As most users are aware a good workstation graphics card is a must when it comes to stability and performance in SolidWorks. However its also important to use a Certified driver for your CAD graphics card. The following tech tip will discuss how to check which drivers are certified and what driver you are currently using.
Navigate to the graphics card testing page on the SolidWorks website: http://www.solidworks.com/sw/videocardtesting.html
From the pull-down list you will need to choose the version of manufacturer or your card/system, the version of SW you are using, and the OS. If you are using a brand name computer you will want to select the computer manufacturer rather than the card manufacturer. For example you should choose Dell or Hewlett Packard rather than Nvidia or ATI if applicable. Click the Show button once you have made your selections.
After clicking the show button you will see a listing of card(s) that are available and the driver(s) that SolidWorks has tested. You will also see the results of the test. Notice in the driver number column the number is a hyperlink that you can click on to download that version directly from this page.
Now that you have determined the driver version/number for your system configuration you can now go to your computer and compare it to the driver that is currently installed. There are several ways to check your cards driver version depending on the computer manufacturer and which version of Windows you are use but a common method would be to launch up your Windows Device Manager. From the Device Manager expand the Display Adapter section and right click on your Graphic Card and choose “Properties”. From the Properties dialog box click on the Driver tab and verify which version you have installed.
Alternatively you can also launch the SolidWorks Rx tool for the SolidWorks program group in the Windows Start menu. The diagnostics section of the SolidWorks Rx tool will show the Graphics Card model and driver version.
One thing to note is that SolidWorks does not test every driver for every card so you may find that the certified driver is older than your installed driver or the latest version from the manufacturer’s website (lower version number). However SolidWorks still recommends you use the older certified driver . This is especially important if you are trying to troubleshoot a system as it helps to rule out possible graphics issues as the root cause to your problems. If you don’t have a certified driver installed and are planning on installing one for your card please see our next tech tip on the proper way to replace an existing graphics card driver.