Introduction to the Budget SolidWorks Build.
So, why am I doing a SolidWorks budget build, well for most the SolidWorks program in its self is a lot of money unless its a hacked version then you open up other issues to your hardware.
I look around endlessly after I found my laptop to be pretty much useless to what I started to achieve within SolidWorks and found all these possible systems over the internet Z800 with Quadro k6000 cards and a price tag of around £2000 then plus your software.
What could I do I could not afford all this, I had an Asus rog laptop good spec but just didn’t cut it with assemblies and large detailed parts.
considering the spec I7 16gb ram SSD and GTX960M it wasn’t great I couldn’t get realview to work without the regedit hack and this caused other issues freezing poor performance and not really that good of realview.
Now if you don’t like of not so much of an issue but I like it makes me imagining my design in real life a lot better.
Secondly the monitor its a 17inch not bad but for high definition models, I found myself scrolling in and out to work on parts excessively. so I could just rig up a second monitor and work off that but the Mobile graphics card was burning hot already from the realview.
I decided that enough was enough and needed something that was a little more expandable.
I benchmarked my laptop as a comparison base point as I needed to better the new system.
Above are the results for my Asus rog laptop and as you can see they were not great awful, to be honest, considering the specification.
I had a choice save and spend £2000 on a system that would be great or find something a lot cheaper, I’ve been playing around with computers for years and accumulated complete systems parts so went through it all and found an old workstation I used to use as a Tibia server. great it had dual Xeons e5420 32gb ram 500gb HDD and a gtx710 graphics card.
I benched the system as it stood and was impressed with the results, after a bit more research I found that the RAM CPU could be upgraded to a high spec, add an SSD that I had laying around and buy a Quadro Graphics card.
Funding I had some Stratis in a wallet and decided to sell them so I had some money for the upgrades.
Upgrade no.1 Fresh OS HDD/SSD
First off and I think most would do the same is to reinstall the os fresh I wasn’t going to do it on the HDD but after reading that there were no drivers for the XW6600 for SSD I thought id check to see that it was making some form of improvement. Below are the results for the HDD.
Both tests come up with very broad results maybe there was an issue or a crash with the 330-second result.
Now for the SSD now for anyone that doesn’t know much about SSD they are newer technology and will make any system faster as long as your system can read and write to them.
Luckily my system detected them they are Samsung EVO 120GB I had 2 so fitted one booted up and all detected.
Install the bare minimum to get to the test and benchmarked it we pulled off around 150 seconds.
so hopefully with the rest of the upgrades, we would gain more. Below fresh OS on SSD.
Upgrade no.2 Ram Upgrade
RAM in SolidWorks now I was never expecting much change in this MOD mainly because SolidWorks only ever uses it for the loading and saving of parts and assemblies, I already had 32GB of RAM that the system was already at full compacity but had a clock speed of 333MHz and the system was able to handle 667MHz from the clock increase I may find a few seconds but nothing to go mad about and for the price of 32GB of DDR2 RAM I thought id go for it anyway, it may help on future programs it may help with SolidWorks in someway.
As you can see I tested with rendering (photoview) on and off this is because it was crashing and I couldn’t find the solution to the issues, as you can see it did knock some time off especially with rendering on even tho photoview was crashing on the benchmark test.
Upgrade no.3 GPU Upgrade
As stated in the introduction my laptop work with the regedit hack but never worked great, for this you need a supported card these can be found at the SolidWorks website.
Quadro cards are expensive in comparison to GTX cards after searching I had a toss-up between two cards K5000 or FX5800 the K was a lot better card but would mean all my money would have been gone, in the end, I decided on the FX5800 and this was mainly because there was an update for my bios on this card so I thought it would work better.
Finally, I have realview that works, the FX5800 is the same year as the XW6600 so should work well with the other components. with the graphics card installed took a lot of time off the CPU as you can see from processor and graphics timings.
But 120 seconds on the realview looking at scores on the SolidWorks website I’m sure this could be better, but this can be done at a later point in the build.
Upgrade no.4 Raid 0 Upgrade
Raiding drive C, With the XW6600, Reason on the XW6600 is that the SATA ports are the old SATA 2 which has a lower transfer rate than the SATA 3 ports.
So if I put it in a raid I could be able to achieve near on double the read and write times.
40 Seconds off I/O good but I’m sure we can achieve more, we can get more from faster CPUs and this should speed up the whole system. below is the result to the test.
Upgrade no.5 CPU Upgrade
The CPU that was installed at the start is the Xeon E5420 and they have a speed of 2.5GHz the only CPU I could upgrade to is E5450 and they are @3.0GHz.
These will help when it comes to the rendering and especially SolidWorks as its a single core processor.
It massively helps with my processor time took some stress off the Quadro and reduced the realview time by 22 seconds.
Upgrade no.6 Windows 10 Upgrade
Why, just to state if it wasn’t for the fact that SolidWorks only runs on windows I would have deleted ever known remanence of it and switched over to Linux, but I was getting a lot of issue with windows 7 crashing especially when it came to photoview I could not find any solution to the issue other than maybe upgrading to windows 10, Windows 7 is running out of support and I need a system that isn’t going to exploit my network.
After testing it wasn’t the results I was expecting, everything seemed to go backwards slower run times everything just didn’t seem compatible with windows 10, I played and played around with the system and then I stumbled upon process lasso.
Upgrade no.7 Process Lasso
Last resort, a major shock when this one came in never used this software and literally just stumbled on it. this basically is a software that changes the CPU priorities and power usage and this can improve your whole system, or can improve the performance of a program.
This is probably the max I can get maybe a few seconds here and there but I’m happy with the results I got.
future of this project I think if I was to make any more effort with it it will probably just upgrade the GPU to a K or newer cards and a big SSD as these could be moved into a new system.