What is Solidworks?
From mobile phones to self-driving vehicles, Mechatronics, the fusion of robotics, electronics, algorithm, and control systems, has resulted in a wide range of unique devices. Those goods must be designed and built to be produced. One of the most common software choices for mechatronics engineers is SOLIDWORKS, a solid modeling computer-aided design, and computer-aided engineering application.
From start to finish, SOLIDWORKS is used to design mechatronics devices. The platform is used for project management, planning, graphic ideation, modeling, feasibility evaluation, prototyping, and feasibility assessment.
After that, the software is used to design and install mechanical, electrical, and software components. Finally, the app can handle devices, analytics, data automation, and cloud resources.
Choosing the best laptops for Solidworks can be an arduous task.
Since Solidworks is a very flexible software, different hardware requirements will be needed by the people that depend on the various projects they are working on.
Most of the consumers or users (such as engineering students) work on projects which would need more than a consumer-grade laptop with a dGPU (approximately costing 700$), whereas some professionals (who work in an automobile company) would need a workstation laptop which should have a workstation GPU and plenty of VRAM (approximately costing between 1500$-4000$).
There is confusion about the kind of user and the kind of hardware specifications that the projects would need. The article would fix the confusion further.
Where can I get trustworthy and precise information without spending a tremendous amount of money on such a computer that can not handle the complication and area of the models?
For this, one could start by going through the official website that enlists various authorized workstation laptops, which usually offers correct recommendations.
Yet, the official website gives it the most it can. It is not detailed as it could be expected. They do not reveal which workstations would give you the best value for money and also it does not reveal whether the specific components are needed.
And, it seems, it would not be needed.
What could be done?
Talking and getting in contact with people who have already used the software on both the regular Solidworks computers and the workstation computers could be the greatest thing to be done.
When dealing with projects of different sizes on different machines from time to time, Solidworks is not recommended.
So, based on the type of user you are (student or professional), Size of projects (modifying with large or slow assemblies), assignments being performed, there is a clear cut idea of what CPU, GPU, RAM, and storage specifications needed based on the type of user.
Recommended hardware for Solidworks
To avoid all the complex language and make it simpler to understand, a table is presented before you wherein the specifications needed for a model of a given size are enlisted.
Laptops listed herein can be categorized into student laptops ( people beginners to Solidworks or students using it for engineering class) and professional laptops ( people working for a company or working with large assemblies).
A student of Solidworks does not need workstations at all. Their work could be done with gaming or consumer laptops costing below 800$.
Tip- Professionals should do comprehensive research and ensure that they need the specific features and stability of ‘workstation GPU’s’ and then go for buying workstation laptops because there is the probability that they will be OK with a consumer laptop costing above 1000$ that would be even cheaper than a workstation laptop.
Here is the table which can give a rough idea of the specifications based on the type of models you are working with-
|Small ~100||Large +500|
|GPU||Any||NVIDIA MX350,Intel Xe Max ,AMD RX 555*||NVIDIA RTX Series
Quadro T/RTX Series
|NVIDIA RTX Series
Quadro T/RTX Series
|Storage||256GB SSD||1TB HDD +X size PCIe SSD|
|CPU||Intel Core i3 8th+
AMD Ryzen 3+
| Core i5 8,9,10th gen
Ryzen 5 3rd 4th gen
| Intel Core i7 H 8th+
Ryzen 7 H 8th+
| Core i7 /Core i9
Ryzen 7 / Ryzen 9
Why is the hardware for drawing different than rendering?
Considering the table mentioned above, if you are planning to use your laptop for modeling and rendering, go through the Solidworks specs on the right of the table. But, if you plan to use your laptop for modeling only, and use another machine for rendering, then go through the Solidworks recommended specs mentioned on the left side of the table.
Which laptop is best for Solidworks?
All kinds of laptops are listed in the article for every user, starting from a beginner for Solidworks to a professional working on specific details for a company.
Many models of laptops are researched upon, but the comparison has been listed on a spreadsheet, and it could help find the best value for money.
Our Top Picks
|Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop, Intel i7-10750H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 6GB, 15.6" Full HD 144Hz 3ms IPS Display, 16GB Dual-Channel DDR4, 512GB NVMe SSD, Wi-Fi 6, RGB Keyboard, PH315-53-72XD||Acer||Buy Now|
|Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop, 10th Gen Intel Core i5-10300H,NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti, 15.6" Full HD IPS 144Hz Display, 8GB DDR4,256GB NVMe SSD,WiFi 6, DTS X Ultra,Backlit Keyboard,AN515-55-59KS||Acer||Buy Now|
|Microsoft Surface Book 3 (SMW-00001) | 15in (3240 x 2160) Touch-Screen | Intel Core i7 Processor | 32GB RAM | 1TB SSD Storage | Windows 10 Pro | GeForce GTX 1660 GPU||Microsoft||Buy Now|
|Latest Model Lenovo ThinkPad P17 Mobile Workstation, 17.3" Full HD IPS Screen (Intel Core i7-10750H, 32GB DDR4, 1TB PCIe SSD, NVIDIA Quadro T2000) Windows 10 Pro||Lenovo||Buy Now|
|ASUS ProArt StudioBook Pro 17 Mobile Workstation Laptop, 17” WUXGA NanoEdge Bezel, Intel Xeon E-2276M, 32GB ECC DDR4, 2TB PCIe SSD, Nvidia Quadro RTX 3000, Windows 10 Pro, W700G3T-XH99, Turquoise Gray||ASUS||Buy Now|
|MSI WS66 10TMT-207 Mobile Workstation i9-10980HK/RTX5000/64GB/1T/WIN10PRO, 15-15.99 inches||MSI||Buy Now|
Which laptop is best for AUTOCAD and Solidworks?
1.Best Laptop for Solidworks & 3D modeling – Acer Predator Helios 300
If performance over investment is concerned, then a 2060 RTX laptop is considered because the GPU offers the best performance or money ratio.
Improved performance could be given by 2070RTX. Also, the latest RTX3000 series of GPUs and 2080RTX are coming up on their way. But, the jump of performance from 1650 to a 2060RTX is unsatisfactory for such a slight price increase. Jump from a 2060RTX to a 2070RTX/2080RTX is expensive too and will take you back if you plan to use it with the same CPU. Yet, a preferable and better option could be choosing 2070RTX ( the extra 2GB VRAM will benefit more than more CUDA scores which 2080RTX offers).
This laptop has excellent hardware for Solidworks, 10th generation Core i7 w/ 16 GB RAM. Less expensive laptops can be found with 2060 RTX but not with the exact specifications.
It would not be recommended to engineering students who do rare projects of Solidworks.
This laptop is made for professionals and those working with models with more than 500 parts. It can also incorporate larger models depending on the usage done.
This would be an overburden for beginners but suitable for those working with Solidworks or being a part of Solidworks concentrate.
Upgrading the RAM-
16GB of RAM should be enough for usage.
But, suppose you get hindered while increasing the design and logistics of the model. In that case, the update can be done to 32 GB that could help in achieving a significant difference for dealing with more extensive and complicated tasks and assignments. People who have started to work with Solidworks will not go for it, not now or shortly.
This laptop does not hold complete reliability if used with Solidworks because it has a commercial GPU. In contrast, the other laptops listed further have the same capacity as this, but they have a workstation GPU.
2.Budget Laptop for Solidworks- Acer Nitro 5
For students in engineering or those who have started working with Solidworks, this laptop is one of the best choices.
It has a ‘dedicated GPU’ and a late generation CPU with enough clock speed for applying and assembling results. Thus, it could be considered as the cheapest option to be opted for.
Is there no 1050TI, 1050, or even an MX250/MX350 or an Intel Xe MAX laptop with a dedicated GPU for a lesser cost?
If laptops are paired with an 8th or 9th generation Core i5 CPU or a 3rd or 4th generation Ryzen CPU, those will work too.
A particular answer could not be given because it is unpredictable what work as a student would be done. There might be a possibility that the task is of over 100 parts or something.
But, one thing for sure can be said- 1650GTX could be a preferable choice for whatever task needs to be done when working with Solidworks.
MX350, 1050TI, Intel XE MAX laptops price
There is not much difference in the cost of MX350, 1050TI, Intel XE MAX, and a 1650GTX laptop.
Even integrated GPUs would work, but they can be very time-consuming, which is a drawback.
3.Portable certified laptop for Solidworks- Surface Book 3
The Surface Book 3 can be a great option when the budget is not considered, and you want something you can carry with you anywhere.
It will work for both professionals and also beginners working with SolidWorks.
This laptop is the most powerful and portable machine that can run Solidworks. It is also the only official ‘certified’ nonworkstation laptop that can run Solidworks.
If the highest GTX configuration seems expensive to you, RAM can be lowered to 8GB and 256GB; that would work.
Two models are considered to opt for-
13″ model with a 1650GTX, that is a great option for the students. It has the same power as of the Acer Nitro 5.
15″ model with a 1660 TI. It has the same power as 2060RTX ( it has the same amount of VRAM but lesser CUDA cores).
4.Best Workstation Laptop for Solidworks- Lenovo Thinkpad P17
5.Best workstation Laptop for Solidworks- ASUS PRO art StudioBook Pro 17
6.Best workstation laptop for Solidworks- MSI WS66 10TMT-207
SolidWorks Laptop and Computer Recommendations
This section will help you go through everything you need to know about how Solidworks uses the machine hardware for various functions. Solidworks computer specs would benefit particular functions. The functions could be drawing, sketching, viewport, rendering, drafting, etc.
These details would help you choose the perfect machine for you as a professional or as a student.
There are many features in the CPUs, but only two needed to be taken into consideration-
Cores- more brains inside a CPU for calculations
Clock frequency- how fast they could think
There comes another doubt on whether go for a faster single-core CPU or a slower multi-core CPU.
Frequency is measured in GHz. It measures the speed of the computer to run calculations.
Since it uses parametric modeling, Solidworks is a frequency-bound program. This means that all operations, such as component modeling and assembly, revolving models, and opening and saving assemblies, are linear, which means the calculations must be performed step by step (one operation must be solved before the next), necessitating the use of a CPU with the highest clock frequency.
The clock frequency of the CPU will show the performance when modeling more than any other variable.
Number of cores
A CPU is said to have individual or mini processors when it has 2 or 4 cores.
The number of cores affects only on two tasks, that are, rendering and simulation.
Solidwork Simulation- With many cores, the most complex simulations can be solved and fixed.
Photoview 360- Many cores are used to offer quicker renderings. Most CPU-based renderers will use up to 10 cores until the benefits start to end.
Multiple-sheet drawing- More cores would only give you diminishing returns, so it might be pointless to spend more money on them. Laptops, are limited to 8 cores.
If most of the tasks are related to designing, drawing, drafting, modeling, then go for the CPU with the highest clock speed.
Students should opt for anything that gives them the highest clock speed and side by side; it should be even cheap. Below Core i38th generation processor or Ryzen, three processors should not be opted to grab any of the orange CPUs.
Professionals should opt for anything affordable, offering the highest clock speed. A 10th generation Core i7 CPU or an AMD Ryzen 7/9 could be preferred. Productivity will be increased, and model drafting will be decreased. Even green and purple CPUs are considered good if pocket allows.
If there are many tasks for rendering and simulation, and there is no other machine for rendering, one should go for a multi-core processor.
Students should go for four core processors.
For professionals, at least a green CPU should have opted. Even purple ones can be a good option too.
RAM in laptops range from 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, and rarely 64GB.
RAM depends on the type of task you are willing to do, multi-sheet drawing, and the number of separate windows to be used.
RAM serves as temporary storage for the tasks you are working on currently. When the entire data is placed on RAM, CPU can make faster calculations to move data around.
The more RAM you have, the bigger the assembly size your CPU can handle at high speeds. It does not mean that you will not be able to deal with more extensive assemblies if you do not have enough RAM; instead, it will take a longer time.
Small assembly sizes
For tasks like spinning models, simulations, and renders, Solidworks usually needs 4-8GB of RAM. If you’re making essential bits, assemblies, and sketches, start with 8GB.
Large assembly sizes
To function, more RAM will be needed for complex models and drawing in Solidworks. For example, running heavy data simulations increases the need for RAM because a large amount of data need to be loaded during calculations.
This is especially true for the scale of the datasets that must be loaded when using the program.
Instead of hard drive caching, if a computer runs out of memory, the load time for files will increase
Solidworks supports all GPUs; the difference is that others are “certified” to run Solidworks and others are not.
The main difference between the certified cards and which are not is that the certified cards will give zero errors on task working with crazy models. In contrast, noncertified cards will give some errors here and there, especially when you are a professional. If you are a beginner, no errors will be shown.
Which consumer SolidWorks graphics card requirements to opt for?
Students should go for any of the green GPUs and even the cheapest if budget is an issue. 2GB of RAM would be enough, and models will not exceed 300 parts.
A beginner engineer should go for, at the very least, an orange GPU. There isn’t much of a distinction between Radeon and NVIDIA; shaders and cores are identical; the ram is what will determine efficiency (4GB at least). If money isn’t a problem, go for the cheapest blue CPU, but try to stick with 20th generation GPUs like the RTX 2060 unless the 10th generation ones are on sale.
A professional engineer should go for purple GPUs. 2070/2080 super non-max Q would be preferable.
Why buy a high-end workstation gfx over regular workstation cards?
Specific Solidworks applications, such as photorealistic rendering, animation, and simulation post-processing (particularly CFD fluid flow post-processing, visualizing streamlines/particle flow, and so on), would need you to have one.
There would be lesser complications, fewer crashes, and customer service support will be provided for any issues that occurred.
Finally, only workstation GPUs ( the RTX 5000) have massive volumes of VRAM, so you’ll need it if you’re dealing with massive assemblies.
NVIDIA vs. AMD
The NVIDIA tool is not only limited to CPU usage to render but can also use your GPU. Also, it has to be CUDA capable.
AMD cards aren’t helped by visualizing. Visualize will work, but it will only use the CPU.
It requires CUDA for GPU accelerated rendering that NVIDIA offers.
Consumer cards vs. Workstation
For students who are beginners and budget has to be considered, consumer or gaming GPU’s can be an ideal option, and they are not even expensive.
In certain instances, SOLIDWORKS now provides limited support for GeForce series GPUs. The new Microsoft Surface Book is the only laptop available as of this article. This does not imply that SolidWorks can only be run on the Surface Book; instead, it demonstrates that SolidWorks can be run on gaming consoles.
A consumer GPU can be an ideal option if-
Tasks are limited to drawing/drafting/modeling (which do not need a very high-end GPU)
Problems with your gaming card?
Noncompatible installed drivers with Solidworks cause problems with GPUs and even with workstation cards.
The storage space of +700$ laptops will never limit Solidworks and your project files. They’ll have at least 1TB of HDD storage and 256GB-512GB of SSD storage.
It is not advisable to buy 7200 RPM HDDs.
Because of the 1TB size, the “faster than 5400RPM” definition, and the price, it can be tempting to choose one.
But, with almost all modern applications, including CAD, this is a wrong decision.
Solid State Drives (SSDs) are now used for CAD operation, and they are no longer as costly as they once were.
SSD’s on Solidworks performance
The time it takes to open/save assemblies will be reduced for an SSD. So, if you’re working with many large assemblies, go with the fastest: PCIe NVMe SDDs.
SATA III or PCIe NVMe SSDs are suitable for medium-sized assemblies (>1000). Same “SSD” acceleration. If that’s a term, we can use it.
According to SolidWorks benchmark reports on budget systems:
Solidworks can take a long time to load the interfaces/files if you want an HDD.
So, if you’re a Pro working with big and complicated ones, there’s no doubt: PCIe NVME SSDs are the way to go.
If you’re a student or dealing with small assemblies, every SSD would suffice.
Are gaming laptops good for Solidworks?
Yes. In reality, SOLIDWORKS can be installed on almost any gaming machine. Yeah, you might use the gaming machine to do some modeling.
Is i5 good for Solidworks?
Start with an Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 processor; these processors are ideal for essential components, assemblies, and sketches. You may want to upgrade to a Core i7 or Ryzen 7 for a mid-range workstation if you’re operating on massive assemblies and complex components.
How much space does Solidworks take up?
2GB free disk space needed, and 5GB recommended.
2GB or more GPU RAM needed, and 4GB recommended.