Saturday, 15 September 2012

Building a Computer and upgrading to OpenSUSE 12.2

Slightly offtopic.

Despite returning home over the past two weeks, my computer has been ill. It suffered from complete system crashes, which became apparent when making a video and compiling FreeCAD. I thought this was a memory problem because it was happening in Linux and Windows.

I decided that for 5 years, my computer has served me well through College and three years of University on heavy CAD and FE simulations and it was time for an upgrade.

I've been an Intel user all my life. Looking at the prices of i3-i5 processors, I didn't think they were worth it. I got marginal performance over my quadcore Q6600 for £100 spent. I decided instead to brave a new world of AMD. I purchased a 6 Core FX 6100 with 12mb cache, 8GB DDR 3 Memory and a Motherboard for £175. I consider that a bargain.

Setup was straightforward and I was upgraded within an hour. Windows worked fine after updating and so was OpenSUSE 12.1. I decided to do a live upgrade to 12.2 following these instructions This took a good two hours to find for some reason, but the process went very smoothly unlike terrible experiences I had with Ubuntu derivatives in the past.

Compiling FreeCAD:

Whilst upgrading, external repositories had to be removed. To my suprise FreeCAD nearly compiled straightaway. All the FreeCAD dependencies are now included in the default repo: I just had to include swig, python-qt4

# install needed packages for development
sudo zypper install gcc cmake OpenCASCADE-devel libXerces-c-devel \
python-devel libqt4-devel python-qt4 Coin-devel SoQt-devel boost-devel \
libode-devel libQtWebKit-devel libeigen3-devel gcc-fortran git swig

OpenSUSE 12.2 automatically installed python3-devel but this needs to be removed to successfully compile FreeCAD. We are hoping that we will update FreeCAD to use this with the successive 0.14 release.

FreeCAD now compiles blindingly fast: under ten minutes for a full compile and my system stays responsive in the background.

What will be interestesting next is to profile FreeCAD on so many cores. 


  1. Hey Luke,

    I just purchased a new PC because mine was 5 year-old too and I was getting fed up with it. Unlike you I've had 2 AMD-based PCs since 2004 and decided to go back to Intel this time with an i5 quad-core CPU (even if I paid the "Intel premium").

    I'm wondering how you're compiling FreeCAD. Are you doing only "cmake ." and "make"? Doing that only one core is used on my PC, I'd like to use at least 2 maybe 3 cores to reduce compiling time to minimum.


  2. Never mind, just found it in your "Help Test FreeCAD" link. Doh, should have thought of reading that!

    Going to test...

    1. 04:35 for a full compile with make -j4. Sweeet! :-D