Windows Surface Pro 4: Will it Run SOLIDWORKS – Part 1: Unboxing and Technical Specs



This holiday season, I had the pleasure to play with one of the new Windows Surface Pro 4s and I was pretty impressed. But, will it run SOLIDWORKS?  This is the question I plan on answering very soon here on the CATI Blog. But first, I thought we would go through standard unboxing and technical specs to see if there is anything either missing in the box or the Surface itself. In my opinion, the only thing that is really missing from the box is a keyboard cover.

The Technical Specs

Ok, so the model I have is the $999.00 model which comes with the following specs:

Processor: 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-6300U

Upfront thoughts: The i5 chip sets are not something that we have ever tested heavily here at CATI before, but the performance for 2.4 gigahertz process seems pretty solid

Display: 12.3" PixelSense with 2736 x 1824 pixels native resolution, 3:2 Aspect Ratio

Upfront thoughts: This display is crisp like no other. 2736 pixels across by 1824 pixels high is a very dense at almost 270 pixel per inch of display. With that said your Windows profile will load with the user interface being loaded at 300% scale just so you can see what you are doing. I reduced that to about 200%.

Ram: 4 Gig

Upfront thoughts: I usually start any machine with 8 or 16 of ram but that would increase this by 400 to 800 hundred dollars, ouch!

Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520

Upfront thoughts: Not on the supported list from SOLIDWORKS, not if it will ever be, will not support realview graphics and things like Zebra strips and draft analysis may have problems. It has 24 EUs (Execution Units) running 1050 Mhz the graphics that is going to be have to rely on the system RAM due to no dedicated graphics RAM. The performance of this card varies a lot on other tests I've seen, being this an i5 with 4gig of RAM it's going to run slower. I'd give it a 5 out of 5 on the, "This is going to be the problem with this system running SOLIDWORKS.

Storage: Intel 128 SSD

Upfront thoughts: I'd like more but I'll take it

Ports: One USB 3 port, SD card reader, and headphone jack.

Upfront thoughts: You are going to want to buy a Logitech Unity Keyboard and Mouse because you only have one port. Unless you buy the keyboard cover which I suggest.

So next, we will run the thing through some paces and see how it performs.


Robert McGaughey, CSWE

Emerging Product Manager

Computer Aided Technology, LLC


3 comments on “Windows Surface Pro 4: Will it Run SOLIDWORKS – Part 1: Unboxing and Technical Specs

  1. I was wondering the same thing. I have the I7 with Iris P540 driver and SOLIDWORKS crashes constantly. Also the display is very troubling; Any dialogue box that can’t be resized is useless as I can’t see any of the descriptions and sometimes can’t even click on some boxes.

  2. Tyler, there is a hotfix (985848) that addresses some freezing issues with SOLIDWORKS 2016 SP5 on Surface hardware. Specifically, there is a problem with clicking in the Feature Manager tree. We are using Surface Books and users were constantly experiencing these random freezes. We received the hotfix yesterday and it seems to have resolved the issue for us. You may want to check with your reseller and see if they can get you this hotfix.

    As to the sizing, that’s probably a DPI scaling issue since the Surface Pro 4 uses a 4K display. I have a number of open SPRs open with SOLIDWORKS regarding 4K displays (especially in EPDM), but no resolution as of yet. However, when we use the Surface Dock with 1080p monitors set as the default, these scaling issues are not a problem.

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