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How do Siemens NX and CATIA V5 compare? What are the advantages of each?

CATIA vs NX … Does it even matter?

Some people tend to answer using subjective comments like “Catia is for beginners”, “NX has the biggest market share”or “Catia is the most difficult and I like it”. This behavior should be ignored. You can’t answer a complex question with just only brief and personal statements.

Next time your friend starts to talk about CATIA versus NX at happy hour, remember that it’s not supposed to matter. Grab a beer and go play pool. XD

Different points of view

I do NOT consider opinions of those who learned CAD by tutorials and never really designed something. CAD is different from creating a beatiful organic 3D model for a Pixar movie. It can be pretty, but if you cannot manufacture, what is the purpose?

Answer: none.

What is the best for me does not necessarily will be that good for you. Always consider that different positions/roles within an organization can see/perceive different advantages/disadvantages.

  • Student (wants what he learned in school/university)

  • Designer (wants what he knows how to use it)

  • Supervisor (wants what will release more product numbers)

  • Supplier (don’t want to buy another CAD system or converter plug-in just to make business with your company)

  • Partner (same as supplier)

  • IT department (will consider the available hardware, maintenance costs, update costs)

  • HR department (will consider the investment on training and difficulty of hiring experts)

  • CEO/CTO/COO (wants the CAD system that is aligned with the strategy of the company)

  • Company (wants softwares that offer better tailored solutions for their field/expertise area and deliver expected, reliable and fast results)

Compare apples with apples

When you are comparing something you need to compare with similar options. For this reason we should discard:

  • Mid-range or entry level CAD systems. They don’t have enough capabilites to be comparable:

    • Solidworks (Dassault Systemes), Solidedge (Siemens), Inventor (Autodesk);

  • 3d Modelling softwares that are not focused on product development:

    • Revit (Autodesk), Sketchup (google), Rhinoceros/Rhino (Robert McNeel & Associates), Maya (Autodesk), 3d Max (Autodesk);

The final result is supposed to be a fight between the three big players for high end CAD solutions (I personally would not include Creo, however there is a lot of professionals that include it in the same category of NX/CATIA):

  • CATIA (Dassault Systèmes, don’t forget that it’s different from Dassault Aviation)

  • NX (Siemens, former Unigraphics/UG)

  • Creo (PTC, former Pro-engineer)

Just one last thing: Even if we are comparing only the mentioned high-end softwares, you will need to consider the version and available products/workbenches.

  • Based on that, It’s not fair to compare NX 10 “Full” with CATIA-V5R19 “Basic”

  • Example of a detailed version of CATIA:

    • CATIA V5 (version) R20 (Release) SP 5 (Service Pack) Hot fix 49

  • Creo has some additional details too. Creo parametric alone is totally different from: Creo Parametric + Simulate + Schematics + Layout + Sketch + Illustrate + Direct

Price…wowww…it hurts

If you don’t live inside the “Crack/torrent” fairytale world (like most of the small business/free lancers) the price of software licenses is a big asset to analyse. It doesn’t matter if one soft is just a little bit better if it costs 10 times more. For this reason, I created the table below after some search on internet.

Obs.: I only have real quotes for CATIA and Solidworks, however I can’t share. The prices can be found on internte. I would like to see comments in this question with the price and description of licenses. As of 17 February 2016.


You need to consider who is using the software. There are several reasons for this:

  • More seats >> bigger on-line community >> easier to find training >> easier to find employers/employees >> easier to find peer support;

  • Normally you want to learn something that is appreciated by the employers/academia;

  • If you work with agricultural machinery, you’ll want to know what are the best softwares for YOUR field. It isn’t a big deal to know that CATIA is widely used on aerospace companies if you are in this kind of situation;

  • Big companies can affect the development of additional features in future releases. Groups of small companies have this power lately also;

  • Humans don’t want to be alone

Based on this, let’s see who is using CATIA/NX/Creo on 2016:

You can develop airplanes

Everything you model on CATIA can be modelled in NX, and vice-versa. Sometimes it can be easier, sometimes not.


There is lots of concern about legacy data. For this reason, sometimes CATIA V6 is a better solution just because of all the generated models of one company are CATIA V5 files.

PLM (Product Lifecycle Management)

I saw some answers comparing the PLM solutions from Siemens, Dassault and PTC. This is normally a very complex issue on a multinational and is just impossible to come into a conclusion by a Quora answer as reference (Actually this is pretty much what I’m trying to do with this answer, anyways…).

Usuallly, multinational companies assign special teams and hire expert consultants with previous experience to decide which solution is better for their specific case.


Siemens and Dassault have very different strategies for positioning their solutions. It’s worth it to understsand:


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