SOLIDWORKS Simulation is an FEA (Finite Element Analysis) product that allows users to validate and test designs quickly and efficiently. With SOLIDWORKS Simulation, users can make changes to a geometry and retest designs to see how changes will affect the results. However, one of the most important factors that a user must be aware of is Simulation hardware requirements. This blog provides optimum hardware specifications for SOLIDWORKS Simulation to ensure that FEA problems are solved efficiently.
The three most important items for solving Simulation problems quickly are the processor speed, total memory, and the hard drive. (The graphics card does not play a significant role in Simulation as long as it is supported by SOLIDWORKS).
Best Processor for SOLIDWORKS Simulation
With the advent of quicker processors and more cores, Simulation can now be solved faster and faster. Clock speed is the most important driver of Simulation solve time, so prioritize clock speed over the number of cores. While many portions of the SOLIDWORKS Simulation solver are indeed multi-threaded (for example you will see significant performance improvement during certain phases of meshing or solving if you have additional cores) but in general, the clock speed is the most important driver of solving Simulations. Therefore, an optimum system would be 16 cores at a clock speed of over 3.5 GHz. For faster systems, the clock speed should be prioritized before adding cores.
How much memory do I need for SOLIDWORKS Simulation?
A system with 32-64 GB of RAM is adequate for most users since it’s generally preferable to have slightly more RAM available than a typical Simulation user may actually need. Although as little as 16 GB is sufficient for many typical studies, certain Simulation functions (e.g. meshing, solving and viewing results) require larger amounts of RAM - especially if the study has a large number of elements. I recommend a minimum of 32 GB but if you have the ability to go up to 45 or 96 GB of RAM do so.
Hard Drive Recommendations
A common occurrence I often see with customers is that they’ve failed to upgrade their hard drive and as a result have extremely slow solve times. Simulation scenarios are solving numerous equations and saving all of the information on your hard disk. If your hard drive is slow, your Simulation will take longer to solve. My recommendation is to invest in a fast Solid State Drive or NVMe drive and to ensure you have enabled the hard drive as the primary OS drive where your results are being saved.
Obtaining a fast, high-quality SSD or NVMe hard drive is the single most important (and often least expensive) investment one can make for across-the-board performance improvement for just about everything (not just SOLIDWORKS). NVMe’s are 5x the bandwidth of SSD’s, and real-world scenario transfer speeds of 3GB/s vs 555 MB/s for SSD. At all costs avoid SATA hard drives, if you can't get an NVMe than SSD is a definite.
I hope you found this guide for SOLIDWORKS Simulation hardware requirements helpful. If you have any further questions regarding optimum hardware specification contact us. Happy Simulation Solving!
About the Author
Drew Buchanan earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, and an MS in Mechanical Engineering from Villanova University. He has been working with Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) tools since the mid-2000s when he was an engineering co-op with Siemens Power Generation. Upon graduation, Drew worked in the Energy industry for six years working as a design and analysis engineer for design and analysis applications. He joined Fisher Unitech in 2015.