Hardware Selection with SOLIDWORKS in Mind

Written by Darin J. Grosser, Elite Engineer CSWE

Technology in general, is the fastest, most ever changing sector of our society. Computer hardware leads the pack in its rapid iteration, so it bears note that regardless of how often you may research and purchase new hardware, there should be a level of RE-research into what’s new each and every subsequent time you buy.

Configuring a machine is more than just picking the ‘best’ and ‘fastest’ and ‘biggest’ of what you can afford (or are willing to spend) on a retailers website. And if you custom build your machines, you may feel more of a sense of control over what you need and what you don’t, while maybe saving a little money. No matter which side suits your needs, know WHY you are selecting a particular configuration is the most important consideration you need.

To learn more about tips outlined below join the upcoming Webinar on May 22 at noon est. Click the image to register.

“Bigger, Faster, Stronger”

Of course…….on paper, a computer with the fastest Processor and the most RAM and the best Video Card with the Biggest Monitor is exactly what we all “need”. That is, until you scroll down to the part that says “TOTAL”!!

If we all had unlimited budgets, there would only need to be ONE computer available to buy, but I think we all know that “one size fits all” has never really been the case.

What we have are “OPTIONS”….MILLIONS of possible combinations of options.

When it comes to purchasing a machine for SOLIDWORKS, it’s necessary to understand how SOLIDWORKS utilizes each part of the computer so you know where to best invest in higher end components and where you can avoid spending money on costly yet ineffective ‘upgrades’.

More is not always better

RAM, or “Random Access Memory” and NOBODY still refers to it as unless you are my age……, is where activities of the computer constantly flow in and out as calculations take place.

The general consideration when it comes to RAM is that you should buy “as much as you can afford”. While this is slightly true, this is also where you can sink more money than you need to by overdoing it.

The theoretical limit of supported RAM on a 64 bit computer is 16TB, which nobody can currently afford. Most computer now come with 16 to 32 Gigs of RAM standard. The SOLIDWORKS System Requirements page LINK currently lists 16 GIGs of RAM for SOLIDWORKS 2019, however, I have it directly from SW Development that his was raised to 16 GIGs due to Windows and other programs with resource requirements causing stress on the hardware that would be noticeable while using a compute intense application like SOLIDWORKS.

In other words, programs like Chrome and Windows itself require far more RAM then they used to so for that sake alone, more RAM is recommended by SOLIDWORKS, but not necessarily ‘for’ SOLIDWORKS. 😊

One thing you should definitely be aware of if you regularly IMPORT large files of any format. SOLIDWORKS utilizes RAM exclusively when Importing data!

This is where you may want 32 to 64 GIGs one of your machines to be used for said imports, but not necessarily on every SOLIDWORKS Users machine. Once the file is imported and saved, the RAM usage returns to normal.

Quite a difference on ‘display’ in SOLIDWORKS 2019

Many times Enhancements are made to new versions of SOLIDWORKS that benefit from not only the latest and greatest technologies, but also older machines.

One such improvement is a game changing enhancement in SOLIDWORKS 2019 based on video drivers supporting OpenGL 4.5 and higher!

nVidia and AMD video cards that support this standard now perform significantly faster without having to rely on things like Detail Decimation and Large Assembly Mode to take ‘stress’ off of the video card.

In SOLIDWORKS go to TOOLS | OPTIONS | System Options tab | PERFORMANCE | and turn on “Enhanced Graphics Performance”. (This will require you to close and restart SOLIDWORKS.)

Once activated, SOLIDWORKS, instead of SOLIDWORKS using just the RAM on the Video Card……it now uses the entire GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) to process the graphics!!

I show you live in the webinar a SOLIDWORKS Assembly that’s more than 10,000 components that rotates as well as a simple cube. 😊

Much, Much more…

Join us for the webinar where I will go deeper into these items as well as covering what you should know about how SOLIDWORKS uses Processors, Hard Drives and Input Devices.

I will also discuss 2 VERY SERIOUS Performance problems that come with nearly EVERY brand new computer. They are problems you are probably experiencing right now and don’t even know…..and we will show you how to address them. 😊


To learn more about tips outlined below join the upcoming Webinar on May 22 at noon est. Register Here

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