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SOLIDWORKS Visualize 2017 GeForce GPU Performance Comparison

Written on February 3, 2017 by Matt Bach
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Introduction

SOLIDWORKS Visualize (formerly known as bunkspeed) is a relatively new addition to the wide range of product offered by Dassault Systemes. Based on the NVIDIA Iray rendering engine, Visualize is able to utilize the power of both the CPU and the GPU to complete renders extremely quickly. However, in the Iray-specific CPU testing we have performed in the past, we have found that your choice of GPU (and the use of multiple cards) is much more important than your choice of CPU when it comes to raw render times.

Dassault Systemes does not yet have a formal hardware requirements list or an official stance of whether they recommend you use a workstation or consumer card, but in this article we will be focusing on the NVIDIA GeForce line of cards. These cards should give you much more performance for your dollar than a Quadro card (which makes them very popular with those looking to maximize performance), but it is worth keeping in mind that there is a high likelihood that Dassault Systemes will eventually decide to only certify workstation cards for Visualize. In addition, if you plan on using the same workstation for SOLIDWORKS as well as Visualize be aware that SOLIDWORKS really works best with a Quadro card. They may be more expensive than their GeForce counterparts, but we found in our testing that even a low-end Quadro card will outperform the fastest GeForce card in key situations.

If you are interested in how Quadro cards perform or how Visualize scales with multiple GPUs, we recommend reading our other Visualize articles:

Test Setup

To see how the different Quadro cards perform, we used the following hardware and software:

Our test platform is based on the Dual GPU Workstation from our SOLIDWORKS Visualize Recommended Systems. We will be testing in GPU only mode, but to ensure that we do not have any CPU or RAM bottlenecks we are using the fastest Core i7 CPU currently available and have many times more RAM in the system than we need. We will be testing a range of GeForce cards ranging from the GTX 1060 to the Titan X.

We will be using two of the samples files provided by Dassault Systemes to see how quickly each card is able to complete a render:

 

1969 Camaro

Phone

 

The render settings used were:

  • 1920x1080
  • Accurate
  • 1000 passes
  • GPU only mode

GeForce Rendering Performance

SOLIDWORKS Visualize GeForce Render Benchmark
The two projects used in our testing certainly rendered at very different speeds, but the relative performance between the different video cards was actually very consistent across both of them. Putting these results into relative numbers, the GTX 1070 was about 40% faster than the GTX 1060 and the GTX 1080 was just under 15% faster. Going up to the Titan X, there is actually a very decent 43% increase in performance.

These performance gains are not as significant as what we saw in our Quadro testing but it is worth pointing out that the GeForce cards don't have nearly the same price scaling as the Quadro cards and the Titan X actually performs almost exactly the same as the P6000 for about 1/4 the cost. So while the performance gains are smaller for each model, these cards will definitely still give you much faster render times for the same dollar amount.

Conclusion

Overall, the only "disappointing" card for Visualize is the GTX 1080. Where the GTX 1070 and Titan X were both about 40% faster than the next model down, the GTX 1080 was only about 14% faster than the GTX 1070. If your budget allows for a bit more than a GTX 1070, but not quite enough for a Titan X then the GTX 1080 might still fit, but for most users we would recommend sticking to either the GTX 1070 or Titan X if possible.

Even though this article is more about the relative performance between GeForce cards, it is worth pointing out that because Visualize scales almost perfectly with multiple GPUs it brings up some interesting considerations. The Titan X is almost exactly twice the cost of the GTX 1070, but from a performance standpoint it is only about 60% faster. So if you are looking to get the maximum performance for your dollar, you might be considering using two or four GTX 1070 cards instead of one or two Titan X cards. While this is technically more performance for your dollar, we do want to point out that while more GTX 1070s might be slightly faster, it is a much more complex configuration. Not only will you need a physically larger workstation to house the extra cards, but you will also need a motherboard that supports that many cards and a larger power supply. This will largely offset the cost savings you would get by using more GTX 1070s  - not to mention that you will need be able to add as many cards in the future if you choose to.

If you are trying to decide which GeForce card(s) to use for Visualize, our testing in both this article and our scaling article actually make the decision fairly easy. Once you have decided workstation requirements (size, power draw, etc), simply choose whichever number of GTX 1070 or Titan X cards fall within your budget. By sticking with these two models, you should almost always be getting the fastest possible render times for your dollar.

SOLIDWORKS Workstations

General Modeling
Workstation

Purchase

Simulation & Rendering
Workstation

Purchase

Tags: Visualize, Rendering, GPU
Benedikt K.

Hi,
would u prefer a GTX 1060 6GB or a Quadro K3100m for small assemblies (<300) and a bit Keyshot Rendering.

I hope u can help me.

Thanks

Posted on 2017-11-20 14:22:21

Rendering with Keyshot is CPU based, so the video card choice won't matter there.

As for the GPU in Solidworks and Visualize... that is tough. The K3100m is at least a Quadro card, though being a mobile version it is not on the official Solidworks certification list. Other K-series cards are, though, so I suspect it would work okay.

However, it is two generations old (K-series, then M, and now P is the current line). On the other hand, the GeForce 1060 is a current card, and probably has more video memory than the K3100m. Even though Quadro cards tend to perform better in Solidworks, the advantage of being much newer might swing in favor of the GeForce in this specific situation.

Am I correct in thinking that these options are in laptops you are considering? It might help to look at what other specs the laptops have, to aid in your decision. If the laptop with the K3100m also has an older-generation CPU then that might settle it, since both SW and Keyshot will depend heavily on the CPU's speed as well.

Posted on 2017-11-20 17:02:44
Vincent FTW

Will the gtx 1060 paired with ryzen 1600 (oc)be able to handle solidworks 2017?

Posted on 2017-12-04 22:08:50

"Handle Solidworks"? I'm confident SW will run on that CPU and GPU, though we have noted in other articles that professional-grade cards like the Quadro series perform better in terms of modeling within SW than the GeForce series. If you want to get the best performance and be able to enable things like RealView then a mid-range Quadro (P2000 or higher) would be a better choice than the GTX 1060. As for the CPU, Ryzen isn't the fastest option for SW - but it will get the job done, if that is what you have.

Posted on 2017-12-05 16:09:02
Vincent FTW

Thank you for the help

Posted on 2017-12-09 13:16:14
Kristjan T.

Hi,

I would like to ask your opinion about what would be best choice for me.
I am using solidworks daily. I am really intrested of solidworks visualization. I have been using that program a week now and I would like to upgrade my videocard to get better results. I am occasionally using adobbe premier and editing 1080p videos.
At the moment I am using old Quadro 1000 video card. And its kinda slow even in solidworks.
Should I go for a Quadro P2000 or GTX1070? Dose the benfit from solidworks using quadro card is so much better then GTX card that loosing performance in visualization is ok. I know it depends on usage but still I cant make a decison.
And how much ram is enough? (16gb atm)

Posted on 2017-12-06 22:03:40

That is a tough question, because of your combination of use cases / applications. If you had the budget for it, going with a Quadro P5000 or P6000 would be ideal - that gives you performance that beats the GeForce 1070 / 1080 in Visualize, while performing better than any of the GeForce cards in general SW use... and strong performance in Adobe products as well. Even the P4000 might be a good option, though I don't have Visualize data on it handy.

However, those are expensive cards (even the P4000, somewhat). The P2000 I think is too limited of a card; it would be better than the 1000 you have now, but you can do much better. If you can't fit one of the bigger Quadro models, then I think the GTX 1070 would be a decent option. It won't be as fast as a Quadro in normal SW usage, and isn't officially certified by Dassault, but it will do well in Visualize and Adobe applications. Please note that it also won't let you use RealView in SW, so if that is a sticking point for you then you'll need to keep to the Quadro lineup.

Posted on 2017-12-06 22:21:37
Alex Taguchi

The Quadro P2000 + GTX 1080ti would be a great combination. Drive your monitor with your Quadro, and have the GTX headless and when you run Visualize, it will actually utilize both cards, combining their resources.

Just make sure you have enough power to power both GPUs.

Posted on 2018-09-05 22:51:32
Jérémy De Marco

Hi,

What driver version do you recommand for my acer predator with a gtx 1060 6gb , for GPU renderings on SW Visualize 2018 sp 3
Thanks guys !!!

Posted on 2018-07-19 10:21:37