Recommended graphics card to run Solidworks motion study and/or other animation programs smoothly.

I've read some where on the net that gaming graphics cards are exactly opposite to the requirements needed to run any CAD programs smoothly. Not that i can't run it completely, but if i try to assemble large amount of parts, it'll start lagging like a flip book.

I'm just wondering if there are any recommendations as to which brand/type/price range should i spend on a graphics card specifically designed to run most CAD software.

p.s. i'm using a laptop.
(specs on profile)

Thanks ahead of time!

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4 Answers

The hardware difference between a gaming card and a workstation card is very small. This is evidenced by the fact that you used to be able to flash the firmware of a gaming card and turn it into a workstation card.

Workstation cards certainly offer significant performance improvements over gaming cards. Particularly as model complexity or the number of open models increases. In my personal experience I could probably have a half dozen, 100 feature parts open on a gaming card before things really started to bog down. Model rotations in particular would be very slow. Whereas a workstation card could have several models with hundreds or thousands of features without slow downs.

If you work with complex assemblies I wouldn't even consider a gaming card. When you buy a workstation card you are really buying the drivers. These have been tested and optimized to work with a particular application. Make sure you select your software vendor from the profiles list when using the card.

You can see a list of certified cards here.

As you ask specifically about motion studies, I would think these are highly computational. The CPU will be doing a large number of calculations for computing part movement and possibly collision detection. I would make your greatest investment in CPU vs graphics cards.

For particular card recommendations. I don't really understand your question since you are on a laptop and you can't upgrade your video card. If you are in the market for a new laptop I would recommend the Lenovo W series.

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In my little experience with Motion Study, a better graphic card doesn't improve the playing of the study much, especially if the parts are moving really fast.
To play the animation smoothly, try saving it as a video with a frame rate of 23 to 30, not the default 7.5. If you have the animation (not the video) set to low frame rate, that could also cause you viewing problems. Try to increase it and see if it improves, but it'll take longer to calculate.
As for the slow navigation when modeling, a workstation video card will definitely improve performance.

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Maybe i worded my question wrong. I'm looking for a workstation card mainly because the whole program lags if i my assembly gets too big. Thanks guys!

to Thomas, i did not know i couldn't upgrade a laptop's graphics card :(... but then again, I had the thought of building my own computer some years after i'm done w/ school, maybe i'll worry about it then. But do you guys have in mind any decent cards that can handle up to 2,000 parts without lagging? It'll be nice to keep an eye out for the price shifts and all if i'm really planning to buy work station computer soon.

Thanks again!.

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