Simulation Solvers

One of our points of interest at the recent Engineering Success User Series was how to choose the right solver for SOLIDWORKS Simulation. Assuming the mesh and study (boundary conditions) are good, what can be done to make a study run faster? The three areas to focus on are the solver, use more appropriate hardware and use a more recent version of SOLIDWORKS.
First, let's choose a more appropriate solver. With 2014, there are three to choose from.
  1. Direct Sparse
  2. Large Problem Direct Sparse (LPDS)
  3. FFEPlus (Iterative)
Hardware wise, we notice that solve time tends to flat-line at 6-8 CPU cores for all solvers. Regardless, we recommend the following rules:
Static Studies:
  • Direct Sparse if enough RAM and multiple CPUs:
  • When solving models with No Penetration contact, especially when you turn on friction.
  • When solving models of parts with widely different material properties.
  • LPDS if above conditions but not enough RAM
  • FFEPlus for other cases
Nonlinear Studies:
  • Direct Sparse always
  • FFEPlus only if not enough RAM
Frequency and Buckling Studies:
  • FFEPlus always
  • Direct Sparse ñ only if selected options are not supported by FFEPlus (you will be notified)
Thermal Studies:
  • More difficult to find general rule:
  • FFEPlus pure solid or shell mesh
  • Direct Sparse other
Regarding RAM usage, keep the following in mind:
  • The Sparse solver uses 1 GB of RAM for every 200,000 degrees of freedom (DOF)
  • The FFEPlus solver uses 1 GB of RAM for every 2,000,000 DOF.
  • The calculated DOF can be seen in the solver window by clicking the More>> button.


Please review the presentation of the FEA Summit [here].
Have questions? Give us a call or email.
Michael Steeves
Senior Application Engineer