My school are asking me to do a new spec for around 30 machines to be brought in. the heaviest task they will undertake is solidworks. Now I figure some sort of quad core and 6-8 gigs of ram would suffice, but in terms of display output, is it possible to use any graphics cards to improver rendering performance specifically in solidworks? we dont use any other type of cad.
in my experience (i did the same project, but for my engineering firm) it really depends what youre going to do. if its just basic modeling 2-4 gb of ram, a dual core cpu and any okay workstation card will work. If they will be required to display models or assemblies with a lot of features you will want 8gb of ram and a nicer workstation card. solidworks defines a lot of features as >1000 but id say its more like >600 or so to keep the user from being frustrated.
if you wont be running cosmos ( aka simulation) any decent quad core should suffice (dual core would probably be good) but if you are running cosmos (now called simulation)
Quadro cards have special drivers that outputs more fps when using solidworks.
With few parts it's easy to any card to handle. But if u get into some heavy assemblies, u gonna cry if u using some standard geforce/amd card (I did it, LOL)
So quadro cards don't have special hardware (but is more tested than the regular), but do have special drivers.
So yes, they costs more basically cause of the good CAD/CAE drivers.
solidworks and pretty much every cad suite uses open GL instead of direct x. profesional cards have firmware that is specifically suited for running that API. The cards are usually physically the same and it use to be popular to flash a 9800gt or gtx with the quattro firmware that would be used with the same hardware to make a workstation card. this could save upwards of $1k when they first were released but they then perform poorly when rendering directx based programs (games)