New evidence proves processor speed is most important choice for Civil 3D performance

I ran some tests on Civil 3d 2011.  Here are the system configuration comparisons.

AST-2 Alienware M15x 6Gb RAM and Intel Core i7 Q 840 1.87Ghz

AST-3 Alienware M15x 8Gb RAM and Intel Core i7 Q 740 1.73Ghz

Passmark: AST-2 1467.5
Passmark: AST-3 1443.5
AST 2 had a 6-10% better performance in all categories except Large RAM was -31%
www.PassMark.com was used to benchmark the performance of both computers.

Now for the Civil 3D test results.

I created a surface from contours.
48,309 contours
Reduce flat areas using flip face option toggled on
Produced 6,061,525 points in surface stats in both tests.

The comparison test.
AST-3
Intel Core i7 Q 740 @ 1.73GHz
8Gb RAM
1.5Gb NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460M
Win7 64

To build the surface with the Border Only style applied took 4:27 on AST-3

Apply triangles and contour style took 1:00

AST-2
Intel Core i7 Q 840 @ 1.87GHz
6Gb RAM
1.5Gb NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460M
Win7 64

To build the surface with the Border Only style applied took 3:00 on AST-2 and beat AST-3 by 1:27.

Apply triangles and contours style took 1:03, nearly identical to the computer with an additional 2Gb of RAM advantage.

The results indicate to me that the processor speed is the most important criteria in choosing a new computer to run Civil 3D.

Some other fun stats.

The drawing file size produced when the contours and the surface were saved was a whopping 44Mb.  The surface was so large that Civil 3d said it was going to create an external file (.mms file extension) and it should remain in the same folder as the dwg file.  The .mms file was a monsterous 210Mb.  Here is a puzzler.   Here’s the kicker.  I created a new drawing with a data shortcut to the surface.  The drawing file size was 664Kb….there’s more….I changed the display style to 1′ and 5′ contours and saved the drawing to find the file size was 660Kb.  I’d say that’s pretty good proof that you should be using Data Shortcuts to manage surface data and file sizes.

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