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Mathijs Kok

Running demanding simulations on laptops

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One of the most important things a support department has to do is to see patterns. Sometimes they are hard to spot but the information gathered is very important. This one WAS hard to get, and IS important.

See more and more customers complained that the simulation ran fine for a while and then slowed down or did things wrong, crashed etc.The pattern we (or to be precise Jon, our Spanish/Portuguese support lead) detected was that this was always on laptops. Laptops that should be able to run the sim fine. Then the light bulb appeared over our heads. It's heat. The GPU and CPU of these laptops have to work very hard in these sims. The laptop heats up, the overheat protection kicks in and throttles down the system. This reduces the resources available for the software, and on some hardware this sudden 'hardware' change also causes the software to malfunction.

Heat dissipation on laptops is always difficult and the quieter (often higher end!) the laptop the bigger the problem. So when you buy a laptop make sure it is able to run high CPU/GPU loads without problems. A 3.4 Ghz CPU is fine, but when your CPU starts to run at 1 Ghz after just a few minutes of simulation you are in problems. So do not read the hardware specifications without this in mind.

Of course laptops designed for gaming do not behave like this.

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