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CPU maxing out

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I am working at a design office with less-than-perfect IT equipment, but am trying to avoid the owner having to upgrade. Machine I am working on is an el-cheapo Delux tower PC: Windows XP SP3; Intel Pentium 4 2.81 GHz CPU, 1 GB RAM, RADEON 9700 PRO graphics card, Samsung SyncMaster 2333 monitor 1920x1080 resolution.

I upgraded it to 1.5 GB RAM (machine max is 2) to improve performance, but it has actually got worse. Task Manager is showing plenty of memory available, but CPU hits 100% for generating elevations, sections and 3D. Is the problem that the machine's CPU is just not up to the task? I am working on a residential building, six stories incl. story for site contours/mesh, mostly curved walls, and the main roof curved, so not sure if this would be classed as complex in terms of CPU and memory demand.

Thanks in advance for any advice offered.

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Hi Graham,

Personally, I'd push for a newer machine to work effectively. Your machine is marginal for running a complex program like ArchiCAD. AC13 works best with multicore processors, a beefy graphics card, and 4gb+ of RAM. I just don't think it would be economical to upgrade your existing machine.

If it's any help, these are the minimum requirements here. It says the minimum RAM for running AC13 is 2gb, so it is going to struggle with only 1.5.

Regarding the processor running flat out in order to generate the sections and elevs - this is fine! But you will find that a multicore processor will do it several times faster compared to the single core on your machine.

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If your on subscription, or know someone who is you might be able watch the AC "Dream Machine" here:
Not sure if that works in Australia though.
Even though I'm on subscription my votes for all AC users to see this video.

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Peter & lec,
Thanks for your replies. I've run the PC concurrently with my DELL laptop to compare operations on same file, and can definitely see that the PC's processor is the bottleneck. Interestingly, haven't been able to max out the 1.5GB memory. Agree upgrading the PC is not worth it. Am thinking of purchasing a Mac mini, so I can work in multiple locations without changing computers (just plug in peripherals). Are there any downsides to going with the Apple mini? Am on subscription, so will take a look at the Dream Machine webinar. Thanks again for your support.

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Most likely your machine can not use 1.5 Gb. Memory almost always has to be balanced, usually in pairs.
For example, you have 4 slots, two filled with 500Mb each and two filled with 250Mb each = 1.5Gb,
but very unbalanced, not recommended.
Use 1Gb or 2GB, not 1.5. The imbalance in memory is causing the OS+CPU to crater, ie perform worse with the "extra" memory.
Additionally when you buy more memory, match the exact manuf., speed, FB, etc.
The bottom line is go back and toss that added half gig. Gruesome but effective.

RE: Mac mini. Are you prepared to be the IT guy for a mixed OS, mixed hardware network environment?


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Snap... thanks for the info on memory imbalance. Something I didn't know. Am now on a better spec'd Dell laptop at work and MacBook Pro at home, so surviving for now. Cheers...

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The argument here is; time spent sitting around waiting for the machine to generate elevations/sections, 3D's, generate pdf's files etc. Vs a new computer. You can pick up a new computer from around $1500 that will run ArchiCAD V14 +. Most Computers these days have a shelf life of around 3yrs, Them it time to upgrade extending the life for another 2yrs.
Tell your boss, that his BMW will not run nor look as good with stone wheels as it would with the latest Pirelli tires.

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