WhistlerBuilder

Speeding up performance with large designs (hardware question)

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Hi Everyone,

 

I was just wondering what people did to boost the performance speed of the software when working with larger drawings. I have recently been working on some 45-100+ unit apartment buildings with chief and I have noticed that even though I have a pretty good computer many actions start to trigger significant delays or glitchy freezes once the plans get large and complicated enough.

 

The system I am running is:

Operating System
            Windows 7 Professional 64-bit SP1
        CPU
            Intel Core i7 3770 @ 3.40GHz    43 °C
            Ivy Bridge 22nm Technology
        RAM
            32.0GB Dual-Channel DDR3 @ 668MHz (9-9-9-24)
        Motherboard
            ASUSTeK COMPUTER INC. P8Z77-V PRO/THUNDERBOLT (LGA1155)    37 °C
        Graphics
            27MP35 (1920x1080@59Hz)
            L1953T (1280x1024@60Hz)
            2048MB ATI AMD Radeon R7 200 Series (MSI)    47 °C

 

I think upgrading to windows 10 will help the overall utilization of the ram I have. But I am worried that the freezing and glitching I am experiencing is caused by not having enough graphic processing power as chief tends to calculate the 3D elements of a plan even when not in 3D viewing.

 

Some advice from any techies or people doing large drawings would be very much appreciated.

 

Cheers,

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Chief has a major problem with large models, there's no denying it. Check the system in my signature. It's pretty muscular but I still get bad slow downs when the models get large. I'm not sure where the bottle neck is, either graphics card or CPU but you'll need LOTS of muscle if you want to try and get through Chief's large models without slowdowns. I'm not talking bothersome slow downs, I'm talking crippling slowdowns that you have to wade through once a model gets so large.

 

If you want a fast computer here's a link I just posted to the Chatroom that has about as much budget muscle that can be reasonably afforded.

 

https://chieftalk.chiefarchitect.com/index.php?/topic/10545-need-a-fast-inexpensive-computer/

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Thank you for the link. The build you are suggesting has increased processor cores and Ram. You think the chugging / glitchy performance issues are due to core usage / ram usage and not video card processing power?

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I'm not sure how one could tell for sure but the newer NVidia cards aren't that expensive for a LOT of graphics power. Will that fix it? Again no way to really tell until the money is spent and the computer put through its paces.

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I really don't think that anything can help with a 45-100 unit apartment building. The only thing might be to draw each model separately and use a symbol for the whole building. I believe Chief just wasn't designed for very large commercial projects.

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I can't believe I'm actually agreeing with Perry, but I think there are projects that are really too large for Chief and you are probably there. 

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This was discussed in another thread where a unit plan was copied multiple times, resulting in several hundred walls, doors, cabinets, appliances, etc.  To avoid this problem, create the single unit plans (however many different units required) but then just show the separation walls for each unit and label the unit types where they occur.  The unit plans can even be in separate Plan Files if you want.

 

It's not really the size of the project that matters but the number of surfaces (walls generally have lots of surfaces since they are made up of layers)

 

IOW, minimize the number of interior walls, doors, etc.  This is the way we would have done it on paper before we had CAD systems.

 

BTW, this problem is most evident in the Plan View performance - not so much in 3D if you have a good graphics card with sufficient memory.  Evidently the 2D Display is  being handled by the CPU - not by the GPU.

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While there are workarounds, such as Joe's, to speed up the issues related to large numbers of faces, this defeats the whole purpose of BIM. With a stripped down model, you can't get accurate material takeoffs, dynamic door & window schedules that are accurate, etc. There is something to be said for using the right tool for the job. Chief is a great program, but it isn't designed with 100-unit apartment buildings in mind.

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While there are workarounds, such as Joe's, to speed up the issues related to large numbers of faces, this defeats the whole purpose of BIM. With a stripped down model, you can't get accurate material takeoffs, dynamic door & window schedules that are accurate, etc. There is something to be said for using the right tool for the job. Chief is a great program, but it isn't designed with 100-unit apartment buildings in mind.

Mmm hmmm. I know that's right...snap snap.

Absolutely agree. Need to use the right tool for the job. I can rip a 12" beam in half nicely with my table saw but I have to remove the guard, cut it once, flip it over, cut it again, finish cutting the last bit with a handsaw or reciprocating saw, then touch up the cuts as necessary with a planer or belt sander. It's slow, tedious, difficult, somewhat dangerous and leaves a bit to be desired. If I want to do that more than once it's probably time to set up a bandsaw mill, chainsaw mill, or some other tool BUILT FOR THE JOB. In this case...I'd be looking at Archicad.

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Mmm hmmm. I know that's right...snap snap.

Absolutely agree. Need to use the right tool for the job. I can rip a 12" beam in half nicely with my table saw but I have to remove the guard, cut it once, flip it over, cut it again, finish cutting the last bit with a handsaw or reciprocating saw, then touch up the cuts as necessary with a planer or belt sander. It's slow, tedious, difficult, somewhat dangerous and leaves a bit to be desired. If I want to do that more than once it's probably time to set up a bandsaw mill, chainsaw mill, or some other tool BUILT FOR THE JOB. In this case...I'd be looking at Archicad.

Hmmm...I had no idea Archicad could cut a 12" beam... :D

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Hmmm...I had no idea Archicad could cut a 12" beam... :D

AWW MAN!!! I had a feeling that was coming :)

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While there are workarounds, such as Joe's, to speed up the issues related to large numbers of faces, this defeats the whole purpose of BIM. With a stripped down model, you can't get accurate material takeoffs, dynamic door & window schedules that are accurate, etc. There is something to be said for using the right tool for the job. Chief is a great program, but it isn't designed with 100-unit apartment buildings in mind.

 

 

I experienced the slow down with a STORAGE BUILDING   (many 10'x10' rooms).  It was not a difficult model.  

 

I agree with Richard,  a stripped down model plays havoc with BIM.  Somehow,  CA must fix this......  instancing?  Maybe?  

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It's just my opinion but I think instancing only works with 3D (GPU handles instances) but that's only Perspectives and Isometric Views.  The Plan Views and Sections/Elevations are really 2D representations of the Model (that's why we can add Text, Dimensions, & other 2D CAD objects to those views) and I think are displayed by the CPU by redrawing them. 

 

Maybe those views could somehow be displayed via the GPU using instancing but I don't think so. 

 

I think a better solution would be for CA to implement either:

  1.  A viewport save and restore (with x/y offsets) when panning or zooming.

  2.  Offset the viewport itself when panning.

  3.  Change the scale factor of the viewport when zooming.

 

Either of those should be much faster than a redraw of the 2D representation of the model.

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I have done what Perry has suggested. I will even go as far as putting elevations and details in a separate plan file. Copy and paste in place is your friend when it comes to multifamily.

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I think a better solution would be for CA to implement either:

  1.  A viewport save and restore (with x/y offsets) when panning or zooming.

  2.  Offset the viewport itself when panning.

  3.  Change the scale factor of the viewport when zooming.

 

Either of those should be much faster than a redraw of the 2D representation of the model.

ArchiCAD has an interesting approach. They use technology called "predictive processing," maybe named just to get a patent on it. You can have a bunch of views with tabs. When you make a change in one tab, the updating to the other views goes on the background, so that when you open another tab, the change is already done and the update seems instantaneous. That said, I recreated Scott's storage building (and then some) in ArchiCAD just to see how it would behave compared to Chief. 2D panning was instantaneous, and I don't think any 3D views, including sections and elevations, took more than a second to two to rebuild. They've figured out how to deal with large models.

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Years ago (1980's) at CalComp Systems Division we had a "Picture Processor" which was essentially a 2D GPU.  This was one of the first (or maybe the first) hardware solution to the problem.  Actually, current GPU's perform the same functionality.  The problem with Chief is that the 2D view is a software representation of the 3D Model.  The 2D View graphics doesn't actually exist as a database that can be processed by the GPU - instead, it's created on the fly which can only be done by the CPU.

 

It would be interesting to see if Scott's model would be much faster if "Walls, Main Layer Only" was checked.

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Thank you for the insights everyone. In agree that it seems chief is not the software to use for such a building. This is unfortunate as I am finally getting trained up and efficient in it. The symbol suggestion was something I was considering, but the main reason I drew this up in chief was to try and make use of the material estimating feature.

 

I will see what I can do in regards to updating OS and graphics card, but I don't expect that much of an improvement.

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