SOLIDWORKS 2021 Requirements and Recommendations

   By TriMech Marketing on January 6, 2021

SOLIDWORKS clients often overlook the importance of having the correct hardware to support their new 3D CAD purchase. A common question we get asked is what should be considered before buying or upgrading equipment, so we thought it would be helpful to compile all the published system requirements along with our Engineering Team’s recommendations in one place. Here is the information for this year’s version of SOLIDWORKS as compared to last year.

>> Download our complete recommendations for the current version of SOLIDWORKS
>> Download our complete recommendations specifically for SOLIDWORKS PDM

SOLIDWORKS System Requirements

These requirements apply to all SOLIDWORKS products except where noted. Use this information to ensure you are always working with a SOLIDWORKS-supported and optimized system for hardware, operating system and Microsoft products.

SOLIDWORKS Products for Windows

(EDU 2020-2021)
(EDU 2021-2022)
Operating System  
Windows 10, 64-bit Yes Yes  
Windows 8.1, 64-bit No No  
Windows 7 SP1, 64-bit Yes (until SW2020 SP5) No  
Virtual environments (See chart below) (See chart below)  
Processor 3.3 GHz or higher
RAM 16 GB or more
PDM Contributor or Viewer: 8 GB or more
Drives SSD drives recommended for optimal performance
Microsoft Excel and Word 2013, 2016, 2019 2016, 2019  

SOLIDWORKS recommends:

  • Use a trusted antivirus product. 
  • Keep your antivirus product updated to the latest version.
  • Stay updated with the latest antivirus definition/signature file (This defines the known current vulnerabilities and exemptions). 
  • Consider creating exemptions for SOLIDWORKS file types and folder locations to improve SOLIDWORKS file based runtime performance such as File Open/Save/Save As and PDM Vault Checkin/Checkout.


Supported Virtual Environments (Hypervisors)

Virtualization Environment SOLIDWORKS 2020 SOLIDWORKS 2021
VMware vSphere ESXi 6.7 6.7 U3
VMware Workstation 15 15.5
Microsoft Hyper-V 2019 2019
Parallels Desktop, Mac 14 TBA
Citrix XenServer 7.6 8.2
  • SOLIDWORKS and eDrawings require a GPU for optimal performance in a virtualized environment. 
  • SOLIDWORKS Composer is not supported in virtualized environments.

SOLIDWORKS Server Products

Operating Systems
Windows Server 2019 Yes Yes
Windows Server 2016 Yes Yes
Windows Server 2012 R2 No No
Windows Server 2012 No No
SQL Server
SQL 2019 Yes Yes
SQL 2017 Yes Yes
SQL 2016 Yes Yes
SQL 2014 Yes (until SW2021 SP5) Yes (until SW2021 SP5)

>> Download our complete recommendations for SOLIDWORKS PDM

Microsoft/Apple Products (SOLIDWORKS 2020 – 2021)

Microsoft Products Start of Life End of Life*
Windows 10, 64-bit 2015 SP5 Active
Windows 8.1, 64-bit 2014 SP1 2018 SP5
Windows 7, 64-bit 2010 SP1 2020 SP5
Windows Server 2019 2019 SP3 Active
Windows Server 2016 2017 SP2 Active
Windows Server 2012 R2 2014 SP3 2019 SP5
Windows Server 2012 2014 SP0 2018 SP5
SQL Server 2017 2018 SP0 Active
SQL Server 2016 2017 SP0 Active
SQL Server 2014 2015 SP0 2021 SP5
SQL Server 2012 2013 SP2 2019 SP5
IE 11 2014 SP3 Active
Excel, Word 2019
(64-bit recommended)
2019 SP2 Active
Excel, Word 2016
(64-bit recommended)
2016 SP3 Active
Excel, Word 2013 2013 SP4 2020 SP5
Excel, Word 2010 2010 SP5 2018 SP5
macOS Catalina (10.15) eDrawings 2020 Active
macOS Mojave (10.14) eDrawings 2019 Active
macOS High Sierra (10.13) eDrawings 2019 Active
macOS Sierra (10.12) eDrawings 2017 eDrawings 2019
OS X El Capitan (10.11) eDrawings 2017 eDrawings 2018
OS X Yosemite (10.10) eDrawings 2015 eDrawings 2018
  • End Of Life (EOL) corresponds to the last SOLIDWORKS release where a Microsoft product is supported (This is synchronized with the Microsoft Mainstream Support End Date). SOLIDWORKS releases after the EOL are not supported for the said Microsoft product and SOLIDWORKS installation is blocked in the case of an operating system.
  • SOLIDWORKS Product Support Lifecycle defines the End Of Support for SOLIDWORKS versions.
  • SOLIDWORKS recommends using the latest Microsoft update of Windows, Office and Internet Explorer.
  • SOLIDWORKS supports each Windows 10 release for applicable SOLIDWORKS releases as long as it is still covered by both the SOLIDWORKS Product Support Lifecycle and Microsoft Windows Lifecycle Fact Sheet.
  • SOLIDWORKS recommends using a Windows Server operating system for all SOLIDWORKS server-based products.
  • Windows Home Editions and Windows To Go are not supported.
  • Apple Mac® based machines running Windows using Boot Camp are not supported.
  • SOLIDWORKS 2018 on Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 requires the Microsoft April 2014 update.
  • It is not recommended to install any instances of other applications on the SOLIDWORKS PDM Archive or Database Server. For PDM Professional, it is recommended the Archive and Database servers are two separate, dedicated machines.
  • To ensure optimum performance, it is not recommended to install antivirus software on the SOLIDWORKS PDM vault computer.
  • SOLIDWORKS does not test or certify VPN (Virtual Private Network) solutions but provides best-effort support. Users may be directed to work directly with their VPN provider to resolve issues on a case-by-case basis.
  • Beginning with SOLIDWORKS 2020, DVD distribution media will only be provided on request. 

TriMech Recommended Hardware Configurations

Below, the TriMech technical team has compiled a general hardware recommendations list for three general levels of SOLIDWORKS user. These are guidelines and TriMech’s Customer Support Center will be happy to help you customize to fit your specific needs. (These recommendations are made based on the purchase of a NEW computer.)


This profile is for SOLIDWORKS 2021 users with light-to-no analysis tools, assemblies up to 500 parts, some sheet metal and light surfacing.

Processor* Current Generation Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen or better
RAM 16GBs or more
Hard Drive* 250+GBs SSD Drive
Operating System Windows 10 (64-bit)
Additional Software Microsoft Office 2016 or newer
Video Card NVIDIA Quadro P520, or better; AMD Radeon Pro WX 2100, 3100; Intel HD Graphics P4000 or better
Suggested Desktop Models (Download full guide)
Suggested Laptop Models (Download full guide)



This profile is for SOLIDWORKS 2021 users with large assemblies, complex parts, demanding sheet metal designs, moderate surfacing and/or FEA/CFD analysis.

Processor* Current Generation Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen/Ryzen Pro or better
RAM 32GBs or more
Hard Drive* 1TB+ SSD and RAID storage solutions
Operating System Windows 10 (64-bit)
Additional Software Microsoft Office 2016 or newer
Video Card NVIDIA Quadro P2200 T2000, or better; AMD Radeon Pro WX 3200 or better
Suggested Desktop Models (Download full guide)
Suggested Laptop Models (Download full guide)



This profile is for SOLIDWORKS 2021 users with very large assemblies, complex sheet metal parts, complex surfaces, and/or FEA/CFD analysis.

Processor* Fastest Intel Core i9, Xeon, or AMD Ryzen Pro; consider multiple processors in parallel
RAM 64GBs or more
Hard Drive* 1TB+ SSD and RAID storage solutions
Operating System Windows 10 (64-bit)
Additional Software Microsoft Office 2016 or newer
Video Card NVIDIA Quadro P4000, T4000,or better; Radeon Pro WX 5500 or better. Consider multiple cards in parallel
Suggested Desktop Models (Download full guide)
Suggested Laptop Models (Download full guide)
  • Multi-processing can greatly aid rendering and analysis computations.
  • Requires hard disk space to install application and ample free space for files and swap space.

For even more detailed specifications and suggested hardware specifications for this SOLIDWORKS release, download our complete recommendations guide.

Related Products

Browse the TriMech web store for SOLIDWORKS software to design, analyze and manufacture your products on your desktop.


TriMech provides thousands of engineering teams with 3D design and rapid prototyping solutions that work hand-in-hand, from sketch to manufacturing. InterPro became a part of TriMech Solutions LLC in 2021.

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