Does anyone know if solidworks will benefit from the use of two videocards (like put in crossfire mode or SLI)?
Why are you considering two video cards? Which two?
Useful information would be the size of assemblies you work on (100? 1000? 10000?), what computer this is for (Core i7? Xeon W3670? Core2Duo 3.2?), how much RAM you have, and what video card you currently have/are considering for your new computer.
I've got a 98% feeling I'm going to say no.
No SolidWorks is not coded to take advantage of SLI or Crossfire.
SolidWorks is CPU bound and benefits from the fastest most modern cpu architecture. Currently high clock speed Core i7 or Xeon 3600/5600 series processors are the top performers.
What are you hoping SLI/Crossfire will do for you in SolidWorks?
I was just wondering if the dual video cards would help with the rendering if the images on my screen with large assemblies. But if it is completely a function of cpu power, what does the difference between having a really high end card vs a low budget card really do for you?
A high end video card will help with rotating the model on the screen. Especially if the assembly is large, this can make a big difference. Transparencies, reflective, satin, semi-gloss appearances all also make for slower rotation speeds. Switching between multiple screens, like from SW to Word and back can be taxing on the video card. Having a faster video card helps for all of these.
The first thing is to make sure you have a certified video card that has proper drivers for SolidWorks. You can find the list here: http://www.solidworks.com/sw/support/videocardtesting.html
I can summarize it fairly quick, however, you only want nVidia Quadro and ATI FirePro video cards. Both allow for either crossfire, or whatever nVidia calls it. The new nVidia cards are the 2000 and 4000, and the ATI's are the V3800, V4800, etc.
How many components are you working with that you think you need more than a Quadro 4000 or a FirePro V4800?
I currently have a Quadro fx 1700. Works ok, but when I am working with very large (1000+ parts) assemblies SW can be really slow. I'm guessing that slowness is both a function of the CPU and the graphics card though. Now that my company is buying me a new computer I'll probably get a better video card than the 1700. I was just wondering if SW had the capability to utilize two cards for image processing or not, but it seems like the responses here have effectively answered my question. Thanks!
Rendering in SolidWorks is cpu based. Rendering is multi-threaded and will use all the available cores, including hyper-threaded ones, to 100%. For fast rendering you want the highest Ghz, most modern architecture cpu, with at least 4 and preferably 6 or more cores. Core i7's or Xeon 3600/5600 are the latest and greatest from Intel.
The video card displays the model on screen in the graphics area. It takes the vector based data the cpu generates and converts that to tesselated data that can be displayed on screen.
If you have a big monitor, like my 30" Dell at 2560 x 1600 screen resolution or maybe two big 24" monitors at high resolution, a bigger video card will help. That is a lot of pixels that must be managed on screen. Also if your models are very large with numerous facets and features a big video card will help display those on screen more efficiently. Surface textures, transparency, RealView, etc has an affect on the speed at which the image is displayed in the graphics area. The more complex it is and the bigger the amount of pixels the card is managing, the need for a better video card grows.
If you are doing smallish models on a 21" monitor then a lower end Nvidia Quadro or ATI FirePro will be fine.
I currently (and will continue to) run two 24" monitors both at 1680x1050 resolution. One display is solely with SW open on it and the other for all the other applications that might be open. Thanks for all the information and advice!
Retrieving data ...