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Optimize Your Hardware for SOLIDWORKS 2016

The Alignex Team on January 5, 2016 at 3:47 PM

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Since the release of SOLIDWORKS 2016, 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 3.8 Ghz Core i7, pick the 3.8 Ghz Core i7 every time.

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What operating systems does SOLIDWORKS 2016 support?

  • Windows 10 Professional, 64-bit – Supported and Preferred
  • Windows 8.1 Professional, 64-bit – Supported
  • Windows 7 Professional, 64-bit – Supported
  • Windows 8.0 Professional, 64-bit – Not Supported
  • Windows 10 Home – Not Supported
  • Windows 8 Home – Not Supported
  • Windows 7 Home – Not Supported 
  • Vista Business, 64-bit SP2– Not Supported
  • XP, 64-bit – Not Supported
  • 32-bit Windows – Not Supported


Check out our SOLIDWORKS System Requirements compatibility charts to see a complete list of supported products.

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 cardone 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 Skylake 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. 

  1. Dell Precision mobile workstations
  2. HP EliteBook mobile workstations
  3. 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

For a more detailed look at what's compatible with your version of SOLIDWORKS, check out our SOLIDWORKS Hardware & System Requirements compatibility charts.

Plus, don't forget to subscribe to the Alignex Blog to get content like this delivered straight to your inbox.

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