Speed follow up

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Tim Massa
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Speed follow up

Postby Tim Massa » Mon, Jul 06 2009, 9:24PM

Evening all,

Just finished Nat's post on trying to speed things up for running e-cabs. We've been kicking around the idea of finding a faster program like KCDW for the sake of being able to turn around designs in order to get the jobs. Taking software as it comes there is no one magic bullet and the thought was that the KCDW could be used for the selling, e-cabs for the actual CNC files and a good cad program for the shop drawings.

Two problems come to mind.

One: Increase opportunities for error. The cad programs ability to create DXF's have been a huge plus after learning from you guys how to use it in part editor, etc.. The thought of going from two to three programs gives me pause, though. Information could get introduced along some stage and carried thru magnigying the cost of the mistake.
Two: KCDW's limitations to "sculpt" cabinets out for clients viewing. I could have some oddball cabinets generated separately in e-cabs.

Then the thought occurred that maybe we could see improvements in the sped with some hardware upgrade. Ii currently work off of a 5 year old Dell dimension 3000 with only 750 MEG's of ram. Video on the mother board. We thought of buying something with a Quad core, ATI video card and faster HD's. For a gut check I asked someone at e-cabs to clock a cabinet I sent them. A typical 3 DRw. base with TW-10 drw frnts. and dovetail drawer boxes.
He found it took apx. 32 seconds to rebuild the file going back into the main editor on his much better laptop at Thermwood. My slow and stupid Dell actually takes less time than that! What could account for that?
So would there be any real gain from a hardware upgrade and what would anyone suggest for a nice set up in the 1200-1500 range?
Any advice would be appreciated.
Tim

Donald Thomson
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Re: Speed follow up

Postby Donald Thomson » Mon, Jul 06 2009, 11:08PM

Hi Tim,

I know it's a little out of the price range you specified, but I just purchased a new Dell with the following configuration:

224-2684 1 Intel Core2 processor Q9400 (2.66GHz,1333FSB) w/Quad Core Technology and 6MB cache
313-6078 1 Black Bezel Chassis
311-8296 1 4GB DDR2 SDRAM at 800MHz
310-9321 1 No Keyboard (already owned from previous computer)
320-6315 1 No Monitor (bought 2 new 24" monitors from newegg.com)
320-7553 1 AMD Radeon 4850 Dual - P117a
341-6925 1 300GB SATA HD(10KRPM),Western Digital,VR150
412-0688 1 Image Restore
420-4927 1 Windows Media Player 10
420-5924 1 Icon Consolidation Application
420-7622 1 Dell Support Center Software 32 Bit 2.0
330-0283 1 Dell Resource DVD with Application Backup
420-8874 1 Dell Video Chat
420-9696 1 Genuine Windows Vista UltimateBonus to XP (English)
421-0323 1 Windows Live Search,Multiple User Interface
310-9325 1 No Mouse
410-1867 1 ADOBE READER 9.0 MULTI- LANGUAGE
313-6852 1 16X DVD-ROM and 16X DVD+/-RW
420-8152 1 Roxio Creator 10.2 Dell Edition
313-2758 1 Integrated Audio
313-6138 1 No Speaker Requested
341-6279 1 320GB NCQ SATA Hard Drive (7200 RPM) w/ 16MB DataBurst Cache
410-1184 1 McAfee SecurityCenter 15-month
412-0148 1 No ISP requested
412-1397 1 No Productivity Software requested
991-2538 1 Dell Hardware Warranty PlusOnsite Service, Extended Year(s)
991-2547 1 Dell Hardware Warranty PlusOnsite Service, Initial Year
989-0952 1 Type 15 - Third Party At Home Service with Nights and Weekends, 24x7 Technical Support, 2 Year Extended
989-4080 1 Type 15 - Third Party At Home Service with Nights and Weekends, 24x7 Technical Support, Initial Year
950-3339 1 3 Year Limited Warranty
412-0360 1 Soft Contracts - Banctec
960-3642 1 Warranty Support,2 Year Extended
960-8700 1 Warranty Support,Initial Year
988-3313 1 Your Tech Team Unlimited POS SKU - 3 YR valid contract
988-0099 1 To activate your online backupaccount, go to Start, Programs, DataSafe Online
988-7707 1 2GB DATASAFE ONLINE 1.1 FOR SDO/DIM/INS/XPS
420-9518 1 DATASAFE ONLINE 1.1 2GB FOR DIM/INS/XPS
330-0172 1 S and P Drop-in-Box Marcom forDHS Desktops
420-8544 1 Vista Premium Down Grade Transactional Desktop
317-1488 1 Dell CPU Air Cooling Thermal Heatsink

My invoice was $2374 and that included S&H. This machine is a screamer. I can redraw cabinets in 3 to 10 seconds. Even complex library cabinets are redrawn in the blink of an eye. I can manipulate 3D renderings in presentation mode without any slowdown at all. All this while I've got at least 5 other programs running and a second monitor where I was planning on "doing something else" while the redraw took place. The redraws happen so fast I don't have time to "do something else" on the second monitor. I found that somewhere I am going to be spending time doing something. My preference was not to spend it watching my computer bog down while trying to draw graphics. So I put the money there.

I own no stock in Dell, nor do I have any affiliation with the company. I'm just letting you know that this machine is incredibly fast. The only down side (or up side, depending on how you look at it) is that the light on the front of the chassis makes an incredibly bright night light and lights up the whole room plus the adjoining room. So at night I put it in standby :roll:

Good luck!
Sincerely,

Don Thomson
Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks, LLC
509-671-6230
Newport, WA
http://www.dlwoodworks.com

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DanEpps
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Re: Speed follow up

Postby DanEpps » Tue, Jul 07 2009, 6:14AM

See this post: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=9524#unread

Resource usage has long been an issue with eCabinets, especially when you use lots of knobs, pulls and moldings (especially rope molding). Each of these objects are 3D objects and they gobble resources.

Hopefully this has been addressed in version 6.

Maybe Larry Eplin can chime in and update us with how resource usage is going to be addressed in version 6.

Tim Massa
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Re: Speed follow up

Postby Tim Massa » Tue, Jul 07 2009, 8:12AM

Thanks Don & Dan,

Thanks for the lowdown on the computer build Don. I will use it as a yardstick when I pull the trigger on a new computer. I hope that the performance boost made it worth it. Currently, it is felt that e-cabs falls short in the selling department. The room displays definately help sell a job. Can you charge the client for that end of the production, though? If so how much?
We try to recoup the cost of generating the design time in the final quote. In these lean times were looking for any ways to maintain margin without large capitol costs. In that vein, E-cabs is to slow, with respect to designing the room and selling the job. Hands down KCDW can throw a room together in a fraction of the time it would take E-cabs on my same crummy hardware. Seems like they got it down when it comes to the front end of the selling of a job. It seems like e-cabs has it all over KCDW when it comes to the customizing of the cabinets individualy. Hence the idea that maybe it's time to look at other options for getting the bids out. What I'm hoping for is that an increase in hardware speed may make the time issue go away, as far as e-cabs is concerned. What takes hours in e-cabs to generate for a room takes a fraction in KCDW. How are others getting thru their room displays and at what speed on what hardware?
Trying to see what works best with respect to the software, and what best would look like.

Thanks,
Tim

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Dean Fehribach
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Re: Speed follow up

Postby Dean Fehribach » Tue, Jul 07 2009, 12:40PM

Tim,

Be careful comparing competing products on the forum. It's not allowed. Limit discussion of KCDw to the available Thermwood link for KCDw.
Dean Fehribach
I.S. Mgr., Thermwood
Dell Workstation T1650 / XEON E3 / 8GB RAM / 1GB nVidia Quadro 600 / Windows 8 Pro x64

Tim Massa
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Re: Speed follow up

Postby Tim Massa » Tue, Jul 07 2009, 2:10PM

Whups!

My Bad. My apologies. My intention was to figure out if hardware could give any performance gain to the e-cabs program that could help us get thru the design stage of selling. Most specifically the room display. The other program was mentioned as a benchmark to try to get to for any hardware upgrade suggestions specifically for running e-cabs. Sorry if I offended anyone here.

Tim

Michael S Murray
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Re: Speed follow up

Postby Michael S Murray » Thu, Jul 09 2009, 12:45PM

Tim,
The other software your using for your benchmark can link to your thermwood, why not just use it? I suspect it is because if you need to do anything special in it(like cut out a rectangal or square in a part) you have to take that part of the cabinet into another software and do it, then return the part to origanol software or run it from second software as a second part.....
Wow, theres a time saver, I might be wrong, but I have seen a very respected user of your benchmark software do just that, I just about fell over watching the process.....
E-cabs has some improving to do, espescially in the commercial world, but it is still way out ahead of 95% of the rest if your talking screen to machine time.
Mike Murray
Versatile Cabinet & Solid Surface
mike@versatilecabinet.com
http://www.versatilecabinet.com

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Neville Bastian
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Re: Speed follow up

Postby Neville Bastian » Thu, Jul 09 2009, 7:47PM

Hi Dean,
I'm not sure if I'm on the right track but my 22 year old daughter does say I'm off track most of the time.
I think Tim was trying to say certain computer setups make ecabinets sing. Maybe other software has a higher pitch but that's not our concern. We have made a commitment to become Ecabinet groupies. What systems can we buy to achieve better performance and drink less coffee.

I know the new version of Ecabinets may address this but as its not in Beta ( I hope I am wrong) its still a way off.
Could you not do a 6 monthly report on what you can buy say with a $2500 budget from a couple of well known brands. Then do a preset benchmark test on a complicated project. I'm sure other users could chip in what you could do but what springs to mind is changing drawer box type and changing door type. Then we could compare the changes each time period and see if the difference warrants updating our system. If you could keep say 3 years worth of testing it would be a interesting graph.

Set me straight if I misunderstood you Tim.
Regards
Neville
Neville Australia

Tim Massa
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Re: Speed follow up

Postby Tim Massa » Fri, Jul 10 2009, 6:52PM

Neville,
That is a good idea of tring to test speeds with a trial cabinet. Maybe a shared room that is already built to test on each others rigs would be very helpfull.
As I'm building my next computer I had my tech guy look over the system requirements on the site. He mentioned that the some of the information was out of date. What I would like to know is where is the best spots to put the tobasco. High rpm hard drive? Latest graphics card with the most memory? 2-D or 3-D card? 7200 or 10,000 rpm HD?
The thing that haunts me is that Ryan, at Thermwood, tested a file of a cabinet I sent him for rebuild time. By that I mean he took the cabinet out of the main editor and back into it again. He said the file took longer than what I had experienced on my 5 year old bare bones Dell computer with nonupgradeable video. What the ?!
So I would be very interested if we could find out where the greatest bang for the buck would be with respect to system upgrades. I would be very glad to help with this.

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Neville Bastian
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Re: Speed follow up

Postby Neville Bastian » Fri, Jul 10 2009, 7:46PM

Hi Tim,
I know Kerry has posted some mind blowing jobs. Maybe he could volunteer to supply a test kitchen with items that max out ecabinets. Then instructions on what to change and do. Everyone could download the files and then give their results with the specs of their computer. Even if someone's system is very old it would be interesting to see how that performs compared to the latest offering.

I don't think Dean should get involved because he'd probably grab one of Thermwoods top of the range computers for the test. Only joking Dean,you can play with us if you want. 8)
Regards

Neville
Neville Australia

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Kerry Fullington
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Re: Speed follow up

Postby Kerry Fullington » Fri, Jul 10 2009, 9:17PM

Tim,

I think that Thermwood updates their computer specs with new versions so they might be a little out of date. I would still give more credibility to Thermwood's opinions on the best system than any local computer tech. The computer tech generally no knowledge of what it takes to run eCabinets and many of them have given really bad advice in the past. (most no more about games than CAD of business applications.)

I have posted some jobs in the past that stress certain parts of computers while running eCabinets but they really are of no value as a benchmark as they don't take into account how each individual uses the software. They may make you beef up something that is really of no use to you. The guys at Thermwood use some sophisticated stuff to gauge performance much better than just us guessing at which computer does what better. Look to them for advice and follow that advice. (right now that would be the specs they give on the website)

I think that most agree now that processor speed is important (I don't think that the multi core processors are any benefit for eCabinets at this time), having enough system RAM (3GB to 4GB for XP) is important, a good workstation class graphic card (not the hottest gaming card) with adequate on board memory but I think Dean is saying that the speed of the card and the memory bandwidth is actually more important than the amount of memory (don't skimp on the memory). Hard drive speed is also a factor. Using a supported operating system is essential, even if there is a newer better operating system available, don't try it until it is supported by eCabinets. My opinion is still to build a computer for eCabinets and use it for eCabinets. Use another computer for all your other stuff and the web.

I think that the specs for the perfect computer for eCabinets is probably going to change with Version 6.

Now the Thermwood guys have to post to correct all the bad info I just gave out.

Kerry

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Re: Speed follow up

Postby DanEpps » Sat, Jul 11 2009, 7:17AM

I agree with Kerry that there are just too many variables that can affect performance to use a one-size-fits-all approach to testing.

As Kerry stated, the important things are CPU speed, amount of RAM (and memory speed), HDD speed and, maybe most importantly for eCabinets, video card. eCabinets is a technical application, not a game. A gaming card may work okay but you will not get the best performance from it.

System settings also have a direct impact on performance as do the different services you have running in the background. Since everyone has installed different applications on their computers, there is no way to come up with a test that will give the same results on (physically) indentical computers.

One thing that drastically impacts performance is virtual memory. If you "let Windows decide" you will forever be complaining about performance. You need to statically set virtual memory to 1-1/2 times physical memory so Windows doesn't constantly try to increase it while you are working.

I have an article on eCanWorld that describes how to set virtual memory for performance. Follow the link and go to the second page of downloads. It is titled "Setting Virtual Memory."


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