Monday, 30 September 2013

Kill Visual Basic for Applications for Autocad 64 bit

Autodesk is trying for years to get people to start translating their vba to a dot.net language

Recently I was asked by a client to come and check their hardware because performance was bad. It turned out that a generic ICT provider had setup two machines for them. They asked me to optimize them and see whether I could make some improvements.

Since this were machines meant for Autocad I like to use the test from Cadalyst. http://www.cadalyst.com/benchmark-test

When I first ran the test on the machines it took 55 minutes on one machine. This surprised me quiet a bit because it wasn't bad hardware at all. I did notice that the machine seemed to hang on creating arrays. Eventually it completed the array. 

3D
Next I update the driver to a certified driver. This gave some very interesting results. First the test completed now in 46 minutes. That's almost 20% performance improvement. That's very nice but of course I wanted to know where was this performance improvement realised. The interesting part is that the 2D performance suffered from the certified driver. The improvement for 3D was so much that it easily compensated for the 2D loss. All the 3D test were faster than without the driver but it differed from a minor 1,07% gain up to 36,59% faster. The 3D realistic visual style seems to benefit the most. Strangely enough you would think that one visual style would aways be faster than another. This is not the case it differs per drawing. After making a simpel ranking system it showed that Hidden lines is the fastest, next conceptual,than 3D wireframe and last Realistic.

2D
The 2D test are interesting as well. Here I see performance changes from -39,19% to +52,82%. One drawing completely destroyed the chance for a decent score.

CPU
The scores for CPU also changed. That suprised me a bit because you would think that a videocard driver has nothing to do with the cpu. Every tested drawing gained performance from 1,89% up to 14,79%.

Disk
Again we see that the videocard driver also influences performance for Disk interaction. Here the results start from -18,18% up to +13,71% 

Although happy with the improved performance I wasn't quiet happy with the score. Looking around at the system I ran into VBA.... Suddenly a memory triggered my mind of another system 2 years ago that came to a complete standstill because of the vba enabler. I asked the people there what do you use it for? Do you have some legacy programs that need to run. Since they could think of one I de-installed the vba enabler.

After de-installing I ran the test again. Now the test completed in 17 minutes...
That's a nice 323% performance improvement. Therefore the title of this blog: Kill Visual Basic for Applications for Autocad 64 bit.



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