7 Replies Latest reply on May 8, 2016 11:21 AM by Dean Grider

    Best hardware for SW 2016?

    Reed Anderson

        I am looking to build a computer for home use to run SW 2016.  I have been doing research online and have found lots of suggestions but many are a few years old now and I was looking for the most up to date recommendations.  I currently use SolidWorks for parts and assemblies (assemblies not much larger than 200-250 parts) and create drawings for htese parts/assemblies.  I do not do anything fancy with graphics and I do not use simulation.  I am fairly new to SW so I would like to build a system that will handle heavier tasks down the road as I become more experienced. That being said, here are the basic components I am looking at:


      Intel i7-4790K processor

      16GB RAM

      250GB SSD

      1TB HDD

      Graphics card : ?   I was leaning towards a firepro because I have heard they are outperforming NVDIA Quadro per dollar but I have no idea.....


      The guy who is going to help me assemble the computer says he does not think SSD is a big benefit.  He prefers two HDD drives with some form of RAID so that all files are on both drives in case one fails.  Any thoughts on this setup vs the SSD and HDD listed above?


      Also, this is a personal use computer (that will mostly be for just SW) so I am on a budget.  If I had to trim the price in what area would you recommend trimming?  Thanks again everyone!!!

        • Re: Best hardware for SW 2016?
          Scott Lyon

          I work with a very large assembly and a super fast SSD is a big help. Opens and saves are much faster. Mine are SATA drives but now you can get PCIe drives that are faster yet. Lots of people run SSD for system and programs and old fashioned buggy wheels for data. With the low price of SSD these days I have no idea why.


          As to RAIDS; I have two Samsung 850 pro 1TB SSDs in a RAID1 which is mirrored redundant. If I lose a drive I lose no data. I did have that happen with my last machine and believe me, not having that sick feeling in the pit of your gut is well worth the price of a 2nd drive.


          I went with NVidia for video because it looks to me like AMD is a company on the down slope while NVidia is still climbing. A few years ago AMD cards were causing some problems in SW. I haven't seen anything on that for a while.


          I also have the i7-4790K. it's overclocked to 4.4 and is incredible. The next generation is out now and priced right. If I were to build today I would certainly go Skylake with the i7-6700K. You can run DDR4 RAM with the chip set which is faster and readily available. The amount of RAM is purely dependent on the size of the files you work with.


          Same goes for the size of your video card. I have a K3100M in my laptop and a K5200 in my desktop. I can tell the difference between the two but the 3100 does fine. The K5200 replaced a K2000 and the difference was huge. Again I'm working with big files though (10GB).

            • Re: Best hardware for SW 2016?
              Reed Anderson

              Thanks Scott.  I do not go currently go anywhere near 10GB files but I do not know what the future brings.  I appreciate your feedback.

              • Re: Best hardware for SW 2016?
                Dean Grider

                10GB files?! I'd like to see a screenshot of that...What is it, if I might ask?

                  • Re: Best hardware for SW 2016?
                    Scott Lyon

                    It's a whole factory. Building, equipment, piping, duct, cable trays...the whole 9 yards. I'd show you but then I'd have to kill you

                      • Re: Best hardware for SW 2016?
                        Dean Grider

                        We're doing something similar, in that it's an entire plant, but our assy is "only" ~275Mb.

                        This was created before I got here, and some of the practices were very sloppy (I'm being nice)

                        to say the least. I'm trying to beat some good habits into them, but it's an uphill battle...

                        The performance is terrible most of the time, what are you doing to manage that size? (speedpak, etc.)

                        I'm implementing an arrangement with a master layout sketch that allows for a master assy, of course,

                        as well as different subassy's (plant "zones") to be created using that same master layout sketch.

                        It helps, but I dread the large project that will eventually land...

                        Xeon 2.8/16GB/K5200/SSD (pending)

                        We have an Xi - i7 6700K(4.5Ghz)/32GB/M5000/512SSD 2150/1500 R/W   that we just received, and another on the way,

                        but I've already heard that the new one has had a resource monitor warning, which makes no sense, given what he's

                        working on...

                          • Re: Best hardware for SW 2016?
                            Scott Lyon

                            Yeah, warnings on something like that do seem odd. I'd look for redundant and circular mates. Something is eating power that doesn't need to.

                            I've been working on this model for 4 years. I started it with Alibre Design but didn't make it very far. In fact I had one run of pipe and one rotary air lock. The lock sits under a silo and as soon as I patterned it for the other silos my system came to a screeching halt. Back then I had an i5 laptop and AD used DirectX for video. It wasn't made for large assemblies. Within a month I was on SolidWorks and a Dell M6600. That actually lasted until almost a year ago.


                            I never had any formal SW training and for the first 6 months I was trying to outrun the contractors. I literally watched Solid Professor videos in the morning, modeled with what I'd learned and sent screen shots of the pipe they were going to hang the same day. Didn't get much sleep. Once I had the time I took a few VAR classes. The point there is I also had horrible technique. Heck I probably still do but I've figured out how to get around it. It's funny, if I open a part from back then I just shake my head. For the structural steel I made each beam and matted it in place. I made each piece of pipe, elbow and other fittings and mated them, etc. etc. Once my system screeched again I learned about sub assemblies. By then I had several thousand parts and mates. That's when I decided to start breaking things out like you're saying. All the steel in one assy, pipe in another and equipment in another. That's when I also learned that RMB>create sub-assy blows away all the mates. I never will forget the first time I opened my equipment sub assembly only to find stuff scattered all over the place. Heart attack! But I got through it, started using weldments, swept bosses and so on. I still use the same primary sub assemblies. I have them broken out mostly by process step. Raw material, packaging, utilities and so on. Each primary sub has a full set of planes laid out on the column grid. I can work in the prime assy but I put all the mates to something in the eventual sub. That could be planes, a sketch or another item already in the sub. Once everything is set how I want it I just drag the new item in the tree and drop it in its sub. All the mates go with it. This method allows me to work an area with many eventual subs but I don't have to keep working in 'edit sub' mode. At any given time I have a couple thousand comps in my top assy which is manageable. Once my predictive modeling becomes historical modeling (the real parts get installed) I can make any adjustments in positioning before I toss the part over to the sub. I use a combination of configs and display states to trim the top assy down to just the area I'm working in. I can unhide and unsupress everything for show-n-tell if needed but for every day working I only have visible what is absolutely needed. It works. I'm the only one working with the model so I can get away with more crap than a team could. Someone new coming into my environment would probably have a tough couple months trying to figure out what I've done. Job security I guess.


                            From everything I've ever read or seen on large assemblies it seems like you're on the right track. Keep the mates in the top level to a minimum for working. All the lightweight and large assy mode stuff is worthless to me. I need to be able to work fully with whatever components I'm near in my work. that other stuff is just to make it easier to show off the final product in a room full of people. I overcome those problems with hardware power. As long as technology can stay ahead of me I can stay ahead of the contractors.

                    • Re: Best hardware for SW 2016?
                      Dean Grider

                      I just found your reply....

                      I believe technique is everything, particularly assembly mating, and division of work (subassys)

                      I'm creating a document now for our impending doom er, project. I'm promoting very heavily, the use

                      of coordinate systems for mating subassys. this allows a single mate when the "align axes" option is

                      checked. One mate per assy, and bulletproof. Even if it meant creating some 3DSketch geometry, or

                      whatever, I feel it's worth it. My philosophy being that the mate is essentially embedded in the part or assy

                      And by the time the parts/assys meet at the assy level, the mates go one way, that's it. That keeps the mate count

                      down, and they couldn't be simpler for SW to calc. (coincident)

                      And by cleverly dividing the master arrangement sketch into zones, the amount of time spent at the top level can

                      be absolutely minimized.

                      So the MASketch would be divided so that:

                      Zone 1 could have assy A,B,C

                      Z2 - D,E,F,


                      So at any time, you could create an assy of Z1, Z2, etc. to be inserted to make a complete assy

                      or, You could make an assy of Z1-2 that contains only C,D, and E to focus on D, and include the local

                      adjacent assys. C & E.

                      Because of the CoordSys entities all over the MASketch, and each asembly, they can be assembled

                      in numerous assys with concern over managing them all. Any change to the MASketch would update them all.

                      We're also utilizing the freeze bar any where we can.

                      And being generous with the use of subassys.

                      And trying to get these guys to understand better mating practice....They're definitely NOT all the same.