The Best Computer Hardware for SOLIDWORKS: Recommendations in 2022

Ensure your computer system is up to date and is SOLIDWORKS compatible. Let’s look at the four major components of a CAD workstation to verify that your hardware meets the requirements.

1. Processor (CPU)

The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is the heart of any SOLIDWORKS workstation, and the least upgradable (if at all). Therefore, the CPU decision is the most important consideration when buying a new machine. Fortunately, there is an easy way to determine the suitability and performance in SOLIDWORKS core processes, which are single-threaded: CPU single-core performance. Information on single-core performance is readily available on websites such as CPU Benchmarks website.

SOLIDWORKS Hardware CPU
Image from cpubenchmark.net

You don’t have to take my word for it. There are numerous places in the SOLIDWORKS forums where Dassault Systèmes personnel discuss the single-threaded nature of much of SOLIDWORKS (especially rebuild).

A few people have even gone through actual testing over the years; a Google search will turn up a lot of hits. Puget Systems completed the most recent tests comparing CPUs for SOLIDWORKS 2020.

2. Graphics Card (GPU)

Graphics are also a critical component of performance and stability for SOLIDWORKS users. If you have a desktop that needs a graphics upgrade, it’s an easy and inexpensive operation. On a laptop, however, graphics are fixed, so it is better to upgrade. So, how do we do that? We get certified graphics for our SOLIDWORKS workstation.

Essentially, there are two graphics product lines that contain products that are either certified or supported by SOLIDWORKS: NVIDIA Quadro, and AMD FirePro.

  • Certified: Indicates SOLIDWORKS has tested the actual graphics card with the given version of Windows and SOLIDWORKS.
  • Supported: Indicates the cards are still officially supported by SOLIDWORKS, even though they are no longer doing certification testing.

To find qualified workstations and graphics cards to use with SOLIDWORKS, click here.

Insert your systems information, including your exact computer model, if it’s listed. If your exact computer model is not listed, leave that field set to “All” and rely on the graphics card, Windows, and SOLIDWORKS version to see a list of results.

SOLIDWORKS Graphic Cards
Image from SOLIDWORKS.com

The certified cards for 2022, located on the SOLIDWORKS website, are the NVIDIA Quadro P, T, RTX, and RTX A lines, as well as the AMD Radeon Pro W6400, W6600, W6600M, WX3200, WX 4130/4150. The supported older cards for 2022 are the NVIDIA Quadro K, M, GP, GV lines, as well as the AMD FirePro line (M4000 and later), and the Radeon Pro V340.

3. Memory (RAM)

RAM is generally upgradable on laptops as well as desktops, so the caveat here is having the potential capacity to add a suitable amount if you need to change. As a rule, I recommend starting with 64GB of RAM for any new SOLIDWORKS workstation — laptops included. If you are doing very large assemblies or are planning to do complex simulation, you may need to add more.

How do I know how much RAM is needed?

Use Windows Task Manager’s Performance tab to calculate how much RAM is being used on your current machine.

When doing your most taxing activity, take your highest commit charge number (in the red box below) and add 50%.  This number will tell you the RAM level you should have.

Windows Task Manager RAM

4. Disk

This one is easy these days: get an SSD device on the PCIe / M.2 interface, at whatever size you need — at least 512GB.

Would you like all of this information, and additional explanations, in a nice, downloadable document? I’ve got you covered there, too.

Get the Download


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Meet the Author

Jeff Setzer

As Technology Evangelist, Jeff loves showing customers new ways to use software and complementary tools to make their jobs easier. Jeff has been working with SOLIDWORKS since its first release in 1995 and he has been with GSC from the beginning! He is a Certified SOLIDWORKS Professional, a Certified SOLIDWORKS Support Technician, a Certified SOLIDWORKS Instructor, a Certified Simulation Support Technician, and a Microsoft Certified Professional.

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