Once you’re ready to start using Ansys, there’s a very important question to ask: Can your computer hardware run the analysis job smoothly? There’s no perfect answer to this, especially because the more computationally complex your simulations are, the more they’ll start to hog resources. You don’t want to be up against a deadline and run out of RAM! If you have a complex problem, please consult with us as even the best workstation may not be enough.
Making sure your computer hardware can handle Ansys is a little like finding a car to purchase. If you get the Cadillac, it is likely it’ll be more than what you need. But if you’re a start-up or on a tighter budget, maybe you need to consider something a little smaller starting out.
Any computer workstation, laptop, or desktop is recommended to have a three-button mouse and at least a 17-inch display. Some engineers find that an ergonomic or specialty mouse is easier to use in the long run, and many engineers opt for at least two display screens when working.
Not all Ansys products and simulations require equal amounts of capability from your hardware, so let’s have a look at what you might need for different tiers of simulation.
The Big Three: Ansys Mechanical, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), Electronics (EBU)
When you have commonly encountered part engineering projects, or complex structural engineering models and system-level simulations to accomplish efficiently, Ansys Structural FEA analysis software is your solution for both implicit and explicit structural analysis. Vibration analysis, impacts, thermo-mechanical systems, and more can be set up and run through Ansys Workbench.
When you need high accuracy in fluid simulation, look no further than Ansys CFX and Fluent. The advanced physics modeling capabilities are just one aspect of what makes these the industry-leading fluid simulation software.
Ansys Electronics solution suite leverages the simulation capability from Ansys to solve critical design problems. Whether you’re working with antenna, RF, microwave, PCB, package, IC design, or even electromechanical devices, Ansys can help minimize testing cost and ensure regulatory compliance.
The specifications outlined here are the minimum suggested hardware specs necessary to run Mechanical, Fluids, and Electronics software:
- 64-bit Intel or AMD system running Windows 10 or 11, at least 6 cores for all three
- At least 64 GB RAM, high frequency for all three. For Mechanical, estimate 15GB per million degrees of freedom. Electronics recommendation is 8 GB per core. More complex models will require higher RAM to run efficiently.
- Hard Drive: SSD highly recommended for Mechanical and EBU, not as critical for CFD
- Dedicated graphics card in the “mid-range” is sufficient for all three. Graphics will not impact solution time but will affect display graphics. Graphics card drivers are often updated on the manufacturer's website, so it is important to check that regularly and keep your driver up to date.
When you’re looking for simulation software that can provide you with proof-of-concept alongside interactive modeling and simulation capabilities, Ansys Discovery should be at the top of your list. Ansys Discovery is engineered to help answer critical design questions early in the process -- while exploring multiple avenues for your design ahead of prototyping.
Discovery is less computationally intensive than other Ansys products and can be a good introduction to doing simulation in-house. It can be a GPU-Intensive software due to its unique solving technology.
Minimum suggested requirements:
- 64-bit Intel or AMD system running Windows 10 or 11
- At least 8 GB RAM
- A dedicated graphics card with at least 1GB video RAM, capable of supporting OpenGL 4.5 and DirectX 11, or higher. Use of integrated graphics (e.g. Intel HD/IRIS) is not recommended and is not support by the Analyze stage in Discovery
So, what do Ansys engineers use? The Cadillac, of course. If you’re going to be running high complexity, computationally demanding, resource hogging simulations regularly, check out these Cadillac-tier hardware specs to make sure that you aren’t spending unnecessary time waiting on your simulations to solve, or waiting for several minutes just to rotate your results to a new orientation.
Below are the specs for a tower workstation from the Dell website:
- Intel Xeon W-2295 (18 cores, 24.75 MB cache)
- Windows 10 Pro (includes upgrade to Windows 11 Pro)
- 256 GB RAM (8 x 32 GB), DDR4, 2933 MHz, ECC
- 1 TB SSD
- NVIDIA RTX A4000, 16 GB GDDR6, 4 DP
HPC systems are also available for purchase from other partners, but that’s a topic for a different post!
As one of my colleagues said, cheaping out on the hardware when you’ve got software of this caliber is like buying the cheapest tires you can find for your new $70,000 truck. Sure, it’ll save you some money up front, but in most cases you’re better off paying more for hardware to make sure that your simulations are efficient.