File Loading Times


PowerCADD seems to take a little longer to open files compared to other applications, why?


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PowerCADD performs several types of error checking when opening files. This error checking is there to ensure the integrity of the drawing database and includes, among other things, checking for small objects which can cause problems with the file. There are also other factors outside of PowerCADD which can contribute to slow performance when opening a drawing including :

  • type and amount of drawing content: for example drawings which make heavy use of Shadow Attributes can slow down opening times as the preview is built off screen before presenting the drawing window
  • processor speed
  • bus speed
  • hard drive speed
  • file fragmentation on the hard drive
  • amount and type of Cache (e.g. L1 or L2 cache)
  • applications which may be running the background (grabbing processor time)
  • RAM? fragmentation (particularly in OS? 9 and to lesser degree in Mac OS X)
  • excessive amounts of Virtual Memory allocated in OS 9
  • the amount and type of RAM installed (relative to age/type of processor / system architecture)
  • speed of video board processor and amount of VRAM?

If files are being opened over a network then there are many other considerations which come into play ranging from how the network is configured to the type and configuration of the server and how many users are simultaneously accessing the server.

Another consideration is the type of data in the PowerCADD drawing, in particular when comparing loading speed with an AutoCAD file on a WinTel box. To generate a relative “head to head” comparison, the total file size needs to be considered and the types of objects in a file. An example would be a PowerCADD file containing raster graphics which will increase the loading time of a PowerCADD file. Translating the same AutoCAD drawing into PowerCADD, then performing a comparison may yield a closer relative comparison but factors noted earlier must also be considered.

Comparing PowerCADD drawing loading times to MS Excel or Word files is like comparing apples and oranges. The higher level object geometry contained in a PowerCADD file is more file overhead (larger file sizes) than basic text associated with an Excel or Word File?. In this case, the physical difference in file size is likely enough to reflect a considerable difference in file loading times.

What To Do?

Nothing can be (nor should be) done to reduce the error checking PowerCADD performs and in the long term a few extra seconds in opening is offset in increased data safety and overall faster drawing production.

Opening a file which is in one contiguous location on a drive verses fragmented over multiple locations will not only decrease file loading times but also increase overall system performance. Running disk utilities such as Disk Warrior, Tech Tool Pro or Drive X (for OS X systems) to de fragmenting the hard drive can help (note we don't recommend Norton Utilities).

Mac OS X users may also find performance increases by running the Disk Utility Application : Repair Permissions routine. Problems with the Permissions File can adversely affect overall system performance including file loading times.

In both Mac OS X and OS 9.x systems, a system restart will address RAM fragmentation and can increase performance (decrease file load times). This is not unique to PowerCADD but rather is an OS level Memory Management issue.

Clearly faster processors, more cache, faster hard drives, faster bus speeds and other hardware improvements are more costly but can increase performance. Still, looking at simple systems maintenance such as hard drive de-fragmentation and RAM management are less expensive and easy methods to tweak any system.

We hope you found this helpful and if you're looking for more tips on how to tweak performance in PowerCADD 7 check out this section of our PowerCADD 7 Learning Center.

We hope that helps

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