12 October 2015

progeCAD 3D Performance on Windows 10, 7 and 8

As of progeCAD 2016.0.8 progeCAD now supports native installation on Windows 10. Today we compared progeCAD 3D Orbit render performance on a selection of hardware and operating systems including Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 - with laptop hardware provided from Microsoft, Asus and HP to the following varied graphics specifications:

  • System 1 - Windows 7, Asus i3 2.3 GHz 4G RAM, Graphics ATI 7470M RADEON
  • System 2 - Windows 8.1, HP 2.2 GHz 16G RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M
  • System 3 - Windows 10 upgraded, Microsoft Surface Pro 3 i7 with Intel 5000 HD

progeCAD on various ATI, NVIDIA and INTEL HD graphics
Our Parramatta test focused on 3D shading and full rendering support. Although more focused on high performance 2D plan view design and detailing, progeCAD does offer several drawing and rendering tools for 3D presentation. One tool set is the full boolean direct solid modelling using the ACIS kernel compatible with AutoCAD. Another tool is the AutoCAD-compatible SHADEMODE command. Using SHADEMODE, we can change from 3D wireframe views of mesh and solid models to easy-shaded which we can "orbit" (or spin around) in real-time via the SHIFT+Middle-Mouse-Button combination. We used this mode for benchmarking our hardware FPS (frames per second) with the help of the FRAPS utility, as shown below:

First, our IIS model was loaded SHADEMODE was then set to REALISTIC. Next we started RTROT from the command line. This was because we needed to set a different centre or rotation (by first hitting the "S" key while within RTROT) or else our model quickly rotated right off of the screen (this was because of the coordinates used to produce the drawing).
The results were actually satisfactory for both the Microsoft Surface using INTEL 5000 graphics (very decent for on-board INTEL graphics) and the NVIDIA GPU running on the HP Envy Series. FPS ranged between 20-30 FPS (24 FPS is standard digital video speed) and our model rotated very naturally. We could not say the same for the ATI graphics on the i3 ASUS. Although still useable, the ISS model flashed between frames on our ASUS-ATI and FRAPS never reported an FPS exceeding 9 frames a second. Performance was noticeable lower than on the other two systems. Movement was "jerky" and poor quality using the ATI RADEON, despite the actually higher CPU clock speed of 2.3 GHz.
In conclusion, hardware does matter. We remind users that progeCAD uses OPENGL hardware acceleration when available. Either NVIDIA or better-quality INTEL graphics prove to supply this. Also i7 CPU seems to help, especially in file loading and other command response times. We were not surprised by these results, as the performance was similar with other OPENGL-based CAD software that we work with here. Should progeCAD users upgrade to Windows 10? ONLY IF THEY HAVE THE LATEST VERSION OF PROGECAD 2016. For more information about OS and hardware compatibility for this low cost AutoCAD alternative or upgrading, contact CADDIT Australia at this link.

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