We copped a hammering from a freak hail storm around 6weeks ago!  Hail the size of tennis balls hurled out of the sky for around 30minites.  They smashed around 70 roof tiles on the house and gave 3 of the family’s cars a real beating!  It took me a couple of hours on the roof, in the rain,  covering the broken tile to seal the roof
In that time I had one and only one leak.  Which just so happened to be directly over my running laptop.

It was a HP ProBook 470 G1 17″ laptop with a discrete graphic card.  Nothing real special but at the time I purchased it, it seemed like a good idea.  I had a love hate relationship with it.   Once I set it up. it up it was fine, but that did take a new install of Windows 8.1 then Windows 10 to get it right.

It’s was brought as a personal computer to run SOLIDWORKS Beta for testing, used to present at my Sydney SOLIDWORKS User Group meetings, along with my own SOLIDWORKS personal development.   Along with writing this blog!

It was starting to be a pain to travel with.  Not that I do a lot but dragging out a 17″ laptop at airports was starting to wear thin!   I had been thinking about something different for a while but to be honest couldn’t really justify replacing something that was doing the job. (Although in hindsight I would reconsider that statement)

As I had to make an insurance claim to cover the repairs to the house and cars I took the opportunity to claim for the computer.  As it was a personal claim the insurance company sends it off to a retail store.  The retail store soon realised that they weren’t going to be able to replace it like for like and promptly gave me a store credit!

I have never brought a computer via a retail store before.  Neither for business or for home.  I’m much more used to being able to select the specification I want, balanced to the budget I want to spend.  It was interesting having to look at what they had in stock, in what specification and for what money!

I’ve been toying with the idea of a 2in1 /hybrid/ convertible laptop for a while.  The specification on these compact machines are up there with many full size laptops.  With the added benefits in weight saving and touch screen.    With SOLIDWORKS 2018 looking to have the ability to use freehand sketching, using a pen or stylus, on Windows 10 touch screen devices, it added some influence, as well.

I shortlisted the Microsoft Surface, both Pro & Book, Lenovo Yogo 910, Dell XPS 13 and the HP Spectre x360 13 convertible.    I eliminated the Microsoft Surface Pro & Book straight away.  The Book on cost, comparing equal/similar specifications the cost of the Surface Book is so much greater.  The Pro, a little because of it’s size.  More because of the detachable keyboard.   There were a few things about the Lenovo Yogo which I didn’t like.  If you read any of the comparison reviews it consistently rank lower than both the listed Dell & HP products.   Looking at it in the store, personally I liked both the feel & look of the Dell & HP over the Lenovo.  Computer like cars can be a personal thing!

The HP Spectre x360 13 is also the latest released machine and consistently rank number one by most of the comparison review.  It was also better value for money than the Dell XPS 13.   These are the specifications that I ended up with:

  • Intel® Core™ i7-7500U Processor (Intel® HD Graphics 620, 2.7 GHz, up to 3.5 GHz, 4 MB cache, 2 cores)
  • 13.3″ diagonal FHD UWVA BrightView WLED-backlit touch screen (1920 x 1080)
  • 8 GB LPDDR3-1866 SDRAM (onboard)
  • 256 GB PCIe® NVMe™ M.2 SSD

I wasn’t sure I would get another HP computer but one look at the HP Spectre x360 soon wiped that thought from my mind.   The Spectre is the most un-HP computer that HP  has made!  If Apple products are the benchmark for hardware in regards to engineering and design then the HP Spectre x360 more than matches them!  This is one beautifully engineered product.

Before I installed SOLIDWORKS 2017 I first upgraded Windows 10 Home to Windows 10 Pro.   Then uninstalled everything I didn’t want.  Uninstalled the usual range of trial programs, games and corporate programs that comes with any new computer.

With SOLIDWORKS 2017 install the first thing to do, is run the SOLIDWORKS Performance Benchmark Test.

The HP Spectre x360 returned the following:

Graphics: 18.1sec, Processor: 37.7sec, I/O 25.5sec.  Overall 81.2 Rendering 7.5sec.   As a comparison the last laptop I ran the test on was a msi WT72.   A laptop aimed at the professional CAD market.  That was two years ago but it provides some interesting comparisons. The msi WT72 figures are: Graphics: 10.6sec, Processor: 35.1sec, I/O 20sec.  Overall 65.7 Rendering 8sec

Overall that an increase of around 23%.  Although if you look at the processor and I/O it is just 7%.   It we look at a more practical example like opening a Large Assemblies.   147MB in lightweight mode, 1741 parts.  On average it opens in round figures of 74seconds.  As a comparison on my work custom built IC3D overclocked 4.4gHz liquid cooled computer, which takes on average  around 58seconds.   A difference of around 22%

I have this little filter which is always good for testing.  It is only a small part – 6.38MB in size but with Linear Patterns, Mirroring of Patterns and  Fillets applied to those features it is always taxing on rebuild times!    The HP Spectre x360 has a rebuild time of 363.91seconds.   If I compare that to the msi WT72  which took 334.84second and my IC3D  that took 287.78seconds.  That is around 7% more than the WT72 and 20% over the IC3D.  Those figures look familiar!

Moving on to rendering I use a common Rendering Benchmark (by Rob Rodriguez – Axis Cad Solutions ) “Speaker for Render Benchmark”  The HP Spectre x360 rendered the image in 11minutes 27second.   Compared to the msi WT72 in 4minutes 43seconds.  That a increase of 142%,  which does highlight that the i7-7500U processor of the Spectre is only a two core/4thread in comparison to the WT72’s i7–4720HQ being a 4core/8 thread.  Allowing that the  i7–4720HQ is a 100Hz slower processor.

The most noticeable thing was the tremendous spot temperature that the Spectre developed during the rendering!  Localised to the back of the top left hand corner of the aluminum chassis , it was burn your leg, scary hot!

So rendering may not be the best idea on the Spectre!   Lets address the other issue which may be of concern …. the integrated graphic card.  At this stage I have not had a single issue in SOLIDWORKS.   I have to say that over the years using a variety of NVIDIA & AMD, both supported and non supported graphic cards I’ve have very little issues.  To a point I’ve seen the same traits using both supported and non supported cards.  Yes I’ve read the horror stories that people report but personally I have never experienced any.

Rotating my large assembly (tested above) I get very little graphic blocking.  A little around the wheels but no shuttering or delay.   That model is around the maximum size the 8gb of RAM fitted to the Spectre can comfortable handle.  It uses around 6.5gb.  If I was ordering one,  it would have been with 16gb of RAM

If you are looking to run SOLIDWORKS (other CAD application are applicable) as a full time professional application then the HP Spectre x360 is not for you.

If you travel, like to or need to do some design on the run and want a all round versatile, light weight, stylish, beautiful hybrid 2in1 computer then you should at the very least consider the HP Spectre x360.


31 responses to “SOLIDWORKS on a HP Spectre x360 #SOLIDWORKS”

  1. Tatiana Cesario Avatar
    Tatiana Cesario

    I am looking at a laptop for school
    I am starting interior design next semester and have been wanting a 2in1 laptop for a while but also need a computer that can handle CAD.
    I read that if you are just starting interior design that the x360 would work fine but was wondering what you think. I was thinking of getting the x360 15

    1. Tatiana, I believe for what you are starting the X360 will handle the CAD work. If possible I would look at getting 16gb RAM.
      If you are using graphic programs I would look at getting a stylus
      After just a few months of use I would highly recommend the HP X360 Spectre

      1. Thank you so much for your fast response !

  2. Hello,
    I am starting my bachelors in Mechanical engineering, this article caught my eye during my research for computers. Is a integrated intel hd630 carry me until the end of my studies, only for design I mean. Thank you!

    1. Berk,
      If you using for modelling / design and your assemblies are reasonably in size, up to 500parts and the number of features in your parts are less than 100 then the hd630 would be fine.
      If you are doing large or large quantities of rendering or simulations then I would have some concerns with heat effecting the long term use of the card

  3. […] been running SOLIDWORKS 2018 Beta on a new HP Spectre x360.  A very non-CAD hybrid convertible laptop/ tablet.  It’s been interesting, and I’ve been […]

  4. Michael,
    I’m hoping you’ve encountered and solved this problem, but I cannot work around the SLOW dynamic highlight issue (orange line highlights when selecting geometry) with my own Intel 620 graphics card (new Yoga laptop, same integrated graphics as your x360). I used to be able to solve this with some registry edits, but none of the old instructions for prior cards are working this time around. Do you have any pointers? Did you have this problem with your x360? Were you able to solve it?

    1. Bill,
      I have not experienced the slow dynamic highlight issues as you have described.
      This is driver I’m currently running. Driver Date: 21/04/2017 Driver Version: It has run SOLIDWORKS 2017 & 2018 without issue.
      I have the display resolution set at: 1920 x 1080 – 60p Hz
      Running Windows 10 Pro 10.0.15063
      I have SOLIDWORKS added to 3D applications in the Intel HD Graphics Control Panel. Although I was running without a problem before I added it.
      I sorry I can’t help more than that.

    2. Hi bill
      Even I am facing this issue on my specter it is is the 2018 version with 8th gen quad core processors and 16 gb ram the zoom in and zoom out takes for ever to happen and the slow dynamic highlight issue is still prevalent in the laptop. it is hard to understand the cause of the same.

  5. Hello,
    I have an HP Pavilion x360 with nvidia GeoForce 940mx and Intel HD620. I cannot manage to use Solidworks. Every time I open it and I open any part or desing, it shows like it opens but in the main screen the part doesnt appear. It appears everything in the left, all the info of the part and everything but it doesnt show in the “working station”.
    Any thoughts on this? I have tried to change from nvidia to intel and viceversa but they both give the same problem.

    Thank you in advance

    1. There has been a long running issue with Windows 10/ Gelforce 940mx and SOLIDWORKS. It relates around the drivers that Win10 automatic installs with a update. I believe that driver version 381.65 should fix the problem.

      There is a thread on the SOLIDWORKS Forum which runs through the problem

  6. i have the same computer, and everytime I try to sketch on solidworks, it forces close. What could be the problem?

    1. Adrian,
      The first thing I would do is a Repair on SOLIDWORKS.
      I would then run RX and delete the temporary and backup files. Run Disc Optimizer and even a Disc Error Check
      Then test from there

  7. […] Interesting my DELL 27″ U2717D at 1920 x 1080 I had to set the scaling at 125% and my HP Spectre  which I’m writing this on is 1920 x 1080 and requires to have the scaling at 150% […]

  8. […] computers with the likes of the Microsoft Surface and Dell XPS.  Included in that group is the HP Spectre x360  which I have as my personal computer. It is used for running Beta, presentation for my User Group […]

  9. Hello Michael,

    I am looking into buying a Lenovo Ideapad Flex 5 15″. which uses the same graphics card as yours( UHD Graphics 620). Just curious to know if your graphics card was able to handle simulations(like FEA) on Solidworks?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Vek,
      The Graphic Card has little effect on Simulation apart from displaying the result or animation. The CPU/ clockspeed will have the most effect then the amount of RAM, The biggest issue with all these little hybrid computers is ventilation/ fans. Simulation like Rendering runs all the cores on the CPU at 100%. This tend to heat them up quickly. The Spectre with it’s metal body gets very hot directly under the CPU. In saying that it is now around 16months old I run the odd render which I try to keep under 1hour and it continues to run without a problem. I wouldn’t be using these type of computer, to run simulation/ CAD if this was going to be your work computer and you need performance 8hours a day. If it is to do the odd simulation and SOLIDWORKS on a part time bases then it will do the job but the results will take a much longer time than tradition computers

  10. Hi Michael and everybody,
    I also own an HP envy with intel HD Graphics 620 VGA. I have been facing issue which crash my SW2017 after first sketch move. I finally figured that rolling back to previous version of graphics prior to date of this post, which is version 21.20.xx.xxxx dated Aug-2016. After this try, SW works really smooth now.

  11. […] just below the video) whilst viewing the lesion.  While the video display is a little small on my HP Spectre  X360 it is perfect whilst working on my DELL UltraSharp 34″ Curved Monitor – […]

  12. hi michael
    i’m going to by a hp spectre x360 i5-8250 8gb 256ssd to use for solidworks at school is it enough for solidworks or i need to buy an i7-7500?

    1. Mourad,
      That’s an interesting comparison. The i7-7500 has a base clock speed of 2.7gHz and a turbo speed of 3.5gHz. Where the i5-8250 has a base clock speed of 1.6gHz and a turbo speed of 3.4gHz. Normally I would say with SOLIDWORKS go for the fastest clock speed. However with the turbo speed being that close I don’t believe you would notice that much of a difference. Unless you are working on large assemblies then I don’t see an issue with the i5-8250. Add to the fact that the i5-8250 is a 4core where the i7-7500 is only a 2core. If you are doing simulation or rendering you will benefit from more cores. The i5-8250 is a newer processor with higher quality graphics. I think for what you require the i5-8250 be more than capable. I would be interested to see the results of the SOLIDWORKS Benchmark if you go head and purchase the x360 with i5-8250

      1. thank you so much

  13. Thanks for your post, very informative!
    So it’s 2019, any news on new laptops to use SolidWorks/Visualize?

    1. As SOLIDWORKS Visualize 2019 takes further advantage of NVIDIA GPU with Denoiser, which allows rendering up to 10x faster, then I would look at Laptops with approved NVIDIA cards. I would look at the specialist laptop workstations, SOLIDBOX or MSI have a range of CAD workstations

  14. Hey, I have been using Dell Inspiron 7 series which is equipped with Intel i7-7500U processor, Intel HD 620, 12 GB RAM, 512GB SSD. I have been facing issues with solidworks 2017. All the other softwares such as Inventor, AutoCAD, Revit works just fine, without any glitches. But when I am trying to sketch in solidworks it gives me errors and solidworks crashes, I need some help with the drivers, please.

    1. Jay,
      My apologies for the delayed response.

      Graphic Driver – Intel HD 620 –
      Intel i&-7500U processor – 10.0.17134.1
      I always run Window Professional not Home.
      Hope this is of some help

  15. Hi Michael!
    I m looking to buy the new spectre x360
    i m going to use it for industrial design (some 3d modeling – solidworks) some sketch and ux design
    should i get the 15.6″ with dedicated graphic card (GeForce MX250 2GB) or i will fine with the 13.3, both with i7 10510U and 16gb ram
    Thanks in advance.

    1. I would think that the 15.6″ is the better option for you. The dedicated card will give you some benefits. I don’t use mine for business so it is less of an issue. In saying that I have very little graphics issues when using SOLIDWORKS.

  16. Hi Micheal!
    it’s 2021 now, hope you’re still around. I’m a first year mechanical engineering university student, I’ll like to know what spec laptop you would get if you were in my shoes. I’m thinking 16gb is a must but I’m unsure about the graphics card, would the newer generation spectre (i7-1165G7, Intel® Iris® Xᵉ Graphics) still be an option.

    Thanks in advance, and great post if I may add.

    1. John,
      My priorities on computers specifications has always been:
      CPU – fastest clock-speed you can get for the money you are willing to pay for.
      RAM – most you can get in the computer (again for the money you are willing to pay for) 16gb should be fine for you. Unless you are doing 200+ feature parts or 1000part assemblies should be fine.
      Graphic Card. Despite what you hear about SOLIDWORKS and certified graphic cards, SOLIDWORKS will work with most with very little problems. The odd display issue is normally fixed with a Ctrl+Q rebuild. As long as you are getting smooth rotation of the models then that is the most important thing.
      You are not going to be worried about GPU for rendering speed.

      For your requirements, along with need for portability the Spectre with the i7-1165G7 should see you though university!
      All the best with your degree, if I can be of assistance don’t hesitate to make contact

  17. […] SOLIDWORKS presentation and home projects (you can read more about it’s SOLIDWORKS ability here) but when it comes to my work, it was never going to cut […]

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