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Installation Installation, licensing and hardware issues

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Old 01-17-2014
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Default Companion to the Recommended Minimum System Requirements

The post below was updated May 17, 2017 to mirror the most recent content found on Answers. For the most up-to-date discussion regarding FlexSim’s hardware requirements, please see this article on Answers.

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This article complements the Recommended Minimum System Requirements found on FlexSim’s product pages (FlexSim and FlexSim HC). We’ll go over each of the major components, discuss their importance to a FlexSim model, and make recommendations to help you decide on the right hardware for your situation.

[h2]CPU[/h2][h3]Single Instance Run[/h3]A single run of a FlexSim model (ie not an experiment or optimization run) is single threaded, therefore in this case increasing the core count of your processor won’t do as much as increasing your processor’s single core clock speed (gigahertz, or cycles per second) or efficiency (instructions per cycle). For the fastest individual model runs, you want the fastest processor possible, regardless of the number of cores.[h3]Experimenter or Optimizer - Multiple Simultaneous Instances[/h3]When you’re doing multiple simultaneous model runs using the Experimenter or Optimizer, FlexSim takes advantage of multiple CPU cores. FlexSim spawns as many instances as you have cores; for instance, a Quad core processor enables four single-threaded simulation runs to process simultaneously, one on each core, getting you results four times faster than by using a single core processor at the same speed/efficiency.[h3]Conclusion[/h3]If you’re primarily doing single simulation runs, choose a faster processor speed regardless of the number of cores. If you’re primarily doing experiments, choose a processor with a high number of processing cores. If you’ll be doing both, choose a processor that strikes a good balance between core speed and core count.

[h2]Memory[/h2][h3]Considerations[/h3]A 32-bit Windows operating system can have up to 4GB of RAM. A 64-bit operating system is able to use much more, up to a theoretical maximum of 16 Exabytes (that’s a lot!). Practically speaking, today most retail computer systems have a cap of 16, 32, or 64 GB, and Windows 10 itself is capped at 2TB.
Your computer is always doing many other things besides just running FlexSim. Your operating system itself has memory needs for all the processes it is constantly running. You probably have an antivirus, maybe a backup software, and often other utilities running invisibly in the background. Then there are the other applications you have open - your email, a web browser, music streaming, etc. All of these are consuming RAM.
As you plan your FlexSim hardware, be aware that you should have enough RAM to run all these other applications, plus your FlexSim model, plus have a good amount of extra RAM as a buffer.[h3]FlexSim’s Requirements[/h3]Although rare, some large and complex models can hit 4 GB of RAM utilization, meaning that a 32-bit system will turn sluggish as it runs out of memory and begins paging out to disk for its memory needs (which is orders of magnitude slower than RAM). Most single instance runs of FlexSim simulations will come in well under 4GB, but it all depends on your simulation and data.
A FlexSim system should have 4GB of RAM as a minimum. Ideally you will have a 64-bit system with at least 8GB of RAM or more. Most modern systems meet this recommendation.[h3]Experiments and Optimizations[/h3]Experiments and optimizations run several instances of your model simultaneously, so make sure you have enough total memory in your system so that each FlexSim instance can hit its upper memory needs, while still having memory left for the system and other running applications (OS, antivirus, other background processes).
Example: I’m using the Experimenter and I have a quad core CPU. A single run of my FlexSim model uses up to 2GB of RAM, so I need to make sure that I have at least 8 GB (2 GB RAM x 4 threads = 8 GB) of free memory for FlexSim alone, plus an additional buffer of 1-2 GB for whatever else my system is doing (OS, antivirus, other background processes) to play it safe. This will give me the best performance for my particular needs. Your memory needs may be more or less, depending on your CPU core count (number of simultaneous FlexSim instances), the memory needs of your simulation models, and the memory demands of other applications and background processes.[h3]Conclusion[/h3]Many modeling scenarios will operate under the 4 GB RAM threshold of a 32-bit system. If your simulations are large or complex, or if you intend on running experiments or using the optimizer, consider using a 64-bit system and upgrading your RAM to 8 GB or more.

[h2]Disk[/h2][h3]Space Requirements[/h3]The FlexSim installer may be up to 4-500MB in size because it includes both 32- and 64-bit installation files. After installation, the FlexSim install uses about 400MB of disk space. Your model files, CAD layouts, images, custom 3D shapes, import data, exported reports, and other simulation related assets that you provide will take disk space in addition to the software’s 400MB footprint.[h3]Disk Speed[/h3]Most FlexSim models will run from memory, so hard drive speed isn’t really an issue. However, if you’re reading/writing with files/databases while the model is running, disk speed can absolutely make a huge difference; a Solid State Drive (SSD) would be a must in that case. Alternatively, try to do reading/writing before and after the simulation run, if possible.
FlexSim recommends SSDs in general because they make every interaction with your computer feel faster and more responsive. You won’t regret an upgrade from a regular, spinning hard drive to a SSD.[h3]Conclusion[/h3]Consider upgrading your hard drive to a SSD if you will be reading or writing to files or databases during a model run, or to generally improve system responsiveness.

[h2]Graphics[/h2][h3]Recommended Graphics[/h3]The better/newer/bigger/faster the graphics processor, the better the performance. Integrated graphics (Intel) have gotten much better in recent years, but standalone graphics (Nvidia, AMD) remain the most powerful graphics solution.

FlexSim works best on Nvidia GeForce GTX cards, but Nvidia Quadro, AMD Radeon, and AMD FirePro are also good solutions. A newer Intel HD or Iris graphics solution will work, but in general it will not perform as well as a discrete graphics card.[h3]Graphics Driver Updates[/h3]It is also important to note that you should keep your graphics drivers updated to the latest version. If you have a compatible graphics card but are experiencing graphical issues in FlexSim, a driver update will often solve the problem. Please check out this article for some common symptoms and solutions.[h3]Virtual Reality[/h3]FlexSim supports the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive virtual reality platforms. VR platforms require the latest and most powerful graphics, like Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 10 series (1060, 1070, 1080), which work great with FlexSim.[h3]Conclusion[/h3]While integrated graphics such as Intel HD/Iris will work with FlexSim, a discrete graphics card is a better choice. For maximum performance, FlexSim recommends a recent NVIDIA GeForce GTX.

Last edited by Ben Wilson; 08-11-2017 at 11:37 AM. Reason: Link to modern version of this info at Answers. Updated to mirror current info at Answers.
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