What is the best hardware configuration for SOLIDWORKS?

One question that always gets asked is which is the best computer hardware configuration for SOLIDWORKS?
It is not an easy question to answer as everyone needs an individual approach that fits all of the work requirements. But – we have gathered a small guide for you to take a look at and hopefully, it will give you the insight of the best hardware when using SOLIDWORKS. Get it here: When Choosing Hardware for SOLIDWORKS.

In 2015, these were one of the best specifications:


What applications will you be using? Any PhotoView 360 action? Or maybe you plan to use SOLIDWORKS Visualize to create high quality renderings? Shall you analyze your design with Simulation? And most importantly: will you be running other application concurrently?
We will show you how to put those variables into formula.


Your workstation is driven by processor and you need to make sure it is enough for years to come. Most of SOLIDWORKS applications are mainly single-threaded by using only one processor core. Simple answer here is to get processor with highest clock speed containing plentiful of cache. This means that great choices currently could be Intel® Xeon® E5-1650v3 (at 3.8 GHz Max Turbo Frequency with 15 MB cache) or Intel® Xeon® E3-1281v3 (at 4.1 GHz Max Turbo Frequency with 8 MB cache) or Intel® Core™ i7-4790 (at 4.0 GHz Max Turbo frequency with 8 MB cache) or quad-core mobile processor like the Intel® 4th Generation Core™ i7-4790MX (at 4.0 GHz Max Turbo Frequency with 8 MB cache).
If you use analysis at the same time as rendering you need more than 4 cores with highest speed you can buy.
Note: Intel Xeon 12xx/16xx series processors support more cache than the slightly less expensive i7 or i5 processors as well as supporting much more reliable error correcting code (ECC) memory. The additional reliability and speed are worth the extra cost.


RAM is processors right hand and your computer needs enough of it to serve SOLIDWORKS well. Let us give you a formula for that
1. Start at 4GB. Add +1GB for each CAD application mentioned above (CAD, simulation, rendering)
2. Multiply 20 x your biggest assembly x number of applications. Add the result to GB sum calculated above.
3. Round up to next standard RAM size

Example 1:
2. (100mb assembly) 20 x 0.100GB = 2GB 5GB + 2GB = 7GB
3. Round 7GB up to 8 GB

Example 2:
2. (250mb assembly) 20 x 0.250 x 3=15GB 15GB+7GB=22GB
3. Round 22GB up to 32GB

The first example 8GB does not leave any room for growth whereas 32 does. As your computer is likely to be used at least 3 years then better take 16GB as minimum.
And make sure you purchase RAM with fastest speed with ECC (error correcting code) technology.


SOLIDWORKS has quite a lot of data to load from disk and if you upgrade RAM and processor to the best possible level, their power cannot be harnessed when loading and writing of files is slow. Equip your workstation with SSD that can contain OP system and active projects’ files and you can take advantage of your maximum processor, cache and RAM performance. For example HP’s new PCIe based Z Turbo Drive G2 achieves well over 2 GB/sec of sequential performance as compared to 500 MB/sec for more common SATA 3-based SSDs.


Graphics processor unit (GPU) brings the output of your workstations work to your monitor. Cards prices can differ more than ten times and choosing can be difficult. We will give you the questions that should lead you to the right direction:
1. Are you designing only simple parts without the need for 3D visualization?
2. Are you designing bigger assemblies and using some fast visualization tools?
3. Are you modelling with using high quality rotation of models, transparent assembly parts, running realistic visualization with PhotoView 360 or SOLIDWORKS Visualize?
4. Are you rendering high quality photorealistic images with backgrounds, textures and materials with SOLIDWORKS Visualize?

Answers to those questions could be for example:
1) Professional 2D: Intel® HD P4600 or AMD FirePro™ W2100
2) Entry 3D: NVIDIA® Quadro® K620 or AMD FIREPRO™ W4100
3) Mid-range 3D: NVIDIA® Quadro® K2200 or AMD FirePro™ W5100, AMD FIREPRO™ W7100
4) High-end 3D: NVIDIA® Quadro® K4100, NVIDIA® Quadro® K5200, NVIDIA® Quadro® K6000 or AMD FirePro™ W8100, AMD FirePro™ W9100

You can read more about suggestions made by hardware companies:

So you see that SOLIDWORKS-certified graphics range from Intel® HD Pro P4600 on-board graphics to external GPU cards.
All SOLIDWORKS certified hardware devices can be found at https://www.solidworks.com/sw/support/videocardtesting.html. You can read more about certification on this site: Graphics cards and drivers.

Last suggestion is to reserve space for future growth either by choosing a bit more powerful components or making sure hardware slots can accept expansion and newer components.


Based on Robert Green´s
article on SolidWorks blog
Edited by: Mati Link