Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS is arguably the worlds leading product design tool for engineers. With a wide range of features purposefully designed to enable professionals to take their ideas and get them ready for manufacturing. At every stage of the product development cycle, whether it is 2D / 3D Design, Electrical Design, Simulations & Analysis or creating 3D visualisations of the final product, SOLIDWORKS has the tools you need.
Having such a wide array of tools makes SOLIDWORKS a compelling piece of Software that can be tricky to establish what computer hardware is best to run it on. SOLIDWORKS is incredible, but without the correct computer Workstation to back it up, the user experience will suffer, and it will massively affect your productivity.
We have identified how to optimise performance levels of crucial SOLIDWORKS tasks. In this article, we discuss how you can get the most from your next SOLIDWORKS Workstation. So let’s jump into what you need to know.
Processors with many Cores and Threads have become very popular over the last few years. For the right users, this can be fantastic however, SOLIDWORKS is largely single-threaded, meaning it generally runs better on a Workstation with fewer fast cores. We highly recommend the latest AMD Rzyen and Intel Core processor ranges to our customers using SOLIDWORKS for modelling due to their exceptionally high clock speeds.
On the other hand, tasks other than 3D modelling within SOLIDWORKS, such as rendering, analysis and simulations, use many more cores. If you regularly perform these types of tasks, you may be interested in multi-core processor options such as AMD Ryzen Threadripper or Intel Core-X. These solutions are exceptionally well balanced, capable of performing both single-threaded and multi-threaded workflows effectively.
System Memory / RAM:
It is crucial to find the right amount of Random Access Memory (RAM) for you. Data usage grows larger as your projects incorporate more parts and features. Well optimised SOLIDWORKS Workstations need to have enough RAM to load your entire project into memory. By not doing so, your system will start saving data back to your slower storage drive to compensate, which dramatically reduces performance. Keep in mind that tasks such as simulation may also require even more memory.
To avoid performance issues due to insufficient memory, we highly recommend configuring SOLIDWORKS workstations with at least 16-32GB for general users and 64GB+ for extensive projects.
Graphics Card / GPU:
Deciding which graphic card is right for you is also essential. Should you go for a professional NVIDIA Quadro RTX or AMD Radeon Pro graphics card? Professional graphics cards are highly optimised to work with SOLIDWORKS, and certain features will only run on them. ‘Gaming’ graphic cards (like NVIDIA GeForce RTX or AMD Radeon RX work, however, they will likely cause graphical glitches and make some features of the application such as Realview Graphics inaccessible.
NVIDIA Quadro RTX and AMD Radeon Pro are great graphics card options for SOLIDWORKS users. These graphics cards have high capacity onboard memory, and they run off of drivers specifically optimised for SOLIDWORKS. Dassault Systèmes fully ISV (Independent System Vendor) certify these graphics options to guarantee strong performance and high levels of stability within SOLIDWORKS.
For SOLIDWORKS Visualize users, we recommend NVIDIA graphics. Visualize is built upon the proprietary NVIDIA CUDA technology meaning that AMD based cards are not compatible. Furthermore, for maximum performance configuring your system with as many cards as possible is highly recommended. AMD Ryzen Threadripper Workstations are the ideal choice for SOLIDWORKS Visualize users thanks to its high clock speeds for modelling and supporting up to 4x GPUs for rendering.
Storage / SSD:
Solid State Drives (SSD) are more expensive than traditional Hard Disk Drives (HDD), but many SOLIDWORKS users now opt for these storage options as standard. SSD’s are incredibly beneficial when loading projects, saving files and launching applications. Replacing a HDD with an SSD could be considered as an upgrade option to your existing computer infrastructure.
We recommend our customers install their operating system, applications and project files onto an NVMe SSD to maximise performance. The fantastic read and write capabilities of these drives offer users the very best performance available today. If costs are a bit too high for your budget, then a SATA based SSD will also provide fantastic performance. Finally, if you’re not using an Enterprise PDM server we advise configuring a secondary HDD for cheaper bulk storage of project files.