Didn't really know where to put these questions so placed them here in general. Admin please move if not relevant.
As an educator of Solidworks in further education I often get asked by students if this software will run on their home computers? I often say try it and see.
The results are often surprising and I find Solidworks does indeed run perfectly well (within reason) on non-certified graphics cards. Therefore I have a few questions which hopefully someone can shed some light on?
1. The need for certified hardware is of course very necessary in a commercial environment, crashes, poor performance and BSOD are costly. However, for education this is not such a problem. Therefore is there a list of cards by either AMD or Nvidia which are non certified but do work? I have not found one ati card (hd4xxx and above) that doesn't?
2. In order to evaluate these queiries I have pulled my certified card from my home computer and inserted a HD radeon 7950. I was surprised to see it works rather well? After further investigation it appears this card is almost identical to the W8000 utilising the 'tahiti' gpu and other components (main difference being the ECC memory) as far as I can tell. I'm no expert on these things so please forgive my ignorance, and i'm sure there must be a lot more to it! Otherwise how do they justify the 5 fold + price hike?
As of writing HD 7950 here in the uk is £230 vs £1100 for W8000.
3. After running the built-in benchmark with the HD card installed I was alarmed to see results which made no sense? The figures for each component were very high even though the difference in performance on-screen is not? Granted I am not stressing the system very much with assemblies of a few thousand parts. However, I did expect to see a drop in performance from my V7900??? Even when using my 4k monitor @ 3840 x 2160.
Ok true 'realview' is not available with the HD radeon series, but I have actually managed to turn this on..!! (see attached) Now I am even more confused? What am I missing here and is there a benchmark test I can use which will evaluate the performance between a certified card and one that is not?
I realise I'm not going to get a responce from either solidworks or ati regarding this matter hence my questions to the community. Because for what I use solidworks for I now feel rather cheated in having to pay out so much for what I thought was the only route to running solidworks. Further to this, to tell students to buy an entry level card like a V3900 for Solidworks is not going to wash, due to their video and gaming needs. However, a mid to high end gaming card with realview switched on is an option for them.
Therefore I guess my real question is this:
Have I missed a vital point or issue here, and at what point would I notice the difference between this modified HD7950 and a W8000?
Many thanks in advance.
ps. Attached a screen shot of the hd7950 with realview switched on at 4k res.