A while back I saw that SolidWorks had published a Self Study Guide on Large Assembly design. As this is always a topic of interest to our users I decided we should give it a look. I got the boss to order a copy for each office so if you come in for training some time feel free to peruse a copy. Amazon also has it available to preview online. You can view the Table of Contents, Index and first few pages. They also have a "Surprise Me" button which allows you to view other random sections of the book. If you are thinking about purchasing it this is a good way to check it out first.
Unlike the SolidWorks manuals that accompany our training classes the Step-byStep guides are a series of manuals intended for self paced study. In addition to Large Assembly Design, there are guides for Animations, PhotoRendering with PhotoView 360 and Productivity Tools, available for purchase in the SolidWorks online store.
The large assembly guide is a collection of tips, best practices, and reccomendations that are outlined in various training classes. The book contains information on SolidWorks and System settings that affect assembly performance as well as techniques to consider when working with large assemblies. Having taught the classes where this information is gleaned I did not find myself learning a lot of new information. However I do like the idea of having all this information in one location. I also found a few errors and reccomendations that seem to contradict advice I've gleaned from SolidWorks support. We will be redacting the office copies.
One chapter I really like was the hardware chapter. They describe the various pieces of your computer and describe how they affect SolidWorks performance. Hardware technology changes fast so they can't get into specific models motherboards or graphics cards, but the general knowledge gained can help you maximize your hardware purchases.
I was a bit disappointed with the book and planning to write it off as general reccomendations without any real data behind it until I got to the final chapter. This chapter presents the results of some benchmarking that was done using the various settings reccomended. There are actual numbers presented showing how the various techniques affected the times required to complete tasks in SolidWorks. The number 1 time saver based upon the data cited? Use Lightweight mode. We've been telling you that for a few releases now but its nice to see what the setting can do for you.
In conclusion $50 seems a bit steep for this relatively thin book, but it does contain a lot of good information compiled like I have never seen before. I understand its going to be a low volume seller and they may only be covering the printing costs, but why not make it available as an ebook? Also be aware the book is based upon SolidWorks 2011, so it does not cover "Large Design Review" mode which was added in 2012.