Hardware Requirements?

before we do that..what sort/scale of projects do you have in mind?

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Neil asked the one simple question, but to expand....

Are you looking to model just parts, small assemblies or HUGE assemblies? Obviously, the bigger, the more RAM you need. For just parts, 512mb will work, most of the time. For normal size assemblies you'd need 1gb. For huge assemblies, you need 2-3gb (SW 2004 can use 3gb). And the more complex the parts are (lots of fillets, curvey things, surfaces), the more RAM you'll want.

And, to go with that, the bigger the assemblies, the more disk space you will need. Some SW files can get big. There are ways to "compress" them, but SW does NOT like folks to do that, and you could (?) ruin a file by doing so.

You WILL want a video card with an nVidia chipset on it. Quadro cards the better option. Gaming cards are not really recommended. You can check the SW website and look at the cards that pass/fail and their limitations. If you are looking to do fancy presentations, then you would need a card that the SW feature "RealView Graphics" will support. I assume that the SW VAR shouwed you the realview graphics, as it is a nice neat marketing feature....

Ohh, yeah, the faster the processor, the faster your number crunchin'. To me, video is the thing to throw the money at. The more you do, the more you will need a better video card. Management can see spending a $100-$200 or so on more RAM or a hard drive, but you tell them you need a new $500-plus video card in 6 months and they are going to freak out.

Hope it helps...

Mr. Pickles A User Group Leader

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Mr. Pickles

Hello James- More is always better. Remember, every new version of SolidWorks uses more system resources. Look at AMD Athlon64 processors. Or P4 w/800 FSB.

2 GB Ram minimum. The nvidia FX video cards, 500, 1000, 2000, or 3000. Serial ATA Harddrive(s) or at least IDE 133. DVD/CD Writer. Really, anything less can slow your productivity down by as much as 20%. Just take your hourly rate, and you can calculate easily how a quality computer can pay for itself quickly. I'd budget $2,500 to $3,000. Best Regards, Devon T. Sowell
formatting link

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Devon T. Sowell

yeah ok but he was asking for a min spec... if he only had limited needs 1.5 Ghz 512mb Geforce 4 might do. I was trying to size up his work needs.... perhaps I should have given a full answer : )

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Ok just got back from the intro class for SolidWorks. Looks great. I tried using DesignCad 3D more times than I want to think about. Solidworks looks and feels 'from what I saw/played with' to be the one to go with. Boss is also mostly convinced also YEA!

Now for the hard part. What would you all here say is the minimum requirements for a machine to run SW on?

As I have to convince the money man it's needed not just wanted.. Processor, memory, video card, etc.

Thanks jb..

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Here's what I would consider a good choice these days for most of what you'd be doing in Solidworks. I don't really think in terms of minimums. If you had extra large models or assy's you'd know it and would add accordingly. Mind you I'm an AMD fan but the P4 at higher clock rates does kick some butt. And IMHO Dell is about the best "retail" choice you can make...

According to their website as of 1-10-04 11:09pm


Dell Precision Workstation 360 . Intel P4 2.8Ghz . windows xp, no extra software selected . 1Gb DDR400 Ram (some sort of free upgrade; don't get less) . Nvidia Quadro FX500 video card (one of the best bang for the buck) . 80Gb 7200rpm HD selected (larger is typically faster) . cdrw drive (it's 2004 - you gotta have one) . your choice of free printer or digital camera, etc. . floppy drive selected (sorry, I just gotta have one) . no keyboard or mouse selected . no speakers selected . no monitor selected

Good Luck!!

- Eddy Hicks

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Eddy Hicks

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So what's the connection with Howdy Doody?

Joe Dunfee

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The fastest you can get... P-IV, 3 Ghz, at least a gig of RAM and nothing less than a Quaddro FX500 video adapter. You can go faster on the processor... but the extra money for the 3.2 vs. the 3 isn't worth it.


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Eric Swartz

Does anyone know if the Quadro FX 500 is a better card than the 750xgl?

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The 750XGL is faster

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Dug this up on a search.

We buy Dell's for everything here, including shipping them out OEM with our instrument. We also buy them for CAD and all the other stuff we do here. So I want to continue to a stock DELL, but make sure it is geared for CAD.

Why the Precision over the Dimension? With equal processor, RAM, Video card is the Precision still a better call? Could you explain why?

Also if anybody else is having good luck with a DELL and SWX, please quickly jot down a few details so it can help me decide what we need. We just had a new DELL 2.3Ghz with 512RAM and that stupid Nvidia NVS card that was a dog.



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James, I dont want to put a spanner in the works, but if you are going work with assemblies or have more that one SWX installation you should really look into how you are going to manage data/revisions ect. IMHO a PDM system is a upfront requirement when implementing SWX.



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Brian Lawson

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