SOLIDWORKS 2020 SP5 AMD Ryzen 5000 Series CPU PerformanceWritten on December 17, 2020 by William George
TL;DR: AMD Ryzen 5000 Series Performance in SOLIDWORKS
AMD's Ryzen 5000 Series processors are fantastic in SOLIDWORKS! These new chips continue to impress, and definitely take the performance lead in most aspects of this application. Intel's 10th Gen Core models aren't too far behind in general usage, and for a lot of folks doing strictly part and assembly design it would probably be hard to tell the difference. If you run a lot of simulations or do a bit of rendering, but not enough to justify the cost of a Threadripper, then the new Ryzen chips are definitely the way to go.
The one downside with these CPUs is that they have been in very short supply during the months following their launch in late 2020. We look forward to offering these AMD Ryzen processors in our SOLIDWORKS systems soon, once their availability improves.
AMD's Ryzen 5000 Series processors have shown stellar performance across a wide range of applications so far, and now we have the opportunity to test them head-to-head against Intel's Core series in SOLIDWORKS 2020. For a long time, Intel's lead in single-threaded performance has kept them at the forefront of general engineering work, while AMD has been chipping away at high-thread-count workloads like rendering and simulations. With their latest Ryzen models, however, AMD has taken the lead in instructions-per-clock and rivals Intel in terms of clock speed as well, so let's see how that affects real-world processing in this popular engineering software.
Our in-house SOLIDWORKS benchmark suite covers performance in modeling, rendering, and simulations. In the past we have found this application to vary greatly in how it uses the CPU, with some functions being single-threaded while others are able to use all the cores effectively - and, of course, a spread of behavior in-between those extremes.
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Here are the detailed specs of the test platforms we used:
Our SOLIDWORKS benchmark suite was originally developed by one of my colleagues 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, which I have updated and added to over the years. I have been aided in that process by the help of many readers who have suggested changes, provided additional files for testing, and more. I have done my best to cite their contributions in past articles as they were integrated into our benchmark. The results are broken up into individual graphs below, grouped by general usage, simulation, and rendering - and followed by our analysis.
Results & Analysis
Here are galleries of the results from our SOLIDWORKS testing. AMD Ryzen processors are shown in green with Intel's Core CPUs in blue:
In this first set of data, we can see that all five of the tested processors are fairly close when it comes to starting up SOLIDWORKS itself as well as saving files; both show a spread of less than a second. Opening files is a little more stratified but without any clear winner. However, when it comes to file rebuilds and motion studies the new AMD Ryzen chips have a clear and substantial advantage! It is worth noting that the file we test rebuilding on is artificially complex, in order to make the process take long enough to see substantial differences between CPUs, so most SOLIDWORKS users would be looking at much shorter rebuild times in their day-to-day work.
In the past, we have sometimes looked at the CPU's impact on part and assembly manipulation, but that is primarily limited by the video card rather than the processor. For performance data on that, check out our SOLIDWORKS 2020 SP1 GPU performance article.
Simulations in SOLIDWORKS come in many varieties, and in past tests with a wider range of processors have shown equally varied performance across different CPUs. In this comparison, however, AMD's new Ryzen 5000 series is a pretty clear winner. All three models we tested beat both of the Intel chips, except in the largest simulation where the 8-core Ryzen 7 5800X fell slightly behind the 10-core Core i9 10900K. That fits with past results as well, where we have seen higher core counts become more important as the complexity of simulations increased. Looking back at those previous articles, though, it looks like these new Ryzen processors should beat, or at least match, any other CPUs currently available when it comes to running simulations within SOLIDWORKS! The only limitation these models have in this regard is the limit of 128GB of memory - which is far more than any of our benchmarks require, but could potentially be a constraint with real-world workloads.
CPU-based rendering tends to scale very well across multiple threads, so PhotoView 360 is a place where high core count processors really shine. Naturally, then, the 12- and 16-core Ryzen chips beat out Intel's Core models which don't support as many simultaneous threads. Interestingly, though, the 8-core Ryzen 7 5800X also beats out Intel's 10-core i9 10900K... showing that AMD's new CPUs are quite fast per-core to make up for that difference.
While AMD's Ryzen 5000 Series is very good here, the higher core count Threadripper models we've tested in the past are even better for dedicated rendering systems. If your primary pain point is waiting on PhotoView 360, or another CPU-based rendering engine, it might be good to look at some of our rendering workstations rather than our SOLIDWORKS-optimized systems.
Are AMD's Ryzen 5000 Series processors good for SOLIDWORKS?
Yes, AMD's Ryzen 5000 Series processors are fantastic in this application! These new chips continue to impress, and definitely take the performance lead in most aspects of SOLIDWORKS. Intel's 10th Gen Core models aren't too far behind in general usage, and for a lot of folks doing strictly part and assembly design, it would probably be hard to tell the difference. If you run a lot of simulations, though, or do a bit of rendering (but not enough to justify the cost of a Threadripper) then the new Ryzen chips are definitely the way to go.
The one downside with these CPUs is that they have been in very short supply during the months following their launch in November of 2020. We look forward to offering these AMD Ryzen processors in our SOLIDWORKS systems soon, once their availability improves.
Looking for a SOLIDWORKS Workstation?
Puget Systems offers a range of poweful and reliable systems that are tailor-made for your unique workflow.