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How to Turbo Charge AutoCAD Plant 3D! by Jason Drew

This article explains how to configure a RAM disk for use with AutoCAD Plant 3D. The purpose of the RAM disk is faster access rates for project and catalog/spec data. Plant 3D reads the project database and catalogs often as you’re  working on models, so loading them into memory increases the performance in general (hard disk access times are much slower than physical system memory.)

The article is intended for power users and should only be attempted after creating backups of your current Plant 3D catalogs and projects.

Before attempting to use the RAM disk configuration, please note the pros and cons:

Pros
• Mouse wheel zoom operates faster
• Opening and saving drawings operates faster
• Running filters on the catalog information is much faster (shorter pauses between applying and removing filters)
• Increased performance with Data Manager (filtering, sorting, etc.)

Cons
• This setup only applies to single user environments (the RAM disk is a local, virtual drive.)
• The RAM disk uses a portion of your system memory
• System RAM is volatile, meaning if you lose power, changes would be lost since the last disk image save. (This isn’t as much of a factor for laptops or systems with UPS battery backup.)

RAM Disk Configuration

1. Download the RAMDisk software from Dataram’s website (free version, up to 4GB) @ http://memory.dataram.com/products-and-services/software/ramdisk
2. Install and configure the RAM disk
1 GB is sufficient for the default P3D catalogs and one small project
2 GB is optimal if you have additional system memory available

RAMDisk Configuration Utility

The recommended settings for “Load and Save” is to load the disk image at startup and save disk image on shutdown. Note, this will add some additional time to startup and shutdown of Windows, or when going into hibernation mode.

RAM Disk Config Step 2

3. Copy your current Plant 3D catalogs to the RAM disk. The default location of the catalogs is “C:\AutoCAD Plant 3D 2011 Content”
4. Modify the Windows registry and change the entry pointing Plant 3D to the new catalog location

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Autodesk\AutoCAD\R18.1\ACAD-9017:409\P3dContent

ConfigFilePath REG_SZ
P3dContentRootPath REG_SZ

Registry Edit

Existing projects should work fine from either the hard disk or stored on the RAM disk. With the registry path updated, Plant 3D will find the spec parts from the catalog(s) at the new RAM disk location.

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About the Author

About the Author: Dave Tyner is a 3DS Max 2013 Certified Professional working as a visualization artist for one of the worlds largest EPC firms. dave@davetyner.com @davetyner3D www.davetyner.com .

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  1. Konstantin says:

    Hi!
    Is this tip useful if i have SSD? As I’ve understood, this tip is for 32bit system, right? And the last question: Can this tool harm my system anyway or affect the other programs? Thanks in advance and sorry for my English :)

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