What does adjusting the "level of detail" actually do and what does Hawk Ridge Systems recommend? The SolidWorks help definition is vague about this option, so more detail is provided below.
What is the "Level of detail" slider?
It is a slider bar found under System Options > Performance. There are 21 notches on this slider to represent the minimum frames per second (FPS) target for SolidWorks during rotating, panning and zooming.
What effect does it have?
Since the rotating, panning and zooming performance is determined by your graphics card performance, it simplifies the display of the geometry on screen into big, simple blocks to achieve a minimum FPS. These big, simple blocks are much easier for the graphics card to maintain a steady FPS. This only has an impact on assemblies, multi-body parts, and draft quality drawing views.
- Moving the bar all the way to the right means SolidWorks will attempt to maintain 20 FPS so it will have much greater freedom with simplification and can simplify all the geometry it can to achieve 20 FPS.
- Moving the bar further to the left means you are targeting a lower FPS, so SolidWorks has less freedom on simplification so you will see fewer blocks.
- Moving the bar all the way to the left means that there is no simplification and has a target FPS of 0.
What do we recommend?
It depends on what you want to see.
- Do you always want a smooth experience when rotating, panning and zooming?
- Do you always want to see the accurate geometry on screen?
Depending on which you have a preference for, you will need to adjust the slider accordingly.
There used to be a negative impact when setting the bar all the way to the right because it used to take a while for the GPU and CPU to calculate the simplification. There used to be a big pause at the beginning of rotating, panning and zooming and then another pause when they were done with the command. However, this delay is almost completely gone with the current hardware that is available.
With the combination of faster hardware and improvements to the graphics engine (specifically edge and face calculations), SolidWorks has a much easier time handling these commands. So setting the bar all the way to the left may not detract from the FPS or user experience.