Workstation Build for CAE/CAD – kind of a PSA.

1 : Anonymous2021/11/12 10:15 ID: qs87rj

So we have been struggeling with our Xeon Workstations a lot over the years. After a limited testrun of 3 Workstations, we've been absolutely blown away by the speed of a 5800X for our specific workloads.

We are using Hexagon/Intergraph SmartPlant P&ID and SmartPlant 3D with Leica Cloudworx and other various Point Cloud Systems for CAE/CAD Work. The Difference between, for example, the E5-2667 v4 is staggering. Especially after all the Meltdown/Spectre Workarounds that slowed down Database operations, we are talking about roughly 1600% "more" Speed. Yes - Onethousendsixhundret %. Some Operations took up to 12 Minutes. The Ryzen blows thorugh them in 45 Seconds.

"Sadly" no one in Europe makes Ryzen Workstations. So we built them ourselfes:


- Ryzen 7 5800X

- ASUS Pro WS X570-ACE (sadly, the BMC isn't that useable as we had hoped)


- 32 GB DDR4-3600 Kits

- BeQuiet Case, PSU and the DarkRock PRO 4

- Depending on some of the different Workloads/Softwares used, they have either a Quadro P2200, a Quadro RTX 4000 or a Radeon PRO WS5700. Sadly, AMDs OpenGL implementation is shit and causes numerous issues, so the WS5700 is only used in two workstations. Please, AMD, do something about that!

In any case, if anyone is wondering if Ryzen is a good fit for more "exotic" Usecases in Workstations: Yes, it certainly is. Oh and: The 3 test Workstations were in constant use for about 6 Months now - absolutely flaweless, except some wierd USB issues that seem to have been fixed with a BIOS update from ASUS.

Btw, despite Microsoft tellilng everyone it doesn't work, Windows 10 1809 LTSC works beautiful. In fact, one of the test machines has 21H1 and that machine has the most "annoyences" and issues in terms of "wierd" things.

Now i really hope, DELL or someone else (maybe even another Board Manufacturer) jumps on the band wagon and makes a proper Workstation with remote admin support...a proper BMC, maybe a 10G Network connection, no Wifi, plenty USB, maybe not even Audio (most of us use Jabra Bluetooth headphones, some use cabled ones...)...

2 : Anonymous2021/11/12 10:17 ID: hkbf2b8

If you guys end up getting the new 3d cache chips when they come out I'd enjoy seeing your work load differences

ID: hkbgvxb

That'll probably take 2-3 years. These Workstations are planned for 5 Years with lighter workloads after at least 2 Years.

ID: hkbhhiv

Hmm maybe you can steal a 3d cache cpu to just run a test? But that makes sense. Business > Internet points

ID: hkc7uqa

You should plan on upgrading to the 3d Vcache chips on one of them at least to test... and if it is a significant benefit just sell the non vcache chips.

If your company is OK with self built workstations... this also seems plausible. The furthest I have been able to get my company to go is buy the base machine from an OEM and then we kit it with more ram and SSDs and GPUs.

Anyway you wouldn't be replacing the whole system just upgrading it.. and Zen3 VCache is going to be the last AM4 CPU upgrade most likely...

3 : Anonymous2021/11/12 14:00 ID: hkbzr54

Similar situation with multi-CPU FEA analysis. We were locked on Dell/Xeon for many years. The difference between that and our experimental Ryzen setup is stunning, even we lock on the same number of cores.

ID: hkc42xk

We do some limited FEA as well...yeah, the performance is incredible.

4 : Anonymous2021/11/12 16:02 ID: hkcgi8g

Sadly, AMDs OpenGL implementation is shit and causes numerous issues, so the WS5700 is only used in two workstations. Please, AMD, do something about that!

Yes please. All this power and can't even play vanilla Minecraft at more than 20fps.

5 : Anonymous2021/11/12 15:00 ID: hkc7jmx

Solidworks for instance has been talking about migrating to a vulkan viewport (AMD helped them prototype one its probably years away sadly though)

ID: hkc9640

That would be absolutely awesome. Maybe AMD then can enable GPU Partitioning on GPUs, that one is actually able to buy...the V520 apparently is Microsoft exclusive.

6 : Anonymous2021/11/12 10:29 ID: hkbfvvp

We are using Hexagon/Intergraph SmartPlant P&ID and SmartPlant 3D with Leica Cloudworx and other various Point Cloud Systems for CAE/CAD Work.

That's to be expected, all of them are single-threaded.

ID: hkbhbdh

E5-2667 v4

Yeah - 1600% however is NOT expected, as those where not THAT slow in all those synthetic benchmarks. Not only that, a Test with a 8700K wasn't that much faster either. (IIRC, it was somewhere around 8-9 Minutes, compared to those 12 Minutes to 45 Seconds)

ID: hkbhh9n

For which task did you get a 16x improvement?

ID: hkc83rl

Synthetic benchmarks aren't very useful... in the real world you can have compounded slowdowns.

7 : Anonymous2021/11/12 12:47 ID: hkbre7e

I bought a 5800x for for my personal/workstation pc at home, much better then my i7 6700k

8 : Anonymous2021/11/12 15:26 ID: hkcb809


xD xD xD

9 : Anonymous2021/11/12 18:38 ID: hkd3hs3

I did this recently. I think HP, dell, and lenovo (crazy how few oems there are these days) had ryzen workstations but none of them had ecc iirc. I looked further afield and still nothing. So I looked into building my own. Sadly I didn't see a supermicro or tyan board with am4 iirc, though I probably wouldn't have paid the premium for them anyway. I ended up going with a gigabyte board.

Although you don't seem to be looking to build more you might look into CSM motherboard models, several mobo brands offer them, I guess what they offer is that a CSM board you buy now and one you buy next year, or the year after will be drop in replacement with all the same drivers and stuff.

I'm pretty happy except on window 11 there's a weird thing where the system just won't shut down without a hard poweroff. And the memory I got running in-spec voltages is basically on the razors edge where you change any timing by the smallest amount and the system fails to post forcing a cmos reset or whatever... Voltage voltage voltage...

ID: hkd4xfp

The ASUS Board i chose is a CSM motherboard, sadly, it's not that great in that CSM category. Gigabyte and MSI did not have them and Asrock only has their Asrock Rack Series, which seemed either overkill or didn't have much in terms of other features...

10 : Anonymous2021/11/12 18:47 ID: hkd4w3z

You may want to look at the Thinkstation P620's if you want a box from a known vendor with support. These are the Threadripper Pro workstations, and for this type of work may make you think the 5800x is slow if it is multithreaded.

ID: hkd924i

Sadly, none of these workloads are multithreaded in any sense of the way.

ID: hkdbmqf

i9-12900K with LN then... 😉

The 3d cache may result in a large performance boost if these end up being cache size limited, and these are the type of workloads that I suspect could be.

11 : Anonymous2021/11/12 19:51 ID: hkddvqw

Maybe you’ve already looked at this option, but maybe you could use any of the Asrock Rack x470/x570 server boards? Those have a proper BMC and not much fluff in terms of wifi etc. You probably will need to use a usb add-in card because they don’t have many ports

12 : Anonymous2021/11/12 22:23 ID: hkdytmx

A workstation without ECC ram?


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