SOLIDWORKS clients often overlook the importance of having the correct hardware to support their new 3D CAD purchase. A common question we get asked is what should be considered before buying or upgrading equipment, so we thought it would be helpful to compile all the published system requirements along with our Engineering Team’s recommendations in one place. Here is the information for this year’s version of SOLIDWORKS as compared to last year.

>> Download our complete recommendations for the current version of SOLIDWORKS
>> Download our complete recommendations specifically for SOLIDWORKS PDM

SOLIDWORKS System Requirements

These requirements apply to all SOLIDWORKS products except where noted. Use this information to ensure you are always working with a SOLIDWORKS-supported and optimized system for hardware, operating system and Microsoft products.

SOLIDWORKS Products for Windows

 SOLIDWORKS 2020
(EDU 2020-2021)
SOLIDWORKS 2021
(EDU 2021-2022)
 
Operating System 
Windows 10, 64-bitYesYes 
Windows 8.1, 64-bitNoNo 
Windows 7 SP1, 64-bitYes (until SW2020 SP5)No 
Virtual environments(See chart below)(See chart below) 
Hardware 
Processor3.3 GHz or higher
RAM16 GB or more
PDM Contributor or Viewer: 8 GB or more
 
DrivesSSD drives recommended for optimal performance
Software 
Microsoft Excel and Word2013, 2016, 20192016, 2019 
Antivirus

SOLIDWORKS recommends:

  • Use a trusted antivirus product. 
  • Keep your antivirus product updated to the latest version.
  • Stay updated with the latest antivirus definition/signature file (This defines the known current vulnerabilities and exemptions). 
  • Consider creating exemptions for SOLIDWORKS file types and folder locations to improve SOLIDWORKS file based runtime performance such as File Open/Save/Save As and PDM Vault Checkin/Checkout.
 

 

Supported Virtual Environments (Hypervisors)

Virtualization EnvironmentSOLIDWORKS 2020SOLIDWORKS 2021
VMware vSphere ESXi6.76.7 U3
VMware Workstation1515.5
Microsoft Hyper-V20192019
Parallels Desktop, Mac14TBA
Citrix XenServer7.68.2
  • SOLIDWORKS and eDrawings require a GPU for optimal performance in a virtualized environment. 
  • SOLIDWORKS Composer is not supported in virtualized environments.

SOLIDWORKS Server Products

 SOLIDWORKS 2020SOLIDWORKS 2021
Operating Systems
Windows Server 2019YesYes
Windows Server 2016YesYes
Windows Server 2012 R2NoNo
Windows Server 2012NoNo
SQL Server
SQL 2019YesYes
SQL 2017YesYes
SQL 2016YesYes
SQL 2014Yes (until SW2021 SP5)Yes (until SW2021 SP5)

>> Download our complete recommendations for SOLIDWORKS PDM

Microsoft/Apple Products (SOLIDWORKS 2020 – 2021)

Microsoft ProductsStart of LifeEnd of Life*
Windows 10, 64-bit2015 SP5Active
Windows 8.1, 64-bit2014 SP12018 SP5
Windows 7, 64-bit2010 SP12020 SP5
Windows Server 20192019 SP3Active
Windows Server 20162017 SP2Active
Windows Server 2012 R22014 SP32019 SP5
Windows Server 20122014 SP02018 SP5
SQL Server 20172018 SP0Active
SQL Server 20162017 SP0Active
SQL Server 20142015 SP02021 SP5
SQL Server 20122013 SP22019 SP5
IE 112014 SP3Active
Excel, Word 2019
(64-bit recommended)
2019 SP2Active
Excel, Word 2016
(64-bit recommended)
2016 SP3Active
Excel, Word 20132013 SP42020 SP5
Excel, Word 20102010 SP52018 SP5
macOS Catalina (10.15)eDrawings 2020Active
macOS Mojave (10.14)eDrawings 2019Active
macOS High Sierra (10.13)eDrawings 2019Active
macOS Sierra (10.12)eDrawings 2017eDrawings 2019
OS X El Capitan (10.11)eDrawings 2017eDrawings 2018
OS X Yosemite (10.10)eDrawings 2015eDrawings 2018
  • End Of Life (EOL) corresponds to the last SOLIDWORKS release where a Microsoft product is supported (This is synchronized with the Microsoft Mainstream Support End Date). SOLIDWORKS releases after the EOL are not supported for the said Microsoft product and SOLIDWORKS installation is blocked in the case of an operating system.
  • SOLIDWORKS Product Support Lifecycle defines the End Of Support for SOLIDWORKS versions.
  • SOLIDWORKS recommends using the latest Microsoft update of Windows, Office and Internet Explorer.
  • SOLIDWORKS supports each Windows 10 release for applicable SOLIDWORKS releases as long as it is still covered by both the SOLIDWORKS Product Support Lifecycle and Microsoft Windows Lifecycle Fact Sheet.
  • SOLIDWORKS recommends using a Windows Server operating system for all SOLIDWORKS server-based products.
  • Windows Home Editions and Windows To Go are not supported.
  • Apple Mac® based machines running Windows using Boot Camp are not supported.
  • SOLIDWORKS 2018 on Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 requires the Microsoft April 2014 update.
  • It is not recommended to install any instances of other applications on the SOLIDWORKS PDM Archive or Database Server. For PDM Professional, it is recommended the Archive and Database servers are two separate, dedicated machines.
  • To ensure optimum performance, it is not recommended to install antivirus software on the SOLIDWORKS PDM vault computer.
  • SOLIDWORKS does not test or certify VPN (Virtual Private Network) solutions but provides best-effort support. Users may be directed to work directly with their VPN provider to resolve issues on a case-by-case basis.
  • Beginning with SOLIDWORKS 2020, DVD distribution media will only be provided on request. 

TriMech Recommended Hardware Configurations

Below, the TriMech technical team has compiled a general hardware recommendations list for three general levels of SOLIDWORKS user. These are guidelines and TriMech’s Customer Support Center will be happy to help you customize to fit your specific needs. (These recommendations are made based on the purchase of a NEW computer.)

Entry Level SOLIDWORKS

This profile is for SOLIDWORKS 2021 users with light-to-no analysis tools, assemblies up to 500 parts, some sheet metal and light surfacing.

Processor*Current Generation Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen or better
RAM16GBs or more
Hard Drive*250+GBs SSD Drive
Operating SystemWindows 10 (64-bit)
Additional SoftwareMicrosoft Office 2016 or newer
Video CardNVIDIA Quadro P520, or better; AMD Radeon Pro WX 2100, 3100; Intel HD Graphics P4000 or better
Suggested Desktop Models(Download full guide)
Suggested Laptop Models(Download full guide)

 

Mid-Range SOLIDWORKS

This profile is for SOLIDWORKS 2021 users with large assemblies, complex parts, demanding sheet metal designs, moderate surfacing and/or FEA/CFD analysis.

Processor*Current Generation Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen/Ryzen Pro or better
RAM32GBs or more
Hard Drive*1TB+ SSD and RAID storage solutions
Operating SystemWindows 10 (64-bit)
Additional SoftwareMicrosoft Office 2016 or newer
Video CardNVIDIA Quadro P2200 T2000, or better; AMD Radeon Pro WX 3200 or better
Suggested Desktop Models(Download full guide)
Suggested Laptop Models(Download full guide)

 

High-End SOLIDWORKS

This profile is for SOLIDWORKS 2021 users with very large assemblies, complex sheet metal parts, complex surfaces, and/or FEA/CFD analysis.

Processor*Fastest Intel Core i9, Xeon, or AMD Ryzen Pro; consider multiple processors in parallel
RAM64GBs or more
Hard Drive*1TB+ SSD and RAID storage solutions
Operating SystemWindows 10 (64-bit)
Additional SoftwareMicrosoft Office 2016 or newer
Video CardNVIDIA Quadro P4000, T4000,or better; Radeon Pro WX 5500 or better. Consider multiple cards in parallel
Suggested Desktop Models(Download full guide)
Suggested Laptop Models(Download full guide)
  • Multi-processing can greatly aid rendering and analysis computations.
  • Requires hard disk space to install application and ample free space for files and swap space.

For even more detailed specifications and suggested hardware specifications for this SOLIDWORKS release, download our complete recommendations guide.

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