Maximizing SOLIDWORKS Performance (MSWP-12-#15)

Optimal Configuration & Conclusion

In looking back at the past 14 articles we have posted about Maximizing SOLIDWORKS Performance one of the items we promised in our first article was to give you the two optimal configurations that gave us the best overall performance.

Before we get to the results lets recap what we tested in our previous articles:

  • Windows Visual and User Settings
  • SOLIDWORKS Options Set to Optimal
  • Graphics Cards
  • Turn Off SOLIDWORKS Add-Ins
  • Processor Clock Speed
  • Reducing Top Level Mates and Solving Subassemblies as Rigid
  • Number of Cores and SolidWorks
  • SOLIDWORKS Graphic Settings (Image Quality and RealView Graphics)
  • Network Storage and Anti-virus
  • Level of Detail
  • RAM and SWAP File
  • Hard Drives
  • Lightweight & Large Assembly Mode

In the list above you want to take note that of the 13 items we tested 8 of them are FREE.

The first optimal scenario that we tested included all of the performance improvements explained above except Large Assembly Mode and Lightweight options.  The environment looked like this:


  • 12 cores @ 4.29Ghtz
  • 24GB RAM – SWAP 48GB
  • OS RAID 0 SSDs from Intel
  • Storage OCZ Technology Revo Drive
  • Nvidia Quadro 500 Graphics Card


  • SOLIDWORKS Options Optimized
  • Assembly stored local
  • Addins off
  • OS visuals set to best performance

Modeling methods

  • Level of detail reduced
  • Image quality reduced
  • Realview Graphics off
  • Top level mates reduced

The combination of the enhancements to our SOLIDWORKS environment yielded some impressive performance results and we are able to appreciate the significance of utilizing a properly configured workstation with quality modeling methodologies.  Overall a performance improvement of almost 82% was realized. Our benchmark of just over 5 hours was reduced to just over 55 minutes. Adding Lightweight and Large Assembly Mode increased our performance an additional 11%, dropping the run time down to 22 minutes.


What we have found in our efforts conducting these tests is that improvement of a modeling environment must be approached at a system level rather than a specific component level.  All of the hardware, configuration, and modeling methodology options work in concert to establish the performance capabilities of a workstation whether it's good or bad.  Adding more processor power to a workstation that is short on RAM will help.  But the improvement that the stronger processor yields will be much greater if RAM is added as well.

Understanding these several aspects of a SOLIDWORKS modeling environment and how they work together can make all the difference in ensuring that you get the full value from your hardware and software purchase.

Adrian and I plan on continuing our testing for the next SOLIDWORKS World in 2013 so please keep checking back for updates. We are planning on creating some new tests and new ways to display the results. If you have any suggestions please add a comment to this or any of our other articles.

Please check back to the CATI blog as we will continue posting our series of articles that goes further into the details of each of our tests. All of these articles will be stored in the category of Maximizing SOLIDWORKS Performance and links to each with their release date are listed below:


Josh Altergott, CATI Support Manager

Adrian Fanjoy, CATI Technical Services Director

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