Workstation VS Gaming Graphics Card

dateApril 6, 2021

With about 3 years+ of experience in handling technical support, variations of the following question keep coming up: “What’s wrong with using my gaming graphics card in running SOLIDWORKS?”

The answer that I would then give is that you can certainly use your gaming graphics card in running SOLIDWORKS and do your modeling. However, it is not recommended to do so.

Certified Graphics Card

The simplest reason I would give is that the gaming graphics card (GeForce/Radeon series) is not certified by SOLIDWORKS. A certified graphics card and driver is a SOLIDWORKS Software Requirement. Not using a certified one means you are not meeting the minimum requirement! Imagine operating a car but you are using an engine designed for a motorbike. It could be possible but the car would either have to be modified to be of low weight or would operate with poor performance. SOLIDWORKS depends very heavily on hardware acceleration done by the graphics card. A lot of testing has been done by SOLIDWORKS to ensure the graphics card driver provided by the computer or card manufacturer works properly. Please refer to this link ( to access the list of certified graphics cards.

I have seen multiple occasions where not having a certified graphics card or driver can cause a list of problems. The list includes crashing, poor performance, slow load times, incorrect display, and many other problems. These problems can cause the user to potentially lose a lot of work done and the only recommendation I can give would be to change your graphics card to a certified one.

Comparison of the Graphic Cards

Let’s look at the difference between a workstation graphics card and a gaming graphics card. It should be noted that the software applications that these cards are being configured or designed to run are completely different.

A gaming graphics card is optimised for game applications that tend to consist of low polygon count geometry and in most cases pre-defined textures. Most on-screen effects that affect the quality of the graphics can be adjusted in-game options but the general idea is that the better the card, the better the graphics. The high-end graphics card would allow games to run with a high-quality visual, fast loading (low polygon count), and high frames per second (FPS) to allow smooth gameplay.

On the other hand, a workstation graphics card is optimized more for Computer-Aided Design (CAD)/Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) software. In such software, they usually manipulate complex geometry and need to be able to deal with real world geometry. These geometries could range from microns to miles and the calculations done has to be precise.


For the purpose of running CAD software such as SOLIDWORKS, one should use a workstation graphics card as it is certified to do so. Both workstation and gaming graphics cards have their own set of focus and specialisation due to the different requirements of the software they are built for. It should be noted that while SOLIDWORKS can be installed without a certified graphics card, it is done so at your own risk. The SOLIDWORKS could potentially run with multiple types of errors and such errors can only be solved by changing the graphics card.