This paper presents a comparative study on two different direct parallel solution strategies for the linear solution of large scale actual finite element models: global and domain-by-domain. The global solution strategy was examined by utilizing the parallel multi-frontal equation solver, MUMPS , together with a finite element program. In a similar manner a substructure based parallel solution framework  was utilized for investigating the domain-by-domain strategy. Various large-scale structural models were solved with both solution strategies in order to illustrate the efficiencies and weaknesses of each solution strategy. The test runs were performed on a homogeneous PC cluster composed of eight computers connected with an ordinary 1 GBit network switch.