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      How to use the Wishlist   09/21/2016

      Create a new post here, stating both what you would like to see added to Vectorworks or it's supporting systems and web pages and why you would like that change made. If you see an idea you like, press the ^ arrow to the left of the post's title to promote that idea or feel free to comment on that idea with any additional considerations or concerns you may have. 
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zoomer

VW usage on weak devices sub min specs

Question

With those Sub Notebooks coming like Surface Pro, that have a "real" OS, RAM and CPU

but are still under VW's hardware requirements by not having dedicated GPU or VRAM on the lower end.

 

Of course no CAD workstation for daily usage, when you are far from office,

will these still allow to open VW Files for smaller annotations or initial project settings, and are just too slow

to really work or will they not open at all or have parts of the software not working ?

 

 

I think something like a maxed out Surface Book has the minimum requirements at least for VW 2017 now,

but is a bit pricy and I think a Surface Pro4, without dedicated GPU, has the better form factor.

 

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28 answers to this question

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Thinking about the students posts that try to run their VW on weak machines,

a current standard VW will likely not run at all instead of just being slow.

 

Maybe that would only work with older VW versions,

or a very unlikely special Low Spec or Tablet edition of VW.

Should work on Windows with it's legacy support. Not on OS X though because of OS support

between App and Device.

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Not sure but I doubt it would be good, we don't bother testing on hardware that's below minimum spec and the minimum specs don't even give the experience I personally would consider acceptable for use.

 

Some of the graphics issues with hardware that's too weak include crashing on launch or displaying only a solid black screen, both of which render the software unusable regardless of the file, while other problems just bring everything to a crawl and add 15+ seconds between user input and software response. It's kind of all over the place once you get below the minimum bar, so we try to keep people as far away from that as possible.

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It is not meant as a replacement for a CAD workstation.

Screen estate or rendering demands may not suitable for comfortable working anyway.

 

As long as I had my 17" Macbook Pro and it got old and slow for current software I could use

it for such low level purposes on files in that case of course until a come back to my main machine.

But that was such a brick that you avoid to take it anywhere if possible.

 

These new devices are very mobile, can serve as Tablet and Laptop at the same time and provide still much more

power than my older software was ever used to have at times when it was in real use. CPU, RAM and SSD are not

limiting at all and much faster in Ultra Books now.

Just their use of onboard GPUs is a problem in VW, while these are also much faster than what was used in the past

and allowed to work on complex models at that time.

Older Software with its limited Toolsets would be quite ok for such tasks but often prevents from opening current file

versions or import formats.

 

So for me it would be nice to be able to use such a device to just open a current file or import a DWG or IFC to

examine a new project and give some quick feedback.

Maybe someone else was curious and already tried VW on such a device and can give some feedback.

Edited by zoomer

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Apologies, is this a wishlist request you are wanting to file? or are you asking if you can run Vectorworks on hardware that is below the minimum specifications?

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If I am not the only one interested in,

I would of course like to see that as a wish to be considered in future development.

 

And yes for now I would like to know if VW will run on a Surface Pro4 or a lower specced Surface Book in any way.

If I should see hardware recommendations as a recommendation for comfortable working for current project needs or

as an absolute minimum needed to make the software run at all.

Edited by zoomer

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Related to zoomer's question - can the Cinebench R15 benchmark scores frequently found in computer performance reviews be used to give a rough estimate of how well Vw will run on a specific computer?

Edited by rDesign

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8 minutes ago, rDesign said:

Related to zoomer's question - can the Cinebench R15 benchmark scores frequently found in computer performance reviews be used to give a rough estimate of how well Vw will run on a specific computer?

 

It seems so, the OpenGL score will give you a pretty direct idea of OpenGL performance as you might expect. It MIGHT now give a clear indication of top/plan speeds as well since they use a similar engine, but I have yet to test that enough as of 2017 to confirm that portion to be true.

 

The CPU/Cinerender test phase is exactly correct for indicating relative rendering speed in Vectorworks between multiple machines. It matches almost identically the times results of similar Renderworks speedtests in my experience.

 

I am still pushing for a benchmarking utility specifically for Vectorworks that users could quickly use to check hardware without having to go through installing/licensing a full copy and all that that entails.

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Thanks JimW. Having a Vw Benchmark Utility would be useful, but short of that, perhaps the Vw Hardware Recommendations could be revised to include some recommended ranges for the various Cinebench R15 scores based on your internal testing.

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It is, for rendering purposes mainly.

As I do rendering, rendering speed is the most limiting factor, because Cinebench is always available,

it is mostly the only benchmark I care. I have no experience with other Game or artificial benchmarks.

If Multi CPU Cinebench for a machine of interest is 2 times faster than my machine, I know it will render

nearly 2 times faster in C4D - but also in Renderworks, Modo and Vray.

 

Simplified, if a machine is fast enough for rendering, it will be fast enough for other (less demanding)

tasks automatically.

 

As other tasks opposed to rendering, which mostly uses multiple cores, may often still be single threaded,

I will look at the single core Cinebench as well, and maybe prefer to accept a little smaller multi core result

when looking for the best single core result, as this will help in all other software and tasks too.

Or in short, if 2 systems have similar multi CPU result, I will always prefer the one with the faster

single CPU result.

 

Also Cinebench OpenGL Test for me is a reliable tool to compare GPU speeds.

(VW, and most Software on OS X uses OpenGL)

Simplified, a GPU with a high CB OpenGL score will very likely be a quite powerful Card in ActiveX on Windows.

 

 

So yes, Cinebench is a valuable Benchmark for VW Work.

 

Look at highest single core CPU speed for overall VW work.

You can forget about multi core speeds as long as you do not render in RW.

Look for fastest OpenGL scores for VW screen drawing speed.

(And keep in mind that you also need enough NVRAM, when you compare GPU speeds)

 

Edited by zoomer

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14 minutes ago, rDesign said:

Thanks JimW. Having a Vw Benchmark Utility would be useful, but short of that, perhaps the Vw Hardware Recommendations could be revised to include some recommended ranges for the various Cinebench R15 scores based on your internal testing.

 

Agreed, that's what I've proposed! It's a far better tool for estimation than any other method I have found. (The Hardware Recommendations aren't completely under my control like the kbase is unfortunately, I have to get approval since it's pushed to so many different paths and distributors, etc)

 

I think I've mentioned this before, but as I get access to hardware I catalog it's scores in a few ways to try to establish a larger database for comparison, this isn't an approved project yet so I can't spend too much time with it, but I hope to have a more polished version of this available for users to reference in the future, this particular export is sorted by OpenGL performance:

 

(CPU and GPU scores in this type of benchmark are completely unrelated, they reside in separate columns)

Cinebench test sample.png

 

@Tom KlaberWe were briefly discussing my custom rig, it's name is Ceres at the very bottom. The best machine I have ever tested was the Dell Precision T7610 which is a built to order machine we use as part of development but I get access to for heavy rendering work on occasion, it has 24 logical cores and over doubled the score of my own rig, which was the previous record holder.

 

If I can get my hands on some of the newer Surface hardware I'll add them. I agree that showing below-spec items make sense for getting the impressing across to users of what they need hardware-wise as opposed to just showing the machines that work.

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The newest Surface Book is well inside VW min specs.

i7, 16 GB RAM, fast SSD and M965 with 2 GB VRAM.

But in this configuration we are in about a $3k range, simple double as much as you

normally would pay for such kind of device. Also a smaller Surface Pro would be even

more mobile and would have same CPU, RAM, SSD options, just misses the discrete GPU,

needed for VW.

 

Interesting is that for the newest mobile CPU's, the i7 configurations, although having

additional Hyperthreading (virtual cores), aren't noticeably faster in Cinebench.

Edited by zoomer

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25 minutes ago, zoomer said:

Interesting is that for the newest mobile CPU's, the i7 configurations, although having

additional Hyperthreading (virtual cores), aren't noticeably faster in Cinebench.

 

Some of that can be attributed to the poorer cooling you get in mobile devices compared to a desktop (fans make noise and use lots of battery power so many mobile manufacturers dont use many or keep them spinning slower than 100%) and some of it is the more recent advances in CPUs being more about reducing power usage and increasing performance/watt ratios rather than the raw performance.

 

For instance; with the standard intel air cooler on my i7 5930K the CPU clock would throttle down after only 3-4 minutes of heavy rendering, effectively making it a 2.5Ghz CPU. Once I added a liquid cooling system I was able to run it for nearly 12 hours at 4.3 Ghz without issue. If I had not introduced superior cooling my CB CPU score would have sat around 800-ish probably rather than between 1100 and 1270.

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In the tests I have seen the Surface devices don't throttle down (CPU) over time under heavy load.

Oppose to most similar windows devices and especially fan-less designs.

They will make some noise instead and seem to have overall good thermal management.

 

Some years ago, for the Apple iMac (using desktop CPU ?),

a $300 upgrade from i5 to i7, although its small increase in CPU frequency,

that option was more than 40% faster in Cinebench Multi CPU, which is a lot.

So mainly because of hyper threading.

 

For the surface devices with mobile GPU, only 2 Cores, the results between i5 and i7 seem to resemble

exactly the difference between clock speeds only.

So a CPU upgrade is questionable for these devices. It is not worth the extra price, only mandatory to

get access to the max GPU option.

 

So for it would be interesting to go even with one of the regular options and not try to fulfill VW min specs.

If that would mean I can not open the most complex projects, display wireframe only and have very slow

experience, I maybe could life well with that.

If VW will crash already at its start, it would not make sense at all.

Edited by zoomer

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My 3D Apps check at their start if GPU is able to handle all advanced OpenGL.

If not they will switch down all advanced GPU features if not just go down to

CPU only view drawing. Or you can set it down manually.

So they will start and run on low specs. Of course there will be a point where it gets

so slow that it is unrealistic to use it that way at all.

Until that point, it is a nice option to have.

 

I think VW may work similarly if I set OpenGL down to "best compatibility" ?

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15 minutes ago, zoomer said:

In the tests I have seen the Surface devices don't throttle down (CPU) over time under heavy load.

Oppose to most similar windows devices and especially fan-less designs.

They will make some noise instead and seem to have overall good thermal management.

 

This is because they throttle it down lower than it is capable of in the factory, the main reason you don't see many 4.5 Ghz notebooks even though most i5s and i7s can get that high with adequate cooling. Also mobile devices tend to use a single cooling system for both GPU and CPU (this isn't always the case but I see it frequently) so they go with the lowest common denominator and you get weaker performance overall on mobile compared to desktop flavors of the same hardware.

 

9 minutes ago, zoomer said:

I think VW may work similarly if I set OpenGL down to "best compatibility" ?

 

Being able to run on under specced hardware is not the purpose of this setting, it is a troubleshooting option for the time being according to Engineering. You are welcome to experiment with that and see how it works for you but that is not it's intended use. We may someday implement an automatic alteration of graphics settings based on hardware detection at the time of first launch, it has been discussed.

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17 minutes ago, JimW said:

You are welcome to experiment with that and see how it works for you but that is not it's intended use.

 

Difficult as Im still 100% on the Mac side.

The old Mac Pro stucks with 10.7. so no newer VW experience possible any more.

Mac Book Pro already bequeathed.

Could try my Time Machine Mac Mini Server in screen sharing mode :)

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@JimWthis table is super interesting. I'm surprised that my Macbook Pro Mid2012 is borderline average/good given that it only has 1GB of VRAM. It was clearly a good investment. Do you have a sense how much operating system version affects performance? In the list included with Cinebench there's a version of my graphics card displayed that's slightly faster but it looks like its running an older OS and older version of OpenGL.

 

You mentioned that you might have a version of the new Macbook Pro in house. Do you know how it compares on the Cinebench chart? Also, it would be interesting to see the amount of VRAM added to the chart in the future. I thought for sure at 1GB I'd be at the bottom of the chart but I'm not.

 

Since installing VW2017 I've been hyper aware of performance. Whenever I notice a performance drop its almost always associated with one piece of software starting up/running in the background - Time Machine.

 

Thanks again!

 

Kevin

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Just now, Kevin McAllister said:

@JimWthis table is super interesting. I'm surprised that my Macbook Pro Mid2012 is borderline average/good given that it only has 1GB of VRAM. It was clearly a good investment. Do you have a sense how much operating system version affects performance? In the list included with Cinebench there's a version of my graphics card displayed that's slightly faster but it looks like its running an older OS and older version of OpenGL.

 

You mentioned that you might have a version of the new Macbook Pro in house. Do you know how it compares on the Cinebench chart? Also, it would be interesting to see the amount of VRAM added to the chart in the future. I thought for sure at 1GB I'd be at the bottom of the chart but I'm not.

 

Since installing VW2017 I've been hyper aware of performance. Whenever I notice a performance drop its almost always associated with one piece of software starting up/running in the background - Time Machine.

 

Thanks again!

 

Kevin

 

VRAM is a weird subject at the moment. It USED to (as recently as 2-3 years ago) be a pretty solid metric of card capability but as tech advances it becomes more complicated. When I can, I plan to do a more extensive writeup explaining what components on a given machine will affect which areas of Vectorworks.

 

For the OS version, that's kinda iffy. On the Mac side I did a few tests on the same machine with 3 different iterations of OSX and the results skewed towards getting worse with every subsequent version of the OS, but then I did another rack of tests on a different Mac model (I think the first was an iMac and the second was a Mac Pro) and the opposite was true with performance improving with each version, so it may be specific to the GPU or might be completely unrelated and the tests were flukes. I have not gone through enough rigor to make a call on that either way so far.

 

On the Windows side, the OS version didn't seem to have any effect at all. The performance only seems to change with much older/newer graphics drivers instead, but not dramatically. I only got a 5% difference max between different GPU drivers and that's small enough to be within the margin of error I think.

 

Yes, I will get my hands on that newer MacBook and run the tests as well!

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I will chime in on the use of a Surface Pro for running VW2017. I have been running VW 2017 full suite on my Surface Pro 3 Windows 10 now for over a year, and the only issue that I have run into is with a limitation on the number of fixtures, textures, etc when rendering. OpenGL has been a great troubleshooting feature with regards to texture adjustments and lighting changes. Changes happen quickly, force closing happens very rarely, and overall workflow is smooth. Even final renders look great. I just have to find creative ways to get the looks I want with fewer available resources.

 

Right now I am trying to decide if I should get a desktop just to render projects and use the Surface to initiate/design projects allowing me to work from anywhere. My problems are that I don't want to be stuck at the office to work, but I also don't want to carry around the kind of laptop required to do EVERYTHING on one device. 1st world problems. 

 

So, yes, the Surface does work for well for design. Rendering is the only area that will not be all that it can be without transferring to a more robust machine. 

 

Thanks, 

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The testing chart was very interesting. I tested my two rigs, one being the SurfaceBook w/ Performance Base.

 

Computer Name Computer Model OS CPU CPU
Cores(c)/Threads(t)
CB R15-
CPU Score
CB R15 - CPU Score – Single Thread GPU CB RB15 – GPU Score OpenGL Performance Heaven Benchmark Score Cinebench Version

PCT3500

Dell Precision T3500 Windows 10 64bit Xeon W3670
@ 3.20 GHz
6c / 12t 741 101 Quadro K5000 59.74 Good   R15
PCSB- PE Microsoft SurfaceBook w/ Performance Base Windows 10 64bit Core i7-6600U
@ 2.6 > 2.81 GHz
2c / 4t 318 136 GeForce GTX 965M 69.77 Good   R15

 

This SurfaceBook runs VW and other apps great, and beats the T3500 for OpenGL renderin. For non-OpenGL rendering, I'll revert to the 6-core (12 logical processors) T3500 which is much faster. 

Edited by Clint Alderman

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4 minutes ago, Clint Alderman said:

The testing chart was very interesting. I tested my two rigs, one being the SurfaceBook w/ Performance Base.

 

Is the column I highlighted in red actually the GPU score?

KM

 

59b2e529c1632_ScreenShot2017-09-08at11_43_48AM.png.3e7ad6749e3205c79b69bd1a51081d43.png

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@JimWhave you added any new Mac hardware to your chart? (I know you've been a little busy but it never hurts to ask) I'm curious where the updated MacBook Pros and new iMacs fall in this mix.....

 

Kevin

 

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Interesting that this 12 core Xeon @ only 2.7 GHz does the same CB Multicore like the AMD 16c 1950X Threadripper ...

 

What would iMac Pro 18c Xeon have  ....

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I think a few of my coworkers have the latest MacBook Pros and I'll bench them (any any other new hardware I can find) a bit after this year's Summit. 

I really want to get my hands and benchmarks on one of those Darth Vader looking iMac Pros as soon as they come out...

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