Processor cores and SOLIDWORKS Finite Element Analysis (FEA)

There’s a lot of information out there regarding the usefulness of multiple core processors for Finite Element Analysis (FEA) in SOLIDWORKS. So what is the optimum number of cores?

There’s a lot of information out there regarding the usefulness of multiple core processors for Finite Element Analysis (FEA) in SOLIDWORKS Simulation.

So what is the optimum number of cores for FEA? Let’s take a look…

There are some areas that do and do not benefit from utilising multiple processor cores. Take a look at this table:

SolidWorks Multiple Cores FEA Table

As you can see, not all areas of the software benefit from having multiple cores/processors. The areas that don’t benefit are linear processes only. There are some areas that do benefit, but there is a limit.

SolidWorks Simulation FEA Multiple Cores 1
Image 1 – Mutliple Cores/CPU’s vs. Solution time

*The numbers on this graph are for illustration purposes only.

 

The graph above illustrates the convergence between the number of cores and the solution time of the study. This explains that, after a certain point, the number of cores has little or no significant impact on the solution time. This is due to the communication time between the individual cores; the more you have, the longer the time taken to communicate and therefore the longer the solution time. Please note that SOLIDWORKS Simulation doesn’t benefit from hyper-threading either.

In summary it is advised that the number of cores is limited to a maximum of 8 for maximum hardware usage.

Tip: A good rule of thumb when choosing hardware is to choose faster clock speed over quantity of cores!

Another technique that can also help to utilise multi-core processors within SOLIDWORKS is to manually assign cores to the SOLIDWORKS process, as seen in the Image below. This can be done through the task manager, located on the ‘Details’ tab as seen in Image 2. Next, right-click on the SLDWRKS.exe and select ‘Set affinity’. This then presents you with a window where the number of cores required can be assigned to that process. After this has been done, ALL of the rest of the processes listed here need to be set accordingly to not use the cores that have been assigned to SOLIDWORKS. This then allows those cores to be solely used by SOLIDWORKS. By default each process will be assigned to all the available cores.

SolidWorks Simulation FEA Multiple Cores 2
Image 2 – RMB>Set Affinity

 

SolidWorks Simulation FEA Multiple Cores 3
Image 3 – Processor affinity window

 


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