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Dec 08, 2005


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Ralph, maybe you should conduct some real tests, seeing as that you're one of the few independents in this whole thing. It'd be intresting to find out how much was marketing BS and how much was truth. Maybe you could even get the SW publishers to pay you to do it.

Tony Tanzillo

"I recall a competitor of Autodesk showing how slowly AutoCAD ran in comparison to their own product. I knew AutoCAD shouldn't run _that_ slow and quickly determined that high-speed redraws had been turned off: every view change, every pan, every zoom took an agonizing regeneration."

What's good for Autodesk, is good for its competitors. Perhaps you recall the AutoCAD R13 DOS verses AutoCAD R14 Windows performance evaluation that CADENCE Magazine did?

In case you didn't, Autodesk configured the R13 DOS test case with the "VESA SVADI Display Driver", which was created soley because a certain publication would not review DOS AutoCAD without a generic VBA display driver that came in the box (I was told by one of the founders - there was no other reason for creating the driver).

The aforementioned SVADI driver was so painfully slow that virtually no one used it, and that was mainly because just about every video graphics card available at the time shipped with a bundled ADI display list driver (supplied by a variety of vendors such as Panacea; VMI and others).

The reality was that R13DOS was between 2 and 10 times faster (depending on the operation) than R14 Windows, when R13 DOS was used with a bundled display list driver.

In spite of that, and because of the use of the non-display list SVADI display driver that effectively crippled DOS AutoCAD, CADENCE was able to make R14 for Windows appear to be competitive with R13 for DOS when in fact, it was not even close.

Evan Yares

Once upon a time, we had a friend, Joe Greco, who did comparitive reviews of MCAD programs. Joe passed away unexpectedly just over a year ago. (see this article)

No one has taken-on the role in the industry that Joe had.

I don't know that performance is the same issue as it used to be. Oh, I'm probably one of the most rabid performance freaks in the entire CAD industry, but I think that most users find their system performance "adequate."

It's the users who push the bounds with their softare -- for example, building multi-hundred part assemblies -- who find performance to be inadequate. For them, the performance of any of the top-selling CAD products is inadequate. I dare say, it will remain so.

Knowing how software is developed (hey, I've got a cool job -- I get to work with hundreds of major league software developers), I understand that, if it's a choice between fixing *core* performance problems, or adding new functional capabilities, there is no choice. Functional capabilities win every time.

Why? Because core performance problems can't be fixed without going beyond mere refactoring, and actually rearchitecting the heart of an application.

As much work as is apparent that has been done by both SolidWorks and PTC on their main CAD applications, it's not apparent to me that either of them (or, for that matter, any of their competitors) have been willing to undertake a full-blown core rearchitecture project.

(I hope my Architect friends will forgive me for verbifying a perfectly good noun. Sadly, we live in neological times.)

Joe Dunne

My, hasn’t PTC fallen far from the leader they used to be in the 90s? The only thing this shows the integrity of PTC. Or lack there of.

Suffice to say that when this report was conducted 2-3 yrs ago, PTC was clearly shown it was bogus. Each “test” showed either a deliberate misrepresentation, lack of training, or both. Just take 2 simple examples:


Even Joe Greco published a rebuke of the same tests and procedures in Cadence mag.

The results are no more surprising today than they were then.


Joe Dunne

Mike Volpe

Ralph -

Interesting stuff... It is funny to see how things have changed in the 10 years since SolidWorks has been shipping product. SolidWorks has gone from a completely new company to the industry leader targeted by Autodesk and PTC marketing. I am confident that if you ask typical users familiar with most CAD products that they will generally say that SolidWorks is the best at helping them get the job done and that SolidWorks users design the best products in the world. None of this other stuff matters.

- Mike Volpe


None of my customers that have switched from Pro/E want to go back!

D Seero

Those of you designing square boxes full of lots of holes, call the PTC sales staff TODAY!

Gar Smyth


In the interests of full disclosure, I work for PTC. I would like to join our friends from Solidworks in this blog - Joe Dunne in Competitive Intelligence and Mike Volpe in Marketing - to add my 2 cents for what its worth.

Surprisingly, Ralph, we did NOT pick the models!! Solidworks did!! Our benchmark is a repeat (plus some) of a test that Solidworks did vs Pro/ENGINEER where they claimed Solidworks was 32% faster. Surprised at these big bold claims (and suspecting loaded dice in the original test), we repeated the test just using Pro/E basic functionality (in our $5K mid-range package, Foundation Advantage).

Lo and behold, Pro/ENGINEER screamed it, as every Pro/ENGINEER user knew it would - and that is where our 17x metric, etc. came from. So we published the results. We published the methodology. If Solidworks want to challenge them publicly, let us know the time and place. Oh, and the 7-fillet geometry test that we also did – Solidworks can now do 4 from 7. Almost there!!

And I reiterate Donovan’s call for an independent voice – keeping the vendors honest is good for the industry.

Regards, Gar Smyth, PTC


One can devise a gazillion of superficial tests to find out EXACTLY which softwer is better. As an user of both software I feel there is no EXACT answer.
SW is sexy, superior for smaller tasks, way more user friendly. Get one BIG level higher, to asseblies consisting of 1000's pieces, and enter the other side of USER FRIENDLY mantra... Nightmares, in short. Assy's crashing, drawings take hours just to open, another hour or so just to modify ONE dimension. Talk about productivity? Zero.
Pro-E is rigid, unforgiving, relentless. For smaller tasks, you'll find it dull, almost nazi rigid. But once you get everything sorted out, once you build as it is prescribed by strict rules, just Al-Qaeda with Bin Laden clean shaven and with bleached hair can cause mere blinks...

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