Solidworks, AutoCAD, or Creo?


100 MW
Feb 3, 2010
Redmond, WA-USA, Earth, Sol, Orion–Cygnus Arm, Mil
Greetings –
From my hidden urban bat cave in the rain forest, it is time to replace my toolset. 8)

I’m dusting off my ME software and upgrading the PC at the same time after taking a lot of mileage on my last upgrade of AutoCAD 2000i. Heck – someone on eBay is selling it for $150 so it must have some value :p

Fact is – it has been very useful over the years, I like it a lot, but the Windows interface is a clunky wretched affair. And – it can’t do FEM directly.

As a professional engineer, you’ll have to forgive me if I don’t want to spend time investigating low-budget alternatives: I’m chasing after integrated advanced features from a company that’s expected to be around 5 or 10 years down the road.

I looked at SolidWorks Premium and Simulation packages, and I think these applications are good for a maturing engineer. The part that concerns me is the hang-up with graphics cards: That tells me the apps are still locked in on being driver-centric instead of conforming to a standard, much like how AutoCAD used to be. When I look at the O/S matrix it’s a similar tale: Not quite on top of the game but close. As a seasoned software developer, details at this level convey fit & finish, and I have to ask: What else is missing?

Also reviewed my AutoCAD options and learned more about Autodesk Product Design Suite and the Mechanical Simulation. Apparently there are no limitations with late and great software & hardware advances here. Pricing is on par with SolidWorks. The distinction between the two appears to be all in the style and presentation; however the fundamentals and features look quite similar.

And then there’s Pro/E Creo; I get that this is likely the Cadillac Daddy of the trio. The system limitations are on par with Autodesk. My ME pals at work use Creo; however they seem a bit ambivalent about the features, and none of them have a personal copy at home – which brings up the question of price… and that seems to be a well-guarded secret. Eventually I gave up watching promo videos when the host started talking in collaboration jargon where ‘QA people can work with models without knowing Design’… and that made me realize this was a sequenced package of applications designed for organizations larger than mine.

For myself, there is no upgrade option; my stuff is just plain too old. It's time for new. I would be keen to learn if any members here are using these tools and if they are cost-effective.

BTW – the replacement cost for the PC with all the performance horns and whistles came out less than what I paid for my workstation 6 years ago. It’s crazy how the floor has dropped out on desktops, though I'm jumping at the opportunity :)

Related Topics
Looking for design software like solidworks
Solid Works FAQ thread
3D Cad Software

Thanks, KF
Hi KF,

I think you should consider Solid Edge, too...

You can download and use the student edition for free, to get a feel for it :