I just bought a new computer. You can read about it here. There was nothing wrong with my old computer, it just didn’t work very well with newer versions of SolidWorks. I’ve done a couple of projects (in SolidWorks) recently where I would wait 15 – 20 seconds between rebuilds, and I was living with some graphics glitches where the image of the model would freeze up until you resized it or something. SolidWorks has this philosophy that they are always developing for tomorrow. Which sounds great on paper, until you try to work with yesterday’s hardware and tomorrow’s software today. As my grandmother is fond of saying, “So heavenly minded they’re no earthly good”. If you use SW, you have to buy new hardware every year to be mostly sure you’re not going to have any conflicts. The conflicts are mainly around the graphics card. Buying every other year, there are no guarantees. And buying a new computer or just the graphics card once every 3 years, you’re almost certain to run into a conflict between your CAD software and your hardware/drivers. It’s an attitude that is great for new and prospective customers, but once you’ve been a customer for more than a year, it’s not so great any more.
A couple of years ago, Solid Edge came out with what seemed at the time like a fully ridiculous claim – that it was 100 times faster than history based systems. Initially, I have to admit I thought this was a scandalous lie. But when you look at specific features, yeah, it was possible. In fact, it turned out that 100x might have even been kind of a conservative estimate. If a change in SolidWorks has a rebuild time of, say 40 seconds, and you can do that in less than half a second in SE, then it’s true.
Ok, no. Not that kind of punch, and not that kind of model.
So let’s do a test, using Anna’s benchmark part and make a change to it in both SolidWorks and in Solid Edge.
Changing the overall length from 15″ to 16″ took an astounding 2200 seconds, which is about 37 minutes. That was just the rebuild time, not including the time to find the dimension and change it, which only took seconds.
In Solid Edge, the process took about 20 seconds. I had expected it to be instantaneous with the Live Rules suspended, but something still makes it grind. For those that are counting, that’s 110 times faster.
Given, the punch holder has a lot of modeling “mistakes”, or “best practice transgressions”, but that’s kind of the point. In Solid Edge, there is no such thing as a “best practice transgression”. It’s a mistake even a beginner can’t make. And obviously, Solid Edge in this case was working on imported geometry, without the “benefit” of all the feature definitions in the live part.
Why did the part take that long to rebuild? Even by SW standards, 37 minutes is ghastly. If you just rebuild it from a CtrlQ, it takes about 41 seconds, but when you change a dimension, it has to do a lot of recalculation. It spends most of the time on the Pattern5, obviously. Large patterns are notorious in SW. I suppose editing the pattern in SE would be a pain, but it couldn’t be as much a pain as waiting 37 minutes for it to rebuild.
Oh, and for Rick McWilliams, the SolidWorks part is 24 mb and the Solid Edge part is 12.4 mb.
So the point here, to me, is that Solid Edge does not seem to bring hardware to its knees quite as quickly as other history-based systems you might know. I think if I were using Solid Edge, I wouldn’t have had to buy this new computer.
If anyone wants to download this part and play with this yourself, go to Anna Wood’s site.
I’m sure there are things that slow down Solid Edge. Someone mentioned Family of Parts was slow. What kind of hardware are most people using with Solid Edge? One thing I did find was that on the old computer, I had a problem with the Help window not wanting to move. This is not a problem on the new computer. It may have been a graphics issue. I never did anything to the old computer to accommodate SE.