VistaGraphic Systems has a recent post that discusses some considerations when moving ahead with Vista. I’ll address those here and touch on some others.

I’ve written before on What You Need to Run SolidWorks on Vista. That post should help you determine if you can upgrade to Vista using your existing system, but if you’re wondering exactly when you should take the plunge into buying new hardware and upgrading to SolidWorks 2008, look below.

Don’t upgrade to Vista unless you have a rockin’ new system!
You might have figured right? Graphic Systems suggest not upgrading, if your system is over a year old, but I would test it first here and/or here, just to see where you stand.

For GPU’s, I’ve always had the best results with the NVIDIA products. I would recommend the NVIDIA Quadro FX 1500 that you can currently get for around $500. This is a mid-range card that is on the certified list for SolidWorks 2008.

I prefer custom built CPU’s with AMD processors but, if you prefer pre-built, the Dell Precision Series is pretty good. 2GB of memory is almost standard now and Vista can handle a whole lot more.

Check for what drivers you need!
This is almost a cliché now since it was one of the first headaches with Vista, but there’s a few more available now and it’s not so bad. If you have Vista installed and are having problems try this link to help out.

Backup you data or die!
New technology can make people so giddy with excitement they can forget something like this. Backup, backup, backup and then double check. This is a lot easier if you’re getting a completely new system and moving files over. I would recommend this for sure, so consider it before diving in.

Wait for Vista SP1 to come out!
There was talk early on about Microsoft releasing a Service Pack for Vista. There’s nothing on the Service Pack RoadMap, but last I read it will be in the 2nd half of 07.

Wait for SolidWorks 2008 to come out!
Currently, Beta4 is out and available for download. By the time SP0.0 actually ships (perhaps Fall 08?) hardware should be a little further along and lower in price. The graphics card I’ve kept my eye on has dropped $250 over the past month and a half. At that rate, I may be looking for a higher end card or raising my budget for CPU.

Disable User account control (UAC)
If you have upgraded and want to install SolidWorks, you may want to know about this. UAC is a security feature that forces users that are part of the local administrators group to run like they were regular users with no administrative privileges. This is to avoid malicious program installation. This could affect installations or running demos. Try to use it with it on, but disable it if it’s making things hard on you.

In the end…
If you take all of this into account, you can plan on upgrading with more confidence things will go smoothly early 2008. I’m waiting till summer 08 to use SolidWorks 2008 on Vista in production, just to be safe. Still, doesn’t need to stop you from trying things out.

Are there other things you’re wondering about?


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.