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Dassault Systèmes launched the initial version of SOLIDWORKS 2019 late last year, but with the recent release of SP1, we expect that customers will soon be using it in production environments. In preparation for that, we have tested the field of current Intel Core and Core X series processors to see how they compare across a wide variety of tasks within SOLIDWORKS. For this round of testing, we stuck with Intel chips only, since AMD Ryzen and Threadripper testing in past years didn't look great, though we may re-test with their 32-core another time.
Test Hardware and Methodology
To see how these different CPUs perform in SOLIDWORKS 2019, we used the following configurations:
|Motherboard:||Gigabyte Z370 AORUS 5||Gigabyte X299 Designare EX|
|CPU:||Intel Core i7 8700K 3.7GHz
(4.7GHz Turbo) 6 Core
Intel Core i5 9600K 3.6GHz
(4.3GHz Turbo) 6 Core
Intel Core i7 9700K 3.6GHz
(4.9GHz Turbo) 8 Core
Intel Core i9 9900K 3.6GHz
(5.0GHz Turbo) 8 Core
|Intel Core i7 9800X 3.8GHz
(4.5GHz Turbo) 8 Core
Intel Core i9 9900X 3.5GHz
(4.5GHz Turbo) 10 Core
Intel Core i9 9940X 3.3GHz
(4.5GHz Turbo) 14 Core
Intel Core i9 9980XE 3.0GHz
(4.5GHz Turbo) 18 Core
|RAM:||4x Crucial DDR4-2666 16GB (64GB Total)||8x Crucial DDR4-2666 16GB (128GB Total)|
|GPU:||NVIDIA Quadro P6000 24GB|
|Storage Drive:||Samsung 960 Pro M.2 PCI-E x4 NVMe SSD|
|OS:||Windows 10 Pro 64-bit|
|Software:||SOLIDWORKS 2019 SP1|
The tests conducted on these systems were originally developed by my colleague here at Puget Systems: Matt Bach. He put together a series of AutoIt scripts that run through testing a variety of the capabilities in SOLIDWORKS, so rather than reinvent the wheel I used his. Only minor updates were needed to bring the scripts up to speed for SW 2019, but we did take this opportunity to add a more demanding flow simulation test provided by a contact at Dassault. He described it as a "Conjugate Heat Transfer Airflow" model, but I'm just calling it our "benchmark simulation". It is run at three different mesh sizes, to see if that has any impact on performance scaling.
Each test was run three times on each CPU, with the fastest (lowest time) of the three used for this article. We didn't have any significant outlier results and saw very little variance between runs, so we opted for this method over an average of scores. The results are broken up into their own graphs below, along with a chart showing the raw data, and followed by our analysis and conclusion.
Here are graphs for each of the tests we conducted – click to enlarge – along with a chart of the raw result times for each processor:
There are two fairly clear trends in the chart and graphs above. The features we have tested in SOLIDWORKS 2019 fall into one of two categories: those that benefit primarily from clock speed and those which instead scale with core count. File opening, rebuilding, motion study, and some of the simulations (stress and thermal) fell into this category. Rendering is much faster with more cores, though, as were the rest of the flow simulation tests (both normal airflow and conjugate heat transfer airflow models).
It is worth noting that we also tested assembly rotation performance across these CPUs, but didn't bother presenting graphs because they all performed within a fairly close spread – with no more than about 10% difference across various files and different view settings. That isn't surprising since rotation is mostly single-threaded and these CPUs all have max turbo speeds in the 4.3 to 5.0GHz range.
It is tricky to show overall relative performance when different aspects of an application behave differently, but if we break things down into features which seem to depend on clock speed versus those which scale well with core count, it can shed some light on things:
Based on that summary, and the full data shown in previous charts and graphs, it looks like the best CPU for general SOLIDWORKS usage (outside of rendering and some types of simulation) is the Core i9 9900K. No surprise there, I suppose, since it is the fastest mainstream processor Intel has made yet. The i7 9700K isn't far behind and is viable if you need to save some money.
On the other hand, if flow simulations or rendering are a bigger part of your workflow, then you may find it worthwhile to invest in a Core X series processor instead. Nothing below the Core i9 9900X will be useful, though, and even that processor is only a little bit faster than the 9900K for twice the price. The higher core count models are where performance really pulls ahead of the more mainstream chips.
If you are looking for a workstation for SOLIDWORKS, we have recommended systems for both general usage and rendering below.
Puget Systems offers a range of powerful and reliable systems that are tailor-made for your unique workflow.