Sponsor Spotlight: Time for a Tune Up

November 30th, 2010

During its lifespan a workstation undergoes a number of changes and each one impacts worker productivity. Upgrades to the OS, upgrades to memory, new software applications, new utilities, wear and tear, and so on can all affect how the workstation performs. Keeping things running optimally through all these changes is the purpose of the HP Performance Tuning Framework (PTF).

HP’s Performance Tuning Framework harnesses HP’s extensive expertise in workstation technologies and its close partnerships with applications providers and technology companies to yield a suite of utilities that simplifies the set-up, maintenance, and management of your HP workstation. PTF is powerful and efficient - many functions that previously required specific research and training such as optimizing graphics performance and managing memory are whittled down to simple mouse clicks.

Sometimes the latest driver is not the greatest for you

Optimizing graphics performance yields a great boost in performance when done correctly. It can speed up rotations, on-screen model movement, rendering, smooth out animations, reduce or eliminate "hang ups" and rendering stalls, and generally improve the stability of your workstation. But there is more to optimizing graphics than just installing the latest driver available for your OS and the graphics card. Drivers are set up around certain expectations parameters, and what may work well with one application or set of applications may cause issues with others.

Now it is possible to research all the drivers available for your workstation and graphics card and you can check to see which ones work best with your various applications and then crosscheck all the lists to find the best compromise. This can take hours or even days, depending upon your particular workstation and the applications installed. You may also not get it right the first time. But if you have an HP workstation, it will only take a couple of minutes.

With an HP workstation, you can just fire up the Performance Tuning Framework pre-installed on the machine and bring up the graphics driver page. At the click of a mouse, PTF checks driver certification information against HP's library of drivers and compares them to the applications on your workstation to identify the best tested and certified driver for your applications. HP PTF turns a long, arduous and sometimes hit-and-miss process into a simple push-button exercise, saving the administrator hours of labor and significantly improving the user's performance and productivity.

Memory and system resource management made simple

Memory management is also a potentially sticky issue, but critical when working in an engineering or high-end design environment. Under optimal conditions we would all be working on 64-bit platforms with maxed out physical memory. Alas, no, most of us are still working in 32-bit where anything over 4GB installed in the slots is just a waste of money thanks to the built-in limitations of the 32-bit environment. The HP Performance Tuning Framework helps you make the most of your memory in both 32-bit and 64-bit environments through the utilities on the Resource Usage page.

32-bit users often run into memory issues related to the 2GB chunk of physical memory that the OS wants to keep to itself, leaving the user with only 2GB (roughly ) of the maximum physical memory to allocate to their applications. While this is no sweat for office applications, large engineering design files and models can easily top this allocation. Virtual memory becomes critical, but can be problematic, and anyone who regularly works with files at this edge of 32-bit capability is well acquainted with the hang ups and "out of memory" crashes that can occur.

It is possible to reserve a bit more memory for your applications in 32-bit environments, and instructions for accessing almost 3GB of physical memory are available, but there is significant opportunity for inadvertent errors that can cause even more trouble than out-of-memory errors. With PTF, enabling large memory access is a matter of a mouse click - literally. PTF makes the necessary changes without worry and gives you the extra kick you need to run those larger files.

The Resource Usage page also provides utilities to help you learn how your applications and processes are using physical and virtual memory and view the results in an easy-to-use, color-coded format. Identify the system memory required to achieve maximum productivity and avoid excessive disk paging. Monitor memory usage with Capacity Meters and avoid costly freeze-ups when the memory limit is reached.

Each of these utilities can save a tremendous amount of time for the user and the administrator when system tuning and optimization becomes desirable, saving hours of time researching and implementing solutions. The real payoff, however, comes in the productivity boosts experienced by the user. Seconds saved here and minutes saved there in smoother rendering, modeling and animations, add up into hours of productivity each week and days of additional productivity each month. Each crash or hang avoided by better resource utilization can save hours of valuable time for users and IT administrators, and it comes free of charge on all HP workstations. If it isn't on your HP workstation, you can download it free.

For more information on how The HP Performance Tuning Framework can improve your workstation’s performance and your productivity, click here.

To download The HP Performance Tuning Framework for your HP workstation, click here.

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