When it comes to configuring your workstation for SOLIDWORKS, how do you know what to prioritize? Does the size of the GPU matter more than the clock-speed of the CPU? Does your workflow change what’s important? Working at Lenovo, it was important to understand how you as a SOLIDWORKS user need answers to these questions to ensure you are getting the most out of your workstation – especially when there are a massive number of brands, models and configurations to consider.

What’s The Best SOLIDWORKS Workstation?

With various graphics card options, software packages, operating systems and more, it can all get very complicated, very quickly. What it comes down to is this: Know the optimal configuration for your workflow. With the right information, you can put that money into the solution that’s right for you – saving that money and maximizing your performance at the same time.

In prioritizing your workstation build for SOLIDWORKS, there are several things to consider – from memory and storage to your CPU and GPU. The right combination of NVIDIA Quadro GPU paired with a potent Intel CPU are the most essential ingredients to consider. From there, you can unlock the full potential of every component of your configuration. Oh, and did you know this? Graphics performance can increase over 20% just by choosing the right CPU.

Workstation Configurations

As you know, SOLIDWORKS is used by a variety of professionals focusing on solid modeling, simulation, visualization or any combination of the three. Here are some ideal configurations for those workflows:

Workflow Solid Modeling Simulation Visualization
  ThinkStation P330 ThinkStation P520 ThinkStation P520
Graphics NVIDIA Quadro P2000 NVIDIA Quadro RTX 4000 NVIDIA Quadro RTX 4000
CPU Intel Core i7-8700K Intel Xeon W-2175 Intel Xeon W-2145
Memory 16GB 64GB 32GB
Storage 256GB NVMe SSD 1TB NVMe SSD 512GB NVMe SSD

We estimate around three quarters of SOLIDWORKS users work within general solid model workflows. If you find yourself in this group, the optimal configuration requires the best of both worlds – a high-performing graphics card and a high clock speed CPU. This pairing also depends on your preferred view mode. For example, those using RealView with ambient occlusion will benefit from a higher-end NVIDIA Quadro graphics. With the right combination, users will see a significant performance boost. In fact, according to recent data from SPEC.org, overall professionals using the Intel Core i7-8700K with the NVIDIA Quadro P4000 will see up to 43 percent increase in performance (see chart below).

In building the ideal configuration, each are fully certified for SOLIDWORKS applications – including the ThinkStation P330 Tower, an ideal machine for those working in solid model workflows. Designed for acceleration, the ThinkStation P330 Tower delivers speeds of up to 4.7GHz with the Intel Core i7-8700K 6 Core Processor – giving users a 47 percent performance boost compared to other CPUs (see chart below). With additional support for Intel Optane Memory and the latest NVIDIA Quadro graphics, the ThinkStation P330 Tower delivers on both performance and speed – making it the sweet spot for the largest SOLIDWORKS user group.

For SOLIDWORKS users focused on simulation like CAE or FEA, careful consideration of the CPU and GPU is crucial to address more computationally intensive needs. Most of these users will begin by selecting a system that is based on a high-core count CPU but also has a powerful graphics card, such as the new NVIDIA Quadro RTX.

Lenovo recently announced our support and availability for NVIDIA Quadro RTX graphics technology, an advantage not only for those focused on simulation, but also for visualization users working with complex 3D models in SOLIDWORKS Visualize. The latest NVIDIA Quadro RTX GPUs offer accelerated rendering and photorealistic ray-tracing to de-noise and render at a much faster rates.

These NVIDIA Quadro RTX graphics cards can also benefit those visualization users who are actively using VR or looking to introduce VR into their workflow. VR is becoming a staple part of collaboration workflows to evaluate everything from design aesthetics and reach studies to immersive training and simulation experiences.

“As Lenovo’s Quadro RTX-powered offerings expand, SOLIDWORKS users will experience best-in-class performance no matter their budget,” said Bob Pette, Vice President, Professional Visualization at NVIDIA. “By upgrading to the Quadro RTX 4000 and above, users will experience an incredible boost to performance, with SOLIDWORKS applications running at maximum speeds.”

Whatever your SOLIDWORKS workflow though, Lenovo has a portfolio of desktops and mobile workstations with the right configurations—and just in time for SOLIDWORKS World 2019.

Oh, and there’s a great webinar we just hosted that goes further into how to configure a workstation to support different 3D design workflows and gives you recipe cards with configurations and advice for the different workstation needs.

To learn more about configuring your workstation for SOLIDWORKS, you can view the recently published benchmark data here on SPEC.org.

This post is sponsored and paid for by Lenovo. We take pride in the content on SolidSmack and work with the best brands to produce helpful information for content pieces like this! Have a question or comment. Let us know!


Bill Martin-Otto manages the Lenovo Workstation performance team; focusing on system performance benchmarking and comparing workstation components and configurations to recommend solutions for customer workloads. As the primary Lenovo representative on the Graphics and Workstation Performance Group at SPEC® (Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation), Bill works collaboratively to develop the industry standard benchmarks for workstations. With over 30 years of experience at IBM and Lenovo, Bill was also the lead mechanical engineer for the first Lenovo Thinkstation workstation products.