6 Replies Latest reply on Oct 15, 2013 9:44 AM by Gregory Dalton

    MacBook Air (2012) + SolidWork 2012

    Patrick Scheffer



      I wanted to take some time and share some info about this combination.  I searched this forum and found enough to get a good enough feeling to pull the trigger. 


      The MBA is a 2ghz Intel Core i7 with 8gb 1600 mhz ddr3.  I loaded Win7 Professional on 50gb of my 128ssd. 


      After win7, bootcamp, drivers, SW 2012 SP4 (minus PDM / toolbox), and a 3d mouse driver.  That took 33gb leaving me 17gb to work with.  Thats plenty as SW will be the only thing I will use Win7 for.  I'll add toolbox and PDM later. 


      I loaded one of my projects and its about 50-75 parts with two circuit boards holding 40+ parts each.  With my 3d mouse I did get some blocking but the transition was very smooth and compairble to a desktop (speed wise).  I'm going to get set up on the network tomorrow and try to load some more complex assy's and see how it goes. 


      If there is anything I can help asnwer feel free to ask.  I would love to help anyone like others here have helped me. 



        • Re: MacBook Air (2012) + SolidWork 2012
          Gregory Dalton


          I'm seriously considering this combination. Let us know the results of your subsequent perfrormance tests.

          Thanks! Greg

          • Re: MacBook Air (2012) + SolidWork 2012
            Rick McWilliams

            Are you able to get real view display? Is software open GL active? You might be able to avoid some blocking by changing the image quality.

            • Re: MacBook Air (2012) + SolidWork 2012
              Keerthi Nagaraj

              Hi Patrick,


              I'm just planning to buy a Macbook Air with similar specifications and wanted to check how compatible your laptop has been with Windows 7 and Solidworks?Thank you

                • Re: MacBook Air (2012) + SolidWork 2012
                  Gregory Dalton



                  I've been running SW2013 on a MBP10.1(2012 I think) with 2.6GHz i7, 16GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 1GB, Parallels 9, and Win 7. I've run several combinations of settings over the last 8 months, and I'm running about as efficient at I can get. I'd have to say, anything less that what I have in hardware would decrease performance, because as much as I like this system, it's not as good as a PC laptop.


                  The major reason is the graphics. The MBP can plough through analysis (the processor turbos to 3.6GHz) much better than I would have expected, but displaying 3D models is not optimal. Especially with larger assemblies, turning a model, sectioning, selecting, etc.. is a little slow. PC laptops just use higher power video adapters that are much faster, and Apple goes through great lengths to make their hardware as low power as possible. That's just a fact. If you want to work on small assemblies or parts, I'm sure MBA would handle it no problem.


                  Overall, pretty happy with my system. For larger (>250 parts) assemblies, I still occasionally slide to the PC side.


                    • Re: MacBook Air (2012) + SolidWork 2012
                      Ian Worrall

                      Your graphics problem is probably due to Parallels. It "fakes" a PC for you to install Win7 on, but only fakes a really basic graphics card.

                      TTo get the most out of your hardware, I'd recommend replacing Parallels with Bootcamp. You'll have to reboot between OSX & Win7, but each will be able to make the best of your MBP.

                        • Re: MacBook Air (2012) + SolidWork 2012
                          Gregory Dalton

                          Yes, the virtual machine (VM, Parallels in my case) is using a software GL and not the deticated graphics card, but you can trick the VM into using the deticated graphics. I tried this and it was terrible. Obviously, the VM isn't an ideal confguration for graphics, but does decent analysis, as I stated.


                          It depends how you want to configure your machine. If want to share files between OSX and Win (which I do), and switch instantly between the applications, a VM is the only option, and works OK. Perhaps in the future the VM will be able to utilize the deticated graphics more seamlessly.


                          Using Boot Camp, the two systems are totally separate (different partitions/file structures). The computer must be rebooted to joggle from one system to the other. If you point a VM to the Boot Camp partition to run Win from OSX, there are some drivers that change due to the VM and Win changes back and forth, another situation that is not ideal.