Jonathan Wilkof

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and Solidworks

Discussion created by Jonathan Wilkof on Dec 8, 2014
Latest reply on Aug 22, 2015 by Jonathan Wilkof

I recently installed SW 2015 on my new surface pro 3 (i7, 8gb ram, win 8.1) and I thought that everyone would appreciate a review.


The install was flawless (Professional) and took about 15 minutes since i had the software already downloaded.  I'm still gettin used to windows 8 and trying not to hate it but to learn qnd get comfortable.  It's no doubt different and with all the little programs it installs on the side (copy settings wizard, etc.) it adds 12 programs to the start menu, which takes up a lot of space.  I added the min program icon to the metro screen and it's not so clunky anymore.


The software runs very quickly and i have not had any of the graphics card driver issues that some other have mentioned.  After being frustrated with the small icons and the touch interface i found the "Optimize spacing for touch" option in toolbar customization.  Very helpful. 


I tried sketching with my finger and that is just a no go.  The tip of your finger will obscure where you're trying to place geometry and it's impossible to get the precise control required.  Using the pen is a little better and with practice may be ok, but i'm not recommending it.  I finally plugged in my mouse and everything was fine.


One of the unexpected surprises and my favorite thing so far is using the touch to rotate, pan, and zoom.  I really get the sense that I'm holding my model in y hand and manipulating it.  Totally Iron Man-esque!  You have to try this to believe it.  I have a 3d mouse on my desktop and this is so much better.  It takes about 2 minutes to get the hang of how to use your the multitouch to differentiate between rotate, zoom and pan.  Here's the rundown:


Pan: 2 fingers moving together on the screen.

Zoom: 2 fingers moving towards (zoom-out) or away (zoom-in) from each other. This is just like zooming on a smart phone.

Rotate: 2 fingers rotating in a circle just like the rotate icon looks.  After the models starts spinning, take one of your fingers off and you can spin it in all axes with 1 finger.


I haven't put it through the solidworks performance test yet, but I'll post numbers in a week or so.  My bottom like would be that the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is a fantastic "laptop killer" and while I wouldn't get it to be your day-to-day Solidworks workhorse, it can certainly handle Solidworks and provide a good user experience.