I looked into SolidWorks Student Edition . . .
FYI it only works for 2 years:
"Software ceases to function 24 months after registration."http://solidworks.com/pages/products/edu/studenteditionsoftware.html
That means you pay $100 to use software that only works for 2 years then you lose everything. Or $200 if you get COSMOS . . .Now reporting for AutoCAD 2008.
Summary: WORST SOFTWARE EVER
Now to be more specific. Moving from v7 to 2008, they fixed only one minor but annoying bug after 4 years, despite their claim of bugless software. In exchange, they made the software incredibly laggy, especially the drop down menus. The animation feature is incredibly confusing and crashes. They have very vague non-useful tutorials. The options have check buttons but dont actually explain what they do.
Now for the serious problems . . . 2008 is not backwards compatible with any version before v10, despite the claim of having the best compatibility in the market. Good thing I kept a backup of my old files!!!
Better yet, 2008 isnt compatible with my very expensive EdgeCAM software, meaning I can no longer use my CNC with this software. They suggested I purchase a newer EdgeCAM version . . .
Now for tech support . . . its great! For $125 'per incident' they might
help you with your problem! (sarcasm
Its like Microsoft charging you $125 for reporting a bug in their software, with no promise of correcting it. Seriously, they dont offer a free way to report bugs! And the FAQ and 'help' section is just marketing hype with little substance . . .
With zero improvement and all these problems, you would think they would give me more than $4 to trade in my old software.
But the 2008 version does have ONE good feature, and that is the built-in FEA (stress analysis stuff). But its just a plugin for ANSYS, so if you want FEA just buy ANSYS.
End of my longest rant ever
Im downgrading. sigh.