Like most software developers, Autodesk maintains a list of system requirements for Inventor that can be used to help ensure the hardware in your system will work with Inventor. However, most "pc requirements" lists tend to cover the required hardware, not what hardware would actually give the best performance. In addition, some lists can be outdated, list old hardware revisions, or simply outright list sub-optimal hardware.
Because of how inconsistent those lists can be, we've taken the time to perform testing to determine what hardware runs Inventor the best. Based on this testing, we have come up with our own list of recommended hardware for Inventor.
When it comes to CPUs there are two main specifications that define the capability of a CPU:
- The frequency directly affects how many operations a single CPU core can complete in a second (how fast it is).
- The number of cores is how many physical cores there are within a CPU (how many operations it can run simultaneously).
Whether a higher frequency or higher core count is faster depends on how well a program is designed to take advantage of multiple CPU cores. In the case of Inventor, the majority of the software is only single threaded so it is only able to utilize a single core of the CPU. For this reason, our general recommendation when choosing a processor is to get the highest frequency. For current generation CPUs, that is Intel's Core i7 8700K which can boost up to 4.7GHz with a single core active.
There are a handful of specific tasks in Inventor that are able to use more than one core (a list is available here), and the 8700K's six cores will do quite well there too. If you spend a lot of time with either rendering or FEA simulations, though, there can be reasons for going to an even higher core count. For those situations, we offer a workstation that supports up to eighteen core CPUs from Intel's Core X series.
Video Card (GPU)
The video card handles displaying the 2D and 3D models on the screen in Inventor. While mainstream GeForce cards can technically give you better performance per dollar, Autodesk only officially certifies and recommends workstation cards such as those in NVIDIA's Quadro product line. Because of this, we highly recommend using a Quadro card in any professional environment to ensure that you will be able to get full support from Autodesk if you every have a software issue.
In most situations, the faster the video card the better performance (in terms of frames per second) you will get when working with 3D models and assemblies. In general, a Quadro P2000 5GB is great for small assemblies, while a Quadro P4000 8GB will be better for medium assemblies. If you work with very large assemblies, you may even consider a Quadro P5000 16GB.
While the exact amount of RAM you need is going to depend on the size and complexity of the model you will be working with, we generally recommend the following:
- 8GB for assemblies smaller than 500 parts, with no other programs running alongside Inventor
- 16GB for most users, supporting assemblies up to about 1,000 parts in size
- 32GB of RAM for larger assemblies or heavy multitasking
Storage (Hard Drives)
With the falling costs associated with SSDs, we almost always recommend using an SSD for the primary drive that will host your OS, Inventor itself, and any active projects you are working on. The high speed of SSDs allows your system to boot, launch applications, and load files many times faster than any traditional hard drive. However, SSDs are still more expensive than traditional drives per GB - so for long term storage we recommend having a secondary traditional hard drive in addition to a primary SSD. If you can afford it, having multiple SSDs (one for the OS and Inventor and a second dedicated for active projects) along with a larger traditional drive for storage is even better.