that come with the Dell computers - but if you're concerned about it, check to see if you can send it back if you have any problems. If you stay with the m70, I'd definitely try and convince you to bump the CPU up a level or two. If you go with the core duo, the T2600 is as fast as they come at the moment. Very roughly, you can use a factor of 1.6 multiplied by the Pentium M/Core Duo to arrive at an equivalent P4 speed.

Please keep in mind that I'm not "recommending" any particular brand or model of computer but rather recommending hardware based on specs (i.e. I know a bit about CPUs, video cards and RAM, but I have no idea whether a Dell m70 is a "good" laptop or not).

patricks
2006-05-06, 05:57 PM
We just got several 1907FP monitors at our office, they work great, and are really light compared to the 1800FP Ultrasharp (couple years old) that's right next to it on my desk.

So I'm currently running a 1907FP and an 1800FP, both via DVI and both at 1280x1024.

I will say this, the 1800FP looked terrible on VGA, but great on DVI. The 1907 looks pretty good either way, perhaps marginally better on DVI.

2560x1024 res FTW!!!!! :mrgreen:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v38/PatrickGSR94/Misc/Desktop.jpg

kshawks
2006-05-06, 08:08 PM
Thanks for the suggestions, I think we have just about made our mind up. Now we just have to purchase the equipment.

tc3dcad
2006-05-08, 05:28 AM
You aren't kidding about memory hog. I am running 1.25 physical with 6GB as a page file and with Revit 8.1 I never paged out. The other day I was upgrading an 8.1 house to 9 and the thing took 5 minutes, used 600+ physical ram and 4.9GB paged out!

My first thought was "Holy Cow this is MDT all over again!" :?

Steve Mintz
2006-05-15, 05:32 PM
you will get the best performance with OpenGL enabled and overlay planes disabled


Not to be the NooB, but what exactly does OpenGL do, vs. Overlay Planes? From the Revit dialog box, it would "appear" that you'd want to enable both.

Wes Macaulay
2006-05-15, 05:58 PM
My understanding of overlay planes is that it improves performance when some objects are behind others. Regardless of what it is or does, the more important aspect is that OpenGL needs to be on for Revit to have full display performance.

I have found with many video cards, that enabling overlay planes slightly degrades the appearance of objects (most notably, text) on the screen.

Michael Coviello
2006-05-19, 02:32 PM
I'm curious what the average cost companies are spending on new workstations with these recommendations. I've been responsible for config/ and purchase of new cad stations and I'd typically spend $1400 for the box - no monitor. Since Revit does more it makes sense that it requires more - a.k.a. $$$ Having an amount was very helpful for budgeting.
So what's the new "average" cost. I'm thinking it's somewhere around $3000-$3500

patricks
2006-06-07, 01:36 PM
I think you could easily build a Revit workhorse for under $2000, not including monitor(s).

Lashers
2006-06-07, 03:27 PM
here in the UK I build my own machines for around £1200 - but I have never used a high end workstation graphics card, so I could add another £100 to that I guess.

jd_grob
2006-06-22, 12:19 PM
Many thanks for the input guys !

I started to work with Revit 9 a couple months ago and with the results I got from my actual computer, I managed to get a new one !

I'm suppose to have the new workstation delivered today (which was due last Monday, but that's a different story...). I first picked a Dell workstation (Dell Precision 380 that did look pretty fine to me !) but it ended up a custom built (with all the risks it involves) :

Motherboard: ASUS P5WDG2-WS
Processor: Pentium-D 2x2Mb L2
Graphic: Quadro FX-540 (PCI-e, 128mb)
Ram: 2 Gig DDR2-800

I'll keep you posted on the results, crashes, and frustrations (if any...).

mmodernc
2006-06-24, 05:16 AM
Boy I always thought graphics cards had kings and queens on one side and popeye on the other.

lcamara
2006-12-16, 02:14 AM
I'm going to be buying 6 workstations next week. We currently are only using AutoCAD, but have a license of Revit Structure and plan to adopt it in the near future, so I was hoping to get some input. There's a graphics card compatibility list for AutoCAD (http://www.autodesk.com/autocad-graphicscard), but besides this thread I haven't seen a similar one for Revit that would help me spec-out my systems. Here's the base configuration (for $1500) that I'm looking at:

Dell Precision 390
Intel Core2 Duo E6300 1.86GHz/1066MHz/2MB L2/Dual-core/VT
XP Pro (w/ Vista Business upgrade at some point)
128MB PCIe x16 ATI FireGL V3400, Dual DVI
OR
128MB PCIe x16 nVidia Quadro FX550, Dual DVI
2GB, 533MHz, DDR2 SDRAM, ECC (2 DIMMS)
2x160GB SATAII (in a RAID1)
Office, DVDRW, etc.

If I had a few hundred to spend upgrading that, where should it go?

+$454 - video card to: 256MB PCIe x16 nVidia Quadro FX3450, Dual DVI
+$280 - RAM upgrade to: 4GB, 667MHz, DDR2 SDRAM, ECC (4 DIMMS) (although only 3.5GB would be accessible in 32-bit XP)
+$319 - processor to: E6400 2.13GHz (a 15% increase in processor clock speed)
and if I don't upgrade the video card (which seems likely given what I've read so far),

which one of those two 128MB ones should I get?
and should I upgrade the RAM or the processor?
Processor & RAM
I remember reading a long time ago that the memory access clock speed has to be a multiple of the chip's front side bus - is that still the case? Since the chip's at 1066, will the memory always be at 533 (no matter what the chips are rated for), or would spending an extra $20 to get 2GB at 667MHz give me a little bit extra speed? Upgrading the processor would make it exactly twice the FSB speed - would that make a difference?

(FYI, the test results that I've seen put the E6300 faster than a 3.6GHz Pentium D and close to a 3.73 GHz Pentium XE)
I know that AutoCAD and Revit currently don't take advantage of the 2nd processor, but I'd think that they would at some point in the future as the Core2 Duo becomes default, and the 2nd core should be effective now with running multiple apps.

Hard Drives
I could save $60 and get 80GB drives, and that would be sufficient for applications, but this way I shouldn't have to worry about people putting their MP3s on the server.

I've gotten burned with various hard-drive failures, which is why I'm ordering workstations with RAID1 now. I once had a hard drive die 1 week after I bought it, and recently one of our CAD workstation's drive died (less than a year old). All the project data is always on the server, but it was a pain to have to reinstall everything while I had him working on a spare laptop. To me it's worth the extra $180 second drive for the convenience and time saving of being able to just swap out a bad drive. There's also the extra benefit of faster read times. :)

Network & Server
The switch, server, and most of the workstations (the ones from the past couple years) are all gigabit (the server's dual NIC - a Dell PowerVault). The server has a RAID5 (wasn't my preferred choice) - is that corruption problem something we need to worry about? How could the storage system matter - are the data being interpreted as drive commands?

Monitors
We have various monitor setups in the office, but all are Dell LCDs (DVI). The ones for these machines are: 2x18", 24"W, 18", 19", 20"W, 2x19"
All of our CAD guys are on dual monitors (and won't look back) but no one else seems to want to give up the desk space for the 2nd monitor (I keep asking). FYI, the other 3 CAD guys have: 2x18", 20"+18", 20"W+17"Analog
The 17", 18" & 19" are at 1280x1024, 20"W at 1680x1050, 20" at 1600x1200, and 24"W at 1920x1200.
There's a noticeable difference in quality between DVI & VGA in every instance I've seen - I wouldn't think of using analog (or a CRT for that matter) unless absolutely necessary. All of our (newer) computers are dual-DVI capable (even if they don't have 2 - yet) and everyone's using digital LCDs (with the exception of a couple 17" LCDs that were from before I got involved spec-ing the new purchases).


Wow. Spell Check went crazy with this post! :shock:

Wes Macaulay
2006-12-16, 03:20 AM
ATI all the way. ATI has worked hard to make their cards work with Revit, and at this time there is little point in buying more power than comes with the V3400.

RAM or processor... unless you're doing huge projects (where 4Gb RAM would be a good target), go up to the E6700 or 6800 processor to get the processing power.

HTH,

iru69
2006-12-16, 06:25 AM
If I had a few hundred to spend upgrading that, where should it go?

+$454 - video card to: 256MB PCIe x16 nVidia Quadro FX3450, Dual DVI
+$280 - RAM upgrade to: 4GB, 667MHz, DDR2 SDRAM, ECC (4 DIMMS) (although only 3.5GB would be accessible in 32-bit XP)
+$319 - processor to: E6400 2.13GHz (a 15% increase in processor clock speed)
and if I don't upgrade the video card (which seems likely given what I've read so far),

which one of those two 128MB ones should I get?
and should I upgrade the RAM or the processor?
Pretty much as Wes said regarding the CPU versus more RAM. The E6300 would serve okay in light Revit (& ACAD) duty, but if it's going to be a serious Revit workstation, I'd really push for an E6700 or X6800. Regarding the video graphics card, we have two Precision 390s in our office, one with the V3400 and one with the FX550 (I just wanted to see if there was any difference). They both work well. They both exhibit the same glitches. I'm partial to nVidia. Wes is a little ATI happy.


Processor & RAM
I remember reading a long time ago that the memory access clock speed has to be a multiple of the chip's front side bus - is that still the case? Since the chip's at 1066, will the memory always be at 533 (no matter what the chips are rated for), or would spending an extra $20 to get 2GB at 667MHz give me a little bit extra speed? Upgrading the processor would make it exactly twice the FSB speed - would that make a difference?
There's 667 theories out there, and 533 benchmarks to prove them... in the end, it's pretty much a wash. Yes, the 533 timings are ideal for a 1066 bus (2:1 ratio), so there's less potential latency... however, the 667 has more theoretical bandwidth, but the 233MHz bus (quad-pumped to 1066) really starts to reach its practical limit even with 533, so anything faster has very limited returns, but certain applications under certain circumstances might see a 2% speed increase... well, you get the picture. Just stick with the 533 (unless someone wanted to OC, which you're not).


(FYI, the test results that I've seen put the E6300 faster than a 3.6GHz Pentium D and close to a 3.73 GHz Pentium XE)
I know that AutoCAD and Revit currently don't take advantage of the 2nd processor, but I'd think that they would at some point in the future as the Core2 Duo becomes default, and the 2nd core should be effective now with running multiple apps.
I'd be interested to see where you saw the benchmarks, but that seems just a bit generous (at least for "real world" applications).

This next part isn't really aimed directly at you, and I apologize in advance for going off on a slight tangent here (and a run-on sentence), but the whole "why don't apps like Revit take advantage of dual cores" line of reasoning/questioning/blame gets brought up so often, this seemed like as good as place as any to say something about it. Hey folks, it's not just flipping a few switches in C, and it's not even about just making it some kind of programming wish list priority. It's not simply a matter of putting more effort into it. Certain applications simply do not lend themselves to multi-threading. Think of encoding an mp3 file. To over simplify, one core can take half the file and encode it and the other core can take the other half of the file and encode it - and then join the two halves when both cores are finished. It doesn't even matter what order the pieces are encoded, as long as they're glued back together in the proper order, it's going to sound the same in the end. Pretty easy - which is why encoding an mp3 file is so much faster on multi-core systems. It's a bit more complex with something like a rendering, but a similar concept. Now, think about all of the relationships that need to be analyzed every time you modify an object in Revit. Those relationships have to be processed in a certain order. If you send instructions out to one core, the second core may need to wait around for an answer before proceeding with its own set of instructions. That's not going to necessarily speed anything up... it can actually slow things down. I'm sure you could think of analogies in constructing a building. That doesn't mean that they won't figure out ways to make use of multiple cores, it's just that an entire industry is struggling with this problem... so don't hold your breath waiting for it to come. It's going to be a very slow process.

And while people get carried away with this idea that dual cores keeps things from slowing down when running multiple apps at the same time, the reality is that there are very few apps that you can run at the same time where dual cores really make any difference. However, it does tend to make things "snappier". So, no one buying a new computer should even consider less than dual core unless they have specialized needs.


Hard Drives
I could save $60 and get 80GB drives, and that would be sufficient for applications, but this way I shouldn't have to worry about people putting their MP3s on the server.

I've gotten burned with various hard-drive failures, which is why I'm ordering workstations with RAID1 now. I once had a hard drive die 1 week after I bought it, and recently one of our CAD workstation's drive died (less than a year old). All the project data is always on the server, but it was a pain to have to reinstall everything while I had him working on a spare laptop. To me it's worth the extra $180 second drive for the convenience and time saving of being able to just swap out a bad drive. There's also the extra benefit of faster read times. :)
I like the RAID1 idea. If it saves you even once on even one of those machines, it will pay for the extra expense of all six (though the more expensive 160GB drives would put me on the fence). I would check as to whether you would need a floppy drive to reinstall the OS or use your Vista upgrade (Dell may include the drivers as part of their OEM version of Windows). However, I would stick to the 80GB drives and put the money towards something else. Even after all the apps are installed, there should be 50+ GB for music - that's, like, more than 500 CDs. And with something like iTunes, people can share there libraries over the network with other users. The "faster read times" thing is negligible.


Network & Server
The switch, server, and most of the workstations (the ones from the past couple years) are all gigabit (the server's dual NIC - a Dell PowerVault). The server has a RAID5 (wasn't my preferred choice) - is that corruption problem something we need to worry about? How could the storage system matter - are the data being interpreted as drive commands?
We use RAID5 at our office, as do thousands of other offices. We haven't had any problems. With all due respect to Wes' own experience, I think it would be a more widely known issue if it actually was one. However, I'd certainly like to know more about it, if, in fact, it is an issue.

BTW, nice post - it's great to see the effort put into it rather than just asking what computer they should get.

Wes Macaulay
2006-12-16, 02:11 PM
Irusun's right on two fronts: nVidia cards seem to be coming out of a compatibility slump that we were seeing locally, and RAID5 has been indentified as only a likely contributor to a corruption problem on one project that I was involved in. The Factory did write up RAID5 as being a problem, so I expect they have seen on more than one occasion. It seems to afflict large projects more than anything else.

RAID5 is a great method for ensuring data integrity otherwise, and I understand why it's so attractive to IT people. But our server is RAID1 nonetheless ;-)

iru69
2006-12-16, 08:17 PM
The Factory did write up RAID5 as being a problem, so I expect they have seen on more than one occasion. It seems to afflict large projects more than anything else.
Wes, I don't mean to be argumentative, but can you be more specific? How long ago when this happened and what version of Revit? You indicate the Factory did a "write up" - was that a direct response to that firm or was this a paper that is publicly available?

I can understand that RAID-5 might have been a likely culprit in the corruption of Revit files on the project you worked on, but is there any direct evidence that Revit was the cause? Isn't it possible that they simply had a bad RAID card/BIOS, or bad drivers, or some other problem with their setup that was exposed on a large Revit project file with (at that time) a very complicated worksets folder and file organization (involving hundreds of folders and files)? I've read about cases where bad RAID BIOS/drivers cause corruption problems, particularly on large files. I’ve read that it’s sometimes a good idea to turn off HD write-caches, particularly on RAID-5, since a computer crash can leave unwritten data in the cache and a file in flux (though many RAID cards now have ways to keep that from happening).

The only place I can find any mention of the Revit - RAID-5 connection outside of this forum is an Archinect post that quotes your own post from this thread. I can’t find any other examples of applications causing corruption on a RAID-5 configuration. It just seems extremely unusual that Revit would be accessing disk i/o at such a low level.

Any RAID configuration adds complexity to a system, and they all have various drawbacks, but there seems to be some sort of implication that Revit is incompatible/problematic with RAID-5. I don’t mean to deter you from sharing your experiences (quite the opposite), but maybe this is one of those things that needs further explanation before warning users to stay away from RAID-5 (as indicated in your first post and elsewhere).

Once again, I'm not trying to call you out, it's just that this issue keeps popping up, and I don't understand why or whether there's some massive cover-up by Autodesk (I'm always up for a good conspiracy theory) and users really should be concerned.

Wes Macaulay
2006-12-18, 05:03 PM
The project was about 100Mb and was started on 8 and migrated to 8.1; it was during late design development when the project team increased in size that these problems began to occur. These problems included looping error dialogs that you could not break out of during a STC, crashes, and long STC times.

The Factory asked us if we had RAID5 and we were told that they had other users who were having similar problems. The writeup I'm talking about may have been an internal memo to resellers or a Known Issues doc for one of the releases of Revit; it's been over a year so I don't recall exactly. They told us to take the file off the RAID5 server and when we did the problems stopped for the most part. If memory serves correct the file was put back on the RAID5 server but we were told to take it off again if the problems returned.

iru69
2006-12-18, 07:42 PM
Wes, thank you for describing the scenario. Hopefully the problems were related to bad RAID-5 configurations, and if not, hopefully the Factory fixed the problem in Revit. Good to know at least that much. Thanks!

lcamara
2006-12-19, 01:22 AM
The cons are that parity makes data recovery a little more complicated when a drive does fail. And with more drives, there's more chance that a single drive failure brings the whole system down until it can be replaced (where a mirrored system can continue to work even after a drive has gone down). Also, even though the RAID controller takes care of parity, with all the calculation overhead, it slows hard drive writes down a bit (definitely slower than a single drive and usually slower than mirroring)... but that's all relative.
Also, as I indicate in my post above, each additional drive increases the chance that the RAID will fail due to drive failure. If you have four drives in a RAID 5 configuration, the chance of the RAID failing is four times as likely as that of a single drive configuration.

While RAID 5 is kind of "in" right now, it really makes more sense if you truly need to take advantage of huge amounts of drive space at minimal cost - usually with multiple redundant servers so that if one RAID 5 server goes down, there's another still working. I guess my point would be that if you really need RAID 5, you probably already have in-house professional IT support and shouldn't be listening to me ;). Smaller offices should probably stick to RAID 1 or RAID 0+1 even though it means additional investment in hard drives. But that's just my opinion based on what I've read.

How complicated the recovery process is would depend on the controller, but shouldn't be much different from the other flavors of RAID. The most complicated thing, IMHO, is making sure you yank the right drive. ;)

From what I understand, having a drive fail in a RAID5 array doesn't "bring down" the system, it just means you no longer have data protection - you do need the system to still be up and running to tell you which drive went bad (and another drive failure will not only bring down the system, but kill your data). There are even some controllers that allow you to designate a "hot spare" so that the drive rebuild process can begin immediately and automatically (although you're still no longer protected until the rebuild completes), but that would mean an additional drive that's not used for data.

For true high availability, you need multiple servers no matter what the storage system is, because hard drives aren't the only system component that can fail (I think redundant, hot swappable power supplies are cool, but that still leaves the motherboard, RAID controller, etc.). And the real data protection should come from on- and off-site backups.

FWIW, for 4 drives, I tend to prefer RAID10, but that's partly because I've been burned by an old RAID5 Snap. I like the idea of being able to loose 2 of 4 drives (depending on which 2) and still run, as well as the speed gained from the "0" part of the "1+0".

Just a note on the reliability: technically, four drives aren't exactly four times as likely to fail as one. To illustrate, let's say you've got a drive that has a 10% chance of failing this year. To see what your likelihood would be of lasting the whole year with all 4 of those drives NOT failing, you would multiply 0.9*0.9*0.9*0.9=0.66 (or 34% chance that one of those 4 would fail, which isn't exactly 40%). That said, the more reliable the drives are, the less significant the difference becomes. Drives that have a 5% chance of failing would wind up being 19% (vs. 20%). So 4 drives are nearly 4 times as likely to have one fail as just one. I'm just a little AR, so I had to point that out. :)

iru69
2006-12-19, 04:00 AM
How complicated the recovery process is would depend on the controller, but shouldn't be much different from the other flavors of RAID. The most complicated thing, IMHO, is making sure you yank the right drive. ;)
I think this is one of those things where YMMV - depending on the existing setup, hardware and experience level. I think for a typical Revit user with little to moderate hardware experience, RAID-5 is more complicated than it's worth. Someone who has a lot of experience and is confident working with hardware (or wants to become someone who is), then great, take advantage of what's available.


From what I understand, having a drive fail in a RAID5 array doesn't "bring down" the system, it just means you no longer have data protection - you do need the system to still be up and running to tell you which drive went bad (and another drive failure will not only bring down the system, but kill your data). There are even some controllers that allow you to designate a "hot spare" so that the drive rebuild process can begin immediately and automatically (although you're still no longer protected until the rebuild completes), but that would mean an additional drive that's not used for data.
Yes, you're right - there's all sorts of hardware out there to make things easier. I was being somewhat vague - every statement or opinion seems to lead to a ton more qualifications and explanations. Once again, it's a YMMV situation. While the newer generation of hardware is becoming more like what you describe, there's still a lot of hardware out there that rebuilds the array while in the RAID's BIOS (which can take many many hours and doesn't allow access to files). Even if you can rebuild the array while the server is up and running, it will generally be in a state of greatly degraded performance. The data from the missing drive has to be recalculated on the fly. And finally, while it would be ideal to have redundant everything, the reason I would single out hard drives is that because of their complex mechanical nature (i.e.. tiny little moving parts), they are more prone to failure than MBs and CPUs and the like.


So 4 drives are nearly 4 times as likely to have one fail as just one. I'm just a little AR, so I had to point that out. :)
No, you really didn't. ;)

I just went through the experience of upgrading our existing small office server from RAID-1 to RAID-5. I did this so that we could purchase just one $400 SCSI drive instead of two $400 SCSI drives. It was absolutely, positively, not worth it in our situation. I should taken my own advice and just spent the extra money. It ended up taking more time, was more stressful and we now have a more complicated system more prone to failure (on a positive note, I got a lot more hands on experience with RAID). I think I would still stand by the intention of my original statement that most firms that really require the storage availability of RAID-5 probably have some sort of IT to bail them out if things go wrong. If you don't, I'd suggest spending the extra few hundred dollars and just get new bigger drives for your server. But, that's just my experience... YMMV.

lcamara
2006-12-20, 06:39 AM
Just thought I'd post my final configuration & pricing:

Dell Precision 390
Intel Core2 Duo E6600 2.40GHz/1066MHz/4MB L2/Dual-core/VT
XP Pro (w/ Vista Business upgrade at some point)
128MB PCIe x16 ATI FireGL V3400, Dual DVI
2GB, 533MHz, DDR2 SDRAM, ECC (2 DIMMS)
2x80GB SATAII (in a RAID1)
Office, DVDRW, etc.

After thinking about it, I took your advice on the 80GB drives. Most of the guys I'm getting these for are coming off of machines with much less space.

Since no one had a really strong case for or against either graphics card, I chose the ATI simply because on their websites the ATI had a slightly faster memory throughput speed.

I also took your advice on upgrading the processor instead of the RAM. Up until now, my general philosophy has been to get the slowest DC processor and dump in the ram, since there has tended to be large jumps in price for a small % increase in clock speed. However, since we've pretty much reached the max for RAM, it makes more sense to spend money on the processor, so I went up to the cheapest one with a 4MB cache. Besides, it's fairly easy to pop in more RAM later.

FYI, I've found out recently, that if you're buying more that $15k from Dell (or at least start out with that much), you get passed on to a "senior" sales guy. We're getting 9% to 12% discount from the website pricing (and 15% off on a laptop). I spec'd out 6 identical systems (w/ the only difference being Office): $1920 for Pro, $1830 for Sm. Bus., $1710 for Basic (before taxes).



I'd be interested to see where you saw the benchmarks, but that seems just a bit generous (at least for "real world" applications).
I just did a quick search on Pentium D vs Core2 Duo (http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rls=GGLG,GGLG:2005-29,GGLG:en&q=Pentium+D+vs+Core2+Duo), and the first one that came up was AnandTech Intel's Core 2 Extreme & Core 2 Duo The Empire Strikes Back (http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=2795). Several pages in, after the testing rig info and some Duo vs. Extreme and 2MB vs. 4MB L2 comparisons, and memory access, FSB & power consumption info, there are some tests (http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=2795&p=8) which include Pentiums and Athlons. I was just trying to find a comparison that would show me a general idea of how the two chips compared, since the Core2 has so much lower clock speeds.


And while people get carried away with this idea that dual cores keeps things from slowing down when running multiple apps at the same time, the reality is that there are very few apps that you can run at the same time where dual cores really make any difference. However, it does tend to make things "snappier". So, no one buying a new computer should even consider less than dual core unless they have specialized needs.
True. If you've got stuff like Word, Excel, IE, etc. only the "top" one needs any CPU time since those are all UI-centric apps (the computer's waiting for you). But I usually have an internet radio stream going, along with Outlook regularly checking & downloading email, and an occasional software update being downloaded. Sure, none of that stuff appears to bring down any relatively recent single-CPU, but I like "snappy." :) And we do have a lot of engineering programs that, even if they don't benefit directly, should at least allow the user to do other stuff. DC should also help with DVD encoding, which brings my home computer down to an unusable crawl for 3 hours. :(

Good discussion on multi-threading, BTW. While many functions would never benefit from multi-threading, I'm sure that there are a few (like batch-plotting) which would show a significant improvement with not too much investment in programming.


I would check as to whether you would need a floppy drive to reinstall the OS or use your Vista upgrade (Dell may include the drivers as part of their OEM version of Windows).
I haven't been including floppy drives in the new computers for a couple years now. I'll be sure to keep at least one accessible in the office (along with a zip drive), but they are both way obsolete. Everything's done over the network. Most inter-office transfer stuff (w/ our clients) is done through email or FTP, so even the DVD burners are rarely used. We provide them mainly for convenience, and so the users can backup their files (although many don't do it, and all project data is supposed to be on the file server anyway).

One other very useful thing I do include (whenever there's the option) is an internal memory card reader (fits in a 3.5" bay) so when the engineers come back from the field they can just pop in the memory card and put the photos directly in the project folder. We currently have a central station with a card reader, but having it at everyone's desk is more convenient (some LCDs have them built-in now, too.


BTW, nice post - it's great to see the effort put into it rather than just asking what computer they should get.
thanks :)

iru69
2006-12-20, 03:38 PM
Those benchmarks on the Core2 are truly are impressive. Just amazing!

Yes, we've also phased out the floppies as well. It wasn't clear in my post, but I was specifically referring to RAID configurations. If the RAID driver isn't included within the XP CD, you'll almost certainly need a floppy to install it during a Windows reinstall (since at that point during the setup, the Windows setup can't access network or USB resources). It's also possible that Dell does include the necessary drivers as part of their OEM Windows XP CD. I'm hoping that Microsoft figured out a way around that problem with Vista, because it can be a real drag hooking up a floppy drive temporarily to load the drivers.

Thanks for sharing your decision process. Good luck with the new computers!

Andrew Dobson
2006-12-20, 05:24 PM
I have found this website good for comparing processors - but it doesnt include xeons

http://www.pcpro.co.uk/labs/146/cpu-megatest/products.html

iru69
2006-12-21, 02:31 AM
Not sure if this one's been posted before, but I find this a great reference for comparing CPUs:

http://www23.tomshardware.com/cpu.html

lcamara
2006-12-21, 08:50 PM
[QUOTE=irusun]Yes, we've also phased out the floppies as well. It wasn't clear in my post, but I was specifically referring to RAID configurations. If the RAID driver isn't included within the XP CD, you'll almost certainly need a floppy to install it during a Windows reinstall (since at that point during the setup, the Windows setup can't access network or USB resources). It's also possible that Dell does include the necessary drivers as part of their OEM Windows XP CD. I'm hoping that Microsoft figured out a way around that problem with Vista, because it can be a real drag hooking up a floppy drive temporarily to load the drivers.[QUOTE]

I would think that Dell includes everything you need for an install, otherwise I think you can insert the driver CD when needed (I remember doing that for something once, maybe with 2000 or NT) and reinsert the XP CD after. Hopefully I'll never need to find out, with RAID1.

That's a great link, BTW (http://www23.tomshardware.com/cpu.html), but YIKES! The tests show the new machines are nearly TWICE as fast as the ones I got 2 of our main CAD guys in February!

Thanks for your help irusun & Wes!

Gordon.Price
2006-12-21, 09:23 PM
If the RAID driver isn't included within the XP CD, you'll almost certainly need a floppy to install it during a Windows reinstall (since at that point during the setup, the Windows setup can't access network or USB resources). !

You can also create your own XP install CD, including patches and SPs and drivers, as well as automated application installs. I had one customized for the office that had all the most up to date drivers for every piece of hardware in the building (45 machines, probably 10 different hardware combinations), along with all the basic software (actually installed from a network location), joined to the domain, and fully patched by WSUS.

You can find a lot of great info at the MSFN website ( http://unattended.msfn.org/unattended.xp/). Also, if you use Bashrat the Sneaky's Driver Pack (http://www.driverpacks.net/), and do some culling of old junker drivers, you can actually create a single CD that will install all drivers for any machine built in the last few years. You may have some issues with Dell, where they have tweaked their drivers, but for everyone else, you are off to the races.

There is a great IT Manager joy to be found in putting a CD in a machine and booting, coming back in 20 minutes to a machine name prompt, and then coming back in a few hours to a finished machine, with all office software pre-installed, ready to hand to a user and be done. Frees up lots of time to play with Revit, if you are one of those small office "all things computer" kind of IT people. ;)

Best,
Gordon

iru69
2006-12-22, 12:34 AM
You can also create your own XP install CD, including patches and SPs and drivers, as well as automated application installs...
Way cool! I didn't realize it was that easy to do (relatively speaking).

patricks
2007-01-03, 02:49 PM
hey everyone, my boss and I just ordered a new computer for me last week, since I've been running the oldest machine in the office for quite awhile now.

Old computer specs:
Dell Precision 360
Pentium 4 2.26 GHz
3 GB RAM (2 1GB and 2 512MB)
nVIDIA Quadro FX3000 256MB graphics
80GB 7200rpm IDE hard disk drive

I've been running Revit on this machine for nearly 3 years now, with various RAM and graphics upgrades along the way.

My new machine specs:
Dell Precision 490
Dual Xeon dual-core processors, 2.66 GHz, 4MB L2 cache each, 1066 MHz FSB (4 processor cores total)
4 GB RAM
nVIDIA Quadro FX550 128MB graphics w/ dual DVI
80GB 10,000rpm S-ATA hard disk drive

Can't wait to run the Revit benchmark test on this one. :mrgreen:

bclarch
2007-01-22, 03:06 PM
Wes,
Thanks for all of the good info and for keeping it up to date (last edit Dec. 19th). We are in the market for a new computer because a 2 second power outage fried something on the motherboard and it no longer recognizes the cd-rom drive or the removable hard drive that we use for our back-ups. This info will come in very handy.

I do have one question that I would like ask you or anyone else out there. Does AMD currently offer anything that performs as well as the Intel Core 2 Duos?

Wes Macaulay
2007-01-22, 04:04 PM
No. The Core 2 Duos -- especially the E6700 and E6800 -- totally clean up. There is no competition for these processors.

iru69
2007-01-22, 04:18 PM
Does AMD currently offer anything that performs as well as the Intel Core 2 Duos?
No, not really.

Some of the high-end AMD chips, like the FX-62, will keep up with the Duos, but based on price and efficiency, the Duos really clocked the X2 this time around.

Put together a couple of FX-74 chips on the AMD 4x4 platform (dual cores on dual sockets), and you'll have a pretty fast system - but for that kind of money, my opinion is that you'd still be better off with a single Intel Core Quad, or dual (Core2 based) Xeon chips.

Gordon.Price
2007-01-22, 05:06 PM
No, not really.

Some of the high-end AMD chips, like the FX-62, will keep up with the Duos, but based on price and efficiency, the Duos really clocked the X2 this time around.

Put together a couple of FX-74 chips on the AMD 4x4 platform (dual cores on dual sockets), and you'll have a pretty fast system - but for that kind of money, my opinion is that you'd still be better off with a single Intel Core Quad, or dual (Core2 based) Xeon chips.

I simply quiver at the thought of machines like these, with 8-16G of ram, a 1G D3D card and a multi-threaded, 64 bit, Direct3D 10 Revit. I wake up sweating from the dreams! Then we will complain about wanting to have the actual 3D metal roofing profile built into the roof family. Who knows, maybe we will model the Coravent so we can calculate actual air flow ;)

Gordon

swamphokie
2007-03-28, 01:25 AM
I am running Revit 9.1 on a Xeon 3.20GHz with the 3GB switch within Windows XP. I am trying to work with a 28MB local file from my C-drive and opening this file takes in excess of 20 minutes (and freezing my computer in the process). I've checked task manager and my System Idle is around 96% on average, Revit is around 2-4%. I can't get a read on what is happening...

lcamara
2007-03-28, 08:19 AM
This is probably not the appropriate place to post this. If you want a better response to your question, start a new thread (since your question is a trouble-shooting question, not a comment/request on a hardware purchase).

trombe
2007-04-06, 10:18 PM
Trying to check on current thinking on this issue.
Thanks to all who have posted here so far as the reading has been of critical importance to me.
About to update (finally) myself.

Rough Specs:
Intel core 2 Duo 2.8 mhz
Asus PCI express, 1074 mhz motherboard / SATA etc.
2 x 76 Gb Seagate Cheetah 10k.7 SATA SCSI 10,000 rpm hard drives
4 Gb DDR 1Ghz RAM
NVidia Quadro FX 1500 256 Mb PCI Express video card, 2 dvi etc.
700 watt power supply
DVD / CD combo reader writer drive
no Raid configuration, but agree with the construct of having the OS (and windows paging file ) on one drive, and all data on the other drive, and then a 500Gb external drive, synched for (15 minute or whatever) backup archive.
Windows XP Pro, later to upgrade to Vista Business possibly.


Questions:
I note people talking about matching the RAM clock speed, with the FSB clock speed for a 1Ghz motherboard = 533 mhz RAM ? Can you break that down into what this is as opposed to having a 1Ghz clock speed RAM ? I am not a techie !!


As time goes on......can people please confirm that the NVidia Quadro FX1500 256 Mb PCI express card is a flyer for Revit. In NZ, this card costs $1000 NZ. I can not afford to make a mistake with this. I want the speed and quality but the FX4500 or 4600 are just stupid prices at $2300 NZ plus !!! for the 1 Gb cards..pity....I prefer to go with a Quadro over anything else if possible.


Does anyone know what real value there is in the 10k spinner drives over the 7200.10 drives ? Reading the specs, the rate for the 10k spinner is 350 Mb/sec, over the 7200 rpm drive of 300 Mb/sec. For my needs (light industrial, light commercial and residential) the throughput might not be that important, however, I am mindful of continual developments broadly speaking .


thanks heaps for any input.
regards
trombe

iru69
2007-04-06, 11:38 PM
Trying to check on current thinking on this issue...
thanks heaps for any input.
regards
trombe

Are you building this yourself or is this from a local seller?

There is no 2.8GHz Core 2 that I'm aware of. Can you check your specs?
1074MHz doesn’t really make sense either, though it may be listed for over-clockers.

The RAM speed / bus speed / CPU speed can get a bit confusing. It all works on multipliers.

The CPU speed is locked by a multiplier related to the bus speed which is related to the RAM speed. You’ll see the front-side bus listing of 1066 MHz, which is really a quad pumped 266 MHz bus. A 2.66 GHz cpu has a locked multiplier of 10 (2660 MHz / 266 MHz bus). A 2.93 GHz cpu has a multiplier of 11 (2930 MHz / 266 MHz). That’s how you can tell that both the speed you listed for the Core 2 and the bus speed are not standard (overclocking is essentially increasing the bus speed to increase the CPU speed, e.g. you raise the bus speed from 266 MHz to 280 MHz, and your 2.66 GHz cpu is now running at 2.8 GHz - 280 MHz * 10 multiplier). Some of the upper end Xeon systems use a 1333 MHz front side bus (actual bus speed at 333 MHz – so a 3.0GHz Xeon has a multiplier of 9).

In order to get the most efficient RAM timings, you want the multiplier of the RAM speed to be an even integer of the bus speed. So, if you have a 1066 MHz bus, you’d want 533MHz RAM. If you had a 1333 MHz bus, you’d want 667 MHz RAM. If you place 667 MHz RAM on a 1066 MHz bus, you end up with an odd interleave which means your system could potentially be slower than if you had 533 MHz RAM.

You’ve listed SCSI hard drives... this is *way* overkill for a personal workstation. Really, the only place for SCSI drives is on servers and extremely disk intensive applications (think professional movie editing). The advantage SCSI still has over SATA is that SCSI can handle multiple I/O better. An analogy might be a highway – SCSI and SATA have similar speed limits, but SCSI has more lanes. But unless you depend on opening and saving multiple files at the same time, SCSI is just not a good value.

Typical 7.2K SATA drives are fine for most of us. If you’re hell bent on getting faster drives to shave a few seconds off of load and save times, go for the Western Digital Raptors – 10K SATA drives. You’ll pay twice as much than a typical hard drive, but maybe it’s worth it to you.

My recommendation would be to get two had drives in a RAID 1 (mirror) setup. Create a ~40GB partition for Windows and apps, and the rest as a partition for data. Buy two external backup hard drives and rotate them out on a weekly basis.

I can’t comment on which FX1500 card to get, maybe someone else here can. But is there any reason you feel you need an FX1500 instead of an FX5xx or an ATI V3xxx?

Eidt: Also, that sounds like an insane amount of PSU wattage for those specs - you'd be better off getting a smaller but high quality and more efficient PSU.

Wes Macaulay
2007-04-07, 02:36 PM
Trombe, you're wasting money on that video card. We have reports that the PNY FX540 is working fine, and that will cost you much less money. Also see if you can get ATI FireGL V3100 or V3400 -- that would also suffice.

Recent tests of more costly video cards on this forum have demonstrated that expensive video cards are a waste of time with Revit.

trombe
2007-04-08, 10:00 AM
Hi irusun and Wes,

thanks guys, awesome help.

[QUOTE=irusun]Are you building this yourself or is this from a local seller?

I am getting a wholesaler to make it up for me as they did for my current reliable pc, then sold via a local reseller. Once deal is struck, I will filter down to nitty gritty.



There is no 2.8GHz Core 2 that I'm aware of. Can you check your specs?
1074MHz doesn’t really make sense either, though it may be listed for over-clockers.

I found that value either on Pricespy.co.nz or another current listing and noted it down, although will check again. These things seem to move so fast development wise !!.


The RAM speed / bus speed / CPU speed can get a bit confusing. It all works on multipliers. In order to get the most efficient RAM timings, you want the multiplier of the RAM speed to be an even integer of the bus speed. So, if you have a 1066 MHz bus, you’d want 533MHz RAM.

OK have asked that question today and figure this will be resolved but good to know a little bit about the background reasoning.


You’ve listed SCSI hard drives... this is *way* overkill for a personal workstation. Really, the only place for SCSI drives is on servers and extremely disk intensive applications

Well (this will freak you all out) my current 6.5 year old computer with a 733 mhz Intel Coppermine PC 133 SDRAM and 512 Mb 133 RAM.......and a cheap GeForce 4 , 64 Mb card had a 7200 Barracuda drive originally, when 5400 spinners were still acceptable....but some future proofing is needed as I am a sole practitioner and don't have the latitude to buy a new pc every 2-3 years or on hand IT support, but when I do (this will be the 4th computer) I need to provide spare capacity and a bit of grunt to take up the slack.

10,000 rpm seek times as you say suited to a heavier workload / server base.
However, Revit continues to be more hungry every year since 4.5 when I started, and I am happy to have a bit of un-needed power in reserve for possible Vista business later or other developments hence the notion for a 10k SCSI.
That said, I am going to take your advice because it does make good economic sense and I doubt I will be worried about the extra 50Mb/sec throughput for quite a while. Costs will come down and they might be more attractive in 1 yr to 18 mths.



My recommendation would be to get two had drives in a RAID 1 (mirror) setup. Create a ~40GB partition for Windows and apps, and the rest as a partition for data. Buy two external backup hard drives and rotate them out on a weekly basis.

I'm a bit lazy on the rotation policy (IT people shrug). I will opt for the easiest least risky procedure probably. I have started to read the .txt file posted on AUGI by you ? (from memory) on RAID configurations, however, I noticed that Win2K Pro /SP4 sometimes urges me to give it more swap file memory / it wants more physical space. I thought it appropriate to configure (Win XP Pro) in the new machine so that the swap file was bigger and somewhere else other than the C: partition as well as having data on another drive.
If either drive fell over I'd lose one but not both until activating the external backup system.

You are suggesting doing basically a similar thing but the swap file would then stay with the C: partition..? is it not so good to have a dedicated space for the swap file ?


I can’t comment on which FX1500 card to get, maybe someone else here can. But is there any reason you feel you need an FX1500 instead of an FX5xx or an ATI V3xxx?


Yup OK you and Wes. I have asked for costs on ATI Fire GL 7100 and 7200 cards. I am dead set on providing healthy capacity for this because Revit has overtaken 2 video cards and really should be 4 in the time I have been running it. This experience tells me to punt for a higher spec and much bigger card to avoid the rubbish times (in the future) I have to currently put up with for even simple stuff. I am going for the 256 Mb card minimum.

Last one is the power supply.
I am going to bow to collective wisdom and downgrade to about 400w but take the wholesaler advice on board also.
Thanks a lot for your comments all.
regards
trombe

Wes Macaulay
2007-04-08, 02:15 PM
Again -- don't bother with the V7100 -- even the V5100 is a waste of money with Revit, and there are few AEC apps that can make use of that horsepower in a video card. (Inventor might, but SketchUp, VIZ, AutoCAD and Revit won't.)

You can save several hundred dollars by spec'ing the V3100, or if you want dual DVI, try the V3300 or V3400.

Cheers

iru69
2007-04-08, 03:16 PM
Hi irusun and Wes,

thanks guys, awesome help...
First, I'm glad we could be of some help.

It seems like you've developed some ideas about how you like to approach the computer equipment stuff, so I want to emphasize that what I've suggested are only that, suggestions based on my own experience. So you need to do what you think will work for you. A bigger picture kind of thing you might want to think about is that in my experience, it makes a lot more sense to buy a $2,000 computer every two to three years than it does to buy a $4,000 computer every four to six years.

Regarding the hard drives, SCSI likely won't be getting cheaper because it's server class hardware and a niche market. Sometime down the road, some form of SATA will likely replace it altogether. Those throughputs you see (300MB/sec, etc.) are completely theoretical... they are not achieved in the real world. If you're approaching even half that on burst read speeds, that's pretty amazing, and actual sustained transfer rates of 75MB/sec are really good.

Regarding the RAID, I only suggested that because it doesn't sound like you have a server, and I know what a drag it is for a hard drive to suddenly die. Even if you have backups, you can still lose a day of work, and it can easily take a couple of days to get a new hard drive and reinstall everything. The RAID 1 will protect against that - if one drive dies, you'll be able to keep working until you get a replacement drive.

For absolute best performance, the swap should be on a separate drive, probably on it's own controller - but I'd never recommend that from a value standpoint. A compromise is to put it on it's own partition. I don't bother with either because the real world value is outweighed by the increased complexity in my experience. The rule of thumb for swap used to be 2x the RAM, e.g. 4GB of RAM, 8GB of swap. So I think you have a point there - either give it it's own partition, or increase that 40GB I suggested to 50GB.

Again, my original suggestions were based on getting the system costs down so that replacing the computer every 2-3 years is feasible. If that's not your strategy, then maybe some of my suggestions aren't as appropriate.

Good luck!

sleimgruber06
2007-04-11, 09:26 PM
To test OpenGL: in Revit go to Settings > Options > Graphics and enable OpenGL. In a plan view zoom slowly in and out using your mousewheel (or hold Ctrl and your middle mouse button down and move the mouse up and down) and see if any lines disappear in the view. If they do, you have a problem. Test 3D views with shadows on and off (with OpenGL on and off) to see the difference.
Now when you say 'disappear' you mean objects or lines that go away while you're moving in and out, or zooming in and out... correct? So lines that disappear while everything is moving.... ??

Wes Macaulay
2007-04-11, 09:47 PM
That's indeed what I mean: lines (and usually a lot of them, but not all at once) appear and disappear as you zoom in and out. It's easy to see when you use Ctrl and hold the mid mouse button down and move the mouse up and down.

sleimgruber06
2007-04-11, 10:21 PM
That's indeed what I mean: lines (and usually a lot of them, but not all at once) appear and disappear as you zoom in and out. It's easy to see when you use Ctrl and hold the mid mouse button down and move the mouse up and down.
So this would be bad... I am having not lines but objects disappearing in and out while trying this... well looks like its time to upgrade video cards! ;)

Wes Macaulay
2007-04-11, 10:42 PM
When I said lines I meant all objects! :lol: We are literal around here, aren't we? Of course, it is mostly boys on this forum :beer: But we'll take all the women we can get -- gotta have fair representation ya know

sleimgruber06
2007-04-11, 10:51 PM
When I said lines I meant all objects! :lol: We are literal around here, aren't we? Of course, it is mostly boys on this forum :beer: But we'll take all the women we can get -- gotta have fair representation ya know
Here HERE! :beer:

AffordableDesignsCo
2007-05-02, 04:47 PM
Good Luck on a custom box. Hope this gets to you in time.

My last attempt at building a system was interesting and expensive. That cptr is now just a backup and only lasted about 1-2 years. After my more recent purchase of a Dell workstation 670 from the outlet I evaluated the cost, speed and components. The Dell ( and probably others like HP workstations) are ready to rock. Just check the benchmark on my "out of the box" purchase. 287 seconds for the run. Best at the time ... and probably still best. I see Dell has a 690 workstation now that features room for growth in that it includes dual PCI-E slots for graphics cards and RAM up to 64gb.

I buy into the FX540 and Fire video cards for low end cost and use... But I am runnning dual monitors with revit at 21" vertical and 30" horizontal with dual screen activated. They run dual DVI at 1600x1200 and 2560x1600. Try to obtain that from the lower end cards. Choose your system and cards based on what the guru's are saying and consider where you are going. If you are building for the future dual pci-e is important when using dual monitors. Revit may not currently benefit.. but may some day. Also, rendering is important to me so the dual and quad core processors are awesome. I chose dual xeon dual cores in the dell box. A great match for revit and for rendering in revit. My files for residential are from 28mb to 60mb+. my template is 8mb alone. Opening a project takes a minute. Rebooting the cptr takes less than a minute. And the dual view monitors work great... allowing me to keep open 4 elevations in wireframe and work on three views and a 3d view on the 30" monitor. Note: I purchased the Quadro FX4400 for less than $500 on ebay. There are even better deals if you can wait to upgrade your cards... the 4400 really only helped the use of dual monitors and the quality of 1600x1200 for them. When I benchmarked with the 270 model card that came with the cptr I reached #1 best benchmark.. after replacing it with the 4400 there was no change in benchmark speed.

Most notably, and as referenced all over the Forum.... Dual Core and Quad core processors rule. Some notes are out there about the extreme core duo compared to dual and quad cores. I found the 2x dual cores effective.... so much so that I would move toward 2x quad cores if budget allowed. I would not go the route of boxes that were lighter than a workstation.... workstation pricing... is very good.

on hard drives, I run a 15k SCSI for main processing files and OS with a 10k SATA for storage of files not often used. I believe there is a benefit here but have no facts other than comparing to my old custom box which did not measure up and did result in the 20 minute file openings and freezing occurrences.

With the Dell Workstation .... RAM additions will be available throughout your years of growth in Revit. I currently run 4gb on WinXP Pro. when I monitor the processes... Revit runs as noted by others.... about 20x the file size... so for me 2gb for Revit and 1gb for windows and other open programs is correct. I see room for growth as my file sizes increase by adding ram to 16gb as necessary. The Dell 690 has room to 64gb. Of course... all the RAM is relative to your OS. a 64 bit OS will be necessary and is reasonable for projected future needs... but currently a bit of an issue today.

Costs are important, I could not have achieved the combination of compliments in the Dell Workstation by building them into a custom box without spending $5-6k. Dell outlet offers workstations starting around $600. My system came ready with 2x dual core xeon 2.8 processors and 2gb ram and large high end scsi and sata drives at a reasonble price... about $3100. If I look at my purchase in hindsight... I bought a computer that will live with Revit for about the next 7 years. My custom box lasted 2 years at best. The old saying is ..." you can pay now or you'll pay later."

Lastly, the Dell box has much directed cooling that really helps. it comes with a 750 watt power supply and the box runs quietly and maintains proper cooling. That is much different than my custom built box which was noisy and ran hot.

robmorfin
2007-08-18, 01:55 AM
Manufacturer - Dell Precision
CPU - Intel Xeon dual core 5160 3.0GHz
RAM - 4GB
Operating System - Windows Vista Ultimate 64 bit
Video Card - NVIDIA Quadro FX 550

Previously had a Pentium 4 3.0 GHz, 1GB RAM, windows 2000.

I had a file with the site plan, walkways file linked & 10 buildings being linked, all different angles, each building file had from 8 to 20 units linked (12 different unit files) from 2 to 4 stories; This file took with the P4 - 28 minutes to open, with the Xeon: 2 minutes to open the same file.

To open Revit:

P4-more than 5 minutes
Xeon-15 seconds

I don't think the Graphics Card had anything to do, cause I got the cheap one, I think the CPU and the RAM are the ones helping Revit, I wanted to have 16GB of RAM but that was an additional $16,000.00, so I'll have to wait.

An important note (and I may be wrong), I know everybody hates 64bits (XP & Vista), I bought it 4 months ago and suddenly my USB flash drive and plotter were not compatible, but with 32 bits supposedly you can have only up to 4GB of RAM (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/64-bit), and with the 64 bits I got I believe you can go up to 32 GB of RAM, which I will do later on, just FYI.

Well, my Revit is finally flying and I can finally work with shadows and rotate views with shadows (if there's too much info it does start to slow down, maybe once I get the 32GB RAM or when 3Dsmax and Maya programmers pass the real time shadowing secret to the Revit programmers it will be fine).

grant.doherty
2007-08-31, 05:04 PM
Where can I find the option in the Rendering tab to switch the rendering from single core to multi core? Also im working with Revit 9.1.

clog boy
2007-09-13, 02:20 PM
It's in Settings - Options - tab Rendering and the little checkbox that says Limit rendering to single processor.
idk if Revit in general supports multi cores but I don't think so.

KGC
2007-09-18, 07:09 PM
I think that i have finaly come up with a good system to build.

Intel Dore 2 Duo 3.0ghz E6850
ASUS Board P5K
4gb PC6400 DDR2 800mhz
Fire GL V3400 128mb 256bit
Power Supply (looking for a good name)

Thanks

mtormey
2007-10-18, 09:57 PM
I am looking to spec an ideal system for our office for Revit 9.1 and Viz 2008. I am the office IT person, but my knowledge is limited in that I understand most of this thread....but some of it is going over my head. My understanding is that Revit does not utilize dual processors but I know that Viz does. I have tried to parse out the latest info in this thread but I am getting confused. I noticed recommendation for having 2 hard drives, 1 for the OS and 1 for the revit files. Is this recommended for a network environment or just stand-alone?

Could someone share with me the latest, ideal spec for a networked workstation for Revit and Viz? And maybe share the specs for a Revit-only networked workstation?

Any help would be appreciated....

Thanks.

jd_grob
2007-10-19, 12:41 PM
Multi-core processors are a must, with highest possible L2 cache memory. Do you have the budget for a quad-core proc. ? I suggest at least 4 gb RAM, more if your system is able to take it (with Windows Vista or a 64bit platform)
The Dell workstations look fine to me if you don't want to take chances with hardware compatibility. I just bought a Vostro desktop for peanuts (tanks to Dell advertisement coupons !). It's a core 2 dual core running at 2ghz which I boosted to 4 Gig Ram with a PCI-E 128mb graphic card (if you have the budget, go for a 256md PCI-E graphic card) and dual 250gig HD (used for mirroring). It should be working fine as I am runnig Revit on a similar (non-Dell) computer with only 2Gb of RAM, that I custom ordered myself. Again of your budget permit, go for the workstation class, like Precision, it's worth it.

mtormey
2007-10-19, 02:06 PM
JD,

Thanks for the response. I read earlier in this thread that Revit and 64-bit weren't cooperating yet. Is this still the case? I'm also leaning toward the Precisions (we have a Dell acct, so I don't have much of a choice) over desktops because a friend of mine said that Revit fried 2 HDs on an OptiPlex.

At any rate, thanks for the response. It helped alot.

robmorfin
2007-10-19, 03:38 PM
Revit and Vista 64bit work perfect, haven't have a single problem with it, I wouldn't go back to XP at all, Vista is as stable as Windows 2000 used to be; With Xp even though you can restore, it starts turning slow after a while and you have to end up formatting and installing the OS again.

spaltd
2007-11-13, 10:31 PM
Hey guys,
we're looking at speccing out some new builds to run with Revit 2008 and I just hopped on to research some of my own observations and see what everyone else is doing. great info here, but I still have some questions.

So dual processors -- someone mentioned earlier that Revit can't take advantage of them. is this still the case as of Revit Structure 2008?

I find that changes to our models could be faster, but the processor on one of our Core2 Duo 2.4GHz machines never gets past 60% utilization. Machines have 2GB RAM, but never get to max usage even though the system pages plus or minus 120MB. Am I missing something?

Sometimes on large operations, we get a lot of hard drive activity, but NOT paging; seem to be some large files generated in the %userprofile%/local settings/temp folder -- some sort of Revit temp files in the way of 250MB or so on a 10-20MB model.

I have noticed that an nVidia Quadro NVS 285 w/128MB by HP beats a GeForce 6200 w/256MB by PNY -- most evident in the lack of choppiness in pans and zooms; very clean and smooth.

I'm still not clear on what's what and why Revit doesn't seem to be taking advantage of the hardware resources available. All this and they're recommending now Core2 Duo 2.4GHz processors and 4GB RAM... I'm just not seeing it...

Am I missing something?
This 3GB switch -- does it actually work, and has anyone had any trouble with the video card driver not loading properly after enabling it?

iru69
2007-11-13, 11:22 PM
Hey guys,
we're looking at speccing out some new builds to run with Revit 2008 and I just hopped on to research some of my own observations and see what everyone else is doing. great info here, but I still have some questions.

So dual processors -- someone mentioned earlier that Revit can't take advantage of them. is this still the case as of Revit Structure 2008?
Yes, it's still the case. This has been discussed many times before.


I find that changes to our models could be faster, but the processor on one of our Core2 Duo 2.4GHz machines never gets past 60% utilization. Machines have 2GB RAM, but never get to max usage even though the system pages plus or minus 120MB. Am I missing something?
Generally, you'll only reach 100% if all cores are at 100%. In your case, 60% likely indicates that one core is at 100% and the other core is at 10%. The system pages are always in use, even when you have plenty of available RAM - that's normal.


Sometimes on large operations, we get a lot of hard drive activity, but NOT paging; seem to be some large files generated in the %userprofile%/local settings/temp folder -- some sort of Revit temp files in the way of 250MB or so on a 10-20MB model.
I don't know the technicalities, but it's nothing to worry about.


I have noticed that an nVidia Quadro NVS 285 w/128MB by HP beats a GeForce 6200 w/256MB by PNY -- most evident in the lack of choppiness in pans and zooms; very clean and smooth.
No surprise there. GF6200 is a bottom of the line video card from a couple of years ago. Even though NVS isn't considered a "3D" card, it's still more than capable. However, if at all possible, I'd recommend the ATI FireGL V3xxx line of cards for Revit use.


I'm still not clear on what's what and why Revit doesn't seem to be taking advantage of the hardware resources available. All this and they're recommending now Core2 Duo 2.4GHz processors and 4GB RAM... I'm just not seeing it...
Am I missing something?
Personally, I think 2.4GHz is absolutely as low as you should go for a new Revit workstation. I'd push for 2.66 - 3+GHz (I have a 2.93GHz Core 2, and it's still not fast enough for me). It's being penny-wise, pound-foolish to go with anything lower in my opinion.



This 3GB switch -- does it actually work, and has anyone had any trouble with the video card driver not loading properly after enabling it?
Yes to both questions (though the latter is generally resolved with XP SP2).

Wes just sticky-posted updated hardware recommendations - did you read those?
http://forums.augi.com/showthread.php?t=70735
http://forums.augi.com/showthread.php?t=70738

spaltd
2007-11-14, 12:09 AM
thanks for the quick response!


Generally, you'll only reach 100% if all cores are at 100%. In your case, 60% likely indicates that one core is at 100% and the other core is at 10%. The system pages are always in use, even when you have plenty of available RAM - that's normal.
has anyone used something like the Performance Monitor to actually see what's going on? I'm assuming then from what you are describing that Revit running on the Core2 Duo architecture just runs the dual cores as necessary and not in parallel? like a sort of fill up and spill over type thing, for lack of a better analogy?


I don't know the technicalities, but it's nothing to worry about.
my point in mentioning my observation on the drive activity was in questioning how much of Revit's operations are dependent on disk access times, i.e., does SCSI hardware improve performance? but I think I read earlier in this thread that it does not. is that still the case on model operations, like moving a column in a multi-level structure? operations like this will be faster with fatter processing power?


No surprise there. GF6200 is a bottom of the line video card from a couple of years ago. Even though NVS isn't considered a "3D" card, it's still more than capable. However, if at all possible, I'd recommend the ATI FireGL V3xxx line of cards for Revit use.
my point was in addressing some earlier comments about GeForce versus Quadro peformance and that even a Quadro card with half the memory still outperformed a GeForce card with twice the memory. we still use CAD primarily, and up until recently, the GeForce cards seemed to be doing a decent job, however, even the lower end Quadro cards are a definite improvement at not much cost increase. well worth the money.

thanks for the note on ATI -- had trouble with them in the past and abandoned ATI for nVidia, but I'll check into them again.
I'm looking at speccing out a notebook as well, and I think I'm a bit limited on the video options with it.


Personally, I think 2.4GHz is absolutely as low as you should go for a new Revit workstation. I'd push for 2.66 - 3+GHz (I have a 2.93GHz Core 2, and it's still not fast enough for me). It's being penny-wise, pound-foolish to go with anything lower in my opinion.
okay, this is good information.
where are you finding your bottlenecks? as in what sorts of operations?
what size are you models typically?


Wes just sticky-posted updated hardware recommendations - did you read those?
http://forums.augi.com/showthread.php?t=70735
http://forums.augi.com/showthread.php?t=70738
yes I did, but I suppose it was overshadowed by the posts following.


so the CPU's performance can't be directly interpreted from the task manager performance tab then? or are you saying that with a faster Core2 Duo, I'll see better performance even though I'm not topping out?

just seems like our systems could/should be faster, and I'm trying to pinpoint which resource to beef up. again, RAM utilization isn't even over a gig. I will enable the 3GB switch and go from there.

is 4GB of RAM still recommended even though XP Pro can only detect 3.25GB?

the notebook thread will be especially helpful.
thanks very much for all the notes and quick response.

iru69
2007-11-14, 01:19 AM
thanks for the quick response!
Glad to help.


has anyone used something like the Performance Monitor to actually see what's going on? I'm assuming then from what you are describing that Revit running on the Core2 Duo architecture just runs the dual cores as necessary and not in parallel? like a sort of fill up and spill over type thing, for lack of a better analogy?
It's an interesting question (I don't know the answer), but I'd be surprised if you're going to get a qualified answer here. You're asking about some pretty complicated issues involving CPU and software architecture. Since Revit's not multi-threaded, it's really irrelevant to Revit.


my point in mentioning my observation on the drive activity was in questioning how much of Revit's operations are dependent on disk access times, i.e., does SCSI hardware improve performance? but I think I read earlier in this thread that it does not. is that still the case on model operations, like moving a column in a multi-level structure?
Revit is not heavily dependent on disk access except when loading and saving files. You're not going to get much bang for the buck by using SCSI.


my point was in addressing some earlier comments about GeForce versus Quadro peformance and that even a Quadro card with half the memory still outperformed a GeForce card with twice the memory. we still use CAD primarily, and up until recently, the GeForce cards seemed to be doing a decent job. even the lower end Quadro cards are a definite improvement at not much cost increase.
thanks for the note on ATI -- had trouble with them in the past and abandoned ATI for nVidia, but I'll check into them again.
I'm looking at speccing out a notebook as well, and I think I'm a bit limited on the video options with it.
I like nVidia cards better than ATI, but the ATI FireGL V3xxx cards are the only ones (practically) guaranteed to work flawlessly with Revit (this is an unbelievably pathetic state of affairs, but that's the way it is). GeForce cards can perform very well with Revit. Just don't draw conclusions by comparing the two cards you mentioned.



okay, this is good information.
where are you finding your bottlenecks? as in what sorts of operations?
what size are you models typically?
Re-loading updated complex families like windows and doors. Sites with tons of complex-geometry trees. Moving a building model. Generating walkthroughs. Rendering. I don't mean to imply that it's slow with every operation, but there are plenty of circumstances that come up where it's just never fast enough.



yes I did, but I suppose it was overshadowed by the posts following.


so the CPU's performance can't be directly interpreted from the task manager performance tab then? or are you saying that with a faster Core2 Duo, I'll see better performance even though I'm not topping out?
Close all the applications running on your computer except for Revit. With the task manager open, open up a sizable model and spin around it as fast as you can. You should see the CPU pegged at 50% (i.e. it's using one core to maximum capacity). No matter how simple the model is, you can peg it at 50% - it's just a matter of how much "drop-out" you see - that is, how fast it's able to regenerate the geometry as you spin around. The larger the model, the more drop-out you'll see. Keep the Task Manager open and do other operations on your model. Watch the CPU Usage - any time it pegs 50%, it would complete the operation faster if you had a faster CPU.


just seems like our systems could/should be faster, and I'm trying to pinpoint which resource to beef up. again, RAM utilization isn't even over a gig. I will enable the 3GB switch and go from there.

is 4GB of RAM still recommended even though XP Pro can only detect 3.25GB?

Beef up the CPU and RAM. You should have 2GB of RAM minimum. Here's a good way to check whether you need more RAM. After a typical day of using your computer, open the WTM, and check out where your Peak Commit Charge hits (this is the peak amount of memory you used during the day). If it approached your Total Physical Memory, you need more RAM. Other than that, get the fastest CPU you can afford.

Yes, it's worth getting 4GB (even though XP doesn't use all of it very efficiently). First off, don't bother with the /3GB switch unless you have 4GB and your peaking. Second, most computers like ram sticks in pairs. Third, the difference in cost between going to 3GB of RAM and going to 4GB of RAM on most computers is extremely minimal.

tmomeyer
2007-11-14, 12:55 PM
I'm looking at speccing out a notebook as well, and I think I'm a bit limited on the video options with it.

Check out http://www.xicomputer.com/products/PowerGoIntelXT.asp there are options for vNidia cards, no ATI. Like you, I've stayed away from ATI cards due to bad experiences in the past. Noticed in the Revit discussion group, there are more leanings towards ATI. I recently bought an Xi laptop for full-time use office and home-office. My other choice would have been a Dell M90, but the M90 series looked like it was nearing end of life cycle and the options on it were not as current technology as the Xi. And, we bought a couple Xi workstations this time instead of Dell. Word of caution on the Xi's. If buying standard fan setup like we did, the boxes are noisy... there are options for more silent operation for $$. We opted for the geForce 8800 cards with 768 mb ram instead of Quadro. Check "GeForce™ 8800, AutoCAD, DX10 & O-GL" article at http://www.xicomputer.com/new/welcome.html#GeForce™%208800.

Tom

spaltd
2007-11-16, 09:10 PM
hey guys, thanks for all the info.
I understand this may be somewhat off topic, but I thought I'd report back with the build I decided on. I needed this in a notebook, so I went with a Dell M6300:

XP Pro
Core2 Duo 2.6GHz
4GB RAM
120GB SATA-II hard drive
nVidia FX1600m card (only option for this machine. 256MB dedicated/512MB w/turbocache, whatever that is)

our current models aren't utilizing our RAM to capacity, so were this a desktop, given what I've learned here the past week I'd probably have gone with just 2GB of memory and maybe one of the ATI cards and one of the faster processors on a faster frontside bus, and checked that build. given the "permanence" of notebook hardware, however, I figured it best to just deck it out to be a bit forward looking while still trying to somewhat reasonably balance cost for our intended use of this machine the next two years at least, at which point we could reallocate to engineering if necessary.

I would have liked to have gone with the 2.8GHz Core2 Duo, but at nearly an extra $700 for a mere 11% increase in performance (according to Dell) over the 2.6GHz... have to draw the line somewhere.

rlwade.68242
2009-05-12, 07:10 PM
We are looking at building a Revit Rendering machine here in the office. Does anyone know if that are any core limitations with revit? We are looking at a Xeon 8 core machine possibly a dual CPU for a total of 16 cores.

Thanks

muttlieb
2009-05-12, 07:14 PM
Revit will use up to 4 cores for rendering.

need4mospd
2009-05-12, 10:34 PM
We are looking at building a Revit Rendering machine here in the office. Does anyone know if that are any core limitations with revit? We are looking at a Xeon 8 core machine possibly a dual CPU for a total of 16 cores.

Thanks
Xeon's have been doing TERRIBLE in Revit in my experience. Slow, slow, slow... My $999 i7 smoked our $2k Quad core Xeon in rendering, as in 50-100% faster in some cases. Xeons aren't more expensive because they're so powerful, it's because they're a bit more stable. I've never had, nor heard of, a processor related failure in Revit, have you? Stick with the regular Core 2 stuff and you'll be more than happy, plus you'll have a heavier wallet.

An overclocked Q6600 or i7 920 are AWESOME values for rendering in Revit. i7s are the king right now. Overclocked, nothing even comes close. Skip the flashy video card if it's just a render box. Spend $$ on the power supply, do NOT skimp on that.

The fastest rendering speed you'll see is if you export to 3D Studio and run a render farm. It's takes a little time to remap materials, but rendering speeds are WAY faster in 3D Studio compared to Revit, on top of being able to farm out the rendering to multiple computers. A 4-5 hour rendering in Revit took less than 30 minutes in 3D Studio. If you're getting serious about rendering, I wouldn't waste too much time in Revit. It's ok for quick renderings, but if you're serious enough to farm out the renderings to another computer, then you should really try another rendering program as well.

Anyways, just something to think about.

truevis
2009-05-15, 01:00 PM
....Then we will complain about wanting to have the actual 3D metal roofing profile built into the roof family. ...You can actually do that rather easily with Sloped Glazing for your metal roof.

clog boy
2009-05-15, 01:26 PM
Don't forget to spend money on a reliable 64 bit operating system. I recommend waiting for Windows 7 and skipping Vista altogether.
ANY processor MUST support multithreading, it means each Revit session (even combined with XP 32 bit) uses the full capacity of one core and that load gets distributed. Two sessions can use the capacity of two cores, et cetera. Ofcourse having two sessions open requires extra RAM. Even a simple 40MB project can take up to or over 1000MB of RAM.

Mental Ray can utilise up to four cores, again: multithreading is a must. A 3.2ghz dualcore P4 with no multithreading can make a fairly simple rendering at high quality in little over an hour. A 2.6ghz Core2Quad with multithreading support and less horsepower can make that same rendering in little over ten minutes.

Extrapolating that to a i7 processor with 8GB of 2ghz RAM and Windows 7 x64, there's no telling what will happen. I suspect it should be able to make forementioned rendering in about 2 to 4 minutes. Model regeneration would probably go through the roof. The book is still being written on graphic cards, but the best value-for-money DirectX performance cards at the moment are nVidia Geforce GTX cards.


If you ask me then I just sumarised the best allround PC for Revit use, or at least the mainstream workhorse of the future.

SCShell
2009-05-17, 01:57 PM
Don't forget to spend money on a reliable 64 bit operating system. I recommend waiting for Windows 7 and skipping Vista altogether.


Agreed. I installed XP64 and it works great!
STeve

clog boy
2009-05-18, 01:35 PM
Agreed. I installed XP64 and it works great!
STeve

Just wait until it runs Windows 7 x64... :p
Not that much of a performance boost, but it's just a proper OS for modern systems.

SCShell
2009-05-18, 02:21 PM
Just wait until it runs Windows 7 x64... :p
Not that much of a performance boost, but it's just a proper OS for modern systems.
I know. XP64 is really just Server2000. I have had a few problems with USB printer drivers as well as loosing my Norton2009 since it is only for "home use" and XP64 is really a commercial use OS and requires Symantec's commercial use/server security and anti-virus program "Endpoint', which has a 5 seat minimum order for over $250 blah blah...

My IT guy says Windows 7 rocks so far.
Looking forward to it.
But, for now, I at least have access to all 4 cores and Mental Ray is much faster. In addition, I can have two renderings being generated while still working on the project~
Steve

archjake
2009-05-18, 05:29 PM
...
My IT guy says Windows 7 rocks so far.
Looking forward to it.
But, for now, I at least have access to all 4 cores and Mental Ray is much faster. In addition, I can have two renderings being generated while still working on the project~
Steve

I'm playing with the bleeding edge of technology. I installed Windows 7 RC 64 bit on my iMac using VM Fusion 2.04 and Revit 2010 64. Revit is the only software I've tried on Windows 7 but everything seems to be working as expected. Had a few bugs with Revit getting stuck in sketch mode of roofs and in-place families. Not sure who is at fault with that one. The navigation wheel while "walking" through the model is way, way, way too fast. Never thought I'd say that but it is true. I fly past the entire model at warp speed. I may have to try it with shadows on.

Mr Spot
2009-07-17, 09:44 AM
I've recently purchased a new pc and so far it kicks revit. Huge performance increase over my previous Core 2 duo system running Vista x64.

System:
Core i7 950 (overclocked to 4GHz)
12GB DDR3 RAM 1600MHz
1GB Nvidia 285GTX
Gigabyte EX58-UD4P MB

Running Revit 2010 on Windows 7 RC1 x64

Handling 400MB files with ease!! Only thing I don't like about Windows 7 is MP12 and IE8 (they still need some work IMHO)

bowlingbrad
2010-03-15, 12:11 AM
HP z800
Dual quad Xeons
+16gb Ram
+Nvidia graphics

equals

happy Revit and 3ds users!

j.morris
2010-05-18, 04:40 PM
Had a new machine last week, brand new from a UK seller on ebay.

spec:
Intel i7 920 (not overclocked yet)
Asus p6t SE motherboard
6GB DDR3 1666mhz corsair ram (3x2GB)
500GB HD
ATI HD4350
basic case and DVD writer

Cost:
£545 delivered

I installed Windows 7 64bit. Been playing with Revit 2011 on it, very pleased with the spec and performance at the price.