AutoCAD Civil 3D 2013 - More Raw Performance

Tags performance, 2013, Civil 3D, profile, alignment

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Frankly, I was More than a bit surprised Autodesk decided to go with the “2013” moniker for the release. Were you? If Autodesk is not going to be superstitious, we shouldn’t be either. 
Should we be afraid? Not at all.

Loads of AutoCAD Civil 3D 2013


Autodesk continues to follow the 3-year dwg platform upgrade cycle. So yes, the AutoCAD 2013 release platform includes a new .dwg (drawing database) format change. The new AutoCAD 2013 dwg and display engine produces some significant performance boosts for us all inside AutoCAD Civil 3D 2013. It helps a lot with AutoCAD Map 3D 2013 Feature styles too.

For Civil 3D users the dwg format change should hardly matter at all. We already live in the yearly release cycle world of the Civil 3D Features. AutoCAD Civil 3D 2013 even has some new Features of its own. I’ll talk More about the new Pressure Pipe Features in another upcoming post. In fact, there will be an entire series of posts about the new Civil 3D 2013. Ya see - I wrote the upcoming AUGI WORLD article about the new AutoCAD Civil 3D 2013 this year. I had lots of rooting around to do. What Fun!


Your experience of AutoCAD Civil 3D 2013’s performance will vary based on whether or not you run in 64-bit and Windows 7. There will be a 32-bit version but I say, ”Walk away from 32-bit”. Pay attention to the published requirements and recommendations, but they have NOT really changed. Good News.  I employed an older machine with generic video that met the bare minimum 64-bit hardware requirements to test and review betas of the software. The RTM (Release To Manufacturing) build was not available when this post was written.

The New 2013 Performance Experience

The new 64-bit release noticeably outperformed the 2012 release on the same machine with the same data everywhere. Whoa.

AutoCAD Civil 2013 is, in a word, “Brisker”. After you’re all set up and initialized for the first time, you will notice the shorter load time. You’ll have to find another time for the On Load trip to the coffee pot.  The 2013 release of Civil 3D makes it harder to find any of break times during the day.

Our Civil 3D projects often have lots of interconnected drawings and Civil 3D Features. That’s what a Managed Dynamic Model is all about. You’ll notice that loads of Data Shortcuts and opens of any data reference Features (DREF) and external references (XREF) drawings will be faster. They sort of pop up all in a rush on drawing open instead of trickling in like they often do in 2010-12. Opens of the actual references are faster too. Smile.

Faster to the Features

A Civil 3D 2013 Profile View

The core Civil 3D Features of Surfaces, Alignments, Profiles, Corridors, and Pipe Networks all load faster. We all know that “Displaying contours” routine for surfaces. Sorry, don’t get too excited. Lots of surface labels still take time – but less time than before.

In past releases, a lot of us ALWAYS turned off Automatic Rebuilds for Corridors and Surface Features to shorten our initial drawing load times. You didn’t? The performance improvements for the core Features in 2013 may make this less an issue on the same hardware.  That’s nice.

Are You Smiling Yet?

Another frequent Civil 3D user complaint has been in and out of data in text formats - formats like LandXML . The data coming in was often painfully slow and an UNDO afterwards was equally painful. In and out text format issues mostly go away thanks to 2013’s faster native handling of object creation, storage, and display in the new 2013 dwg. A big UNDO isn’t a whole lot better though.

Survey Imports into Survey databases are faster. Civil 3D 2013 also includes the newer Infrastructure Modeler (.IMX) import and export hooks right in the Ribbon.

The AutoCAD 2013 display engine is noticeably faster. Visual Styles and screen rendering of almost all of Civil 3D’s Feature Style representations (Plan, Profile, Section, etc) are faster. Those release 2012 interface changes are probably worth another go around if you didn’t like them much before on less than super hardware.

A Test Drive in Civil 3D 2013

You can think about looking at things from multiple new perspectives without the fear of major time lost to regen. We also have more performance tuning capabilities and control inside Options in 2013 too.

A Better Download and Install Experience

Many of us will get the new software delivered via download. Autodesk improved on the download performance and the user experience of the “Download Manager”- it probably deserves and may even get a new name by RTM.

The 2013 platform download and install experience will be different.  As of this writing, minor changes were still being ironed out. Read the instructions before punching any buttons to get and install your download. Civil 3D 2013 is an even bigger beast. You should expect about 7GB of uncompressed installation files and a compressed download of around 40-50% of that.

Installs and deployment creation were both faster processes from my point of view. Both Storm and Sanitary Analysis 2013 (SSA) and Sub Assembly Composer 2013 (SAC ) can be optionally installed along with de facto latest Design Review for AutoCAD 2013. The installation and deployment configuration process isn’t significantly different from 2012. Both are cleaner and easier to understand.

Is That a Grin?

Next time – AutoCAD Civil 3D 2013 Corridor Muscles