Archive for October, 2010

AutoCAD Civil 3D 2011 performance test

According to the system requirements, Windows 7 x64 should be the best Windows OS platform to run AutoCAD Civil 3D 2011.

During the Civil 3D Benelux User Group meeting this year, they presented to me that significant performance with Civil 3D 2011 was gained with old hardware when Windows 7 x64 is installed on old dated hardware. But they didn’t had any results that they could share with us at that moment.

So what they did, they made test data online available for download and a spreadsheet with tests results of their hardware asking if anyone would do the test theirselves to add their results.

But the list of hardware were only tested with Windows 7 x64. And if any ‘old’ hardware was listed it was also only tested on Windows 7 x64 only.
So this way I could not distinguish the performances of system hardware on different Windows platforms.
And that is what should make this test interesting and valuable to convince management to invest in Windows 7 x64 only but without renewing current hardware.

So I’ve setup several kind of hardware configurations with different Windows platforms and even with different memory configurations.

Take a look at below table which is an extraction of the Civil 3D Benelux User Group table for the different hardware system configurations on divers Windows platforms I’ve tested Civil 3D 2011.

Consolidating above results into conclusions:

  • Civil 3D 2011 on Windows XP x86 performs better then Civil 3D 2011 on Windows 7 x64 on exactly the same machine. See all timing results between system 4a and 4b. The green highlighted fields have better results.
  • The stability on Windows 7 x64 though is much better then with Windows XP x86. After the big surface was created on Windows XP x86, trying to change the display properties in the same session crashes Civil 3D 2011. 
  • Increasing internal memory (from 2GB to 4GB) on a Windows XP x86 system will boost performance. See the timing results for creating the Surface between system 4b and 4c. And also between system 3a and 3b. It almost cuts the timings in halve. The green highlighted fields have better results.
    One remark: all systems 4 are apllied with C3D 2011 SP2. While all systems 3 do not have SP2 applied.
    Perhaps that’s why the performance differences with SP2 applied are less to zero then without SP2 applied.
  • Civil 3D 2011 performs much better on a system equiped with a powerful processor with a clock frequency as high as possible you can afford. See timing results between system 1 (or 2) and 4a.

I hope these conclusions will help or guide you to make the right choice what to do with old hardware. Expanding internal memory will definitely help, but bear in mind that Windows XP x86 will only use 3,2 GB of internal memory at its max when more then 4 GB is provided.
Last but not least: if available always apply the latest Service Pack or Hotfixes


October 29, 2010 at 1:39 pm 1 comment

Real time collaboration with AutoCAD WS

When AutoCAD WS was announced, everyone was speculating what WS would stand for. There’s even a poll on the Internet to be found here.
But it was clear that this is another way to make use of Project Butterfly – sharing DWGs online, but now also accessible for mobile devices like the iOS devices of Apple.
Now that it is officially released on the 30th of September 2010 it lacks most of the possibilities Butterfly has today. But enhancements and improvements are already announced and are on their way.

To my opinion AutoCAD WS stand for Web Share or Work Share. If so, then it’s mend to be a collaborative tool for designing to get mutual understanding and agreement of the design.

Well my friend Bas Siebers (@BasSiebers) and I both of us have an iOS device and we wanted to test this real time collaboration behavior of AutoCAD WS. So we did. And we came up with some conclusions:

  • there is no communication tool, chat board or something else where you can discuss your design with each other.
    Instead we’ve placed text objects and changed it’s contents if needed.
  • you can not see where in your design your invited partner is active. Within Butterfly you could see at least a mouse cursor moving across the screen. Yeah I know, this seems more difficult to implement then it is. What about a sort of colored cursor or dot to start with and as soon as you tab your finger on the drawing your cursor will move to that location.

So assigning colors to invites would definitively make a difference. Now you have to assign your own color where it is mend to be used for drafting purposes.

Other stuff we ran into had to do with the use of AutoCAD WS. Autodesk has to take a look at the GUI of iOS apps:

  • text edits; the cursor under your finger can’t be seen, so Apple invented a magnifier glass. This should also be implemented when snapping to objects.
  • copy and paste/replace; when you’ve selected a text a context sensitive menu appear above the text. This should also be implemented when you select an object, and of course depending the type of object, the menu options changes what you can do with it, copy, rotate, scale, etc.

Further more there should be a distinct difference in usage between redlining and editing objects to clarify comments for changes and real edit work. The time line function of Butterfly should be implemented this way too. So you can see after delivering comments for changes if edit work has been done correctly.

But I know, this product is just released and will be enhanced and improved in the near future.
Overall a good concept and product. So let’s wait what the future will bring.

Me and my friend ended this real time collaborative session in a Tic – Tac – Toe game. And of course I won (by cheating) 🙂

October 3, 2010 at 10:14 am Leave a comment

Distributed network license setup

Quick tip

Ever wanted to combine the licenses of Autodesk products of two license servers without merging the license files into one license file? But you want users to grab a license when the maximum license count is reached on one of the two license servers but the maximum of the total licenses of the two license servers is not yet reached?

Here’s how you can achieve this easily.

As a system admin create a system environment variable on each client PC with the name ADSKFLEX_LICENSE_FILE and assign the 2 or even more license server host names to it’s value like this: @server_host_name1;@server_host_name2

Now when the licenses from server1 reach it’s maximum, the licenses from server2 will be available.
In other words: when no licenses from server1 are left, the client goes to the second server in line to grab a license there, if any available. And so on if you have more server host names assigned with the adskflex_license_file environment variable.

In Flexlm network license terms this is called “Distributed” license setup.
Other license setups can be Single or Redundant.

In practice: For separate setup of those license servers each residing on a different graphical location for example, you could point clients at location A to server1 and server2 as a backup. Clients residing at location B point to server2 and server1 as a backup. This way all the clients get their allocated licenses first before they go outside to their 2nd backup server.

October 2, 2010 at 10:48 am Leave a comment

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