Performance Issues AutoCAD 2014



  • Having an issue with a client's machine. Dell Precision T3500. Has 12GB of RAM (6x2GB), an Intel Xeon W3505 2.53GHz and an nVidia Quadro 2000 GPU with 1GB. Runs Windows 7 Pro SP1 x64. The issue we are having is that when the user is using AutoCAD 2014 and doing 3D work, be that rendering or modeling, they experience lags or have their cursor drag. Now the initial thought was the GPU. That card, by nVidia's website, is designed specifically for CAD work. I for several days ran logs against the card while the user worked. Used GPU-Z and logged to the IT share. Never even capped 300MB of usage and I don't believe the GPU load ever even hit 50%. Therefore, I can rule out performance issues with the GPU. What this leaves me is wondering where the hangup is. 12GB of RAM pretty much rules out a memory issue unless there is a leak somewhere. I believe the processor is only a dual-core so that could be it but I haven't been able to log that.

    My other thought is that something is beginning to fail on the hardware side. That would seem weird as it's really only with the 3D portion of AutoCAD that this occurs.

    What I've tried:

    • Updated the graphics card drivers to the absolute latest version from nVidia's website
    • Lowered the color bit from 32 to 16. I've seen this fix delay issues and the human eye can only see 16-bit anyways so there is no visual quality difference.
    • Obviously I logged but that showed no issues.
    • There was a major update to AutoCAD that I installed.
    • Ran a repair and reset on AutoCAD.

    The user continues to let us know that the issue keeps persisting.

    What I haven't tried:

    • Dell support recommended flashing the BIOS. I think it's already up-to-date because I think I did this before but I will confirm.
    • A complete rip and re-install of AutoCAD. Trying to avoid that if at all possible.
    • Replace the GPU. Although I don't think this is the issue, I haven't tried a different one.
    • Generating a new profile for the user. The user was just brought on so this shouldn't be an issue but I have not tried a profile rebuild.

    Dell Support has asked us to run their Dell Diagnostics. As the machine was in use, I was not able to do that so we are going to kick it off tonight and work on it in the morning. I personally have never been impressed or had much faith in any manufacturer's onboard diagnostics (with the exception of a few HP machines) so we'll see if that turns anything up. If we determine nothing hardware wise is wrong, which I am starting to think it may just be AutoCAD, then I'll do a rip and reinstall of CAD.

    In the meantime, any other thoughts would be awesome!



  • Could it be disk I/O? Does the box have a SSD, or is it 5400 / 7200 RPM?



  • As per @ajstringham who is onsite right now:

    Has a 500GB SATA that I believe is 7200RPM but not sure. Has a data drive that's a 250GB. I don't believe that's an SSD and it's not being used at all. I thought about an I/O issue but haven't had a chance to benchmark it yet. Machine is only two years old. Could it be a 5400RPM? Possibly. I doubt it though. But I can't give you a definitive answer at this point. The inventory doesn't show the specs on the drive so I'll have to get back to you.


  • As per @ajstringham who is onsite right now:
    A.J. Stringham
    Has a 500GB SATA that I believe is 7200RPM but not sure. Has a data drive that's a 250GB. I don't believe that's an SSD and it's not being used at all. I thought about an I/O issue but haven't had a chance to benchmark it yet. Machine is only two years old. Could it be a 5400RPM? Possibly. I doubt it though. But I can't give you a definitive answer at this point. The inventory doesn't show the specs on the drive so I'll have to get back to you.
    3:55 PM

    I looked at the BIOS version and it's on A13. Dell's website gives the latest as A17. I looked through each of the newer versions (A14, 15, 16 and 17) and the only thing that would even be remotely relevant is there is an enhancement of optimize high I/O performance in the setup menu of Dell. So I will flash the BIOS tomorrow and see if that helps but based on the release notes I don't see that being the solution.


  • I would agree a BIOS flash probably will not fix it long term, but I am curious to see what happens. I don't suppose there's a chance you have a spare SSD lying around to test with just to see what happens...?



  • CAD apps in general are CPU and Memory intensive apps. If you also have a slow HDD, that could also cause problems.



  • @minion-queen You should look in the RMM for hardware details and performance graphs.



  • You know, another common factor that is often overlooked (and may get you a funny self-righteous reaction from the designer) is that bad design practices are being used, which is causing an issue with the rendering. I see this all the time in my support duties at Theorem.



  • @NetworkNerd said:

    I would agree a BIOS flash probably will not fix it long term, but I am curious to see what happens. I don't suppose there's a chance you have a spare SSD lying around to test with just to see what happens...?

    I'm lucky if I have Optiplex 260s laying around most of the time. A spare SSD?

    As the greatest TV show to ever air has had said "Surely you jest"
    CharlesEW3.jpg



  • @Bill-Kindle said:

    You know, another common factor that is often overlooked (and may get you a funny self-righteous reaction from the designer) is that bad design practices are being used, which is causing an issue with the rendering. I see this all the time in my support duties at Theorem.

    Possible. I'm not sure. I honestly don't know enough about CAD. I used to do good work in CAD but that was 5 years ago.



  • Do you have a way to test the RAM? Maybe one of the DIMMs is going south.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @minion-queen You should look in the RMM for hardware details and performance graphs.

    Spiceworks gave me the hardware details albeit not the HDD details outside of size and available space. Was trying to setup perfmon to monitor and log the data from my machine but that utility is not user-friendly at all and gives me all kinds of information I don't care about and none of what I need/want.



  • @katie I've thought of that but I have not run a memtest yet. Another member was supposed to start the built-in Dell Diagnostics before he left for the day. I don't have much faith or generally much use for those but we'll see what they turn up come tomorrow morning.



  • What did Autodesk support say? I believe that they have access to support with their license level. You should definitely check with the software vendor, as they are more likely to have seen similar issues than Dell support.



  • @Dominica said:

    What did Autodesk support say? I believe that they have access to support with their license level. You should definitely check with the software vendor, as they are more likely to have seen similar issues than Dell support.

    I have not called them yet. What I will probably do tomorrow, if they do have support, which would make sense, is call them and work with them before I call Dell back. If Autodesk can't help me fix it then I move on back to Dell. Like I said, I did try a repair and reset. Only thing I haven't done is a full rip and reinstall.



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