SolidWorks is high end, industrial-grade 2D and 3D CAD design and illustration tool with simulation and industry-specific modules developed and built-in. Its user interface has won the hearts of many, and allows a much shorter learning curve as compared to the mammoth AutoCAD by Autodesk.
Also, some industries are specifically turning to SolidWorks and breaking away from old habits for a number of reasons. One of those reasons is the capital required for development with other options, in terms of equipment as well as costs. So how much does SolidWorks really cost? Read on to find the answer.
What is being offered and for how much?
We need to segment the debate in order to get a catalog of product options instead of paragraphs of words and no numbers. First of all, the comparison has to take into account the different function scopes that the software package needs to be judged according to.
For cost comparison purposes I’m choosing “Design development” (or DD), “Design validation” (or DV) & “Design cataloging” (or “DC”). Technical communication, and other technologies are also available as add-ons and all categories have a further division of three for Premium, Professional and Standard. Dassault Systems, the parent company of SolidWorks has made available a host of other technologies allowing you to extend SolidWorks capability.
On with some numbers then. For a premium license of the design development category one should think about USD 8,000 with unannounced fluctuations coming and going. A yearly subscription (and before you ask, a subscription service entitles you to version upgrades, service packs, online customer portal access to SolidWorks, as well as the technical support) for technical training and spot-on resource center support, costs somewhere about USD 2,000, but that’s nothing really if you want the last drop of juice out the earlier $8000. Think about USD 10,000 and you should do just fine.
For design validation, and again the premium suite, the license is for North of USD 10,000 and the license is almost double. This price range includes one of either the “Simulation” and “Flow simulation” (for fluids and fluid dynamics) but not the “Plastics” suite. The plastics suite’s simulation license and subscriptions can touch USD 30,000. Hence the price range of USD 8,000 to USD 30,000 can get you design validation as well as the capability to design, with your choice of simulation environment.
As for the design cataloging and documenting is concerned, a single, stand-alone viewer is around USD 3,000 whereas the editor is for North of USD 2,500. Just for reference:
|Package||Category||License (~USD)||Subscription (~USD)|
|SOLIDWORKS Simulation Premium||DV||$10,000||$4,000|
|SOLIDWORKS Plastics Premium||DV||$22,000||$5,000|
|SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional CAD Editor||DC||$2,000||$1,000|
|SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional Viewer||DC||$3,000||$1,000|
Anything for Students?
As far as students are concerned, the SolidWorks student edition gets you started off with as low as USD 200, moving north from there for any packages and services that you may want included. Another CAD version of developed by the parent company Dassault Systems built for mobile devices purchasable for the price of USD 1.99, yes you read that correct. A basic app to get you started CADing while on the go. The app’s name is eDrawings and is available for Apple mobile products as well.
Also, some ideas are presented here on how to obtain a Solidworks license legally.
What about network license?
Dassault System’s SNL (SolidWorks Network Licensing) is an option to look at if you want to save some dough on a number of seats by floating licenses (basically sharing amongst a group of users, as opposed to having licenses specific to each seat) and accommodating teams and collaborative units. The pricing here varies according to your requirements and only SolidWorks sales team can provide a quote on that.
What else to take into consideration?
One thing to take into account is the price of the hardware, even though it’s not a direct effect, the equipment needed for SolidWorks is enough in monetary worth to give a mention to. Minimum requirements for a Windows XP machine, are 2GB RAM and 5GB of free hard disk space. Any 2.0 GHz processor will do. This should cost about USD 1,200 and is the optimum choice for semi-professionals, well-off hobbyists and some-very-well-off students.
One step further, a 64-bit Quad Core with 8 GB RAM and 40 GB HDD would accommodate every drawn line and tangent very nicely. The multiple core may not seem so relevant when 3D illustrating or drawing but they will kick in when you run a simulation render or start to play with assembly models. This system configuration should cost ~USD 2,000 and obviously more. You can also take a look at Best CAD Workstation and Laptop For Solidworks articles to have an idea of the hardware configuration and its cost.
A sample quote from SolidWorks Auto-quote calculator taken on 30th of August, 2015.
|Suite||Category||License (~USD)||Subscription (~USD)|
|SOLIDWORKS Electrical 3D||DD||$5,995||$1,695|
|SOLIDWORKS Electrical Professional||DD||$9,995||$2,750|
|SOLIDWORKS Simulation Premium||DV||$10,995||$3,575|
|SOLIDWORKS Simulation Professional||DV||$6,995||$2,275|
|SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation||DV||$13,995||$3,919|
|SOLIDWORKS Simulation Standard||DV||$3,995||$995|
|SOLIDWORKS Plastics Premium||DV||$22,495||$5,624|
|SOLIDWORKS Plastics Professional||DV||$14,995||$3,749|
|SOLIDWORKS Plastics Standard||DV||$4,995||$1,499|
|SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional CAD Editor||DC||$1,895||$495|
|SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional Contributor||DC||$1,350||$395|
|SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional Viewer||DC||$2,995||$995|
|SOLIDWORKS Composer||Technical Communication||$6,800||$1,700|
|SOLIDWORKS Inspection Standard||Technical Communication||$1,995||$599|
|SOLIDWORKS Inspection Professional||Technical Communication||$3,495||$1,049|
|SOLIDWORKS MBD Standard||Technical Communication||$1,995||$499|
|SOLIDWORKS Sustainability||Sustainable Design||$2,995||$995|
|SOLIDWORKS Mechanical Conceptual||3DExperience||$2,988||$2,988|