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    Computer Configurator

    To give a back story to this thing. The reseller I work for wanted to create a scaling computer spec configuration utility to give recommendations to clients when asking for computer specs. What we did was request files from client companies for different disciplines, project types and sizes to get a wide range of files to work with. We then started running AU Bench on these with the different computer configurations in the spreadsheet to figure out the best performance to price ratios for different user levels and project sizes. The basic idea behind all of this was to not simply throw out a top end spec to every person that asked but to give customized computer specs based on the user and the average project size they work on.

    The entire thing derives the final spec on basic 'weights' of the user type, discipline and project size. So basically, a light user that does architecture design on ~50,000 sq. ft. projects does not need the same computer as a super user doing 125,000+ sq. ft. projects and so on. Give it a look see and let me know what you think could be done to improve this. Currently it is based off of a sampling of about 60 projects but further refinement never hurts. There are some spec options in it that simply cannot be changed as the technical support director would not budge on them, such as speccing quadro cards for some of the higher end systems despite research and data showing that they are incredibly overkill for everyday Revit use.

    Now attached. Thanks Munkholm, using WinRAR it comes in just under the limit.
    System Configurator.zip
    Last edited by hypnox1; March 3, 2011, 09:29 PM.

    #2
    Hypnox, that sounds really cool. You could just zip that .xlsx file and upload it here
    Klaus Munkholm
    "Do. Or do not. There is no try."

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      #3
      BFGJ, would like to know what ppl think of this.

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        #4
        Originally posted by hypnox1 View Post
        BFGJ, would like to know what ppl think of this.
        It would be very usefull in a meeting to show the big wigs the differances in configurations. I personaly would not use it though. Everything looks on par for what would be needed.
        -Alex Cunningham

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          #5
          Originally posted by hypnox1 View Post
          BFGJ, would like to know what ppl think of this.
          Honestly, I don't think it's all that useful... it's kind of a similar problem to the AUBenchmark (which is still a lot of fun and interesting to look at). These kind of things don't measure the subjective user experience and they don't take into account the value. For Revit, rendering time is the only thing that can really be measured objectively... e.g. you can save 25% of your time with CPU X vs. CPU Y. Just about everything else is just a matter of expectations, what feels sluggish, what seems to be fast.

          You can't really measure the value of an SSD drive. The amount of RAM is solely dependent on how big the project files are and how many of them you open at one time... but unless you're talking about 24GB of RAM, you're doing a disservice to spec only 4GB of RAM when 8GB is well under a $100 US, even if at the present, you only need 4GB.

          I just spec'd out for a coworker a complete system of i7-2600 (currently the fast single-threaded CPU on the planet) with 8GB RAM, GF560, 120GB SDD, 1TB HDD, Blue-ray, etc. for $1,500 US. If your business is dependent on using Revit, who can't afford that? Does it make any sense to shave a $100 off that by going with a slower CPU? or $50 by going with 4GB of RAM. No, not under any typical circumstances.

          For me, it really only gets tricky determining the value when looking at a CPU that cost $500 US vs. one that cost $1,000 US. Or dual socket CPU configurations... how big a project does it have to be before it's worth spending $3,500 US?

          With prices always changing, new components always coming out, I think the "Computer Configurator" isn't going to be of much help, and could actually steer people the wrong way. Just my 2 cents.

          :beer:

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            #6
            Originally posted by iru69 View Post
            Honestly, I don't think it's all that useful... it's kind of a similar problem to the AUBenchmark (which is still a lot of fun and interesting to look at). These kind of things don't measure the subjective user experience and they don't take into account the value. For Revit, rendering time is the only thing that can really be measured objectively... e.g. you can save 25% of your time with CPU X vs. CPU Y. Just about everything else is just a matter of expectations, what feels sluggish, what seems to be fast.

            You can't really measure the value of an SSD drive. The amount of RAM is solely dependent on how big the project files are and how many of them you open at one time... but unless you're talking about 24GB of RAM, you're doing a disservice to spec only 4GB of RAM when 8GB is well under a $100 US, even if at the present, you only need 4GB.

            I just spec'd out for a coworker a complete system of i7-2600 (currently the fast single-threaded CPU on the planet) with 8GB RAM, GF560, 120GB SDD, 1TB HDD, Blue-ray, etc. for $1,500 US. If your business is dependent on using Revit, who can't afford that? Does it make any sense to shave a $100 off that by going with a slower CPU? or $50 by going with 4GB of RAM. No, not under any typical circumstances.

            For me, it really only gets tricky determining the value when looking at a CPU that cost $500 US vs. one that cost $1,000 US. Or dual socket CPU configurations... how big a project does it have to be before it's worth spending $3,500 US?

            With prices always changing, new components always coming out, I think the "Computer Configurator" isn't going to be of much help, and could actually steer people the wrong way. Just my 2 cents.

            :beer:
            All valid points that I originally brought up when the idea first came up. Including the idea that if we were going to go this route that more consideration needed to be taken in regards to office specific issues. Unfortunately I was overrode on the whole thing.

            My preference would have been to better train the other technicians in office on parts, specific benefits for Revit modelling and so on. I also would have preferred to make an actual client office visit to review what they currently do on a regular basis for Revit work in regards to model sizes, discipline and so on. Instead it would apparently take too much time to go through that and the computer configurator was born.

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              #7
              Originally posted by hypnox1 View Post
              My preference would have been to better train the other technicians in office on parts, specific benefits for Revit modelling and so on. I also would have preferred to make an actual client office visit to review what they currently do on a regular basis for Revit work in regards to model sizes, discipline and so on. Instead it would apparently take too much time to go through that and the computer configurator was born.
              This is what it comes down to. Most people, even in the "IT" business, don't really know much about computer hardware. I have a friend who works at one of the bigger architecture firms in the US, they have in-house IT, and he works on BIG projects, and he was just given a brand new computer, but complained to me that it didn't seem much faster than his old computer (he doesn't know anything hardware himself), and so I took a look at the specs, and it was a dual CPU Xeon (i7 based) quad-cores... at ~2.3GHz.

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                #8
                thats why i speced the fastest CPU I could find.
                -Alex Cunningham

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by iru69 View Post
                  This is what it comes down to. Most people, even in the "IT" business, don't really know much about computer hardware. I have a friend who works at one of the bigger architecture firms in the US, they have in-house IT, and he works on BIG projects, and he was just given a brand new computer, but complained to me that it didn't seem much faster than his old computer (he doesn't know anything hardware himself), and so I took a look at the specs, and it was a dual CPU Xeon (i7 based) quad-cores... at ~2.3GHz.
                  Sounds like our latest laptop we got in office. We blew a ton of money on a laptop with a quadro card, 8gb of RAM, 2 SSD running in RAID 1 and then decided to get a 1.93 GHZ quad-core processor...

                  After, you know, spending years pushing clients away from SSD drives and to spend the money on faster processors. This laptop is used for Civil 3D currently and it absolutely chugs along like a dead cat in a swamp because of the processor. Sticking with standard SATA 2.0 HDs, 3.0 wasn't out yet, and going to a 2.8 GHZ or faster processor would have been far more efficient and likely cheaper.

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