WhistlerBuilder

Computer build to speed up Chief for designing larger buildings

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Hello all,

 

I have asked about hardware specs before, specifically about graphics cards and got some good answers here. I was wondering what I could do to speed up the general working speed of chief for designing larger buildings. I know from previous conversations that chief is really not designed for apartment complex style design. Unfortunately it is the software I have access to currently and have spent a long time getting trained up in. I do not want to move into another platform just yet as I am still doing single family and duplex designs fairly often, but our company has shifted focus to building mid sized apartment complexes of 50-100 units. I am running into the issue of chief taking a long time to implement changes, move lines, and snap calculations. The software seems to pause a lot before "building" the different layers with every small change. Is this a ram issue? Processor speed? number of processor cores? Graphics card?

 

My home PC seems to run faster with better quality and more ram, along with a better quality processor. My office PC has a better graphics card though, so I am thinking this a processor issue?

 

I read a posting about a multi core system build on the forum a while ago. The build used two Xeon 8 core processors on a single board. I was thinking a build like this might be the answer?

 

Suggestions and comments welcome. Thank you all for your help in advance.

 

Cheers,

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I don't think dual Zeon's will help you, Larry Hawes has dual Z's and he has some speed problems,but what do I know. You could try turning off things as you work on the plan. They say X9 will speed things up a bit. The new  nvidia1080 video card is the best at the moment. I would also go for the latest CPU  you can afford. I have a pretty good system and a very large plan will slow it down a bit. It's like buying a bag of grocery's, what's in it is what counts. The cost is all about what's in it. What's in the plan says it all for some speedy work.

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It's so hard to say how much computer muscle you need until you don't have enough. Dual Xeons is about as much CPU horsepower as you can get in a desktop computer but it depends greatly on which Xeons you install. As Perry mentioned my system has dual Xeons but they are on the low end of Xeon power and are quite power efficient which is one reason for choosing them. I installed them on a motherboard that allowed for over clocking which wakes them up pretty good and they still perform, as a pair, as fast as, to just a little slower than the fastest i7's available today. They are about 4 years old and it's a huge system with dual everything and an older 780 video card. I hesitate to upgrade the video card because I am running 3 monitors and 2 of them would have to replaced to run the HDMI/Display Port/DVI-D connections on modern video cards.

 

Given those specs in my signature I experience quite a few slow downs just like you are describing when my single home designs get large. I don't think it's a video card problem as my 3D views are pretty quick so any speed improvements must be CPU based.

 

Is there a computer power cure for Chief when you are designing 50 - 100 unit apartments? Can you throw enough CPU/GPU power at Chief to get it to perform with models that large? Unfortunately Chief gets slow as the models get large and complex and the only way to find out is invest in a fast, powerful, dual Xeon system and see what happens. Best case it works and you can complete those large models. Worst case you will be out $3000 - $5000 and have a screaming system for your every day single family homes and will have to begin learning otherCAD to get those 50 - 100 unit designs complete.

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For large multiple unit projects, this is what I've found to speed up performance without investing in new hardware:

1. Only insert 3D Symbols (furniture, fixtures, equipment, cabinets, etc.) in the units that you need to render or raytrace. Use 2D CAD Blocks and linework for all the other units.

2. Set your default interior Materials to plain colors - no texture or bump mapping. Apply Materials that use texture maps only to those units or areas you need to render or raytrace.

3. Create the model with as few Rooms as possible. Use No Room Definition walls wherever possible - lots of Rooms will seriously degrade performance.

4. Create the site and terrain in a separate Plan file. Export/import the building as a symbol (after stripping it of all non-essential info, e.g. interior walls, furniture, etc.).

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9 minutes ago, rlackore said:

For large multiple unit projects, this is what I've found to speed up performance without investing in new hardware:

1. Only insert 3D Symbols (furniture, fixtures, equipment, cabinets, etc.) in the units that you need to render or raytrace. Use 2D CAD Blocks and linework for all the other units.

2. Set your default interior Materials to plain colors - no texture or bump mapping. Apply Materials that use texture maps only to those units or areas you need to render or raytrace.

3. Create the model with as few Rooms as possible. Use No Room Definition walls wherever possible - lots of Rooms will seriously degrade performance.

4. Create the site and terrain in a separate Plan file. Export/import the building as a symbol (after stripping it of all non-essential info, e.g. interior walls, furniture, etc.).

Good advice...

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For large models in Chief the approach being taken by Robert is likely the most effective way to deal with speed related issues. I doubt that a hardware approach alone would overcome the performance issue to make things satisfactory. For example, if you have a 10 second lag and you double your system speed then the lag will now be 5 seconds, which will still be very frustrating. Also, if your system is fairly recent then it would be very challenging and expensive to double it's speed. Not saying this won't help but I would set my expectations accordingly to avoid disappointment.

 

Graham

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Take a look at this topic in computer speed for comparisons.  There are other benchmarks before and after my post below

I have never found my computer slow in large complex 6000 sf plus detailed with many 3d items.

If you want to get an idea what speed a new computer would be the run a complete backup of your drawing and contact me. We can even d an online meeting for you to see the speed.

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23 minutes ago, KenL-sdd said:

Take a look at this topic in computer speed for comparisons.  There are other benchmarks before and after my post below

I have never found my computer slow in large complex 6000 sf plus detailed with many 3d items.

If you want to get an idea what speed a new computer would be the run a complete backup of your drawing and contact me. We can even d an online meeting for you to see the speed.

Would love to see those passmark results. Seems to be missing a link?

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3 minutes ago, HumbleChief said:

Would love to see those passmark results. Seems to be missing a link?

They show up on the link when I click on them.

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1 minute ago, HumbleChief said:

Found the link thanks. Did you build yourself?

I did build it. Not overly hard if you are not scared of computers. Many links on the web to help answer build questions. I do like the ASUS ROG motherboard it is a name I personally trust.

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1 minute ago, KenL-sdd said:

I did build it. Not overly hard if you are not scared of computers. Many links on the web to help answer build questions. I do like the ASUS ROG motherboard it is a name I personally trust.

Thanks Ken, have built many myself but am looking for a genuine performance gain before I drop another $2500++ on a computer. Your system looks promising.

 

Curious if you are up to speed on the latest and greatest in new CPU's? Is your 5960x still the top dog, without completely breaking the bank? Or are there newer chips that outperform it? I read recently that the newer chips were not that impressive for the cost. Thanks in advance.

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1 minute ago, HumbleChief said:

Thanks Ken, have built many myself but am looking for a genuine performance gain before I drop another $2500++ on a computer. Your system looks promising.

 

Curious if you are up to speed on the latest and greatest in new CPU's? Is your 5960x still the top dog, without completely breaking the bank? Or are there newer chips that outperform it? I read recently that the newer chips were not that impressive for the cost. Thanks in advance.

I would not go the extra cost of the new cpu. No real advantage / cost ratio. I had looked at swapping mine out and selling my cpu but after the investigation decide to stay where I am.

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I wonder if we're under-valuing disk performance. My Passmark ratings (v9.0) are generally very good:

 

bench.PNG

 

But my disk bench can't come close to touching Ken's. Unlike Ken, I DO experience significant slow-down with very large models, especially when running with more than one Chief window open on multiple displays. I also operate on in a Domain with all our working files on a LAN, which may degrade performance.

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3 minutes ago, KenL-sdd said:

My 5960x overclocked is $1015.00 compared to the 6950x at $1649.00. My cpu mark is 20180 compared to 19,995 for the more expensive chip.

Yes, no doubt your choice was a good one and most impressive passmark score but we're talking outright performance right? Overclock the 6950x to 4.0 or 4.2 and is that performance (admittedly unknown) worth the $650? For me it would future proof Chief for a bit, but at what total cost? Dunno - yet.

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2 minutes ago, rlackore said:

I wonder if we're under-valuing disk performance. My Passmark ratings (v9.0) are generally very good:

 

bench.PNG

 

But my disk bench can't come close to touching Ken's. Unlike Ken, I DO experience significant slow-down with very large models, especially when running with more than one Chief window open on multiple displays. I also operate on in a Domain with all our working files on a LAN, which may degrade performance.

The PCI-e ssd is one of the major items to speed up the computer. Even moving from a ssd drive to the PCI-e made a huge difference in speed. Do not under estimate how a hard drive effects the system speed. I do work with all of my files local to improve speed.

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Stock 3.0 5960x runs at 15,970. Overclocked runs at 20,810 - about 26% faster. Could one expect the 6950x to gain the same 26% and come in at around 25,000 on the passmark equaling the fastest Xeon out there? Just sayin' it could be smokin' fast.

 

I've attached a pdf of a quick NewEgg cost for such a system - not for the faint of heart - but if you need some go power it's not that terribly expensive.

 

As I mentioned, for me, I'd have to add $500 - $600 in new monitors to equal my current set up so it's pretty much a non-starter for my budget at this time but for a larger company with a larger budget that's about as fast as your going to get in a single processor desktop these days.

 

6950x computer.pdf

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The Xeons I believe have slower clock speeds and Chief does not take much advantage of all the cores.

 

Most Architectural software will bog down with larger projects having endless doors, cabinets, etc.

 

I just finished a 74 unit 3 story project in x8.  

Things got a little slow towards the end but it was worth it....

Maybe x9 will speed up somethings

 

Turn off auto rebuilt floors and setting layer sets to use during editing..

Working on the building like a jelly donut and not adding all the interior door, walls, interior stuff until the end.

Separate layers for interior, exterior, bearing walls to turn on and off.

Copy and paste in place from floor to floor.

Managing different unit types and global changes is a challenge so try to update via copy & paste.

 

The PDF of my final drawing is too large !

 

If you need to model/present the exterior and your buildings trim and or pitched roofs you will want to stick with Chief

as I am finding the other "advanced" programs are tedious to work with if you are not building glass boxes.

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17 minutes ago, architect said:

The Xeons I believe have slower clock speeds and Chief does not take much advantage of all the cores.

True. I was able to OC my Xeons otherwise they were too slow for the investment. For RayTracing more cores the better according to Chief. For every day use? Dunno.

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There have been lots of helpful tips for working with larger files. Thank you for all your comments. This discussion has already born fruit for me. Just for reference I am going to post my pc specs.

Operating System
            Windows 10 Home 64-bit
        CPU
            Intel Core i7 6700 @ 3.40GHz    42 °C
            Skylake 14nm Technology
        RAM
            32.0GB Dual-Channel Unknown @ 1071MHz (15-15-15-35)
        Motherboard
            ASUSTeK COMPUTER INC. Z170 PRO GAMING (LGA1151)    46 °C
        Graphics
            S27B350 (1920x1080@60Hz)
            S22D300 (1920x1080@60Hz)
            3071MB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 (EVGA)    56 °C
        Storage
            223GB INTEL SSDSC2BP240G4 (SSD)    27 °C
            232GB Samsung SSD 840 Series (SSD)    30 °C
            931GB Seagate Expansion SCSI Disk Device (USB (SATA))    40 °C
            2794GB Seagate Expansion Desk SCSI Disk Device (USB (SATA))    47 °C

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14 minutes ago, WhistlerBuilder said:

There have been lots of helpful tips for working with larger files. Thank you for all your comments. This discussion has already born fruit for me. Just for reference I am going to post my pc specs.

Operating System
            Windows 10 Home 64-bit
        CPU
            Intel Core i7 6700 @ 3.40GHz    42 °C
            Skylake 14nm Technology
        RAM
            32.0GB Dual-Channel Unknown @ 1071MHz (15-15-15-35)
        Motherboard
            ASUSTeK COMPUTER INC. Z170 PRO GAMING (LGA1151)    46 °C
        Graphics
            S27B350 (1920x1080@60Hz)
            S22D300 (1920x1080@60Hz)
            3071MB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 (EVGA)    56 °C
        Storage
            223GB INTEL SSDSC2BP240G4 (SSD)    27 °C
            232GB Samsung SSD 840 Series (SSD)    30 °C
            931GB Seagate Expansion SCSI Disk Device (USB (SATA))    40 °C
            2794GB Seagate Expansion Desk SCSI Disk Device (USB (SATA))    47 °C

Current Specs? Future build?

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9 minutes ago, WhistlerBuilder said:

There have been lots of helpful tips for working with larger files. Thank you for all your comments. This discussion has already born fruit for me. Just for reference I am going to post my pc specs.

Operating System
            Windows 10 Home 64-bit
        CPU
            Intel Core i7 6700 @ 3.40GHz    42 °C
            Skylake 14nm Technology
        RAM
            32.0GB Dual-Channel Unknown @ 1071MHz (15-15-15-35)
        Motherboard
            ASUSTeK COMPUTER INC. Z170 PRO GAMING (LGA1151)    46 °C
        Graphics
            S27B350 (1920x1080@60Hz)
            S22D300 (1920x1080@60Hz)
            3071MB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 (EVGA)    56 °C
        Storage
            223GB INTEL SSDSC2BP240G4 (SSD)    27 °C
            232GB Samsung SSD 840 Series (SSD)    30 °C
            931GB Seagate Expansion SCSI Disk Device (USB (SATA))    40 °C
            2794GB Seagate Expansion Desk SCSI Disk Device (USB (SATA))    47 °C

Here is a comparison to My computer.

cpu i7-6700 = cpu mark 11090 mine i7-5690x = cpu mark 20180

disk drive 223GB INTEL SSDSC2BP240G4 (SSD) disk mark 3957 which is fast by most test, mine pci-e ssd disk mark 13633 Super fast.

Video card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 G3d Mark =5001, Mine GTX 980 11222

Hope this helps!

 

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