Paul Kaiser

An explanation of the Graphics Boost option

Discussion created by Paul Kaiser on Mar 30, 2010
Latest reply on Oct 10, 2012 by Steve Martens

The Graphics Boost option (on the Tools > Options dialog) can have a big impact on the manner in which eDrawings uses your computer's graphics system.

At its core, eDrawings uses the OpenGL graphics API.  Virtually all Windows computers offer a "software-only" implementation of OpenGL, and many Windows computers also offer a hardware-accelerated OpenGL implementation.

eDrawings will work with either software OpenGL or hardware OpenGL.  Hardware OpenGL can be noticeably faster when working with large models, but the drawback is that there is an increased chance of incompatibility with the graphics card or its driver.  This incompatibility between eDrawings (or any other graphics-intensive application) and the graphics card/driver can manifest itself as an incorrect display, or as a crash or hang.

To minimize the chances of such a graphics-induced problem, you can instruct eDrawings to use software OpenGL.  Turning Graphics Boost off is equivalent to turning software OpenGL on.

If your combination of operating system version, graphics card, and driver version is on the list of certified configurations from the SolidWorks Graphics Testing Lab, then as far as we know, it is safe to use that version of eDrawings with Graphics Boost turned on (I.E. hardware-accelerated OpenGL).  I'm not promising that eDrawings will never crash in this case. But turning on Graphics Boost in this case should, in theory, not cause a problem. If your combination not on the list, the Graphics Boost mode may work just fine anyway.  Or eDrawings may work fine most of the time, but crash if you do a certain operations on a certain document.  Or eDrawings might crash frequently.  If you encounter a problem, try turning Graphics Boost off.

(BTW, if any documents are open in eDrawings, the Graphics Boost setting will be frozen until all documents are closed.)

On the Tools > Options dialog, if you click the Reset button inside the Performance group box (not the other Reset button, at the bottom of the dialog), eDrawings will check your combination against the list of certified combinations, and automatically choose the recommended settings for the Graphics Boost & Fastest Speed vs. Best Appearance options.  Also, the first time eDrawings is started on your computer, there is a "Graphics Performance Check" dialog, which shows the recommended settings for these options, but still gives you an opportunity to override that recommendation.

The number of combinations of graphics cards, drivers, and operating systems in the field is huge.  eDrawings errs on the side of caution when recommending a setting for Graphics Boost.  For example, on my main computer, the graphics card & driver combination that I'm currently using is not certified on Windows 7, so the recommended setting is Graphics Boost off.  But I have Graphics Boost turned on anyway and I do not experience any graphics-induced problems.  There are many cases where Graphics Boost can be used successfully even though eDrawings does not recommended it.

But if you do encounter an unexplained crash, or incorrect display, with Graphics Boost turned on, try turning it off to see if that helps.


Paul Kaiser

Manager, eDrawings Development