RealView Graphics in SolidWorks (View drop-down -> Display -> RealView Graphics) makes your models look visually impressive on the screen. You get to see the materials and floor reflections in real-time, without having to render the model in PhotoView.
There are certified graphics cards recommended by SolidWorks (ATI FireGL and nVidia Quadro ranges) which have this RealView functionality, however they can be expensive (as they are specifically for CAD Applications, as opposed to Gaming). In saying that, you can get a cheap RealView certified graphics card for ~€125.
Gaming Graphics Card used
A while back, I got a Medion MD8855 computer in Aldi, which had an ATI Radeon™ HD 5670 graphics card with 1024 MB memory. As expected after installing and opening SolidWorks, the RealView graphics icon (View -> Display -> RealView) was greyed out. Also, under Tools -> System Options -> Performance, “Use Software OpenGL” was unticked, as it should be, unless you have an onboard or very poor graphics card.
Enable RealView Graphics
If you google, there are two main methods. One is using RivaTuner to adjust your graphics card/drivers, saying your graphics card is actually a ATI FireGL or nVidia Quadro. Another is to modify SolidWorks with a RealHack exe program (which edits the registry settings for SolidWorks). The RealHack program worked perfectly for me with SolidWorks 2011 SP5 x64 on x64 Windows.
- Download the RealHack program
(google realhack rar download) (local copy)
- Make sure SolidWorks is closed
- Run the exe and click ATI or NVIDIA.
- Open SolidWorks. Check for the RealView icon.
(I didn’t have to reboot the PC)
Note: This didn’t work for me previously on SolidWorks 2010. If it doesn’t work, then there is not much you can do, but to research the references and find out more information. Links to reference websites for RealHack are Ref1, Ref2, Ref3
Using process monitor, you can see what realhack does. It appears to (only) add entries to the registry. There is also a RealHack 2.0 available which supposedly works for SolidWorks 2012 (which has Ambient Occlusion). Again, you can find this with google (local copy). Presumably this app enters different registry entries depending on what your current graphics card is. Of course SW may change things in the future and this app may not work. It is surprising however as to why SolidWorks doesn’t allow RealView to work on more graphics (gaming or other) cards.