Dell Workstation Setup and Support

Article by Alan Sweetenham updated October 10, 2023

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Solid Solutions, now part of the TriMech Group, has partnered with Dell for over 20 years both for our internal use and optimized specifications and Dell Workstation Setup we recommend and now supply to our clients.

Dell Precision workstations provide not only the performance required for CAD and CAE but the reassurance of extensive test and validation programs working closely with partners such as Dassault Systems, SOLIDWORKS, Dassault Systemes and NVIDIA to ensure a robust system that will perform well under intensive loads for years to come.

Dell workstation setup

Dell Workstation

However rare, hardware faults are a fact of life, so we ensure all systems include Dell Pro Support with Next Business Day onsite service who will replace components at no cost to you. Compare that with typical experience of return to base warranties on PC components!

If you are needing help fast then the quickest way to find troubleshooting and contact details is via https://www.dell.com/support we advise Dell telephone support as the speediest option to resolve issues.

This article also outlines the key points to consider with your Dell Workstation setup that might save you a call to support, and in the unlikely event of an issue some extra information on the best process.

Initial Setup – Desktop and Laptop Workstations

First a few basics to ensure that your system is running optimally, be it the first time you are setting up the system or if you are experiencing minor issues the following steps are a good first place to start.

Updates

You can check for updates via the Dell support site based on your PC’s unique service tag or use the Dell Command Update software as an automated method to keep up to date with the latest drivers, firmware etc for your system. This is often a first troubleshooting step Dell Pro Support may go through, so it is good practice to do so before contacting them to avoid delays.

Certified Graphics Driver

Ensuring you are up to date is a great start, however sometimes Windows updates or your PC vendor may suggest installing a driver newer than the one tested by your vendor.  While a newer driver may not cause any problems, the best practice is to use the driver certified for your software. Our support teams may suggest this as part of any troubleshooting of issues.

Certified driver versions for SOLIDWORKS and other Dassault Systèmes products can be found using the below links.

NOTE: SOLIDWORKS certify a branch of drivers, e.g. 525 branch is any driver starting 52 this allows for minor security/stability patches before SOLIDWORKS next conduct certification for these systems.

Graphics Setup — Desktop Workstations

It may sound basic but ensure whoever setup the PC connected the monitor/s to the correct port/s. Many desktop PC’s have 2 options:

  • Onboard Graphics Board: Usually near the top of the system the motherboard for the low powered Intel onboard graphics , this will use onboard Intel graphics and is not recommended/supported for professional applications such as SOLIDWORKS, CATIA. It will perform poorly.
  • Professional Graphics Board: The ports you should plug into are those connected to the dedicated professional graphics card, typically horizontal with 4 ports towards the base of the unit.
Dell Pro graphics location

Dell Pro graphics location

It may seem obvious to some but we’ve seen this easy to make error plenty of times even from people experienced with computer hardware so don’t be offended if we ask the question on support!

Most professional graphics cards come with display port connectors so if your monitor only has over connectors such as HDMI, DVI you will require an alternative adapter/cable.

Graphics setup — Laptop Workstations

Things are a little different for laptops, although they usually have low powered onboard Intel and dedicated Professional graphics when plugging into the HDMI port you could use either card.

Most of the time, the out of the box drivers/operating system work together to choose the correct option, but if you are seeing performance or stability issues you can pick under Windows Settings > Graphics Settings > Manually browse for the application

Windows graphics performance options

Windows graphics performance options

Fast Startup

In Windows 10 and 11 this is turned on by default, under Windows Control Panel > Power Options. What it means is when you shut your PC down it is really put into a deep sleep. On slower systems this means they boot up faster but is necessary for a fast modern workstation. It prevents data being fully cleared which we have seen lead to various glitches affecting performance and stability.

Turn on fast startup should be disabled (unchecked)

Fast startup option

Fast startup option

Getting Support

While the teams at the TriMech group are happy to be the first port of call to rule out software, configuration issues if a hardware issue is suspected then be re-assured Dell Pro Support are best placed to support you. Their team of engineers is on hand 24/7 with the expertise and tools to diagnose and resolve issue. With next business day onsite service should a part need replacing at no cost to you.

All you need is the Service tag and Express service code from the sticker found on the base of laptops and typically on the top of desktop chassis.

You can see what this should look like and more ways to obtain these codes on the Dell Website for

You can find contact information at https://www.dell.com/support we always advise phoning Pro Support if possible for the speediest resolution to issues.

Bitlocker Drive Encryption

While not enabled out of the factory, if you sign into either a Microsoft account or Azure Active directory account Microsoft may enable BitLocker drive encryption. The BitLocker recovery key should then be backed up to your Microsoft/Azure AD account. If enabled manually then you must back this key up.

In the event of major changes to the system such as a part being replaced you will require this and an extra security precaution. You can find out more on the Dell Knowledgebase

Dell Workstation Setup Conclusion

If you are unsure about any aspects of your CAD Workstation performance please contact our support team, they have the knowledge to advise on the best way forward whether that be software best practices or up to date hardware.

Related Links

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Alan Sweetenham

Alan Sweetenham is a Regional Technical Manager with Solid Solutions.