The proper graphics card is important for SolidWorks (see #13 here for some limited information on them: Frequently Asked Forum Questions) and don't skimp on memory.
Chris Jefferies wrote:
- design thing prototypes as big as 1 foot (usually 2-6") like electronic enclosures, little brackets to support PCBs, etc.
The actual size of your model isn't important for rebuild times; complexity is.
I'm sure other people will reply with more detailed information.
Graphics card? oops - I have a Macbook Air. It is very powerful, but no option for an optional graphics card. I use an external ViewSonic 24" 1080P LED monitor.
I also have a Dell i5 laptop running Ubuntu 14.04.
On the mac, I currently use Sketchup and export STL files for 3D print jobs, but many people say I need SolidWorks.
Thanks for the advice,
I must have misunderstood. I thought you were asking for computer suggestions to run SolidWorks, but you were actually asking about buying SolidWorks?
No (or little) money.
Check into Fusion 360 it will be free for your use and runs on Mac OS.
For what you describe, you definitely do not need SolidWorks or Solid Edge or any other multi-thousand dollar software.
If you've been using Sketchup and want to "upgrade", any of the following should be suitable.