The specification of your hardware needs to be at a recommended level In order for SOLIDWORKS to run effectively. This post explains what to look for when buying a new machine, and also provides a recommended specification level for use with SOLIDWORKS.
Complex models and drawings in SOLIDWORKS will require more RAM (Random Access Memory) in order to load effectively. This applies mainly to the size of datasets that need to be loaded when using the software. If a machine runs out of memory the load time for files can increase drastically, due to hard drive caching.
Ensuring the amount of RAM in a machine is sufficient for the typical size of datasets is important. Running regular, data-heavy Simulations, for example, increases the need for RAM, because large amounts of data typically needs to be loaded during calculations.
- Minimum amount of RAM recommended by SOLIDWORKS: 8GB
- Level recommended by Innova Systems for effective use of the software: 16GB
- If running Simulations or working with very large datasets consider at least: 24GB
SOLIDWORKS Requires a professional graphics card which runs the OpenGL engine in order to function correctly (such as the Nvidia Quadro range of cards, and the AMD FirePro range). SOLIDWORKS has been known to run on “gaming” graphics cards which use DirectX (such as AMD Radeon and the Nvidia Geforce card ranges), however users may experience frequent graphical glitches and features of the software like Realview Graphics won’t function.
If working with visually complex models (such as models with large patterns, or lots of textures) SOLIDWORKS will require a graphics card with a large amount of on-board memory. A good graphics card is one of the most important elements for running SOLIDWORKS efficiently, however it is important to make sure there is an effective balance between Graphics Card and CPU. A high end graphics card will not be able to run effectively if paired with an entry level CPU.
It is also very important to make sure that the Graphics driver software is supported for use with SOLIDWORKS. This can be checked by opening SOLIDWORKS RX in the start menu, and going to the Diagnostics Tab, the Diagnostics results will show if the driver is out of date. A button will allow the download of a supported driver, if available. SOLIDWORKS do their own graphics card testing, not using a certified driver has been known to lead to graphical glitches within the software.
- Level of onboard Memory recommended by Innova Systems for effective use of the software – 4GB
Modern processors comprise of multiple cores within a single chip. However SOLIDWORKS is predominantly a single core application – the rebuilding of models is a linear process, because of the design tree within a model. Due to this users will find it is more effective to buy faster processors with fewer cores.
However some processes in SOLIDWORKS do use multiple cores, like the opening and rebuilding drawings with multiple views. Rendering will also use multiple cores and will run effectively with eight or twelve, you will see these appear as squares over the preview when rendering. Running simulations will also use more cores – most efficiently with two or four cores. Benefits above this level diminish. If running these features frequently consider getting a processor with more cores.
We try to recommend the latest Intel i7 or Xeon processors to our customers so they can handle a large range of features within SOLIDWORKS. Hyper threading can be turned off in the bios in accordance with the use of the software – this will reduce the number of cores. Turbo boost can also be turned on to improve the performance of one of the cores.
When it comes to a choice of Hard Disk Drive (HDD) it is recommended to choose a fast HDD (7200RPM or above) or a Solid State Drive (SSD) is also an excellent choice. The Hard Drive used on a machine can sometimes be the limiting factor for performance if the speed is too slow. A lot of the Applications Engineers here run SSD to allow their SOLIDWORKS files to load at their fastest level. However SSDs are typically more expensive, so it really depends on the budget.
Our recommended PC hardware for SOLIDWORKS
Recommended Desktop: Dell Precision T5820
Processor – Intel Xeon W-2123 3.6GHz, 3.9GHz Turbo
OS – Windows 10 Pro x64
Graphics – NVIDIA® Quadro® P3000 6GB
Memory – 16G 2666MHz DDR4 RAM
HDD – 1TB 3.5inch Serial ATA (7,200 Rpm)
Monitor – Dell UltraSharp U2412M 61cm (24″) LED
Recommended Laptop Dell Precision M7720
Processor – Intel Core i7-7700HQ (Quad Core 2.80GHz, 3.80GHz Turbo)
Graphics – Nvidia® Quadro® P3000, 6GB GDDR5
Memory – 16GB 2400MHz DDR4 SDRAM
HDD – 256GB 2.5″ 7mm SATA Solid State Drive Class 20, MPWS