SolidWorks CAD solutions power over 2.7 million workstations in more than 80 countries. It allows users to create 3D part and assembly models with associated 2D drawing using metal, plastic, sheet metal, and weldments; simulate those models; and then visualize and animate the results using powerful rendering tools.

The Actineon Report below was created through the best efforts of Actineon's solution architects, and occasionally improved upon by feedback from users with a different perspective.  Therefore, you can count on these recommendations to be a superb foundation upon which to configure a SolidWorks workstation. 

ACTINEON REPORT


Does the application benefit from high clock rate CPUs?

Yes, Virtually all applications will benefit from a high clock speed


Does the application benefit from a high number of CPU cores?


No, SolidWorks is mostly a single-thread application so CPUs with high core counts are of little benefit to SolidWorks; however there are exceptions as outlined below.MAJOR Exceptions include:
-Solidworks Simulation calculations
-Photoworks, Visualize, and PhotoView360 rendering
-Initial opening of SolidWorks parts, assemblies, and drawings
-Updating drawing views
-The Solidworks Compare and DrawCompare functions  
Also, other applications that are running in the background while a user is running SolidWorks and the OS itself are reasons to consider added cores in a CPU.

For reasons stated above and threading recommendations below, Actineon recommends high clock speed CPUs with 6 to 10 cores for good all-round SolidWorks performance. --

Does hyperthreading (Intel) or simultaneous multithreading (AMD) help or hurt application performance?

User's will likely find it beneficial to disable hyperthreading or simultaneous multithreading in order to improve SolidWorks’ performance, unless they frequently do photo-realistic rendering as described above. Actineon recommends the combination of disabling multithreading and slightly increasing CPU core count as a way of achieving good all-round performance in SolidWorks.  

How much memory do you recommend

SolidWorks recommends the use of ECC memory; however many users choose not to follow this recommendation. If you are not creating mission critical hardware designs or designs that can impact human life it may be acceptable to run without ECC to save on system costs and slightly increase system performance. We leave this decision to the end user.

High bandwidth memory will also improve the performance of SolidWorks. Bandwidth can be achieved through more memory channels (e.g. 2-channel memory versus 4-channel memory); and by high speed, low latency DRAM. Actineon uses high speed low latency memory in all its workstations, and always populates all memory channels available for a given CPU. 

ECC Memory or Non-ECC Memory

SolidWorks recommends the use of ECC memory; however many users choose not to follow this recommendation. If you are not creating mission critical hardware designs or designs that can impact human life it may be acceptable to run without ECC to save on system costs and slightly increase system performance. We leave this decision to the end user.

High bandwidth memory will also improve the performance of SolidWorks. Bandwidth can be achieved through more memory channels (e.g. 2-channel memory versus 4-channel memory); and by high speed, low latency DRAM. Actineon uses high speed low latency memory in all its workstations, and always populates all memory channels available for a given CPU. 

What disk storage is recommended?

SSDs are always a good choice, they transfer information much faster than other disk drives. The Gen 3 (Intel) and Gen 4 (AMD) drives have roughly 5x and 10x the transfer rates of SATA 3.0 drive respectively, so all Actineon systems include at least one NVMe SSD.

Two striped NVMe drives (RAID 0) can significantly improve system performance over one drive so some users may want to consider using two smaller drives to achieve the overall desired disk capacity instead of one large drive.

SATA SSDs (and rotating disks) are slower but cost less than NVMe drives and are therefore good candidates for secondary storage such as local project (or system) backup and retrieval.

Actineon recommends at least 500 Gigabytes for a new workstation purchase. We support configurations of 500GB, 1TB, 2TB and 4TB of primary storage using one or two NVMe SSDs; and secondary SATA disk storage of up to 8TB of SSD in our GoStation, or 16TB of storage in our DeskStation.


What GPU is recommended?

Performance is scaled up using higher end GPUs. SolidWorks Visualize is an exception in the SolidWorks lineup in that it supports the use of either NVidia GeForce consumer grade GPUs or Quadro series GPUs, and SolidWorks 2020 adds support for Radeon Pro GPUs; but if GeForce cards are used for Visualize rendering all other Solidworks graphics tasks will revert to CPU-only rendering and result in a significant performance penalty. 

Actineon recommends the NVidia Quadro RTX 4000 card or better as a good all-round GPU capable of extracting high performance out of graphics intensive tasks while also offering good support for rendering. If ECC is demanded for your system (including the GPU) you will need to upgrade a step further to a Quadro RTX 5000 at a rather significant step up in costs.


 What OS do you recommended?


For professional Workstation use, we recommend Windows 10 Pro 64-bit. Make sure to check the compatibility of the version of your Application if you plan to use other Operating Systems. 

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