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SOLIDWORKS 2019 SP3: AMD Ryzen 3 vs Intel 9th Gen Core

Written on August 28, 2019 by William George
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Introduction

AMD recently launched an updated generation of their mainstream Ryzen processors, with increases to both core count and clock speed / per-core performance. We've already tested these chips on a wide range of applications, and now it is time to look at how they handle a professional engineering program: SOLIDWORKS.

Dassault Systèmes latest fully-released version is SW 2019 SP3, so we've run three of the new AMD chips and a pair of their Intel competitors through a round of benchmarks using this software. Let's see how they fared!

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Test Hardware & Methodology

Here are the detailed specs of the test platforms we used:

AMD Test Platform
CPU AMD Ryzen 9 3900X
AMD Ryzen 7 3800X
AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
CPU Cooler AMD Wraith PRISM
Motherboard Gigabyte X570 AORUS ULTRA
RAM 4x DDR4-2666 16GB (64GB total)
4x DDR4-3200 16GB (64GB total)
Video Card NVIDIA Quadro P6000 24GB
Hard Drive Samsung 960 Pro 1TB
Software Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (version 1903)
SOLIDWORKS 2019 SP3
Intel Test Platform
CPU Intel Core i9 9900K
Intel Core i7 9700K
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12S
Motherboard Gigabyte Z390 Designare
RAM 4x DDR4-2666 16GB (64GB total)
Video Card NVIDIA Quadro P6000 24GB
Hard Drive Samsung 960 Pro 1TB
Software Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (version 1903)
SOLIDWORKS 2019 SP3

The tests conducted on these systems were originally developed by my colleague here at Puget Systems: Matt Bach. He put together a series of AutoIt scripts that run through testing a variety of the capabilities in SOLIDWORKS, so rather than reinvent the wheel I used his. Minor updates were needed to bring the scripts up to speed for SW 2019, but we did take this opportunity to add a more demanding flow simulation test provided by a contact at Dassault. He described it as a "Conjugate Heat Transfer Airflow" model, but I'm just calling it our "benchmark simulation". It is run at three different mesh sizes, to see if that has any impact on performance scaling.

Between our last round of testing on SW 2019 SP1 and this testing of SP3, something does seem to have broken the macro we use for rebuild testing. I didn't have time to dig in and fix that, so it was excluded - but based on prior tests, the the relative speed of rebuilding a model tracks almost exactly with the performance we see when opening files. So if you want to know how different CPUs would compare during a file rebuild, just look at the file open chart - which will be the first one in the gallery.

The tests were run multiple times on each CPU, with the fastest result (lowest time) used for this article. We didn't have any significant outlier results and saw very little variance between runs, so we opted for this method over an average of scores. The results are broken up into individual graphs below and followed by our analysis.

Results

Here is a gallery showing the results from each part of our SOLIDWORKS testing. AMD Ryzen chips are shown in red and Intel in blue:

Analysis

These new Ryzen processors do fairly well in SOLIDWORKS, which has historically been a stronghold for Intel due to their higher performance per clock in past generations. Intel still wins in a few tests: file open (and thus also probably rebuilding), motion study, and stress & thermal simulations. AMD wins clearly in rendering, and the Ryzen 9 3900X edges out the i9 9900K slightly in our high mesh count simulations.

Overall, if you going to be rendering a lot, AMD is the better choice of these two platforms - but there are other CPUs (both from AMD and Intel) that have even more cores and will be faster yet with pure rendering. For basic usage, focusing mostly on modeling, Intel still has a small edge... but you probably wouldn't be disappointed with a Ryzen chip either. And for heavy simulation workloads, it depends on which types of simulations you run - but all of these processors did very well, with comparable performance at each price point.

Ryzen 3rd Gen Memory Comparison

In addition to comparing CPU performance, we also wanted to take a quick look at the impact of memory speed on Ryzen processors. Most CPUs are rated by manufacturers to support specific speeds of memory, and AMD's new Ryzen 3rd Gen chips are no exception. In this case, the official memory support varies depending on how many modules you have installed and whether they are single- or dual-rank. Tom's Hardware conveniently published these details, which likely came from AMD's reviewer guide (which we do not have):

AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen Processor Memory Support Chart (courtesy of Tom's Hardware)

AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen Processor Memory Support Chart (courtesy of Tom's Hardware)

Since we were comparing to Intel systems with four dual-rank, 16GB memory modules we used 2666MHz memory for that comparison - as that is what AMD's official supported speed is for that configuration. However, we also wanted to test the other end of the spectrum. Ryzen 3rd Gen's fastest officially supported speed is 3200MHz, and while technically that should only be with two memory modules we went ahead and ran a full 4 x 16GB configuration at that speed (to avoid any chance that different amounts of RAM could affect results).

Here is what we found, with the 2666MHz performance shown in the same red as in the charts above while 3200MHz is in orange:

There is a definite divide in terms of how memory speed impacts Ryzen performance in SOLIDWORKS. File opening (and likely rebuilding), rendering, and motion studies don't see much difference at all - maybe a percent or two, but close enough that it would be hard to notice in daily usage. However, most of the simulation tests saw a much bigger benefit to having faster memory. That ranged from 5 to 10% depending on the CPU and specific test, but it was fairly consistent across all of the processors and simulation types.

However, I feel that it is also important to mention that the only stability issues we had with this round of benchmarking was when we were testing 3200MHz memory. Three of our test runs - across two different AMD processor models - crashed during different parts of the simulation testing when using that higher speed memory. Getting faster results on several simulations can be easily offset by having a single calculation run fail and need to be restarted.

Conclusion

It is tricky to make a single recommendation when different aspects of an application behave differently, so this conclusion is broken down based on usage:

  • For general modeling work, AMD's Ryzen 3rd Gen is good but Intel's Core i9 9900K and i7 9700K are slightly better
  • For rendering, AMD's Ryzen chips - especially the R9 3900X - are clear winners
  • For simulations, both sets of processors do well... but definitely go for the higher end (either R9 3900X or i9 9900K) over the less expensive models

If you go with AMD, and will be doing much in the way of simulations, faster memory speeds may also help - but keep in mind that some combinations of memory module count and higher RAM speeds may put you outside AMD's official support specs, and could lead to instability as well. We will likely stick to their specs in what we offer, to ensure the best reliability for our customers.

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Puget Systems offers a range of workstations that are tailor made for your unique workflow. Our goal is to provide most effective and reliable system possible so you can concentrate on your work and not worry about your computer.

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Tags: Dassault, Systemes, 2019, CPU, Processor, Performance, Intel, Core, i7, i9, Solidworks, AMD, AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen

What a battle royalle between 3900X and 9900K. I have been waiting for this particular benchmark for a while now, so as always thank you.

Posted on 2019-08-30 02:00:19
Nathan

Um. Why no "Model Rebuild Time" or "Viewport FPS" charts..? Literally the only thing I'm interested in, as it's 90% of the SolidWorks workload around here.

Posted on 2019-09-06 18:45:04

Quoting from the article:

"Between our last round of testing on SW 2019 SP1 and this testing of SP3, something does seem to have broken the macro we use for rebuild testing. I didn't have time to dig in and fix that, so it was excluded - but based on prior tests, the the relative speed of rebuilding a model tracks almost exactly with the performance we see when opening files. So if you want to know how different CPUs would compare during a file rebuild, just look at the file open chart - which will be the first one in the gallery."

As mentioned there, in past tests we saw almost identical performance variance between processors in rebuild time as we did in file open time, which is why I didn't choose to hold back this article until we could fix the rebuild macro. Just take a look at the file open times and that will show you how the CPUs should stack up for rebuilds :)

Regarding viewport FPS, we normally do that sort of testing for GPU comparisons instead of CPUs. I suppose I could do some FPS testing for different CPUs, to see how much impact that has, but at the moment there is a lot of concern over a new setting in Solidworks that vastly improves performance (frame rate) but may come at the cost of image quality. I'm not sure we should go through all of that testing if the results end up not being useful because of that, or worse end up steering folks in the wrong direction. Perhaps it could be done both with and without that setting enabled... but that would double the length of the testing. Hmm - I will consider it when I get back from a trip later in the month.

Posted on 2019-09-06 18:51:31