Open your mouth, it’s here. If you’re in charge of implementing SolidWorks or in charge of bribing IT with chili-cheese fries to install it, you now have to consider the ramification of upgrading to the new version… or throwing caution to the wind and just going for it. Either way, if you’re on subscription, you can download SolidWorks 2011 from the Customer portal.

Upgrading? Not upgrading? What side are you on?

SolidWorks 2011. The Meaty Bits.

Generally speaking, there are not a whole lot of new features that would warrant an update to 2011. I’ll be upgrading our crew, even though many of the new features in 2011 are specific to certain functionality, namely surfacing, weldments and collaboration… generally speaking. There are some great performance gains with part creation and assembly loads, but you’ll be disappointed that the “Feature Lock” didn’t make it into this version. I have a feeling that we’ll see this in an upcoming SP, and maybe in conjunction with some more Direct modeling/editing workflow. Fingers crossed.

I tested SolidWorks 2011 on Windows XP. It works fine, so even though the recommendation from SolidWorks is that you have 6GB of RAM, you’ll be ok with running 2011 on XP. However, now is a good time to start looking at upgrading your system. Just to let you know, the company I work with is looking at the HP Z600 workstations for desktops and the 8730w for laptops.

You can read my overview of SolidWorks 2011 here and at Develop3D here.

Also, just a note if you use Enterprise PDM. At this moment, Enterprise PDM is still at Pre-release 1 status.


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.