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Buying Recommendation For Pc Desktop Computer For Chief Architect?

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Agree Larry, I give Cinebench a high level of consideration as it is based on Cinema 4D which is a 3d rendering program that is highly CPU and Open GL dependent. As you mention there is also Passmark  and several others such as WinZip and SiSoft Sandra Benchmarks that provide a good indication of CPU performance. Tom's Hardware also provides benchmarks for Blender, Photoshop, Word, Excel and other specific programs and games. All of these should be taken into consideration as our systems are used for more than just Raytracing. The challenge for most is finding the appropriate balance that addresses specific performance, multi-tasking and video needs within some budgetary restraint. Unfortunately there will always be compromises until the day comes that we can get a quantum computer for $1,500, at which time we will no longer be needed :( ​

 

Graham

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I've worked in Chief consistently for about a year and I've always seen quite a bit of lag with x7 and now x8. Of course the lag gets worse, and almost unbearable, the bigger the model and mainly with undo's. As someone who has used ACAD for 25 years, I've become accustomed to "snappiness" with both commands and display responsiveness. (And I'm not saying this to unfairly compare Chief to ACAD and complain about what Chief can't do or should do compared to ACAD.) Basically I can plow thru working drawings on my old ACAD system and the lag and lack of responsiveness in Chief is killing productivity. Yes, I've done all the recommended things in other threads to improve performance - run chief and work on an SSD, keep windows temp folder clear, etc.

From what I've seen from the posts on this thread everyone sees bog downs and lack of responsiveness, mainly when the models are big. My question is, what constitutes a big model? The largest one I've worked on is about 40-45mb, and the lag is terrible. What size is considered "huge"?

Also, considering the system in my sig (late 2010 tech), can I eliminate the lag with a new system? Thinking about i7-6700k/z170 mobo/gtx970/m.2 SSD/32gb RAM. I do acknowledge the "fastest cpu & gpu that's affordable" strategy, but if I can drop in a better graphics card rather than dropping $2k for a complete new system...

Thanks!

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John:

 

have you discussed your issues with CA's tech support ?

 

Lew

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John:

have you discussed your issues with CA's tech support ?

Lew

No, I haven't. I wanted to address every potential issue that might be causing it, including the 5+ year old system and model size, so I could get my head around what I *should* expect in performance and either fix the problem or adjust my expectations.

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John,

 

I've got a pretty fast system, although my video card is is bit dated, and I have a couple large models (not in MB size but in square feet and complexity) that are VERY slow to respond. So slow that I can barely work in them in 3D. I have a LOT of CPU horse power but an older video card and am not willing to drop $500 plus on a new card so I've been (unhappily) living with the 'lag'.

 

Nothing 'snappy' about X7 or X8 when models get large and I'm not sure it can addressed, or at least I don't know how. I sent the slow model in to Chief and they said it was something about rebuilding roof but the lag remains and I've struggled through completing the plans set. It might just be the price we have to pay for the 3D features and model building capabilities in Chief. Not saying it's good but Chief is just slow when the model gets large or complex.

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Remember X8 is still in beta and Chief tends to work things out by the time the full release is out. My 5 year old system is lagging a bit now and I need to update, I have updated everything except the motherboard and CPU, now its time, so I'll just get a new computer but top of the line so I can go another 5 years. also you can't compare Acad to a 3d program, big difference. All 2d programs are fast but you need a lot more power for 3d. Acad also has a very fast engine but you pay for that.

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When a system gets laggy you need to access the root cause to determine if this is software or hardware related. Obviously lag is the end result of your system being stressed, this may be the processor, graphics card, hard drive access or a combination of all three. This stressing may be caused by one particular software program or in many cases the accumulative effect of running many programs at the same time (multi-tasking). There are also instances were a background service may be running abnormally which is hogging your processor or hard drive, have encountered this with windows file search & indexing service, antivirus programs can also do this. The easiest way to get a picture of this is to open up the task manager to monitor the running processes and their cpu, hard drive & ram demands. With all your normal software loaded but not actually running anything such as a raytrace or video your cpu % usage should likely be below 5%, your ram (memory) should likely be below 80% and your hard drive should only be a few %. On my system the idle numbers are cpu 1%, ram 65%, hard drive 0%. This tells me that there is nothing of significance running in the background that would take away resources from my main programs. If these numbers are high you need to see what services or programs are causing this and then determine if they are necessary. There is no benefit having some antivirus program constantly scanning your system.

 

If all is ok during idle then start using your programs and continue to monitor their cpu, ram & hard drive usage. You will quickly see which software package and what activity places the most demand on your system resources. Keep in mind that the numbers will bounce around and there will be times when these may approach or be at 100%, this is normal. However if they stay steady state at a high percentage then you may start to experience a lag. Just a note, when raytracing your cpu will likely be flat-out 100%, this is normal and will be the case no matter how fast a processor you have if you have all cores assigned under render preferences. This is actually a good test situation to evaluate your processors interrupt handling, it's often related to lag. In the task manager you can display the cpu usage in a graphical format, run a raytrace, the graph will flat line at 100%, then perform some other activity, say load a program. CPU usage should instantly drop and then jump back to 100%. The longer this takes the greater the lag. You are seeing a representation as to how long it takes your processor to switch from one task to another. Newer processors do a much better job at handling interupts than older ones. If you are a heavy raytracer you can reduce this lag effect by reducing the core assignment in render preferences, usually a reduction by one core will be sufficient. Your raytrace will run a bit slower but the lag will be reduced or eliminate. Play with this to find the right balance.

 

There are specific monitoring programs for graphics cards which will tell you how hard they are working. In general your graphics card will develop lag if you are running other graphic intensive programs concurrently with Chief, such as a video, a game or even web browsing. As with the main processor your graphics processor must rapidly switch back and forth between these running programs. If you need all of this stuff running then a better graphics card is needed. The graphics processor is more important than the total ram if cost is a factor.

 

Graham

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....Or just build a large, complex, Chief model and watch the lag increase as the complexity increases.

 

You may need to measure every small computing process to understand the problem with your particular computer but I posted my real world results to illustrate that a killer dual Xeon CPU system,  which can be upgrade at GREAT expense, is still slow and lags in X7 and X8, when the model gets large/complex.

 

There's only one more thing to do with my system as I see it and that's to spend a lot of money on a new graphics card which I will eventually do but if you think you need a faster CPU and are under the illusion that the lag will disappear on a complex model with that blazing fast CPU - think again. Chief just plain slows down when the model gets large. Maybe the final release will change that but I am not optimistic - and I'm not really complaining as the benefits of Chief outweigh the slow performance - to me.

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In another thread there was a link to video card results, but I cannot locate it again?

Can someone kindly direct me?

Thanks

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Agree Larry. At the end of the day this will happen with almost any software. Put a high enough resolution pic in Photoshop with many layers and the same thing will happen. Consumer and even semi-commercial systems all have there limits. My suggestions were aimed primarily to users attempting to squeeze every available bit of performance out of their systems or as a way to identify the most significant bottle-neck so the could make the best future purchasing decision.

 

By the way, where is the real world results you posted?

 

Thanks,

Graham

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In another thread there was a link to video card results, but I cannot locate it again?

Can someone kindly direct me?

Thanks

I posted this link a few days ago.

 

http://uk.hardware.info/reviews/6389/nvidia-geforce-gtx-960-4gb-review-what-difference-does-extra-vram-make

 

This is focused on 2GB versus 4GB Ram graphic cards . Results are interesting and may be relevant to users trying to keep their cost down. It's also worth noting as the articles author does, minor test differences, say under 10%, are not likely to be noticeable in real world situations by most users. I try to keep this in mind when evaluating any computer related component, it's very easy to get hung-up on an insignificant difference and believe that this will make or break your system.

 

Graham

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...There are also instances were a background service may be running abnormally which is hogging your processor or hard drive, have encountered this with windows file search & indexing service, antivirus programs can also do this....

 

Graham

 

This is one of the culprits on my system. My system is also over 5-years old and needs to be replaced this year. I use McAfee virus software and firewall. I had to finally turn off "automatic scans," as opposed to "real time scans," because I noticed some time back Chief would slow to a crawl; even moving the mouse across the screen was painful - many times unresponsive. I started looking for the problem and noticed McAfee was running a full system scan. I turned the automatic scan feature to manual and everything returned to normal. I checked this several times and McAfee's scan was the problem. No more.

 

Mike

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By the way, where is the real world results you posted?

Nothing quantitative or objective - just the subjective 'lag' I've experienced with a fast system.

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This thread might turn into the most informative thread in the history of threads!

Consensus seems to be that there will be a lag of some sort to deal with regardless of the system speed. We can only hope to mitigate it to a more acceptable level.

As for me getting a new system, I think I might subscribe to the Tom Cruise Risky Business philosophy: "Sometimes ya just gotta say....." and get that new blazing fast system!

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The struggle is that Blazing Fast is a relative term when it comes to computers, it's also very challenging when a budget is involved. From the posters in this forum it is apparent that there is a wide range of users, those running smaller models such as myself for kitchen/interior design all the way up to massive models for multi-storey construction and publication quality renderings. As such, the type of system needed for the former is drastically different than what is required for the latter. It can easily be the difference between spending $1,500 or $6,000 or more per system. Users need to evaluate the type of software they use, how extensively they use it and the features they use. This needs to be taken into account along with your workflow style and set-up. Some users work on a massive Chief model, Raytrace in the background, edit high res pics in Photoshop, video edit, browse and more all at the same time. If this is your workflow situation then the reality is you are most likely into the higher $ range. For myself, I run smaller models on Chief, a raytrace in the background, MS Office and browser with the odd photo editing here and there. For this, my recently purchased $1,500 Alienware R3, Skylake 6700K, 8GB Ram and Navida GTX 745 runs everything without any sense of lag whatsoever. Given this, the only possible real gain that I could realize by spending more money would be faster Ratraces, and in order to significantly reduce these times I would have to scale up to a dual Zeon configuration which would easily cost an addition $2,000 or more than my current system.

 

Graham

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I recently ran a passmark test on my dual Xeon system (which I got for a very reasonable $2500 a couple years ago) versus the latest i7's as reported on the passmark web page and I think it was around 16,000 (computer thingys). My system is overclocked which requires a special motherboard (there was only one at the time that would allow OC) and the performance drops pretty fast without that OC.

 

The person who built it had a couple of spare Xeon CPU's lying around and he did a bunch of testing to find a combination of hardware that would produce the most throughput (in gigaflops perhaps?) and he came up with what you see in my signature.

 

I am looking forward to when a single, reasonably priced, CPU can at least match the speeds I'm seeing (for obvious reasons) because the hardware requirements for a dual CPU rig are a PIA. You should see the size of the necessary case - it is friggin' huge!! Dual fans dual everything and too hard to build myself, and in this case  impossible to duplicate.

 

I would never encourage anyone to over spend their budget but it's really really nice to have the extra horsepower when it comes to RayTracing.

 

My older 760 780 video card which I spent well over $500 for needs replacing and it looks like I'll upgrade that before the CPU's if the system lasts that long.

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without any sense of lag whatsoever.

 

Wow... My files typically and less than 20mb and there is always at least 1 one second lag, often longer. Undo's always twice as long. I even draw cabinets as lines to reduce lag. Perhaps AMD not as fast as Intel for same spec CPUs?

 

A few years back there was a test using a baseline file that could be useful here to compare apples to apples.

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Rashid, I am suprised you are experiencing lag to the point that you draw cabinets as lines. Yes sometimes for me an undo will take maybe 5 sec. which in computer terms seems forever. Your AMD FX-8350 is fairly decent. Prior to my recent upgrade I was running an Intel Quad Core Q6600. I really only upgraded to get faster raytrace times, which are now on average 4 times quicker and for smoother task switching only while the raytrace was running. This was the primary issue, the Q6600 was slow to respond to interrupts when running flat-out.

 

Maybe you should check into things a bit deeper to see if there is not something running in the background that is creating an issue.

 

Graham

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... For myself, I run smaller models on Chief, a raytrace in the background, MS Office and browser with the odd photo editing here and there. For this, my recently purchased $1,500 Alienware R3, Skylake 6700K, 8GB Ram and Navida GTX 745 runs everything without any sense of lag whatsoever. ....

Graham

Thanks Graham! This piece of info Will probably push me to get a new system. I don't raytrace, mainly because of the time and bog-down involved, and really the only other apps I'll have open other than CA are MS Outlook and maybe a few browser tabs. With that low of an overhead while working on Chief, I shouldn't see much lag at all, if any.

Now, if any of you want to donate to the cause, I take PayPal.....

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This is a great topic!

 

I upgraded to the system below... 

Off the shelf Dell XPS from Fry's about $1200 I think

Huge improvement over my last system

My feeling is - its an amazing bargain of computing power

I wonder if spending $5k would really get you that much more for CA work ???

 

When I get into large files - approaching 30 mb things can bog

But not too bad

It seems to be the heavy site work that really gets things slowing down

 

Cheers

Otis

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Just to quantify when I say no sense of lag, my file size is usually around 20-30 Meg. I have downloaded the Riverstone plan from Chief which is almost 90 Meg. Yes there is a difference in responsiveness, which is usually only noticeable when zooming in and out. Otherwise everything works fine, even when a raytrace is running in the background.

 

Concerning the Undo command, this will inherently take some time, maybe 1-3sec. I personally do not consider this to be a lag, The undo has to recompute things to bring the plan back to it's former state and then regenerate the image/screen, which will always take a bit of time.

 

Graham

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Those are good ones Larry. Here's another site that lets you pit one CPU against another.

 

http://cpuboss.com/

 

Just need to keep a perspective on the numbers. In most cases a 10% variance will likely not be noticeable to most users. In fact when it comes to CPU's I really think you need to look for at least double performance gains when upgrading in order to really obtain a truly noticeable real world improvement.

 

Graham

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Here's the CPU Boss comparison between my former system and my recent upgrade. As you can see the benchmarks show in most cases a 4 fold improvement. Considering the old system cost about $2,400 and my new Alienware cost about $1,500 it was a real bargain.

 

http://cpuboss.com/cpus/Intel-Core2-Quad-Q6600-vs-Intel-Core-i7-6700K

 

Graham

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Sometimes just a clean install of the latest O.S. can be the answer for a lot of people b/c it just gets rid of the Junk in the trunk. And sometimes you need to upgrade your hardware, Hard to tell which one is good for you.

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