I'm both a gamer and a SolidWorks designer. I'm currently running an ATI 6950 video card, but it doesn't perform nearly as well compared to something like the Nvidia Quadro 2000s we use at work. I was planning on getting a Nvidia Quadro K4000 for when I go to college. Before I drop the cash, is it possible to run both a gaming card and a professional card in one PC? Also, if I can run two cards at once how would I be able to switch between them? Would I just unplug the monitor cables from one card and just plug them into the other?
1) For some Adobe programs, a GTX600 series worked but an INI file had to be hacked to "recognize" the cards (otherwise forcing more expensive cards). I saw no reference with Solidworks though possibly that's because it's not as demanding as say Premiere.
2) There appears to be little advantage to expensive cards for Solidworks.
3) Different VERSIONS of Solidworks will work differently (no idea how good 2014 is), but it doesn't appear to utilize GPU-acceleration that well.
4) I don't have time to verify that an HD7000 or GTX600 series work by default or can be FORCED to work. If they CAN, great. Get one of those. If not, Workstation cards are really expensive for gaming.
5) Try to find reliable BENCHMARKS showing what benefit there is to GPU acceleration (it may be significant or minor depending on your Solidworks version and how you use Solidworks.)