11 Replies Latest reply on Mar 29, 2014 9:39 AM by Barry Cavanaugh

    What is the best video card for solidworks 2014?

    Andrew Whiting

      We are thinking about updating one of our workstations. It was been running on the slower side latley and we think its because of the video card. The current computer specs are, Xeon processor E3-1240 with 8 Gb of ram. The video card is a Nvidia Quadro 2000 with 1gb onboard memory.


      Looking at all avalible workstations on the market, I've realized the computer itself isnt too far off. I think if we upgrade the video card it will help to drasticallly increase solidworks performance. What is you opinion? We would be willing to spend $1000 on a video card. The video card I'm looking at ordering is the AMD FirePro W5000. It looks like its a great "bang for the buck" kind of a card. Does anyone have this card? It shows as supported card on the Soliworks website.


      Also, what are the opinions on the Solid State drives?



        • Re: What is the best video card for solidworks 2014?
          Joe Kuzich

          You might want to do a quick search here on the forums, I know there has been a lot of discussions about video cards and slow performance.  I am by no means an expert but the overall theme I've noticed to most effect performance are as follows;

          (Please someone correct me if I am wrong)


          1) Fully understanding SW.  I don't know your experience level and don't mean this in any negative way but SW is a tricky gal.  Just because SW lets you do something doesn't mean you should or that should like it lets you.  My system performance has increased dramatically by doing little things like trying to better manage my tree. 


          2) Using a PDM software.  We are using EPDM.  The big advantage there for performance is that you check out the files your working on and work on them from your local machine, not the network.  The kicker is that you have to remember to check them back in, especially before you go on vacation.  You "own" the file till you check it back in and it is on your local system.  There are also a backup and multi-user benefit to it.  It does take some getting used to and we have had some strange issues with that too that will occasionally require several reboots but overall it has been a benefit.  That may have to do with our IT as well.


          3) Processor seams like it has the biggest bang for you buck, but only as a single core.  It is my understanding that SW (for the most part) utilizes a single core.  So a faster single core is better than a slower multi core, but a faster multi core is best if your system is used for more than just SW.


          4) Ram would be next.  More the merrier and faster speeds are welcome.


          5) Then I think it is video card.  The thing here is not so much the speed of the card, but faster is still good.  It is mostly using a SW approved card.  One that has been tested & approved by SW is much less likely to give you problems, including slower performance.  But with that being said many people have had good luck with gaming cards, but it is controversial and you use them at your own risk.  Now I also think this just for most SW tasks.  I think the video card may bump up ahead of ram if you do things like a lot of rendering.


          6) You've got me on solid state drives.  I have heard that a lot of people like to use them for things like the core windows/program stuff to boot up quickly then another drive for storage since the cost is so high on them still.


          Hope this helps, and that I understand it right.

          • Re: What is the best video card for solidworks 2014?
            Anna Wood

            Explain, in detail, what your performance issues are with SolidWorks.


            A video card upgrade is likely not the solution.  SolidWorks is CPU bound.





            • Re: What is the best video card for solidworks 2014?
              Barry Cavanaugh

              after having attended solidworks world, listening to the presentations regarding this subject, and recently talking with Dell's experts on this matter, the key mantra is this: "SolidWorks just needs one really fast core". Unless you are also going to be doing lots of other compute intensive activity on the computer, having a second CPU is not going to benefit you much. The i7 CPU has 4 cores, the xeon and i7 leapfrog each other at times, but often times the single fasted core will be an i7.


              graphics cards are important also, but again, a mid range nvidia or amd will be fine for most usage scenarios. In some cases, the really high end graphics cards don't produce additional performance gain because sw or other components aren't written to exploit the added features of the really high end cards.