solidworks 2008 logoI was gonna go through some more new features for SolidWorks 2008, but after the last two post on the interface and sketching I started feeling like a demo jock again doing a What’s New spiel, so I’m gonna dig down to the bone in the following…

Top 5 questions for SolidWorks 2008

These were the most frequent questions I was asked after talking to a number of my colleagues.

  1. Did they change a bunch of stuff that didn’t need changing?
  2. Will we have to upgrade hardware?
  3. Will my old settings be affected?
  4. Is there a make engineering button?
  5. Is it faster?

Did they change a bunch of stuff that didn’t need changing?
hmmmmmmmm. This one is so relative. I personally like changes when it helps me get my ideas down quicker. This does so far. If you get right down to it, the interfaced, arc and circle property managers, RealView mapping, custom sizes for hole wizard and Cosmos reports were changed. Everything else was additions or enhancements to existing functionality. There’s no lost functionality that I can see in anything, but this may be my opinion or ignorance.

Will we have to upgrade hardware?
Yeah, maybe. The RealView stuff is gonna chew on that graphics card if it a little older one. I’m running a NVIDIA Quadro FX1300. It’s a mid-range year old card. It’s not recommended for RealView use, but it works fine with day to day modeling and I haven’t notice anything except maybe some slow performance with RealView Scenes. I’d go with the FX 1400 because it renders DirectX10 for those of you who play Call of Duty 2 at lunch.

Will my old settings be affected?
No. All my options, setting and toolbars came over fine. I did change them though, after I started messing with the new interface. To do this, install 2008 on a computer that also has 2007 installed. Save out your 2008 settings through the Copy Option Wizard and then do a clean install of 2008.

Is there a ‘Make Engineering’ button?
Every VP’s dream huh. Fortunately for the thousands of engineers out there, a “Make Engineering” button doesn’t exist. The closest you have this version is a new “Make drawing from part/assembly” for the New flyout on the menu bar. Good enough?

Is it faster?
Oh man, oh man. Are you ready for this? cause I’m ready. I did a few test. Here are the results.

Computer Specs:
OS : Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP 2
CPU : Dual-Core AMD Opteron(tm) Processor 2218
# of CPU : 2
Memory : 2047 MB
Video: nVidia Quadro FX 1300 128MB

SpecCapc is a standard benchmark put out by

2007 (SP 3.1) 2008 (Beta3)
Test Total = 119.9 Sec
Graphics = 3.51
CPU = 51.85
I/O = 64.54
Test Total = 155.18 Sec
Graphics = 16.45
CPU = 49.52
I/O = 89.21

I’m not sure if this was the best test. The SpecCapc Benchmark version is for 2007. I did convert the files to 2008 but got registry errors when I ran SpecCapc. If these are valid however something needs to change. RealView was not on when this test was run.

Ship in a bottle
Ship in a bottle is a nice little macro by Mike Wilson to test rebuild time.

2007 2008
24.8 Sec 21.6 Sec

Personal Rebuild Speed program
This custom program loads a drawing, opens the assembly, rebuilds each config, goes to the drawing, switches sheets and then switches sheets again.

2007 2008
24.03125 sec
19.92188 Sec
20.23438 Sec
20.25 sec
17.57813 Sec
17.80078 Sec

I’d like to get other’s results on this. SpecCapc had awful results, especially with graphics. If thats accurate, this is the opposite direction we need to go and I’m hoping this improves through the beta process. The other tests give a more positive outcome but are just timing rebuilds.

The lowdown
Overall, the new features are things SolidWorks has needed for a long time. Interface changes are a big deal because people don’t want to look for something that use to be there. I think the new/improved features are worth going through any learning or configuring you might have to do in the new interface.

The affect on hardware and speed may discourage some people, but I would say to test it out for your application, run your own time tests and report them.

What’s your favorite?
Here’s a list of some of my favorite enhancements. If you would like more detail on any of them let me know. What do you like the best?

  • Selective loading of components
  • Display states independent of Configurations
  • Hidden parts not loading option
  • On-screen context and shortcut menu
  • Dynamic search functionality
  • Feature and Sketch dissection
  • Pop-up windows visibility options
  • Fillet selection options
  • Change Boss to Cut
  • Circular patterns defined by edge
  • Virtual Components
  • Assembly layout sketches
  • Mate to Coordinate system
  • Copy Mates with part
  • Properties can be updated without loading parts
  • Balloons in Notes
  • Drawing Sheets switch faster after loading
  • Improved Configurations
  • Improved Installation Manager
  • eDrawings work in Firefox
  • Import/Export Photoshop and Illustrator Files
  • Export Flat Pattern as DXF

I want pictures!!!
Last but not least, here’s a 1/2 ton of images.

engine in solidworks


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.