My faithful, circa 2009, Personal Confuser is ailing, so I’m in the market for a replacement PC. (Besides, most of the last two Economic Stimulus payments from the government is still sitting in the bank.)
If I expect that KiCAD will be a significant application on the new machine, what specifications and features should I look for? I haven’t paid a lot of attention to computer innards since the days of the Pentium 100, though I recall a long and enjoyable run with Win2K on a 900 MHz slot-Athlon processor - a combination that was supposedly made for each other.
I know, there is “System Requirements” page. Frankly, the machine described there is . . . . ummm . . . . out of date? Anemic? Unimpressive? KiCAD is in the process of dropping support for WIN7, but I’m not sure the machine described on that “System Requirements” page can effectively run Windows 10. Perhaps that page should say, “KiCAD will install and run on any computer that runs the Win10 OS, or a Linux system less than 15 years old.”
But what hardware helps KiCAD run well? REALLY well? For example:
Which is more important - clock speed, or core count? I see core counts from 4 up to 64 (!), and clock speeds from 2.5 GHz up to 4.1 GHz. What is the most threads KiCAD uses? Would a 50% increase in clock rate improve performance if only half as many cores are available?
They say more memory is always better, but does KiCAD reach a point of diminishing return when it comes to added memory? Everybody seems to have at least 8GB. I can’t imagine going with less than the 16GB I currently have, but would the additional cost of 32GB be better applied to upgrading some other resource?
Solid-state drives (SSD) are undeniably faster than mechanical hard disk drives (HDD). How is their long-term reliability? Over the last 15 years, I recall personal experience with only 2 failed HDD’s - one, a coworker, and the second in a server at work. Over that same time I have tossed out at least half a dozen flash-memory drives.
And on the subject of storage . . . . is it better to have one large drive, or several smaller drives? All identical, or a mix of SSD and HDD? How would you allocate the resource - OS and swapfile on the fastest? Application programs on the slowest? Which drive gets the data files?
Given the current insanity around video cards, I intend to live with the (very) low end card I currently use to drive my dual monitors. I can be patient for a year. Or two. I’m not going into a bidding war with the gamers over a video card costing more than a motherboard and CPU! Aside from OpenGL 2.1 (an ancient level of performance), what does KiCAD like to see in the video subsystem?
Thanks for your thoughts and guidance on these topics!