Author Topic: what makes a good circuit simulation computer?  (Read 1450 times)

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Offline dentaku

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what makes a good circuit simulation computer?
« on: March 17, 2016, 01:00:32 pm »
What would someone look for in a computer for running circuit simulations?
Obviously it depends on the software you're using but from the simple Circuit Wizard (which I still think is great) to the old and ugly but still very useful, like LTSpice, to bigger stuff like Multisim and Proteus/Isis, is number of cores, threads and clock speed all that matters?

It's no like a gaming machine where you pretty much just get the best video card you can afford or a musician with a low latency audio interface.

I know it's a weird question but I'm curious.

 

Offline AlessandroAU

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Re: what makes a good circuit simulation computer?
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2016, 01:19:33 pm »
Depends how much the software makes use of multiple cores. As far as I am aware none of those will make use of the GPU so that is irrelevant.

Honestly can't see any of those programs using more than 4 cores. Someone else correct me if I am wrong, but with video rendering being the exception parallelism on modern software is still terrible.
So I don't think a Server (Xeon) CPU would be beneficial.

If I were building a new machine I would grab a high end intel i7, most likely the 6700K. Give it 16GB of DDR4, add an aftermarket cooler, push the clocks up to around 4.2-4.4GHz and call it a day.
You'd be hard pressed to beat that performance significantly without spending 3-4x more.
 

Offline f5r5e5d

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Re: what makes a good circuit simulation computer?
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2016, 01:49:55 pm »
the LTspice Yahoo group has threads/commentary on the processing power/sim speed

I believe it has used multiple cores for some time now
 

Offline dentaku

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Re: what makes a good circuit simulation computer?
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2016, 08:20:48 am »
the LTspice Yahoo group has threads/commentary on the processing power/sim speed

I believe it has used multiple cores for some time now

Yup, I just checked and it looks like LTSPice has been had multi core support since at least 2008.
Oh well, it's all just a lot of math so you just throw as much CPU at it as you can afford.
 

Offline grouchobyte

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Re: what makes a good circuit simulation computer?
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2016, 08:43:43 am »
LT spice is excellent. I've used them all over the decades back to the very early days of BerkleySpice. Simple thing to keep in mind: no cpu can keep up computationally if you throw a huge number of nodes at it and if it can't converge on an expected result. Keep your sims simple and break them down to the simplest elements. Do multiple sims to validate a design or break it into small parts as you would do in a real hardware endeavor.

Remember, its not the size of the tool or the power of the tool, its how you use it.
However, that said, it wont matter in the final analysis anyways because you are working with virtual components that rarely exist in reality, so your result will be flawed in some way or other.  Sim tools are like aspirin or pornography, they do little to help or address root cause but are very handy at times. Lecture is adjourned. :) :)
« Last Edit: March 18, 2016, 11:48:53 am by grouchobyte »
 

Offline ovnr

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Re: what makes a good circuit simulation computer?
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2016, 08:59:03 am »
LTspice is wonderful, but while it has a multithread setting, it's not very good at using it; I just tried, and it only hit a single core with any significant load.

You'll likely be better off with a few fast cores vs a lot of slow cores.
 


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