How to Configure Your SOLIDWORKS 2018 Workstation

The experts at BOXX share this quick guide to choosing the right processors, SSDs, graphics, memory, and more so you can take full advantage of SOLIDWORKS 2018.

With the arrival of SOLIDWORKS 2018 and all of the application’s new features, it may be time to consider upgrading your SOLIDWORKS hardware as well. Begin by asking yourself three questions:

  • How big are my assemblies?
  • How many geometric surfaces do I have?
  • How complex are my parts files?

Based upon your responses, you can formulate a plan.

START WITH CPU CORES
SOLIDWORKS is a lightly-threaded application, meaning that it predominantly uses fewer cores. Since frequency determines performance more than any other variable, a workstation with fewer cores (but higher frequency) is ideal. You can always buy more cores, but why? Additional cores will cost more money and they’re only beneficial if a sizable portion or your work involves rendering or simulation. Since you have an OS, you’ll need two cores dedicated to the OS and two to SOLIDWORKS.

THE NEED FOR SPEED
Rendering and SOLIDWORKS Simulation commonly utilize multiple cores simultaneously, so if you incorporate these applications into your SOLIDWORKS workflow, a workstation with more cores can provide better performance to complete those tasks faster. In this instance, would adding an additional processor (and therefore more cores) be beneficial? Yes—but only if your workflow revolves around renderings or simulation.

OVERCLOCKING
Professional overclocking definitely matters because it’s the only way to significantly increase core speed and, therefore, performance. With overclocking, all processes run noticeably faster, your workflow becomes more efficient, you become more productive, and that results in a better overall experience.

MEMORY
The “unlimited” RAM available with the 64-bit platform is the single best thing to happen in the world of 3D CAD. Because RAM is how and where the CPU interacts with your parts and assemblies, you need enough to hold all of that data. Significant RAM beyond that will not increase performance—it’s just empty space. Most users begin with at least 16 GB, but 32GB is becoming more commonplace. Consult the Windows Performance Monitor to see how much RAM you have and how much you’re utilizing. If that gauge is full, you need more RAM in order to operate at peak performance.

GETTING GRAPHIC
A frequent misconception is that a bigger GPU is always warranted, but an NVIDIA Quadro K600 card works fine in many workflows. You can opt for higher-performance cards, but the majority of SOLIDWORKS video tasks are done on CPU and RAM. The NVIDIA Quadro P2000 as an ideal graphics card for most SOLIDWORKS workflows, but we also recommend moving to a GPU like the NVIDIA Quadro P4000 or higher if your workflow involves lots of rendering (with SOLIDWORKS Visualize, for example) or if you’re running other applications like 3ds Max or Adobe Creative Cloud.

THE SSD DIFFERENCE
The calculation is simple. Your choice of hard drive makes a significant impact on performance. With SSD, your workstation boots up and loads faster, so that alone makes it worth the expense. Of course, this is all predicated on your company using good data management. Also, you don’t necessarily need a large drive if you rely on a secondary or network drive for additional storage.

If you make sound decisions in these areas and pay attention to ROI and its relationship to performance, your result should be a SOLIDWORKS 2018 system that will save you time, save you money, increase your productivity, and best of all, increase your profits. You can find more information on how to customize your own BOXX workstation for SOLIDWORKS here.

Joe Pizzini

Joe Pizzini

Since 2013, BOXX Technical Marketing Manager Joe Pizzini has translated complex value propositions into succinct marketing collateral. Joe works closely with BOXX Engineering and key partners like Intel, NVIDIA, and Dassault Systemes to provide accurate, educational, and engaging content. Learn more about BOXX and SOLIDWORKS: http://www.boxxtech.com/solutions/manufacturing/product-design/solidworks