10 Replies Latest reply on Nov 25, 2013 4:28 PM by yu.yanfeng

    Expedition Performance Unsatisfactory; How to Improve?


      I'm not happy with the performance of Expedition. I recently got a new computer, with some decent stats, and you'd think I'd be zooming around Expedition. Know this forum is about Graphics hardware, but the combination of all the components matters. Here is what I have:


      2 x Xeon E5-1620 @ 3.60 GHz

      16 GB DDR3

      Win7 x64

      SSD Hard Drive

      NVIDIA Quadro 4000


      I've tried the OpenGL setting in Expedition, but my performance did not increase at all.


      What are your performance expectations? How have you increased performance?

        • 1. Re: Expedition Performance Unsatisfactory; How to Improve?



          There are a huge number of variables and use cases specific to performance.  This group is specific to graphics performance and it appears your graphics card is one of the ones effected by the NVIDIA Quadro driver issue.  This issue has a big impact on the interactive performance of the system since graphics updates tie directly interactive usage.


          In general it’s best to quantify the use cases where the performance is unsatisfactory.  Here are some general areas we measure performance within engineering:


          • Startup ->  Time it takes to open Expedition PCB on a PCB Design

          • Reload ->  Time it takes to reopen the design off disk based on a change like Setup Parameters

          • Constraint Load-> Time it takes to update Expedition PCB based on constraint changes in CES

          • Interactive Performance ->  Time to manipulate objects interactively

          • Automatic Routing ->  Performance to Auto Route a design

          • Batch DRC ->  Performance to batch validate a design as an engine

          • Save ->  Time it takes to save a design to disk

          • Forward Annotate ->  Time it takes to load schematic changes into the design

          • Exit ->  Time it takes to close the product

          • And many other use cases we monitor and measure


          Also you need to consider things that can effect performance


          • Graphics hardware/driver – We see issues like are being discussed on the graphics hardware/drivers forum

          • Network Performance – Can have an impact specific to load/save performance

          • Location of design data being operated on – Local / network drive

          • Location of iCDB Server on network – Local, LAN or WAN

          • Location License Server – Can effect startup performance

          • User Layer graphics – Tons of unneeded DXF or Imported Gerber user layer graphics can effect performance.

          • TrueType Fonts – Vector Fonts will provide best graphics performance

          • Display Transparency / Patterns - Without OpenGL and good graphics hardware / drivers these advanced features can effect performance


          In the end it will be difficult to help you optimize and increase your performance without narrowing down the use cases that are unsatisfactory and some environmental conditions.



          Jerry Suiter

          Product Marketing Director Expedition

          • 2. Re: Expedition Performance Unsatisfactory; How to Improve?

            As design get more big and more complicated, all layout systems shall get slow down whatever you use ExpeditionPCB,Allegro or CR-5000.  However, We find all layout systems still have good performace except DRC check if you have a machine with 8G RAM, 3.0+ Duo core CPU, entry-level Graphics card with 512M VRAM. Our boards are about:


            ~90K pins

            ~16K Components

            ~20K nets, 60%+ constrainted with matching length etc


            ExpeditionPCB normally consumes 2X memory than Allegro, but Expeditionpcb have better performace than Allegro in aspects of dynamics planes generation, interactive/auto routing etc.DRC check takes very long time or failed both in Allegro and ExpeditionPCB.


            The big issue of current layout system be the capacibility of supporting big data, perforamce is the second.



            • 3. Re: Expedition Performance Unsatisfactory; How to Improve?

              Hello Jerry,


              as we also stumbled over this driver issue, can you please tell a little bit more about the 'NVIDIA Quadro driver issue' ?


              Our solution was to use a different card because the version from MG582007 did not help here (but for another PC): although the HW is slower, the EXP experience is way better: not usable -> really ok.



              Also this information is hard to find on SupportNet:  e.g.search for 'recommended video driver' or nvidia' does not give the wanted result. Even MG25609 does not have a link to the above MG582007- it still states 'use the latest driver'.


              Some cards are listed at EE7.9.4 help: http://supportnet.mentor.com/docs/201304031/docs/htmldocs/mgchelp.htm#context=planner_gd&id=151&tab=0

              or release notes EE7.9.5:


              http://supportnet.mentor.com/docs/201303047/release_docs/EE7.9.5_rh.pdf   What's the difference between those URLs?




              • 4. Re: Expedition Performance Unsatisfactory; How to Improve?

                From my experience, the NVidia 276.xx drivers seem like the latest Quadro driver with the best Expedition performance.



                The "SUPPORTED PRODUCTS" tab shows that the Quadro 4000 is supported for this version.



                *****UPDATE***** 8/20/2013

                From my testing, the latest NVIDIA Quadro driver (320.49) can be used if the "Workstation App - Dynamic Streaming" global display option is set. This is giving me better performance than the 276.xx driver. More info on this setting can be found in this thread (Thanks Jerry): http://communities.mentor.com/thread/12566?tstart=0

                • 6. Re: Expedition Performance Unsatisfactory; How to Improve?

                  Sorry for being vague. Thanks for the response. I'm assuming my problems are in rendering and displaying the board in Expedition. Scrolling side-to-side is not too bad, but zooming is jerky and slow. I'm not sure how to most easily communicate how many layers I'm looking at, but, if I am looking at basically the top layer with components (relevant oultines, borders, part graphics), that is how I am gauging the performance.


                  I've only found one setting so far that really improved performance, and that was to deselect the Display Patterns group in the Display Control. I turned groups off one by one to see if performance improved, and this was the only setting that helped. Even though nothing was checked in that group, it removed the fill from pads and some other graphics, and I probably got a 1.5x - 3.0x mouse zoom speed improvement.


                  I think what I am looking for are hints and tips like this that can improve performance. I shouln't have to turn off Display Patterns, I would hope, given the performance of this machine for other CAD applications. As a rough reference, my 4 year old Linux machine running Expedition draws faster than on this high-end Windows machine. Changing the Display Patterns in Display Controls seeming has no effect on the performance for the same board.

                  • 7. Re: Expedition Performance Unsatisfactory; How to Improve?


                    I had something likewise, delays with zooming in and out. I tried what Jerry suggested at  http://communities.mentor.com/thread/12566?tstart=0

                    This helped me a lot!



                    • 8. Re: Expedition Performance Unsatisfactory; How to Improve?

                      Hi Filip,


                      Contrary to my initial post, I've found that OpenGL has improved my performace when I am using Display Patterns, but the Dynamic Streaming did not seem to help, at all.

                      • 9. Re: Expedition Performance Unsatisfactory; How to Improve?

                        Hello Yanfeng!   Would you be so kind as to tell me the size of the design file you reference with 90K pins, 16K components and 20K nets?   We have a design that has less pins/components/nets than you do and the size of the design file is 1GB in size.   Is this your file size experience also or is our designer not doing something to minimize the design?  Thank you!

                        • 10. Re: Expedition Performance Unsatisfactory; How to Improve?

                          Due to Expeditionpcb data constructure, the total files size be varied from hundred MB to thands MB, but the .lyt file(layout data) or .gdt file (plane data)normally not exceeds 100MB.  ,I guess file size is not an issue for performance