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Horace
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Posts: 22
Registered: ‎12-11-2010
Location: US
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Message 1 of 28

ThinkCentre: upgrade SolidWorks CAD performance (Quadro, design, benchmarks)

Hi,

 

My CAD assemblies and parts are running quite slowly and I was wondering if there is anything I can easily upgrade for my M800 SFF to make it run faster. I use Solidworks 2017. My guess is that my CPU is the weakest link, but I am not sure what CPUs I can get that I can just swap and have it be compatible with everything else.

 

Here are my current system specs straight from Lenovo when I ordered it. I have already swapped my HDD for a SSD right after I bought it.

 

ThinkCentre M800 Small Form Factor Desktop
Part #: 10FYCTO1WW

• Processor: Intel Core i3-6100 Processor(3M Cache, 3.70 GHz)
• Operating System: Windows 10 Home 64
• Operating System Language: Windows 10 Home 64 English
• Form Factor: SFF Q150 210W 85%
• Memory: 16GB(8+8) DDR4 2133 UDIMM
• First Video Adapter: NVIDIA GeForce GT 720 1GB DP Low Profile
• First Hard Drive: 500GB Hard Drive,7200 RPM,3.5",SATA
• Second Hard Drive Bracket: 2.5" Hard Drive Bracket SFF
• Networking: Integrated Ethernet
• Wireless & Bluetooth: Intel 8260 AC(2x2)+Bluetooth Version 4.0 Low Profile
• Speakers: Internal Speaker
• Memory Card Reader: 9 in 1 Card Reader SFF
• Publications Pack: Publication English
• Vertical Stand: Vertical Stand
• Dust Shield: Dust Shield LP
• Warranty: 1 Year On-site
• Additional keyboard: ThinkPad Compact USB Keyboard with TrackPoint - US English

 

Mod:  edited Subject line to add system type and CAD program detail

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Message 2 of 28

Re: Upgrade possibilities for CAD performance

Probably more due to the weak, non-workstation graphics card (GT 720 1 GB). 

 

Solidworks 2017 recommends a Quadro M2000 4 GB for a mid-range configuration.  (You are restricted by the SFF case to low-profile and 45w.)   The P1000 is a newer gen low-profile card that provides the same performance as the full height M2000. 

 

For 2019, Solidworks recommends:  NVIDIA Quadro P600 (entry level), P1000/2000 (mid-range) or P4000 (high-end)   And moves from a i7 processor recommendation to "3.3 GHz or higher clock speed", meaning it's more about single core maximum performance than multi-threading performance. 

 

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Message 3 of 28

Re: Upgrade possibilities for CAD performance

Further, I'm a huge advocate of Puget Systems, and found this article (SOLIDWORKS 2018 GPU Comparison: What Is the Meaning of This?) to be mind boggling when you consider the on-paper performance and cost differential between a Quadro P1000 and a P6000.  This is also reflected in Solidworks 2019 recommendations: 

 


"While a high-end graphics card sounds like it will give much better performance, the amount of money involved won’t see a dramatic boost.  It would be better suited to use a low to mid-range graphics card and spend more on the CPU and SSD drives.  The low-end graphics cards of the Quadro P series and Radeon Pro WX series may provide sufficient performance for most models, though increasing model complexity and larger assemblies could require more processing power."

The solicited feedback was also super interesting, be sure to read all the way down. 

 

And:  Puget Systems: SOLIDWORKS 2018 GPU Comparison: Monster (Sized) Model

 

 

 

 

__________________________________________________________________________
I do not work for Lenovo. I do not respond to Private Messages for help, your questions should be posted in the appropriate forum where the information exchange may help others. If I helped you, click the 'Kudos' button, if solved, the 'Accept as Solution'.
Horace
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Message 4 of 28

Re: Upgrade possibilities for CAD performance

Thanks for the reply and information.

 

I looked at the P600 and P1000. Are they compatible with the current system since they are PCIe 3.0 x16, and the current card is PCI Express 2.0. 

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Message 5 of 28

Re: Upgrade possibilities for CAD performance

Your GT 720 card is PCIe 2.0, but your system is PCIe 3.0, see below.  PCIe 3.0 is fully backward compatible with 2.0 

 

The more pertinent question is whether this ThinkCenter will support a newer gen of Quadro card.  It used to be that ThinkCentres shared the BIOS with ThinkStations, so then we could check the readme file for the Nvidia driver over there to see the full list of Quadro cards supported, but that changed with the M800/M900 generation.  However, the previous gen ThinkCentre M83/M93, along with the same BIOS'd ThinkStation P300 (link to readme file), do support the P600/P1000 cards.  And I have not seen a situation where an older gen ThinkCentre supported a newer gen Nvidia graphics card, and that graphics card was then not supported in a next gen ThinkCentre (ie. compatibility was taken away.) 

 

Edit:  I have since read posts that P620 works in M700 Tower, and P600 in M710t.  So my concern is assuaged. 

 

f-m800 psref.png

 

__________________________________________________________________________
I do not work for Lenovo. I do not respond to Private Messages for help, your questions should be posted in the appropriate forum where the information exchange may help others. If I helped you, click the 'Kudos' button, if solved, the 'Accept as Solution'.
Horace
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Message 6 of 28

Re: Upgrade possibilities for CAD performance

Thanks so much for the help. Why wouldn't the Thinkcentre not support the new gen of Nvidia cards? Is it not just a matter of downloading the correct drivers? Or do you mean there may be some compatibility issues with the motherboard?

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Message 7 of 28

Re: Upgrade possibilities for CAD performance


@Horace wrote:

Or do you mean there may be some compatibility issues with the motherboard?


Lenovo does not profess that ThinkCentres will recognize every graphics card there is, particularly if that card did not exist when the system was being developed, or those that are not typically used in this line of system (for example, the ThinkStations are the official "workstation" system with Quadro cards as the graphics option -- most graphics options for ThinkCentres are GeForce.) 

 

That said, it's nearly always newer gens of AMD cards that are not recognized, resulting in failure during power on self test (POST.)

 

__________________________________________________________________________
I do not work for Lenovo. I do not respond to Private Messages for help, your questions should be posted in the appropriate forum where the information exchange may help others. If I helped you, click the 'Kudos' button, if solved, the 'Accept as Solution'.
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Message 8 of 28

Re: Upgrade possibilities for CAD performance

You didn't mention the number of monitors and their resolution that you have, and that you'd want to have in the future.  That can have a bearing on the graphics card you choose, particularly regarding the amount of memory.  Consider also the Quadro P620, for a modest increase in price, it cuts the advantage of the P1000 over a P600 by a third. 

__________________________________________________________________________
I do not work for Lenovo. I do not respond to Private Messages for help, your questions should be posted in the appropriate forum where the information exchange may help others. If I helped you, click the 'Kudos' button, if solved, the 'Accept as Solution'.
Horace
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Message 9 of 28

Re: Upgrade possibilities for CAD performance

Just one or two monitors, nothing crazy. I think the p600 or any of these options is probably worth the test. Will look for used options on eBay.

Horace
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Message 10 of 28

Re: Upgrade possibilities for CAD performance

I was reading more on the specs of the p600 and p620. They both say the minimum requirements for the CPU is 

  • Intel Core i5, i7, Xeon or later

Is this going to be an issue for me?

 

http://www.pny.com/nvidia-quadro-p600?sku=VCQP600-PB&CURRENT_NAV_ID=a08e26c0-b3c3-4f49-ab39-a9880388...

 

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