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SOLIDWORKS Hardware Advice: Does SOLIDWORKS use Multiple Cores?

Monday October 16, 2023 at 8:00am

A common question we get is whether SOLIDWORKS can use multiple cores of your PC.

The simple answer is yes, SOLIDWORKS can use multiple cores.

Read on to find out exactly when and how SOLIDWORKS uses CPU cores and why we recommend having a CPU with at least 10 cores for standard SOLIDWORKS usage.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Is SOLIDWORKS a Single-Threaded Application?
  2. Hyperthreading Explained
  3. The Recommended Number of Cores for SOLIDWORKS
 

Is SOLIDWORKS a Single-Threaded Application?

SOLIDWORKS has often been described as a single-threaded application.

This means that the majority of SOLIDWORKS computation occurs on one CPU core. The reason for this is that in a parametric model, calculations have to be done one at a time, sequentially.

A cut cannot be calculated until the boss feature it is applied to has been calculated; otherwise, there would be nothing to cut.

Because of this, you may hear people saying that having multiple cores offers no advantage, but this isn’t quite true...

WHY HAVING MULTIPLE CORES IS GOOD FOR SOLIDWORKS

  • Not all SOLIDWORKS calculations are single threaded. In normal operation, SOLIDWORKS will often use two or more cores, particularly during tasks such as displaying drawings with multiple views and completing graphical calculations.
  • Most users run lots of other programs as well as SOLIDWORKS, a quick look at Task Manager will display how many hidden programs and processes are running.
  • Tools such as SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation have the capacity to use over 20 cores at once!

Historically, users had to decide between buying a CPU which had more cores or a CPU with a higher clock speed. This meant choosing between more calculations occurring simultaneously or each calculation taking less time.

Fortunately, this ultimatum is no longer required.

Over the past couple of years, Intel have released CPUs with what are termed ”Performance” and “Efficiency” cores. These are cores specifically designed for either completing complex tasks on open programs or performing background operations.

This technology means Intel have been able to fit an increasing number of cores into their CPUs without sacrificing the clock speed.

What is Hyperthreading?

Hyperthreading is a technology that allows a single core to run multiple threads simultaneously.

A thread is the series of calculations executed by a core. By using hyperthreading, a CPU can complete simultaneous tasks more efficiently.

In most SOLIDWORKS use-cases, hyperthreading doesn’t significantly impact performance. However, it can aid the performance of other applications which may be running on that machine.

When running CFD simulation studies, some users have found that hyperthreading can significantly slow convergence of a study. For that reason, we recommend that users who are regularly running CFD simulation studies turn off hyperthreading to ensure best performance.

How Many Cores do I Need to Run SOLIDWORKS?

For the reasons outlined above, all the CAD workstations that we recommend have at least 10 cores for standard SOLIDWORKS usage.

For more complex applications, such as simulation and visualisation, we recommend computers with between 16 and 24 cores to minimise run times.

Of course, for the latest most up-to-date information, you can check out our hardware page.

Here we have a variety of machines available with benchmarked ratings for different tasks, and you will also be able to access our hardware guide.

This provides in-depth information on how specification impacts performance and is a must-read for anyone considering an upgrade.

If you have any further questions you can always reach out to hardware@solidsolutions.ie who will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Take the Next Steps...

Explore the complete SOLIDWORKS portfolio and discover the advanced CAD capabilities that streamline workflows and shorten design times.

As part of the TriMech Group, we support designers, engineers, and businesses across the world as they develop innovative solutions to today’s challenges. From our CPD-accredited SOLIDWORKS training courses, to simulation, manufacturing, data management and product lifecycle solutions, our team is equipped to support you as you navigate your design journey.

With a SOLIDWORKS subscription you gain access to our expert SOLIDWORKS Technical Support team.

So if you find your workflow disrupted, or just have a question about SOLIDWORKS, then give us a call on 01926 333 777 or drop an email to support@solidsolutions.ie and one of our certified SOLIDWORKS Engineers will be in contact.

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 Solid Solutions | Trimech Group

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