Benchmarking NVIDIA graphics cards for SOLIDWORKS 2020

17th February 2020
Benchmarking NVIDIA graphics cards for SOLIDWORKS 2020

Which graphics card can power SOLIDWORKS 3D?

SOLIDWORKS relies heavily on the graphics card for performance, as well as for rendering, analysis and its real view mode. However many users are never too sure which SOLIDWORKS graphics card is best for their needs. This can normally be done by benchmarking hardware, however, it’s never quite clear what the best method of benchmarking for SOLIDWORKS is, leaving people confused about what to kit their workstations with. Thankfully SOLIDWORKS offers a solution to this by offering its own benchmark software, included in any SOLIDWORKS download.

Here we aim to clear up this confusion, along with giving users a good example of not only carrying out a benchmark but also how to decide if it is always worth getting a high spec, high-cost, graphics card.

The SOLIDWORKS Custom Built PC

At HardSoft we not only specialise in SOLIDWORKS and financing solutions, but we are also an IT specialist, capable of building custom SOLIDWORKS workstations. For this graphics card benchmark, we constructed a high spec SOLIDWORKS PC.

Built with the following specs:

  • Obsidian Series 750D case
  • Asus WS Z390 pro motherboard
  • I9-9900K, 3.6GHZ CPU
  • Corsair H11i PRO LIQUID CPU COOLER
  • Corsair AX1600i power supply
  • Samsung evo 512GB SSD
  • Seagate 4TB HDD
  • 64GB 3000MHZ Corsaire RAM

After which, we fitted them with the following graphics cards:

Graphics cardRRP Price
Nvidia Quadro P2000 5GB £440
Nvidia Quadro RTX 4000 8gb £900
Nvidia Quadro RTX 5000 £2100

Before getting any machine, please make sure it meets the SOLIDWORKS hardware requirements

SOLIDWORKS GPU Benchmark

First before running the benchmark, it is important that you use a SOLIDWORKS certified graphics cards that can be found on SOLIDWORKS websites, for best results. This allows users to check and see what graphic cards and hardware are specified to work with what version of SOLIDWORKS.

The SOLIDWORKS  performance tool will benchmark your machine itself, meaning that no user input is needed, however it is important to note that no other activity must be happening on the computer. It is also important that before running these test that the PC is restarted. Once ready the test can be found in the windows start menu under “SOLIDWORKS Performance Test” Or find it under the benchmark tab of the SOLIDWORKS RX tool (which is a troubleshooting tool that is downloaded along with SOLIDWORKS).  After this you can use the performance benchmark tool to measure computer performance in 6 categories:

  • Processor: As SOLIDWORKS is a parametric feature based software, it will use the power of one processor. This score measures how long your computer requires to complete CPU-based activities in the SOLIDWORKS software, like rebuilding features or creating drawing views. Since CPU is used in practically all operations, improving the CPU score with a faster processor can improve other scores as well.
  • Graphics: This segment of the test will test how smooth rotating, panning and zooming are, a faster time indicates being able to use these functionality with less lag.
  • Input/output: This score will quantify how long it takes to open and save files to your computer, measuring the read and write speeds of your hardrive, note that this will not take into account network speed.
  • Rendering: This score quantifies how long it takes to render an image, Note that Photoview 360 must be installed on the system (this requires a SOLIDWORKS professional of premium, see here to see differences in both)
  • SOLIDWORKS realview graphics performance: Only available if you are using a graphics card that supports real view graphics . This mark, similar to graphics, will quantify how fast zooming, panning and rotating are while using SOLIDWORKS realview mode.
  • Simulation: The score is only available if your computer has SOLIDWORKS Simulation (found only in SOLIDWORKS premium, see here for more prices). It measures the time to run a static analysis design study. SOLIDWORKS Simulation does use multiple processors, if they exist. More and faster CPU’s will improve the time to run a study. SOLIDWORKS Simulation requires frequent writes to disk.

SOLIDWORKS Benchmark Results

The SOLIDWORKS benchmark test was carried out with the custom machine (a new test every time a new graphics card was put in).

Note that results of the benchmark are stored in My Documents \ SW Log Files directory. The files start with SWPTResults1.txt will increment each new test i.e SWPTResults2.txt, SWPTResults3.txt,

After running the test on all 3 graphics, the benchmark tool gave us the following result, seen below:

From these results, we can see that as you might have expected, the higher-end graphics cards outperformed the lower end ones, however, especially with the RTX 4000 and RTX 5000, there wasn’t a significant margin of an out-performance. Therefore my recommendations with this machine are to use the Nvidia Quadro RTX 4000 8gb, as it will have the best performance to cost-benefit for most uses. I’d only recommend the RTX 5000 with high demand applications.

SolidPlans By HardSoft

Why use Hardsoft to meet your SOLIDWORKS hardware requirements?

We offer flexible financial solutions for high-end IT hardware and software, making them a viable option for any company, as well as support for all hardware and software that we lease. We have more than 35 years experience, and we are specialists in our field. So much so, that SOLIDWORKS approached us to offer our same solution on their products under the banner of SOLIDPLANS. We now offer perpetual licenses of SOLIDWORKS with all the benefits of a subscription model.

To find out more about SOLIDPLANS by HardSoft, or our custom-built PCs, get in touch with our team on 020 7111 1643 or email solidworks@hardsoft.co.uk.