SOLIDWORKS 2021 Performance Improvements

Just like every year, SOLIDWORKS has added hundreds of enhancements to SOLIDWORKS 2021.  And, one area that the R&D team always focuses on a lot is PERFORMANCE.  Over the years, as users create larger and more complex models, SOLIDWORKS has had to innovate to ensure that our CAD software will enable you to design even more.

The word “Performance” encapsulates quite a lot, and in 2021, many areas of SOLIDWORKS got a performance boost, including:

  1. Installation
  2. Model Display
  3. Sheet Metal
  4. Assemblies
  5. Detailing & Drawings
  6. PDM
  7. Simulation

Installation: The SOLIDWORKS 2021 Installation Manager downloads and extracts installation media faster. Internal testing shows that the download time is improved by 25% or more compared to the methods used before SOLIDWORKS 2021.

Model Display: SOLIDWORKS 2021 improves performance for GPU-based occlusion culling, GPU-based silhouette edges, zooming and panning within parts, assemblies and drawings, and switching configurations in large assemblies.  This means that your graphics card will help offload rendering resources from your CPU, making your general experience faster and smoother.  This enhancement was initially released in 2019, and it is on by default in 2021.  If this option is grayed out for you, please update your graphics driver.  If it is still grayed out, please ask your reseller for help.

Sheet Metal: In SOLIDWORKS 2021, Sheet Metal flat patterns use efficient algorithms to identify bend connections. This new algorithm reduces the time to flatten complex sheet metal bodies with many flanges by about 20-25 times!  It is similar to the geometry pattern option when patterning the same feature multiple times.

Assemblies: This performance boost means you can open large assemblies with thousands of components in seconds using Lightweight mode.  Lightweight components are now automatically loaded into memory when expanded in the feature manager.  Opening assemblies with parts that have many configurations is also much faster.  It takes less time to update assemblies that have many mates – although it is always a best practice to define mates between components in sub-assemblies, rather than all in one main assembly.  Closing assemblies without saving is also much faster in 2021.

Detailing & Drawings: In Detailing Mode, the model is not loaded into memory, which is a big time-saver while working in a drawing of a large assembly.  Robust referencing saves you a dramatic amount of time by eliminating the need to resolve and save to maintain final annotation and dimension associativity. Previously, you had to fully resolve and save the drawing to avoid dangling dimensions and annotations.  In Detailing Mode in 2021, you can create and modify break, crop, and detail views. You can also add dimensions and annotations to the views, as well as add and edit hole callouts.  Additionally, for existing dimensions created in resolved mode, you can edit tolerances and line/arrow type, as well as add or remove chain and baseline dimensions, and edit notes.

PDM: SOLIDWORKS PDM 2021 has performance improvements that make file-based operations and related workflows much faster.  This is important since the time it takes to work in the vault is based on the efficiency of the database.  Improvements in system performance help you to quickly open, add, check in, and change the state of files with large reference structure.  On average, adding files is 150% to 300% faster, and checking in files is about 25% faster.  Of course, the level of improvement can vary depending on the number of files, network bandwidth, and CPU cores.  Overall though, you should see a substantial improvement in speed.

Simulation: The performance of simulation solvers has been improved for linear static and nonlinear studies.  Study run-times have been reduced due to parallel multicore processing.  There are four levels of Simulation tools within the SOLIDWORKS product line:

a)       SOLIDWORKS Premium (which includes Static studies and Time-based Motion)

b)      SOLIDWORKS Simulation Standard

c)       SOLIDWORKS Simulation Professional

d)      SOLIDWORKS Simulation Premium

SOLIDWORKS Premium (a) and SOLIDWORKS Simulation Standard (b) are limited to 8 physical cores and will see some performance improvements.  However, SOLIDWORKS Simulation Professional and SOLIDWORKS Simulation Premium have no limit on the number of physical cores used, so those two products will see the biggest performance improvements in 2021.



Jenn Doerksen

Jenn Doerksen

Jenn Doerksen works for Dassault Systemes SOLIDWORKS, as a Sr. Industrial Process Consultant. She has been part of the SOLIDWORKS community since early 1997, when she bought her first license of SOLIDWORKS. She has a Bachelor’s of Engineering from the University of Victoria and lives with her husband and their dogs in Vancouver BC, Canada.