Since the release of SOLIDWORKS 2015, there have been a lot of questions surrounding hardware requirements, optimal RAM, video cards and more. To ensure you are always working with a SOLIDWORKS supported and optimized system use these tips from the Alignex technical staff. Though these recommendations are a good starting point for spec’ing out a SOLIDWORKS machine, it is always a good idea to conduct your own hardware/software tests before purchasing any workstation, computer hardware, or video card for SOLIDWORKS.
What is the most important factor in the day-to-day speed of SOLIDWORKS?
The most important ingredient in your computer that affects the day-to-day working speed of SOLIDWORKS is the clock speed of the processor. It is more important than graphics cards (unless you have a non-certified one) and more important than the amount of RAM (unless you have an amount under the recommended). So, if your choice is between a 2.6 Ghz Xeon or a 3.6 Ghz Core i7, pick the 3.6 Ghz Core i7 every time.
What operating systems does SOLIDWORKS support?
As of 2015 no more 32 bit OS’s are supported.
- Windows 7 Professional x64 – Supported and Preferred
- Windows 8 Professional x64 – Supported
- Windows 7 Home – Not Supported
- Windows 8 Home – Not Supported
Vista Business x64 SP2– Not Supported
- XP x64 – Not Supported
- 32 bit Windows – Not Supported
How much RAM is needed to run SOLIDWORKS?
A good starting point for entry level workstations that can handle basic parts, assemblies, drawings is 8 GB. The next step up to 16 GB is where most regular duty CAD workstations are at, at this time. Finally, workstations that have to handle very large assemblies (and their drawings) or complex simulations are using 32GB.
What type of video card is recommended?
The most important thing to consider for a video card is that you have a certified card—one tested and approved for the version of SOLIDWORKS you are using.
Buying a “high end” graphics card won’t benefit you very much in day-to-day work in SOLIDWORKS.
To find a certified video card and driver combinations for your version of SOLIDWORKS, visit http://www.solidworks.com/sw/videocardtesting.html.
What type of hard drive is recommended?
SSD’s (Solid State Drives) have come down in price and increased in storage capacity. Other than getting the fastest CPU you can buy, this is the second most important factor for day-to-day speed increase. If an SSD is not in the budget then make sure that the hard drive you buy is 7200 RPM SATA minimum.
What type of CPU is recommended?
Current generation Intel—as fast as you can afford.The Intel i7 Haswell series are the newest and fastest CPU’s today. SOLIDWORKS will take advantage of multi core and multi CPU architectures up to a point. Anything over 4 cores is usually overkill unless you are doing a lot of rendering or advanced simulation.
Are there any guidelines for purchasing a laptop?
Here are THREE laptops that have the certified graphics cards for SOLIDWORKS.
- Dell Precision mobile workstations
- HP EliteBook mobile workstations
- Lenovo Thinkpad W series
What about benchmarks?
SOLIDWORKS has created a benchmark to gauge system performance. http://www.solidworks.com/sw/support/benchmarks.htm
See what other SOLIDWORKS users have for hardware and their performance to make a better informed decision http://www.solidworks.com/sw/support/shareyourscore.htm
Written by The Alignex Team
The Alignex Team of application engineers combined their depth of experience and industry knowledge to bring you the contents of this article.