Recommended Hardware for SOLIDWORKS
Like most software packages, there is a list of system requirements (including a detailed list for video cards) that can be used to help ensure the hardware in your system will work with their software. However, most "system requirements" lists tend to cover only the very basics of what hardware is needed to run the software, not what hardware will actually give the best performance. In addition, sometimes these lists can be outdated, list old hardware revisions, or simply outright show sub-optimal hardware.
Because of how inconsistent those lists can be, we've taken the time to perform testing to determine what hardware runs SOLIDWORKS the best. Based on this testing, we have come up with our own list of recommended hardware.
General Modeling Workstation:
- Intel Core i7 9700K 3.6GHz (up to 4.9GHz Turbo) 8 Core - Most general modeling tasks in SOLIDWORKS - such as opening and saving files, rebuilding assemblies, and rotating models - operate better with a CPU that has a high operating frequency. The Intel Core i7 9700K packs both more cores and higher clock speed than the previous generation 8700K. It lacks Hyperthreading, though, so if you do much in the way of simulations or rendering then moving up to the i9 9900K will boost those activities (but not modeling).
- Intel Core i9 7960X 2.8GHz (up to 4.4GHz Turbo) 16 Core - For the best possible PhotoView 360 rendering performance, the Core i9 7960X with 16 cores clocks in at 126% faster than the Core i7 7800K. It is also around 10% faster for Flow Simulations, though slightly slower for general modeling. If your emphasis is more on rendering, though, this CPU could save you a lot of time. Other models in the Core i9 series are also available, if you want good rendering performance without spending quite so much.
- SOLIDWORKS 2018 CPU Comparison (Coffee Lake, Skylake X, and Threadripper)
- Intel Coffee Lake CPU Performance (Core i7 8700K)
- SOLIDWORKS 2017 Intel Core i7 7700K & i5 7600K Performance
- Is CPU Overclocking in SOLIDWORKS 2017 worth it? (i7-7700k)
- SOLIDWORKS 2016 Multi Core Performance
- CPU Overclocking in SOLIDWORKS 2016
- SOLIDWORKS 2016 CPU Performance: Skylake-S vs Haswell-E/EP
- Network Rendering in SOLIDWORKS 2016
- NVIDIA Quadro P1000 4GB - This GPU is very much an entry level card, but if you mostly work with small assemblies of relatively simple parts it should have more then enough power to display your models at smooth frame rates. The 4GB of VRAM means that this card should only be used with a pair of 1080p monitors or single 4K screen.
- NVIDIA Quadro P2000 5GB - The Quadro P2000 is our standard recommendation for general SOLIDWORKS modeling systems. It is more powerful than the P1000, allowing you to work with more detailed parts and assemblies while maintaining good performance.
- NVIDIA Quadro P4000 8GB - Alongside the P2000, this is one of the most commonly used GPUs in our SOLIDWORKS workstations. It has substantially more video RAM than the P1000 and P2000, making it better suited for use with multiple, high-resolution displays.
- NVIDIA Quadro P5000 16GB - The P5000 will give you excellent performance with very large and complex assemblies even at 4K resolutions. While the 16GB of VRAM isn't strictly necessary for SOLIDWORKS, it can be useful if you also perform GPU-accelerated simulations in Simulia or ANSYS or if you use SW Visualize for rendering.
- NVIDIA Quadro P6000 24GB - For the best possible performance across most engineering applications, the Quadro P6000 is the highest end GPU currently available that is certified for SOLIDWORKS. If you want to ensure you are getting the highest possible FPS with extremely complex assemblies, and budget is not a concern, this card is the best of the best NVIDIA has to offer.
- SOLIDWORKS 2018 GPU Comparison - Extremely Complex Assembly
- SOLIDWORKS 2018 GPU Comparison - Quadro & Radeon Pro
- SOLIDWORKS 2016 NVIDIA Quadro Performance
- Why you should use a Quadro video card in SOLIDWORKS 2016
While the exact amount of RAM you need is going to depend on your particular models, Solidworks generally needs between 4-8GB of RAM for tasks such as rotating models, simulations, and renders. Due to this, we recommend having 16GB in your system to give you plenty of free RAM for other programs you may have running.
A general rule of thumb is that you need about 5GB of RAM for Solidworks itself, then at least 20 times the largest assembly size you work with. So if your assemblies are all about 200MB in size, you would need 5GB + 20x.2 which works out about 9GB of RAM minimum. Using this formula, the minimum amount of RAM we would recommend for various assembly sizes is:
|Minimum RAM capacity||16GB||32GB||64GB|
Be aware that our general modeling workstation is only capable of 32GB of RAM so if you need more we recommend you either contact us for special quoting of a workstation capable of utilizing more RAM or using our Simulation & Rendering workstation. Keep in mind that any additional software you are running (whether it be for simulation, rendering, or even web browsing) will require RAM as well so if it looks like you will be at all close we highly recommend upgrading to a larger capacity.
With the falling costs associated with SSDs, we almost always recommend using an SSD for the primary drive that will host your OS and the installation of Solidworks. The high speed of SSDs allows your system to boot and launch applications many times faster than any traditional hard drive.
Using an SSD instead of a more traditional hard drive can also in many cases can give a noticeable decrease in the time it takes to open and save assemblies. Be aware that smaller assemblies tend to not be I/O bound which means that there may not be a large difference with a faster storage drive but in general the longer it takes you to open an assembly, the more useful an SSD will be. For extremely large assemblies, the newer NVMe drives like the Samsung 960 Pro (with read speeds of 3.5GB/s!) can further improve open/save times but for more commonly sized assemblies they are unlikely to give much of a performance benefit.
One last factor that should be taken into consideration is that SOLIDWORKS performs a check of every drive in the system during the startup process. Normally, this check does not greatly impact the time it takes for Solidworks to launch - but if you have a traditional platter hard drive in your system that has gone into it's low-power state (which by default happens after the drive has not been accessed for ~20 minutes) SOLIDWORKS has to wait for the drive to spin up which can take as long as 10 seconds. In other words, each platter drive in your system can potentially increase the time it takes Solidworks to launch by about 10 seconds. For this reason, unless you need large amounts of very cost-efficient storage we highly recommend using only SSDs if possible.