Hardware Performance Recommendations
February 1, 2013 • Anonymous
CPU: Your processor can be a huge asset or your worst nightmare when dealing with system performance. The processor you need depends on what you do with SolidWorks. For example someone who does lots of photo rendering is going to want a processor with as many cores as possible. Someone who does a lot of simulation would also benefit from eight cores. Cores arenít everything, however someone who does a lot of tasks that are linear processes (order dependant) would be better off with fewer cores and a higher clock speed.
HDD: A good hard drive(s) is one of the best things most people can do to see a huge benefit in performance. Todayís solidstate hard drives (SSDs) can be about 5x faster than conventional platter drives. If you are really looking for performance you can put SSD drives in RAID0; however if one of the drives fail there is no recovering them, so you better have a good backup plan.
(Hint) If you are using Enterprise PDM you are going to want to create a local view on the SSD, as this will help limit the amount of precious SSD space you need to only the files you are working on.
NETWORK: The fastest CPU, HDD, Graphics card, Memory, and Maintenance plan arenít going to help you much if you are working on your files over the network. Think your 1Gb network connection is fast? The best a 1Gb network can do for file transfer is up to 200MB/s but is usually closer to 180MB/s. Split that up between you and a handful of your co-workers and its getting even more bleak. Working over the network also increases the chance of file corruption due to dropped network packets.
(Hint) Enterprise PDM will allow you to work corroboratively over the network with all of the advantages of working locally. Even Workgroup PDM can help; you may even have access to a Workgroup license already.
GRAPHICS: If you do not have a supported graphics card the entire graphics load is going to be put on your CPU and will definitely slow you down. Workstation cards used to be very expensive, but in recent years they have come down to a more manageable level. You are looking for NVIDIA Quadro cards or AMD FireGL Cards; even some integrated video cards on some CPUs are supported by SolidWorks.
MEMORY: How much RAM do you need? Again it depends on what you are doing and how you are working. If you are doing simulation more RAM is definitely going to help. Generally speaking more RAM is usually a good thing. There are utilities you can use to see how much RAM you are using at any given time. Generally you donít want to go over 80% of your RAM being used at any given time. When working with SolidWorks if youíre not working on something..CLOSE IT.This will move the file out of your RAM and free up other resources like GDI objects.
MAINTENANCE: Is your computer a set of calipers or a hammer? Calipers are precision tools that are designed for a purpose, so hopefully you think of your workstation in the same way. Often we see a lot of freeware installed on user workstations. One thing to remember about these programs is often they have tasks which are always running in the background of your system taking up resources.
(Hint) Make sure your Anti-virus is not scanning SolidWorks files.
BENCHMARKING: SolidWorks 2012 and up has a benchmarking tool that can help point out bottlenecks in your system and allow you to compare your results against other SolidWorks users.
If you are buying a new workstation request a computer to do a benchmark test on for yourself. Often PC resellers will allow you to do this.
Any questions on this or need assistance on another technical matter, give our Support Team a call at 1-800-370-3750.