After some hours of research and experimentation, I’ve cracked the problem to be able to get OpenGL acceleration on our MacBooks when running SW2013 and SW2014. Okay, this is going to be a long thread but believe me, it will be worth it for you in the end.
First a little background – Currently on your Macbook Pro when you run SolidWorks or ProE (in Parallels) what you see in your Viewport is completely drawn by the CPU. What this means is that the NVIDIA GeForce GT750 graphics card in your MacBook is doing absolutely nothing to accelerate the graphics in your viewport. This goes to whether you just have a shaded model, wireframe, hidden line view etc. and I’m not even talking about the additional effects of Realview (reflections, self-shadow, ambient occlusion etc.) You also find that you can not do draft check in SolidWorks because in late 2010 SW switch to using OpenGL to accelerate the draft check visualization also. The bottom line is that with small models, performance is not noticeable but with larger models and assemblies it can completely bog down your viewport and in some cases take several seconds to refresh the view. This is because your MAC CPU is doing 100% of the processing of your SW view, whereas the Graphic Cards in all computers should be doing that job and offloading it from the CPU. This is evident if right now you go and fire up SW, load a model and go to Tools>System Tools>Performance and scroll to the bottom of the dialog you’ll notice that the item “use software OpenGL” is checked and greyed
So to me, this is really going to be a big impact on my productivity not only from a performance standpoint but also from other visualization tools that you get when modeling including Draft Check, reflections and zebra stripes (important for surface modeling) etc. The model edges and sketch entities will also be smoother (anti-aliasing) with OpenGL enabled.
The Solution – after much digging on the web, its apparent that we’re not the only one with this problem and because SW or our VAR will officially NOT support SW on the MAC others have taken the time to figure out how to trick your graphics card in to thinking it runs SW with OpenGL when normally it doesn’t. So it turns out that you can edit your SW Windows registry keys to get Graphics Hardware acceleration in SW. I can take you thru the detailed steps to edit your system registry using regedit.exe or if you rather not, you can get the reg key file I created and I’ve posted it on our Box folder.
But first you must do a few other minor things on your MAC.
(Attention Arne (or anyone that does not have a Macbook Pro 17”) – I believe you have a MacBook Pro 15” and I think you have a different graphics card in yours. I believe it is an intel HD 4000. You can check by going to Apple>about this MAC>Advanced and it should be listed in the dialog. If this is the case also have a solution for you but it requires different reg key setting. If you are interested in getting full OpenGl for SW, see me and I can do yours.)
Optionally If you are not comfortable loading my registry setting you can do it yourself doing the following:
- Go to your Apple system preferences>Energy Saver and turn off your “Automatic Graphics Switching.” This is not necessary to do if you are always plugged in, but if you are at a client or without your power brick, MAC will turn off the graphics performance of Parallels to conserve power.
- Next go to Parallels and RMB to “Configure” (make sure that you have shut down your virtual Windows desktop) and under the Options Tab make sure that Power is set to “Better Performance.” Now go to the Hardware tab and the Video category and make sure that the 3D Acceleration is set to “DirectX9”
- Start up Parallels and go to Start>Run>regedit and then click on the HKEY_CURRENT_USER and then File>Export “Backup registry <today’s date>” to backup your system registry before you make any changes (I don’t want to be held responsible if I, or you, do something that could corrupt your windows7 install and you can use this file to recover.)
- (Optional) If you have any customization to your SW interface you will loose it with one or a both of this reg files in the next step, so if f you have a lot of customization you can save it using by going to Start>All Programs>SolidWorks2014 (2014)>SolidWorks Tools>Copy Settings Wizard and use it to backup your settings so you can reload it in after the next step.
- Now go to our Spanner Box and download the SW2013 Registry fix I created or the SW2014 Registry fix or both. Once you’ve download/s then just click on one or both of them (Make sure that you’ve done the backup in step 3 first)
- If you did step 4, goto the Copy Settings Wizard and restore your customization
- THAT’S IT!
- In Windows7, Start>run>Regedit
- Expand the HKEYCURRENT_USER Key
- Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\SolidWorks\SolidWorks <your Version>\Performance\Graphics\Hardware\Gl2Shaders\Other
- In the “Other” Key create a new Key and name it "Parallels using NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M”
- Create a new 32Bit DWORD Key underneath this key called WorkArounds and give it a hex value of 40000
- Now Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\SolidWorks\SolidWorks <your version>\Performance\Graphics\Hardware\Parallels and NVIDIA Corporation
- On this key change it’s “Workaround” value to 4000480
Now you can start your SolidWorks, and load a current part or assembly and drop down the last icon on the right of the Heads-up View Toolbar and click on the RealView Icon.
So with OpenGL/RealView turned on on your MacBook Parallels you should see the difference between the first screen shot of the Porsche Carrera GT and the second with RV enabled
Next up would be to enable OpenGL for ProE on your MacBooks. I’ll work on that and let you know. I’m sure there is a workaround for that too.