Solidworks and Graphics cards

Solidworks is said to be very picky on graphics card and has it’s own list of certified cards. See also:

I’m looking for a new card since I have some problems with the one I have now and SW2006 (I own a Gigabyte 9700 Pro, an old AGP card but works like a charm).
Now, not everybody is in the financial position to acquire such a nice certified card and probably has a nVidia or an Ati card to begin with. So I was wondering what you Solidworkers out there have for a none-certified graphics card? Which one do you recommend?

I think students or post-grads working with SW2007 or SW2006 or perhaps even older version are especially interested in this topic for their own PC at home and what kind of graphics card they should have when upgrading or buying a new graphics card or PC.

I would be helpful, not only to me, but to others as well, if you specify your card, your OS (operation system), version of SolidWorks and perhaps some info about your hardware and suggestions for optimal hardware performance when suggesting graphics cards to buy.

Let me start:

OS: streamlined Windows XP SP2 running on AMD 2500+ with 2 GB of RAMM
SW: 2006 and sometimes 2004
Graphics card: AGP Gigabyte 9700 Pro
Known problems:
SW2006 won’t work properly with Catalyst drivers, Windows drivers no problems
SW2004 bugless, but old and without the nice candy of 2007.

We have always had the least problems with NVIDIA Quadro graphics cards – we have even seen problems the certified ATI boards depending on the driver. Try Ebay for NVIDIA QUADRO – lots available cheap – find an older model that is on the certified list and download the most up to date driver.

Most people don’t have the cash to splash on certified cards like the Quadro’s you mention. And most of the Quadro cards are sold inside the US and not outside, where I live… So uncertified cards which Solidworks use are a big plus if somebody has first hand experiences with it. Let us know.

The buzz on the net is that Nvidia seems to be a better choice above Ati cards, and according to Dans findings this also means for certified cards.

If you want to know if your Solidworks is using your graphics card at all, check if
“Software OpenGL” is enabled in “Tools/Options/(tab)System Options/Performance”, at the bottom of the page you see a check box with the text “Use Software OpenGL”.
If that is checked and greyed out, Solidworks does not use your card at all, but let all the work be done by your CPU.
When checking, be sure you don’t have any part of assembly or drawing opened.

In Vista Solidworks is said to work only without using your graphics card, and the above option is checked and greyed out even though you have a certifified card.
I don’t have Vista installed, so I can’t conform if the above is still the case: [/i]

Most people don’t have the cash to splash on certified cards like the Quadro’s you mention.

“Most People”? Most people who use Solidworks use it as an employee for a corporation, or for making money as a consultant/contractor. If you can’t cover the costs of a decent video card (decent being ~$500 USD IMO) as a consultant, you should find another profession. Its a cost of doing business.

The AGP Gigabyte 9700 Pro mentioned is said to be $337 base price (high efficient bread crumb maker machine). That is 1 - 2 days work to cover those costs.

It stated in my post that this topic is of particular interest because many industrial design students use the SolidWorks student version and most of them don’t have the financial backings I was talking about.

Jeez, is it so hard to properly read a topic start?

Anyways, since this topic isn’t being supplied with what I had in mind, it can be closed.
For your information, Nvidia seems to be the better choice regarding none certified cards. The 7600 GPU’s seem to perform well with Solidworks.
It is readily available for around 100 USD, and I got the tip to wait a month or so before buying it, because most likely the price will drop because of a new introduction of a core unit (8800 or something) by Nvidia.