Can The Microsoft Surface Run SolidWorks?

You’ve perhaps been asking; can Microsoft Surface run SolidWorks? It all depends on whether a given model has features that allow the software to run smoothly.

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Can the Microsoft Surface run SolidWorks?

Various Microsoft Surface models such as Surface Book 3 and Surface Pro 7  can run SolidWorks and other CAD programs. This is because these laptops are designed with features that meet the minimum requirements that are needed for a laptop to run SolidWorks.

I recently got my hands on two Microsoft Surface models (Book 3 and Surface Pro 7) just to get to see firsthand how SolidWorks runs on them. 

I must admit that I learned a lot and would love to share with SolidWorks users this vital information on how this CAD application operates on various Surface models.

What is SolidWorks?

Designed by Dassault Systemes, SolidWorks is one of the most powerful 3D CAD programs currently available for designers, engineers, and other professionals. 

This Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software is highly-popular with designers and engineers thanks to its 3D CAD robustness and ease of use. Just like AutoCAD or Solid Edge, you can use SolidWorks to conceive an idea, create, and validate a product from that idea!

SolidWorks brings agility and flexibility to project management by not only enhancing product quality but also reducing manufacturing costs.

Whether you’re looking for 3D modeling, prototyping, design work, mechanical routing, sheet metal fabrications, or program creation, SolidWorks can be used to create complex models in various industries.

What are SolidWorks system requirements?

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Now that you have an idea of how to use this amazing software, it’s important to know the requirements for this software. In other words, SolidWorks has specific hardware and software requirements that a laptop must have for this CAD application to run smoothly and optimally.

It’s these system requirements that will help us determine whether SolidWorks can run smoothly on a Microsoft Surface or rather on a particular Surface laptop. 

So without wasting much of your time, allow me to summarize the minimum requirements that your laptop must have to run SolidWorks in the table below.

FeatureMinimum System Requirement
Operating SystemWindows 10 (64-bit), Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2016, Windows 8.1 (64-bit), Windows 7 SP1 64-bit.
RAMA minimum of 8 GB if you have PDM contributors but 16 GB or more is encouraged if you’re working on large assemblies
ProcessorThe processing power can clock speed of 3.3 GHz or higher, Intel, or AMD with SSE2 support
Graphics CardDirectX 11 capable graphics card. You can consider Nvidia Geforce options including Nvidia Geforce GTX, Nvidia Geforce RTX, and Nvidia Quadro (1GB or more video memory)
Hard Disk Space8 GB or more
DriversSSD drives
Other featuresStable battery life or backup, a good cooling system, and optimal screen size

Which Microsoft Surface models can run SolidWorks?

Based on the system requirement models that I have discussed above, I tested two different types of Microsoft Surface models (Surface Pro 7 and Book 3) models to find out if they were perfect for operating SolidWorks.

Here’s what I found.

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Microsoft Surface Pro 7

I did look at the features of Microsoft Surface Pro 7 intel core i7 10th generation to see whether it has the minimum requirements needed to operate SolidWorks.

Here’s a summary table.

FeaturesSurface Pro 7SolidWorks Requirements
Operating systemWindow 10 Home 64-bitWindows 10 (64-bit)
ProcessorIntel Core i7Intel or AMD with SSE2 support
RAM16 GB8 GB or more
Graphics cardIntel UHD graphics 620DirectX 11 capable graphics card
Hard disk space512 GB8 GB or more
Other FeaturesBetter battery lifeBattery life

From my analysis, I found out that the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is one of the best laptops for operating SolidWorks and other CAD applications. However, Surface Pros may struggle a little bit because of their limited graphics capabilities. It would have been the best laptop for SolidWorks if it had Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics

Microsoft Surface Book 3

I also tested the Book 3 intel core i7 10th generation. 

Here’s a summary.

FeatureSurface Book 3SolidWorks Requirements
Operating systemWindows 10 Home 64-bitWindows 10 (64-bit)
Processor A clock speed of 1.3 GHz, intel core i7Intel or AMD with SSE2 support
RAM16 GB DDR48 GB or more
Graphics cardNvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q graphics DirectX 11 capable graphics card
Hard disk space256 GB8 GB or more
Other unique featuresStable battery lifeBattery life 

From my analysis, I found out that you can use Book 3 to operate SolidWorks but not optimally because it may struggle with large assemblies due to its limited RAM.

All in all, Surface Pro 7 and Book 3 are easy to use when operating SolidWorks. 

They’re also portable (almost like an iPad Pro), compatible with the software, and offer commendable performances. I also realized that they both have better battery life, so you’ll probably not need a backup battery.

What are the alternatives to Microsoft Surface for running SolidWorks?

Although Surface Pro 7 and Book 3 can operate SolidWorks, my analysis shows that they’re still lacking in terms of graphics and RAM respectively. 

This means that they wouldn’t be your ideal choice if you’re looking for models that offer maximum overall performance and efficiency for operating SolidWorks.

That being said, some high-end workstation laptops such as Dell laptops, MacBook Pro, HP, and Lenovo ThinkPad are superb alternatives to Microsoft Surface for operating SolidWorks. 

microsoft surface solidworks

What is the best laptop for SolidWorks?

You must make sure that the particular model that you choose has the systems and features needed to operate SolidWorks.

Some of the best include:

  • Dell Alienware M15 R6 gaming laptop (the best laptop for SolidWorks)
  • Acer Predator Helios 300 gaming laptop
  • Lenovo ThinkPad X3 Generation 2

You can also choose a desktop workstation to operate SolidWorks. I have tried Apple Mac Pro and Dell Precision  5820 Tower, so I can vouch for them.

Can Microsoft Surface run AutoCAD or Solid Edge?

AutoCAD and Solid Edge are other popular CAD programs similar to SolidWorks in terms of functions and capabilities. 

But if you’re wondering if a Microsoft Surface laptop can run AutoCAD or Solid Edge, the simplest answer is yes. Just go for a Surface model that has the specifications needed to either run AutoCAD, Solid Edge, or other popular cad programs.

Key Takeaways

  • Most Microsoft Surface models are capable of running SolidWorks
  • Some Surface models may not run SolidWorks optimally
  • Consider system requirements for SolidWorks when choosing the right Surface model
  • Some alternatives to Microsoft Surface for running SolidWorks include Dell and Acer

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