What are the minimum computer requirements for SolidWorks?
- A processor of 3.3Ghz or higher
- A 500Gb or larger Hard Drive Disk (HDD)
- At least 16Gb of RAM
- A quality Graphics Card by NVIDIA or AMD
- The latest operating system to future-proof your SolidWorks purchase
Now, let’s look at each of these components in detail.
Get the fastest processor you can afford
You will need a fast Processor – 3.3 Ghz or higher. You can have a slower processor, but SolidWorks might work too slowly and freeze. The faster the processor is, the more responsive SolidWorks will be. Most of computers and especially laptops nowadays come with multiple cores. The multi-core processor has several processing units (cores) where each of them reads and executes program isntructions.
For SolidWorks 2020 we recommend Intel’s i9 or Xeon 8-core processors.
Multi-core processor and SolidWorks
SolidWorks runs best on a fast single core processor. The reason behind this is that most of Mechanical Computer Aided Design (MCAD) software is single-threaded. SolidWorks specifies that Finite Element Analysis (FEA) in SolidWorks Simulation may benefit from multiple cores, however, they do not advise to use more than 8 cores. This is due to the fact that the cores have to communicate with each other to complete the task, which can slow things down. SolidWorks does not benefit from hyperthreading.
RAM for SolidWorks
Second consideration for doing SolidWorks graphic modelling is RAM (Random Access Memory) or main memory. In terms of RAM, you will need at least 16Gb. The larger the models you work on, the more memory the computer needs to keep things moving. In fact, you can forget about 8Gb as it will definately not be sufficient. We recommend you go for 32Gb or RAM or more for optimum performance.
SolidWorks Graphics cards
Additionally, you will need a professional level Graphics card (GPU), such as, ideally, NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 to RTX 5000. Here’s a list of some of the suitable cards as of 2020:
|Radeon Pro WX 9100||Quadro P1000|
|Radeon Pro WX 8200||Quadro P2000|
|Radeon Pro WX 7130||Quadro P3000|
|Radeon Pro WX 7100||Quadro P3200|
|Radeon Pro WX 5100||Quadro P4000|
|Radeon Pro WX 4170||Quadro P4200|
|Radeon Pro WX2100||Quadro P420|
|Radeon Pro WX3100||Quadro P5000|
|Radeon Pro W41xx||Quadro P5200|
|Quadro M6000||Quadro P520|
|Quadro M600M||Quadro P6000|
|Quadro M620||Quadro P6200|
|Quadro T1000||Quadro P620|
|Quadro T2000||Quadro RTX3000|
|Quadro M2200||Quadro RTX4000|
|Quadro M4000||Quadro RTX5000|
|Quadro M5000||Quadro RTX6000/ RTX8000|
See more detailed Graphics card information by vendor on Solidworks website.
Hard drive requirements for SolidWorks
Solid State Drives (SSDs) are strongly recommended due to their excellent system responsiveness, faster boot times, and silent operation. They are also less power hungry than the traditional hard drives. We recommend at least 500Gb SSD, but if budget allows go for 1Tb+. One of the main advantages of SSD is that it does not have any moving parts as opposed to the traditional drive.
If you are on a tight budget, the traditional Hard Disk Drive (HDD) will work just fine, but do go for the faster RPM (revolutions per minute) drive: choose 7,200 RPM drive over the 5,400 RPM one.
Your computer will need to process information quickly in order to ensure good SolidWorks performance, so the difference in speed will have a substantial effect. The 7,200 RMP drive processes roughly 150Mb per second, while the 5,400 RPM drive only 100Mb per second.
Just to put things into perspective, the average SSD delivers around 1.2Gb-1.4Gb speed per second, while the top performing SSDs can achieve processing speeds of over 2Gb per second.
Operating system requirements for SolidWorks
It is always advisable to go for the latest OS as otherwise you will end up with no updates of support in a year or two. Currently, you can run SolidWorks 2018, 2019 and 2020 on Windows 10, 64-bit, we recommend you go for it to future-proof your purchase.
Would you like to run SolidWorks on a Mac computer? SolidWorks does not run on Mac OS, so you will need to use Boot Camp or Parallels to install Windows before you can use it.
Software requirements for SolidWorks
MS Word and Excel: 2013, 2016, 2019 64-bit versions for Solidworks 2020.
Best laptops for SolidWorks
If you are thinking of buying a laptop, you should budget for $2,000 or £2,000 at least. The benefits of owning a laptop are well known: you can take it on business trips, to client’s premises, or take it home (this is especially useful in the times of COVID). It’s easy to attach to a large monitor and an external wired or wireless keyboard. The easiest way to manage all the wires is to get a thunderbolt dock.
Here is the list of vendors that produce SolidWorks-suitable laptops: