What Kind of PCs are Best for SolidWorks CAD?

SolidWorks by Dassault Systèmes is the premier CAD software for industrial solid modelling on a global scale. It’s used by product engineers, mechanical engineers, civil engineers, electrical engineers, process & piping engineers, architects, 3D modelling artists, graphic designers, and several other professionals from creative fields regularly.

To serve the varied needs of its many users, SolidWorks is, by design, a very powerful CAD system with impressive AI-assisted automation and simulation features. As is to be expected, it is necessary that SolidWorks is run on computers with enough processing power to support the CAD software’s demanding features. Keeping that in mind, here’s a brief guide on the kind of commercial PCs that are needed to run and use SolidWorks in its full capacity.

Don’t Be Restricted by the Desktop Form Factor

It is common for even professionals to believe only desktops are suited for CAD, and for a long time, that was indeed true. Desktops were significantly more powerful than similarly priced laptops, which meant that they would by default, provide more power for the cost. Even now, a desktop can potentially be more powerful than any laptop, but that price-to-power advantage is gone for now.

Take a look at these dedicated SolidWorks workstation laptops which have more than enough processing power in them to run SolidWorks on a commercial scale without any compromise. Compared to workstation desktops in the same price range, these laptops provide almost the same processing power, but in a complete, battery-powered, and portable form factor.

The Professional GPU

SolidWorks itself does not specify any special GPU requirements and today’s Intel and AMD processors are themselves quite capable APUs (CPU + GPU SoC). However, commercial computers used for 3D solid modelling will need a powerful, dedicated graphics processing unit for SolidWorks to run simulations. It is difficult to point out which GPU would be ideal for the job because they do vary, depending on the project and the kind of CAD work that you will need it for.

Nevertheless, A GPU with less than 4GB of VRAM will simply not work. A SolidWorks PC is recommended to have a discreet GPU with least 8GB – 12GB VRAM, irrespective of the manufacturer. Don’t assume that just because it’s a commercial Quadro GPU, it will be better than a newer RTX or RX GPU by default.

More RAM

How much RAM a CAD software will need depends on the project itself. Therefore, the minimum or even the recommended requirement for SolidWorks does not mean much, especially when it comes to RAM. Make sure that the computer has at least 16GB o RAM in it, but if you plan to run automated video simulations on it, 32GB RAM would be more suited. If the work involves running multiple 3D simulations simultaneously, 64GB – 128GB RAM is recommended.

Go for DDR4 RAM to save money because DDR5 RAM costs twice as much, if not more. While it may hold a huge advantage in the future, the performance boost with DDR5 RAM in SolidWorks is negligible, if present at all. Instead, invest the same money in getting more DDR4 RAM for now.

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