15 Replies Latest reply on Sep 6, 2018 12:31 PM by Jeff Mowry

    Building a computer for SolidWorks

    Alex Lachance

      Okay, I know there are tons of threads about this and I've skimmed through most of them but I am not much of a hardware expert so I'd have a few questions to ask.


      We've been buying HP workstations for the last few years, everything works fine and all, tough after reading through the threads I realized there was a lot that could be done to perhaps improve the computer without modifying the cost.


      So here's what I got spec'ed for a pretty hefty price..


      HP Workstation

      IntelCore i7 8700 @ 3.2GHz (6core)

      16GB Ram DDR-4

      256GB SSD Turbo drive

      Quadro P4000 graphic card


      So after reading a bunch of threads, I figured I'd be better off with something around the line of:


      IntelCore i7-8086k

      32GB Ram DDR-4

      256GB SSD Turbo Drive

      Quadro P2000 graphic card


      I ''downgraded'' the GPU because we don't do renders. I was wondering if that would affect the time of response and SolidWork's speed.


      I also downgraded the CPU because of this article : What IS the Best CPU for SOLIDWORKS? By Jeff Setzer | GSC Articles

      Tough, I do not understand the whole ''single core vs multiple core'' as the 8086k is a 6-core too as far as I'm aware.


      I doubled the RAM because we already have 16GB ram on our 6 years old computer and we're supposed to be upgrading, not staying even.


      So what do you guys suggest? I'm not going the gaming graphic card way, staying with professional graphic cards, everything else can be switched accordingly to be improved.

        • Re: Building a computer for SolidWorks
          Frederick Law

          You need a gaming motherboard with overclocking ability to make good use of the 8086k.

          I'll pick motherboard with M.2 connector.  Samsung 970 EVO M.2 MAX Read 3500MB/s, MAX Write 2500MB/s and cheaper.

          ASUS MAXIMUS IX MOTHERBOARDS can run them with RAID 0.


          I've ordered 2 500GB 860 EVO msata for my laptop, will RAID 0 them also.

          I used RAID 0 for over 10 years.  Alway needed bigger drive before they have any error.

          • Re: Building a computer for SolidWorks
            Chris Canterbury

            As to the multi-core v. single core issue, a Dassault rep spoke at my old school when I was attending.  Solidworks is not a threaded program as usually the result of one calculation is input for a subsequent calculation.  It runs each calculation sequentially.


            As such (due to OS overhead) a dual-core would be just as good as a 12-core.  They advised getting the highest clock-speed processor you can find, regardless of cores.


            As a bonus, those are often less expensive chips.

            • Re: Building a computer for SolidWorks
              John Stoltzfus

              Did you check with the guys at SolidBox ?

              • Re: Building a computer for SolidWorks
                David Matula

                What to do with my new computer to keep it from crashing


                And really just look at the system requirements and exceed them as much as you can afford.

                • Re: Building a computer for SolidWorks
                  Jeff Mowry

                  Let's get to what you do.  You DON'T do renderings, so the extra cores/threads won't help you a lot (but they DO help, per Frederick's post above).  Do you work with large assemblies (over 2,000 parts)?  If not, you probably don't need that much RAM unless you're doing other memory-intensive stuff.


                  You can look at the specs of my system in my profile---it runs great, but you won't be able to find that same hardware "new" this year (used, eBay only), so it won't apply to you very well except as a vague reference.  My graphics card is a few years old and I like it a LOT better than the Quadro card I had previously (expensive and not as versatile).


                  If you don't get a "baked in" system, you can do other things per Frederick's post, such as the M.2 drive, which offers some excellent performance benefits at great cost---so long as your motherboard has M.2 slots.  And you don't get hosed on the price that way, since the drives themselves are relatively cheap now.


                  Could also consider Xi Computers if something non-Dell/HP is an option.  Great service, capable workstations, excellent prices.

                    • Re: Building a computer for SolidWorks
                      Neville Williams

                      Jeff Mowry wrote:

                      My graphics card is a few years old and I like it a LOT better than the Quadro card I had previously (expensive and not as versatile).


                      You can save yourself alot of money, by not going over the top with the graphics card.

                      I personally think there is alot of marketing BS plus a fair bit of "smoke and mirrors" around graphics cards.


                      I have had a fairly low cost K2200 Quadro in my system for a while now and recently had the opportunity to get a higher end P4000 Quadro out of another computer for very little $. I honestly, cannot see any real improvement on my general day to day modeling use (zooming, orbiting, panning etc). This is with quite large assemblies, which  .

                      There may be benefits for rendering and photorealistic graphics but from where I'm sitting high end whizzbang cards is money down the toilet.

                      Maybe some one with a good grasp of graphic card usage/specs can give us all a bit of a heads up.

                        • Re: Building a computer for SolidWorks
                          Erik Bilello

                          I would agree with Neville on the graphics cards.  With the caveat that if you anticipate a long wait before this machine will be replaced it might be better to get an "overkill" graphics card (and/or other things) now.  This machine has a Quadro 4000, purchased when they first released the Quadro cards (replacing the QuadroFx series), and the lowest in the line at the time. A bit more than I really wanted to spend at the time, but it's still adequate today, so not too bad a deal in the long run.

                          If, however, management is amenable to upgrading components (if not whole boxes) in the future, then I would certainly not go overboard on graphics, RAM or drives now. The CPU and motherboard aren't so easily replaced, so I'd focus on making sure those are adequate for both current and your anticipated future use.

                        • Re: Building a computer for SolidWorks
                          Alex Lachance

                          We're a trailer manufacturing company so we work with large assemblies that vary from 1500 to 4000 components. Of course those are broken down in smaller assemblies that are generally 20-25 parts tops but I doubt that matters.


                          I'm a designing draftsman. So I sometimes design stuff trough the large assemblies but most of the time I'm working on sub-assemblies. I do a lot of drafting too, it seems drafting is always what slows me and everyone else down. Our models are often smooth but the drawings are often pretty hefty to work in.


                          My set up looks a lot like yours.


                          Intel Xeon E5-1620 @3.60GHz

                          18GB RAM

                          AMD FirePro V7900

                          500GB SSD (don't know what type)

                            • Re: Building a computer for SolidWorks
                              Jeff Mowry

                              When you open Task Manager, (or Resource Manager in Windows 10?), how much memory does SolidWorks generally take up when you're working on the larger assemblies and drawings, and how much does the total system consume?  This should give you a good idea on whether the additional 16GB of RAM will be of any worth to you or not.  Plus, you can always add more later, if necessary, and spend the money saved on something that will definitely benefit you in the meantime.


                              I've found that a higher clock speed on your chip will help out tremendously in SolidWorks.  So if you don't need the additional cores/threads for rendering (or analysis or similar), spend the dough on fewer cores/threads to obtain higher clock speed (4+ GHz).  I'd consider two cores/threads to be an absolute minimum, since you'll likely be running many other processes/apps in the background while running SolidWorks, but you probably don't need anything like eight.

                          • Re: Building a computer for SolidWorks
                            Matthew Romanow

                            I'm a novice, but I know I need the small size I'm looking for the HP Mini Z2 G4- what's the best config? I saw one on Tomsguide that priced out at just over 2200, when I went on to the HP store I wasn't even able to make the same configurations, and it topped out at plus 3300,


                            Matt r