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Some Basic Testing on Different Graphics cards and 32-bit/64-bit Chrome

daniel_cookdaniel_cook Member Posts: 48 PRO
Hi All - I'm pretty new to Onshape and have only really been using it for a few months and am new to 3D CAD in general.

The discussion came up today with a long time Solidworks user about Onshape's performance with large models and the hardware lean nature of working in the cloud. One of the things I find with Onshape is that if I need to import STEP files that the performance starts to go downhill. It's unavoidable for me because many of my suppliers work in Solidworks or Autodesk and I need to reference from detailed machine models for factory layouts, etc. Some of the STEP files are upwards to 100mb.

Tonight I did some testing and thought I'd share my results:

Internet Connection - 11ms ping, 25mbps down and 5mbps up (pretty average for Australia).

My laptop is an ASUS gaming model (Core i7-6700HQ, 8GB RAM) with both Intel HD 530 integrated and Nvidia 960M discrete so I was able to switch between both in Chrome for a comparison, confirming the active GPU with the System Check.

Intel HD 530 - 90 million triangles, 32 million lines
Nvidia 960M - 360 million triangles, 190 million lines

The first model I was using was an assembly with a combination of imported STEP + native Onshape modelling.

Model Stats
52511 faces
1576961 triangles
125815 edges
432677 lines
14821569 silhouettes
1321 occurrences

Using the 960M I was getting around 45-50fps moving the model around - it was pretty nice and snappy. Using the integrated graphics with no other changes it was down to 15-25fps. The only change was GPU speed for a noticeable difference in "usability". This was all using 32-bit version of Chrome (downloaded by default) and Chrome was using around 1.7GB of RAM and system RAM utilisation was around 60%. CPU usage across the 4-cores/8-threads was around 20% avg during the intensive parts.

For interests sake I tried to load up a 150mb STEP file of a Mack truck from GrabCad (I needed a truck model for a project).

Model Stats
20884 faces
1990208 triangles
100081 edges
633417 lines
79680 silhouettes
16843 occurrences

Using the integrated graphics the model was unresponsive and Chrome crashed. Using the 960M the model was at least loadable but was a slideshow in trying to move it around. This was when I noticed that Chrome was maxed at 2GB ram allocation (being the 32-bit version). I downloaded the 64-bit version and tried again. The integrated graphics didn't really fare much better but at least it loaded. The 960M actually was moving the model into double digit fps until Chrome crashed from lack of memory. Chrome consumed 5GB of RAM and hit the system limit (system uses 2.5GB just sitting idle).

What do I think from this? Whilst I know that Onshape is not really designed to bring in large STEP files (and performs better working with native models), I think from reading the forums that a lot of the people that are complaining about speed are probably doing so as they adapt from Solidworks/Autodesk/etc into Onshape. In this case I've noticed there is a very real jump in rotational/movement performance with increased GPU power and to load in complex external files that I would benefit from significantly more RAM. My CPU wasn't really taxed at all very much. I have no idea on what this actually does to Onshape's servers though. There are some other even lower powered laptops in the office I could try, but think I'll get the result I expect.

Back to the original discussion with my colleague on hardware lean (client side) cloud CAD computing - I'm actually thinking about beefing up the hardware (especially RAM) to get the most out of Onshape in the way I need to use it

Interested to see what others think?


  • PeteYodisPeteYodis Moderator, Onshape Employees Posts: 513
    @daniel_cook  You might want to try the test in FireFox as well.  A proper video card for the data set and enough RAM paired with a capable browser should be your best foot forward.  CPU really is not much of a factor with usage in Onshape as all the model calculation/regeneration is handled on our end.  The local device is responsible for rendering models on your screen.  
  • daniel_cookdaniel_cook Member Posts: 48 PRO
    @PeteYodis - thanks for the suggestion. I tried Firefox 52 64-bit this morning on the same models and found it significantly slower than Chrome (around 30-40% less fps), but it didn't crash out from RAM usage (~3GB max used vs 5GB and increasing) on the same imported STEP file.

    It's all interesting. Will have to get some more RAM and try again.

  • 3dcad3dcad Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 2,470 PRO
    edited March 2017
    I have experienced firefox (32 and 64bit) crashing easier than chrome. 64bit Chrome seems a bit slower than 64bit FF but I still rather work with chrome as it seems to provide more consistent and stable platform for working. I haven't checked any stats but only measure with my nerves =)

    What could be wrong with loading the model since it takes different time depending on day / hour of the day? I have 100/100 fiber connection and 64GB RAM, so I suppose the bottleneck is somewhere between us.

    I have tested my connection with different servers and this is the usual result:

    The worst result I could get was 75dl with 50ul - so I suppose it should take around 1-2sec for me to open average document - it does take far more, bigger docs take like 30sec to see the model and another 30 for small spinner.. So in a minute I should be able to download 5,5 gigs?

    I'm also amazed with the fact that sometimes I can view&turn flawlessly one of my big layout models and sometimes I can't even reach the point of spinning thingy going away. Sometimes it can be impossible to turn with 3d mouse (model bounce offscreen) or it can work like a charm - never know..

    Edit, model stats for 'model' in question:
    118211 faces
    4119341 triangles
    252739 edges
    1078069 lines
    33080224 silhouettes
    6391 occurrences

    This very same issue was 'a stick below nail' with traditional cad, while creating model everything was good but next day when trying to open it was broken / unable to load. Onshape has been a lot better but performance seems to vary from time to time.

    Today I got better evening performance with ultrabook laptop that has signifigantly less ram and crappy onboard graphics than with decent office pc during daytime.

    If history data purge makes things faster, please provide that functionality.

  • sjalifesjalife Member, Developers Posts: 24 PRO
    I see exactly the same issues tha@3dcad ...
    I also have a 100mb simetrical uplink.
    @lougallo, any insights on this?

  • 3dcad3dcad Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 2,470 PRO
    Things have improved a lot from March 2017, there was few updates that made signifigant improvement on load speed and viewing larger models.
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