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Why does SolidWorks continually ignore the non-ultra-high-end laptops that students use?

Question asked by Tim McNerney on Aug 4, 2016
Latest reply on Aug 9, 2016 by Joseph Dunfee

I'm a professional software engineer, "maker," and part-time educator.  Every one of my MechE colleagues rave about SolidWorks, so I've been eager to jump on the SolidWorks bandwagon for years, and now I want to encourage my college-bound son to do the same.

The problem: Even though "Intel integrated HD graphics" (4400) and even high(ish)-end discrete GPUs, like the nVidia GeoForce GT 750M (from 2013) are dramatically better than graphics cards of 10 years ago, SolidWorks never seems to certify them.  I've been following the issue for over 10 years too, so I stand by my anecdotal assessment.

This is particularly key for capturing the student market, which is where our future engineers are.  If a student can't run even a crippled version of SolidWorks, you've lost them.  Only if their school provides a "CAD lab" will you catch them.  The lone, "I bought my own PC for college" student; they're out-of-luck.

Now AutoCAD and others are specifically targeting the student and Maker market with software that runs on anything.

So I don't get it.  Can someone explain to me why awesome gaming laptops aren't also passable CAD laptops?  Where CAD=SolidWorks, of course.

Can't there be a half-way, "good enough for students" certification?  Like "you will be able to do 90%, but maybe not RealView"?

It's hard to justify shelling out even $150 for the student edition of SolidWorks when even some $2,000+ laptop aren't good enough.

Yes, I know there are lots of GPU chips to test, but this should be a corporate priority!

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