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Thread: Recommended desktops for Revit

  1. #11
    AUGI Addict iru69's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommended desktops for Revit

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Hopkins
    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.
    Last edited by iru69; 2005-09-06 at 04:27 AM.

  2. #12
    AUGI Addict iru69's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommended desktops for Revit

    Quote Originally Posted by GuyR
    Can you point me to this thread?
    See Scott's post here about half way down the page.

    Quote Originally Posted by GuyR
    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.

  3. #13
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    Default Re: Recommended desktops for Revit

    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

  4. #14
    AUGI Addict iru69's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommended desktops for Revit

    Quote Originally Posted by GuyR
    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.

  5. #15
    I could stop if I wanted to funkman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommended desktops for Revit

    irusun, how about the pros and cons of RAID-5?

  6. #16
    AUGI Addict iru69's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommended desktops for Revit

    Quote Originally Posted by funkman
    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.
    [edit]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.[/edit]

    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.

    [edit]Here's a link to a very in depth article on hard drives that is extremely informative - though even more long-winded than my summary.[/edit]

    [edit]Clarified above that there isn't a single parity drive but rather the parity information is striped across the drives.[/edit]
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    Last edited by iru69; 2005-09-07 at 07:12 AM.

  7. #17
    Revit Arch. Wishlist Mgr. Wes Macaulay's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommended desktops for Revit

    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.

  8. #18
    I could stop if I wanted to funkman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommended desktops for Revit

    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.
    Last edited by funkman; 2005-09-06 at 11:25 PM.

  9. #19
    Aussie Revit Moderator Mr Spot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommended desktops for Revit

    Scott,

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Hopkins
    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.
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    Last edited by Mr Spot; 2005-09-07 at 02:52 AM.
    Chris Price
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  10. #20
    Revit Arch. Wishlist Mgr. Wes Macaulay's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommended desktops for Revit

    Chris, what brand is your card?

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