Solidworks video card?

My daughter ordered parts to build a computer early in January. Everything but the video card arrived. First they (OWC) were saying 32 days, but now they are saying 68 days. Anybody know where to find a decent Solidworks capable video card in the $300-$500 range IN STOCK?

Not sure it’ll give the best performance, but they’re Solidworks certified, and I use them without issue.

(You know you work for a federal contractor when you hit up CDW before Newegg or Amazon…)


Ooof… From the bit that I’ve been looking into it, most/all current gen cards are flying off the shelves far faster than normal folks can get their hands on. One of the folks I work with is four months into the search for a RTX 6800 series for four months, no success yet.

At that P400’s price point, might be good enough to get by for a year or two till stock comes back - at which point you could update to something beefier. I’ll check to see what’s in my work desktop tomorrow - I believe it should be on the certified list and has been doing a variety of things over the past three years without any real complaints from my end.

@gurellia53 is also really good at picking these sorts of things out, if you haven’t asked him yet :D.

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i know people don’t really like to shop on ebay but if you dig you can find great deals. The used market isn’t too great right now but i did find this EVGA GTX 1070 for $310. That’s a decent deal considering what everything else is going for.

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For a hobbyist (that’s the range FRC falls into) an older “gaming” card that’s not on the approved list usually ends up a better value. SW will yell at you about the card on every startup until you disable the notification, and performance/$ in CAD is usually on par or better. The Quadro will be less powerful, but run better that an equivalent processing-capable gaming card due to being on the approved list.

Ex: My Quadro RTX 4000 is essentially an RTX 2070 with approved drivers. The solidworks benchmark for the 4000 is ~10% better than the stock 2070 in the same system, and the 4000 lags behind about the same amount in games (partially due to inferior cooling though).

Also notice how I’m using “Quadro” to generally refer to a workstation-class graphics card. This is because the other workstation cards that try to enter the consumer space are currently still a joke due to pricing and/or software support.


3928’s new CAD/CNC computer is using a Quadro P620 similar to this. It was released in 2018 and uses the Pascal architecture - same architecture as the GeForce 1000 series for gaming. It’s the bottom level professional card. A slightly better card would be the P2200.

Here’s the solidworks benchmark running with the P620. Using the Intel integrated graphics, the same pc had an overall time of 120 seconds.

The list at the bottom these links for links have model numbers and specs for pascal and the newest full line of professional GPUs turing.

Edit: If you’re looking for a card primarily for gaming (GeForce RTX or Radeon), you’re just out of luck for the time being. Welcome to the club.


I got a Quadro P620 as my permanent graphics card for the new PC I build a few months ago. It’s handled everything I’ve needed as far as CAD (Solidworks and Onshape), light video rendering, and web browsing with 3 monitors (can handle up to 4). It probably won’t stand up to professional assemblies with millions of parts, but for student, hobbyist, and FRC purposes it should do just fine. It’s probably not much better than integrated graphics as far as gaming, but it’s not really designed for that. Here are my benchmarks with the PC linked above for comparison:

I got my P620 for $180 before taxes internationally, and it seems to be priced similarly from Amazon. If you only need a graphics card to hold you over for a few months until you get your permanent one, and don’t need it for gaming, I don’t see any reason to spend more than this. You can probably even get away with a Quadro P400 at $130 if you aren’t opening big assemblies, but I don’t have any firsthand experience with that.

The biggest downside to getting a workstation card for $180 rather than a gaming card for ~$400 is that it’s likely going to be harder to sell the workstation card used to recoup some of your expense if that’s your plan. From what I hear with the squeeze on graphics cards nowadays, you can probably sell a lightly-used ~$400 card for ~$300 and sell it fairly quickly. A workstation card will probably be harder to resell because the market is significantly smaller. Just something to keep in mind.

Edit: I’ll also link to the thread I posted when building that PC with a similar question, which got some helpful responses

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FYI, you can go into the files and trick solidworks to not give you the warning, and also let you enable realview as seen here.

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Scratch this, it’s a NVIDIA Quadro P4000… a little outside the price range for what you’re getting.

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I use a Quadro K1100M in my Thinkpad for SW. It works well enough for assemblies up to about 1000 parts. I don’t believe it has a direct desktop equivalent, but a quick google says that the GeForce equivalent would be a GT 740.

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One cautionary point:

I see a lot of people linking Quadro graphics cards, and that’s fine, as long as your daughter ONLY plans on using it for SolidWorks, and NOT for any video games.

Gaming graphics cards make decent CAD graphics cards, but CAD graphics cards (like Quadro series cards) do NOT work well for gaming. I simply point this out because I don’t think I’ve ever met a student who had their own “CAD computer” that didn’t also play some games on it.

Beyond that, I would recommend looking for older generation cards like that GTX 1070 that @Rlop linked above. You might also still be able to find some GTX 1600-series cards at a good price (most of the shortages are on the fancier RTX cards). Also, if you’re buying new, avoid spending less than ~$200, the cards below that price point tend to be hot garbage.

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To be honest the 16 series arent that good of a deal right now when you compare them to the 10 series cards. The 1660 super slightly outperforms the 1070 at a similar price but its gonna age a lot worse due to not having as much vram.


Yeah, she was getting a Radeon RX 580 card because she wants to do some games too (mostly minecraft and subsomething-or-other, that underwater one).

If you can i’d cancel the order for the RX 580. It performs worse than the 1070, runs hotter and draws more power all while having a history of unstable drivers on windows.

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While I agree with your points, I also understand the hesitation to buy a graphics card off of ebay.
Personally, I avoid used PC components like the plague (especially after some bad experiences in the past). New is almost always superior.

On paper, an RX 580 should be more than adequate to handle CAD workloads, so I wouldn’t worry about getting an additional card just for CAD if you’re already getting one for gaming anyways. That said, as @Rlop points out, the RX 580 (and, in my experience, AMD products in general) does have a history of poor driver support and higher power (and consequently, heat) draw.

Thanks. The 1070 looked unavailable, the 580 looked like the “best” available in her price range (but is apparently also unavailable).

[EDIT] turns out that 1070 cards are now starting at $750+

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I try to avoid buying new hardware because that just creates more ewaste :grinning:

Well thats why you dont buy 4 year old hardware brand new.

Well, the newer cards like RTX 3060/70’s aren’t going for much less (if you can even find them). It’s just crazy.

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