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AutoCAD 2012 Startup Performance

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

AutoCAD 2012 was released today. In Autodesk’s press release, they claim “faster start times.” In his AutoCAD 2012 in 3 Minutes post, R.K. McSwain says “Generally speaking, AutoCAD 2012 starts up faster than previous versions.”

I really wanted AutoCAD 2012 to be faster, because each new version of AutoCAD feels like it loads slower than the last. A new version that loads faster would be great. Unfortunately, it did not feel any faster, so I decided to runs some tests.

I have a computer with versions of AutoCAD going back to AutoCAD 2002. I used this computer to time the start up sequence for each version of AutoCAD. The tests were run both cold, immediately after rebooting the computer, and warm, after AutoCAD had previously been loaded. I noticed that after using ServiceMax that our computer was working much better.

Update 3/23/2011: Jim Bergmark shared in his AutoCAD 2012 post that AutCAD 2012 has “Faster startups, particularly running Vista or Windows 7 (emphasis added).” The first computer I tested on was running Windows XP x86. I went back and ran the tests on a Windows 7 x64 computer. It only has versions of AutoCAD going back to 2007.

The result: AutoCAD 2012 did not improve start up speed. In fact, AutoCAD 2012 loads slower than AutoCAD 2011.

Here are the results of the tests:

Windows XP x86 Windows 7 x64
Cold Start Warm Start Cold Start Warm Start
AutoCAD 2002 3.25 seconds .036 seconds Not Installed Not Installed
AutoCAD 2004 Not installed Not installed Not installed Not installed
AutoCAD 2005 20.1 seconds 1.82 seconds Not installed Not installed
AutoCAD 2006 20.4 seconds 2.13 seconds Not installed Not installed
AutoCAD 2007 27.6 seconds 2.57 seconds 16.29 seconds (x86) 2.6 seconds (x86)
AutoCAD 2008 27.2 seconds 2.54 seconds 6.4 seconds 1.83 seconds
AutoCAD 2009 36.1 seconds 5.44 seconds 36.7 seconds 7.9 seconds
AutoCAD 2010 34.0 seconds 4.831 seconds 33.2 seconds 5.6 seconds
AutoCAD 2011 34.4 seconds 5.24 seconds 29.2 seconds 5.55 seconds
AutoCAD 2012 39.4 seconds 5.5 seconds 50.3 seconds 3.4 seconds

I put the versions of AutoCAD in groups of three. These groups correspond to similar versions of AutoCAD that were built using a common compiler and use a common DWG file format. Generally, the performance within a group is similar.

AutoCAD 2009 loads significantly slower than 2007 and 2008. This performance decrease is most likely related to the ribbons that were introduced in 2009.

AutoCAD 2010 loads slightly faster than 2009. This slight performance increase is most likely related to an improvement in the ribbon file format.

Going from 32-bit code in AutoCAD 2007 to 64-bit code in AutoCAD 2008 provided a significant performance increase.

If you have AutoCAD 2012 installed, what has been your experience? Is it any faster to load than previous versions of AutoCAD?

Testing Method: The Windows XP tests were run on a 32-bit machine. It has a Core2 2.14 Ghz processor and 2 GB of RAM. Somehow, I never loaded AutoCAD 2004 on it, and I have since lost my install disks for that version.

The Windows 7 tests were run on a 64-bit machine. It has a Core i7 2.93 Ghz processor and 8 GB of RAM. AutoCAD 2007 does not have a 64-bit version, so it was running in 32-bit mode.

For the cold start test, I rebooted the computer, logged in, waited 3 minutes for Windows to load, then ran the test. For the warm start test, I closed AutoCAD after a cold start, then immediately restarted AutoCAD. I ran the cold start test two times and the warm start test three times. The result listed in the table is the average load time of the tests.

To start AutoCAD, I created a batch script that output the time to the command line, then ran acad.exe.

In AutoCAD, I added a Lisp file to the Startup Suite that defined a command to output the current time. I ran this command as soon as possible after AutoCAD loaded. (I typed the command while AutoCAD was loading so that it was queued up and run as soon as the command line would accept input. In many cases, AutoCAD was not very responsive at this point, but it was technically accepting user input.)

In the original post, the AutoCAD 2012 times were for trial versions of AutoCAD. I finally got it registered. This improved the times a bit, but still not as good as AutoCAD 2011 on either machine.

Download the files used to conduct the test. Put the date.lsp file in your Startup Suite. Use the batch files to start AutoCAD. Type a on the command line to print the current time. When testing later versions of AutoCAD, you will have to run this command to get the time that AutoCAD actually finishes loading. The Lisp file includes a reactor that fires after commands are run, but that is not a good judge of when AutoCAD is loaded. There is room for interpretation regarding when AutoCAD is finished loading.

15 Responses to “AutoCAD 2012 Startup Performance”

  1. R.K. McSwain says:

    I used the term “generally speaking”, because I did not do any technical testing of the load times. Using nothing more than a mental count, 2012 did seem to start up faster. There are so many variables that could influence this though. For the record, 2012 warm starts up in ±4 seconds for me.

  2. Faster startups are particularly when running on Windows Vista or Windows 7, not Windows XP.

    Jimmy Bergmark
    JTB World

  3. David Robison (Design Master Software) says:

    Jimmy–thanks for the tip about the OS. I had not seen any previous mention that the faster start times were related to the version of Windows you were running. I’ll run some tests on my Windows 7 machine tomorrow morning and see what I find (it only goes back to AutoCAD 2007 though–I wonder if I could get AutoCAD 2002 loaded on it?).

  4. Jeff Mishler says:

    My laptop times for Civil3D, all with the following palettes set to be loaded but docked and auto-hide: Layer, Xref, Properties, SSM. Cold load, Warm load.

    2010(x86) – 14.4, 14.3
    2011(x64) – 20.3, 15.6
    2012(x64) – 10.2, 7.9

    Sager NP7820 laptop. i7-960@3.20,12gb RAM, 128gb SSD(OS & Programs), 500gb HDD(data), GeForce GTX470M(1.5gb), Win7Pro-x64

  5. David Robison (Design Master Software) says:

    Tried on my Windows 7×64 machine today. I really want to be wrong on this, but it had the same results.

    2011: 29.2 cold, 5 warm
    2012: 63.1 cold, 5 warm

    I am still running the trial version of AutoCAD 2012 because I can’t get activation to work yet. I plan to run another set of tests once I get that figured out and see if that makes any difference or not.

    Like I said, I really, really want to be wrong about this.

  6. David Robison (Design Master Software) says:

    I activated AutoCAD 2012 on my Windows XP machine and Windows 7, then ran the tests again. The activation improved speeds quite a bit, but still not as fast as AutoCAD 2011.

    Given Jeff’s results above and other comments from around the internet, maybe I’m just unlucky.

  7. w64bit says:

    I am really impressed of 2012 startup.

    On XP x64 = Classic View + Visual effects (Adjust for best performance)
    AutoCAD 2012 x64 with Classic View
    i7-950, 12 GB, SSD X25-M 80 GB

    Cold = 6 sec
    Warm = 3 sec

    It is like AutoCAD 2002 (10 years ago).

  8. Javier says:

    I am very dissapointed with peformance with autocad 2012, changing from drawing to drawings is terrible, and often times it does changes, it just flashes the other drawing for a second and switches back to the original drawing. SO FRUSTRATING! alt tabing between drawings is useless, forced to use the old window drop down from menu(hidden by default) or the little preview button at the very button which is slow…

    win7 x64
    core2 quad
    8gb ram
    crucial ssd

  9. VoVo says:

    Autocad MEP 2012

    26 seconds cold, 10 seconds warm

    Win 7 64 bit
    Xeon Quad 2.67
    Nvidia FX3800

  10. arvind says:

    I installed auto cad 2012 on dell precision work station t3500 that’s have config of following
    Windows 7 64-bit license ver
    intel xeon processor 3.20 Ghz
    12 gb ram ,,, 1 TB HDD

    But auto cad 12 aren’t work faster on it
    please tell me the solution for make it faster please replay i am waiting

  11. Jeb says:

    Frustrating it is, specially in opening Huge 3D files. It takes too much time to open, attach, edit, Bind and Render a 3MB Drawing File even I’m using a Desktop Computer with following Specs:

    AutoCAD 2012

    COLD: 32 seconds (without Drawing)
    WARM: 4 seconds (without Drawing)

    WARM: 1 min. 39 sec. (with 3MB DWG File)

    WARM: 12 mins. 39 sec. (with 17MB DWG File)

    Dell Optiplex 790,
    Windows 7 Ultimate 64Bit
    Intel(R) Core(TM)(New Generation)i5-2400
    CPU@3.10GHz 3.10GHz
    4.00GB RAM with
    2x2GB Graphic Card

    I also find it hard to work and manuver drawings in realistic view such as rotate, move, copy, mirror, etc. most specifically in rendering ivews… even in 2d wire frames its does not show big difference with its speed…I was wondering if is there any way or any downloadable software that will help me enhance the speed performance of my ACAD2012 or a Speed Booster may be… I really need suggestion guyz, please advice me… Here is my office email:

    Best Regards,


  12. PatMoe says:

    Is there anything that can be done in the configuration to make it start faster?

    I am automating it with a VB6 application and it takes forever to start up. It sometimes gets to the point that it times out and completely fails.

    Are there any know issues with automating AutoCAD 2012? I am also having quite a bit more problems on my test computer which is a Virtual PC running XP.

    Any input?


  13. David Robison (Design Master Software) says:

    I’m not sure what changes can be made to improve start up speed. All our programming is in Visual Lisp or ObjectARX, so I can’t help with VB6. I’m not terribly surprised you would have more trouble on your Virtual PC instance of AutoCAD.

  14. EsMiNick says:

    Im using Civil 3D 2012 64bits on windows 2008r2. AMD A6-3650 (@3.2Ghz) with SSD samsung470 256gb and RAM is 16gb 1600mhz.
    Cold start 42s
    Warm start 28s
    Terribly slow for the warm stat!

  15. EsMiNick says:

    Replacing my SSD system drive by a 200gB 7200rpm hard disk -5 years old- gives 23s warm boot for civil 3d 2012. I might have misconfigured something in the SSD system.

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