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Resources3D Printing DesignSolid Edge® vs. Solidworks® - Software Comparison
Engineers working with CAD software. Image Credit: Shutterstock.com/Gorodenkoff

Solid Edge® vs. Solidworks® - Software Comparison

Xomety X
By Team Xometry
February 16, 2023
 10 min read
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Solid Edge® is a computer-aided design (CAD) software tool that is used for 3D design, simulation, and manufacturing. It was developed by Siemens and is primarily used by mechanical engineers in all sectors of industry. Solidworks® is also a CAD software tool and is also used for 3D design and simulation. It was developed by Dassault Systèmes and is used in a variety of industries, by mechanical engineers, architects, and product designers.

Both Solid Edge and Solidworks are popular choices for 3D design and simulation, but they have different features and capabilities. For example, Solidworks has a larger user base and a wider range of industry-specific tools, while Solid Edge is known for its user-friendly interface and integration with Siemens NX (an advanced high-end CAD/CAM/CAE). Ultimately, the choice between these two software tools will depend on the user’s specific needs and preferences. This article will discuss and compare the various features and capabilities of Solid Edge vs. Solidworks.

What Is Solid Edge?

Solid Edge is a CAD software tool used for 3D design, simulation, and manufacturing. It was developed by Siemens and is utilized mainly in the engineering industry. Solid Edge has a user-friendly interface and provides a range of features for 3D design, including solid modeling, assembly design, and 2D drafting. It also includes tools for simulation, such as finite element analysis (FEA) and computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Finally, it offers tools for manufacturing, such as CAM (computer-aided manufacturing) and tooling design. 

What Is Solidworks?

Solidworks is a CAD software program that is used to create and edit 3D models and drawings. It was developed by Dassault Systèmes and is widely used in the manufacturing, automotive, and aerospace industries. Solidworks is a parametric design program where users can input these dimensions and constraints and then modify them to update the model. Solidworks offers a variety of tools for 3D modeling, simulation, rendering, and product data management, and is often used by professional engineers and designers.

Solid Edge vs. Solidworks - Use Cases and Applications

Both Solid Edge and Solidworks are powerful and feature-rich CAD tools that can be used in a range of industries and applications. They both support product design in the manufacturing, automotive, and aerospace industries. Solid Edge and Solidworks include a range of tools for creating and editing 3D models, as well as tools for simulating and testing designs

The main difference between the two is the focus of their features and tools: Solid Edge is geared more towards engineering and manufacturing, while SolidWorks is more focused on product design.

Solid Edge vs. Solidworks - System Requirements

While both Solid Edge and Solidworks offer a variety of features and capabilities, they have different system requirements. The minimum system requirements for Solid Edge are:

  1. Processor: Intel Pentium 4 or equivalent
  2. Operating System: Windows 10, 11 (professional or enterprise, 64-bit only version 1909 and above)
  3. Memory: 8 GB RAM for users in academia and 16 GB for commercial use
  4. Hard Disk Space: minimum of 7.5 GB
  5. Screen Resolution: 1920 x 1080

SolidWorks may require a more powerful computer to run smoothly, although this will depend on the specific tasks and projects you are working on. The minimum system requirements for Solidworks are:

  1. Processor: Intel Pentium 4 or equivalent
  2. Operating System: Windows 10 (64-bit) or Windows 11 (64-bit) 
  3. Memory: 32GB or 64GB RAM
  4. Hard Disk Space: 20 GB
  5. Screen Resolution: 1920 x 1080

What Is the Operating System for Solid Edge and Solidworks?

Both Solid Edge and Solidworks run only on the Windows operating system. They are compatible with the 64-bit versions of Windows 10 and 11. Solidworks can run on macOS but needs a third-party application to install.

What Are the Minimum Memory Requirements for Solid Edge and Solidworks?

Like all software programs, Solid Edge and Solidworks require a certain minimum amount of RAM to run smoothly. But the exact amount of memory required can vary depending on the specific needs of the user and the complexity of the designs being created. The minimum memory requirement for Solid Edge 2022 is 8 GB RAM for users in the academic field and 16 GB for commercial users. The minimum memory requirement for SolidWorks is 32 GB or 64 GB RAM. It's important to note that these are just the minimum memory requirements and that more memory may be required for larger or more complex designs. Additionally, having more memory can generally lead to improved performance and a smoother user experience.

What Are the Supporting Files Formats of Solid Edge and Solidworks?

Table 1 below highlights the supported file formats for Solid Edge and Solidworks: 

Table 1: Supported File Formats for Solid Edge and Solidworks
Solid EdgeSolidworks
Solid Edge
dft (Solid Edge drafting file)
Solidworks
sldprt (SolidWorks part file)
Solid Edge
par (Solid Edge part file)
Solidworks
sldasm (SolidWorks assembly file)
Solid Edge
asm (Solid Edge assembly file)
Solidworks
slddrw (SolidWorks drawing file)
Solid Edge
psm (Solid Edge presentation file)
Solidworks
pdf (Adobe portable document)
Solid Edge
dwg (AutoCAD drawing file)
Solidworks
dwg (AutoCAD drawing file)
Solid Edge
stl (Stereolithography file)
Solidworks
stl (Stereolithography file)

Solid Edge vs. Solidworks - User Experience

Both Solid Edge and Solidworks have a lot to offer. Each has a wealth of features and capabilities, and both are widely used in a variety of industries. However, there are some key differences between the two programs that may make one more appealing to certain users than the other. 

One of the main differences between Solid Edge and SolidWorks is the user interface. SolidWorks has a more traditional and familiar interface that is similar to other CAD programs, while Solid Edge has a more modern and streamlined interface that some users may find easier to navigate. Some users may prefer the more familiar interface of SolidWorks, while others may appreciate the simplicity of Solid Edge's interface.

Another important difference between the two programs is in their relative levels of complexity. SolidWorks is known for being a very powerful and feature-rich program, with a variety of tools and options that can be overwhelming for some users. Solid Edge, on the other hand, is designed to be more user-friendly and streamlined, with a focus on making it easier for users to get up and running quickly. This means that Solid Edge may be a better choice for users who are new to CAD or who don't need all of the advanced features offered by SolidWorks.

Learning Curve of Solid Edge and Solidworks

The term “learning curve” refers to the amount of time and effort it takes for a user to become proficient with a software program. SolidWorks is known for being a very feature-rich and powerful program, with a wide range of tools and options that can be overwhelming for some users. As a result, the learning curve for SolidWorks may be steeper for users who are new to CAD or who are not familiar with similar software.

Solid Edge, on the other hand, is designed to be more user-friendly, with a focus on making it easier for users to get up and running quickly. This means that the learning curve for Solid Edge may be easier, particularly for users who are new to CAD. However, Solid Edge still has a lot of advanced features and capabilities to serve the needs of users who need the full functionality of a professional-level CAD program. Both programs offer a wide range of tutorials, documentation, and other resources to help users learn the software, so it is generally possible for users to become proficient with either program with some time and effort.

Is Solid Edge Easier To Learn and Use Than Solidworks?

Solid Edge is easier to learn and use than Solidworks. Solid Edge is known for its user-friendly interface and intuitive workflow. It is generally considered to be easier to learn than other professional-grade 3D modeling software because it provides a variety of tools and resources to help users get up to speed quickly. 

SolidWorks, on the other hand, is a more advanced 3D modeling software that is used by many professional designers and engineers. It offers a variety of advanced tools and features for designing, simulating, and manufacturing products, but it may be more complex to learn and use than Solid Edge for users who are new to 3D modeling software. 

Solid Edge vs. Solidworks - Application Stability

Solid Edge and Solidworks are both extensively used and have continued to be developed and updated over the years. Both programs have a reputation for being stable and reliable. Both programs have performance optimization tools that can help reduce lag and latency. They also have file recovery tools that can help recover unsaved work in the event of a crash. 

Solid Edge vs. Solidworks - Customer Support

Both Solid Edge and Solidworks offer a range of customer support resources to help users get the most out of their software. Solid Edge and Solidworks both offer online resources such as tutorials, webinars, and user forums. Both also provide phone and email support and offer on-site training and consulting services. Solidworks offers in-person training and consulting services through a network of certified partners.

Solid Edge vs. Solidworks - Community

Both Solid Edge and Solidworks have active online communities where users can ask questions, share tips, and get support. However, since Solidworks is the more widely used of the two, it has a larger and more active community. In terms of the amount of information available online, both Solid Edge and Solidworks have a wealth of resources available, including user guides, tutorials, and online training courses.

Solid Edge vs. Solidworks - Price

Solidworks is generally more expensive than Solid Edge. Solidworks offers several different pricing options, including a subscription-based model and a perpetual license model. To get the actual prices, you will need to request a quote via their website.  

Solid Edge, on the other hand, offers a subscription-based pricing model that starts at around $83 per month for their basic 3D CAD package. The price for either program may vary depending on the specific features and tools included in the package, as well as any discounts or promotions that may be available.

Other Alternatives to Solid Edge and Solidworks

There are many well-developed alternatives to Solid Edge and Solidworks. Some of these options include professional CAD software programs developed by Autodesk®, namely:

  1. AutoCAD®: AutoCAD offers a variety of features for creating 2D and 3D designs.
  2. Autodesk Fusion®: Fusion® is used primarily in product design and manufacturing.
  3. Inventor®: Inventor® is used primarily in mechanical design and engineering. 

AutoCAD® and Fusion® are both available on Windows, Mac, and mobile devices. Inventor®, on the other hand, is available for Windows only. 

Summary

This article presented Solid Edge and Solidworks, explained what they are, and discussed the comparisons of each software. To learn more about 3D printing software, contact a Xometry representative.

Xometry provides a wide range of manufacturing capabilities, including 3D printing and other value-added services for all of your prototyping and production needs. Visit our website to learn more or to request a free, no-obligation quote.

  1. SolidWorks® is a registered trademark of Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp.
  2. Solid Edge® is a registered trademark of Siemens Industry Software.
  3. AutoCAD®, Autodesk®, Fusion®, and Inventor® are trademarks of Autodesk, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates, in the United States.

Disclaimer

The content appearing on this webpage is for informational purposes only. Xometry makes no representation or warranty of any kind, be it expressed or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness, or validity of the information. Any performance parameters, geometric tolerances, specific design features, quality and types of materials, or processes should not be inferred to represent what will be delivered by third-party suppliers or manufacturers through Xometry’s network. Buyers seeking quotes for parts are responsible for defining the specific requirements for those parts. Please refer to our terms and conditions for more information.

Xomety X
Team Xometry
This article was written by various Xometry contributors. Xometry is a leading resource on manufacturing with CNC machining, sheet metal fabrication, 3D printing, injection molding, urethane casting, and more.

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