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Solidworks on VMware slash Mac

Answer

The definitive answer to the question is that Solidworks does not run natively on Mac. This is from the Solidworks supported hardware FAQ.

However, the next question is: can it run under VMware? The answer is, surprisingly, that it can. The following thread discusses the topic:

http://communities.vmware.com/thread/70071

scroll down about 2/3 of the way in the thread and look for a response by a person with the handle MacSolidWorks:

6. Feb 1, 2007 9:21 AM in response to: eobet
Re: Is SolidWorks a supported application?
It would appear that I'm somewhat of a celebrity these days. Please, no pictures!

SolidWorks runs rather well in VMware Fusion. I'm using XPx64 with SWx64 and the performance is really great...for a VIRTUAL MACHINE.

It is somewhat overly optimistic to think that a virtual device will ever perform as well as a real device. I would NEVER recommend that someone attempt to do any serious or meaningful CAD work on a virtual computer. This just doesn't make sense, especially when you can run a full version of Windows 64bit or 32bit natively in bootcamp. Furthermore, at this stage, Fusion cannot save to an NTFS format drive, which leaves you with accessing a FAT32 drive which is super slow.

In addition, SolidWorks REQUIRES access to a REAL video card in order to use HARDWARE OPEN GL. Unless VMware finds a way to access a REAL video card from a VIRTUAL environment, SolidWorks is a no-go for anyone other than a small parts modeler.

If your modeling needs are not too intensive, it'll work pretty darn good, I've been pleased with the performance so far. SW has not crashed once on me while using Fusion and I use it rather regularly for presentations to clients.

However, in reality this is a novelty for anyone using large assemblies, complex parts, rendering, mold flow analysis, cosmos, etc. If all you want to do is model some rubber dog dookey without having to boot into Windows...Fusion is all you need. But, unfortunately that's not going to be the case with people spending this much money on SW, you really need a real environment to do some real work.

The cool thing is that it works at all, and with the new 45nm process Intel has come up with for their chips we can look forward to more cores per chip in the future. If we could get more CPU cores in a VM, and dedicate a processor for video hardware emulation, I really think this software has a future in the CAD arena.

My 2 cents.

-MacSolidWorks

Granted - the configuration is not supported by us, we can help them get VMware downloaded / installed and we can help them download / install Window 7. But they are on their own if they wish to install Solidworks on the resulting platform.

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Last Modified:

April 26, 2016

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