Recommended Video Cards for ArchiCAD 14

by GRAPHISOFT, IllesArvay and Katalin Takács · updated: 05.24.2012

Improvements in ArchiCAD 14

Shadow casting in OpenGL will allow you to view near-rendering quality models in the 3D window, real-time.

General Video card requirements for ArchiCAD 14

  • PC: Open GL and DirectX 9 compatible graphic card with 256 MB or more on-board video memory is recommended to fully exploit hardware acceleration capabilities.
  • Mac: Open GL compatible graphic card with 256 MB or more on-board video memory is recommended to fully exploit hardware acceleration capabilities.

We do not recommend the following low-end video cards:

  • NVidia Quadro NVS series (not to be confused with the FX series)
  • ATI FireMV series (not to be confused with FireGL series)
  • Intel on-board (motherboard-integrated) video chips

“Professional” vs. “Gaming” video cards

Graphic card manufacturers typically have different product lines targeted for “gamers” and “professional users”. While the hardware setup is very similar in case of both cards, there are key differences in their firmware and driver. “Gamer” cards (such as Nvidia GeForce and Ati Radeon) are optimized for 3D games, where speed is more important than image quality. Typically a 3D model in a game contains a low number of polygons with textures applied to them, while in CAD polygon count is high, and the quality of the still image of the wireframe or shaded model is more important than navigation speed. Also, professional cards’ memory usage is optimized for using multiple application windows, while in gaming this is not relevant. Another key difference between the two product lines is the way they are delivered and supported. Professional cards (such as Nvidia Quadro and ATi FireGL) are built according to the video chip manufacturer’s references, so you can always be sure that the driver delivered by the video chip manufacturer (e.g. Nvidia or ATI) fits your card. The manufacturers of gaming cards (such as ASUS, Sapphire, Gigabyte, PNY, etc…) may diverge from the chip manufacturer’s references, so their drivers may not be compatible with the chip manufacturer’s reference driver. Also, the product life cycle and driver release cycles are much shorter in case of gaming cards.

Graphisoft cooperates with Nvidia to test and certify video card drivers for the Nvidia Quadro FX series. This product line is recommended by Graphisoft for ArchiCAD 14.

Installing video card drivers (Windows)

Video cards only perform properly if they have a hardware vendor supplied driver (not system built-in driver) installed correctly. It may happen that remnants of a previous installation interfere with the current driver installation. If you experience display issues with the drivers listed below, please “clean-install” the driver again. “Clean-install” means removing all previous driver files before installing a new driver. Unfortunately, a simple uninstall may not efficiently remove all components of a driver. There are tools that can do it, like ATI’s cat uninstaller cat uninstaller or third party tools like driver cleaner or driver cleaner pro 1.5

{i} Here you can find a description how to identify the current driver version of your NVIDIA card: NVIDA driver help

Video card drivers for laptops (Windows)

In most cases, graphic card drivers for laptops are supplied by the laptop manufacturer, and graphic card vendor supplied drivers (so called “reference drivers”) will not install on laptops. This makes it practically impossible for us to test laptop video cards. If you are experiencing display issues with your laptop, and your supplier does not offer you a driver update, you might try – at your own risk – to tweak a desktop driver to work on your laptop. Note, that this is obviously not encouraged by your laptop supplier. mod tool for ATI cards nvidia laptop drivers

For reasons detailed above, we can not recommend any specific card and driver combination for laptops. However, there are professional video cards available for high-end laptops, such as the Nvidia Quadro, which are just as good as their desktop counterparts. We have also good experiences with most of the standard Nvidia cards, somewhat worse experience with AMD/ATI cards, and very bad experience with on-board intel graphic cards. Definitely avoid the latter.

Video card drivers for Macs

Since Macs come with a default video card (with one optional choice at some series), and the drivers are bundled with system updates, we can not recommend a specific card or driver. Mac OSX’s graphic engine, Quartz does not allow an application to directly access video card functions, which minimizes the possibility of application-specific display problems. On Mac there are no third-party drivers, and the drivers Apple builds into the operating system are very thoroughly tested for OpenGL compatibility, since the Quartz graphic engine itself is based on OpenGL. This is very different from the PC platform, where you have hundreds of different video cards available, drivers from different sources, most of them optimized for games and DirectX, not for CAD and OpenGL. You can be confident that all of the current Macs come with a video card that is compatible with ArchiCAD.


Test Results – Windows XP (32 bit)

Nvidia Quadro FX cards

The following video cards have been tested for ArchiCAD 14 on Windows XP (32-bit):

Product Range Video RAM Driver Notes
FX 580 Mid-range 512 6.14.11.9759 passed
FX 1700 Mid-range 512 6.14.11.9759 passed
FX 1800 High-end 768 6.14.11.9759 passed
FX 3700 Mid-range 512 6.14.11.9759 passed
FX 3800 High-end 1024 6.14.11.9759 passed
FX 4600 High-end 768 6.14.11.9759 passed
FX 4800 High-end 1536 6.14.11.9759 passed

Nvidia Quadro cards ( Fermi series )

The following video cards have been tested for ArchiCAD 14 on Windows XP (32-bit):

Product Range Video RAM Driver Notes
600 High-end 1024 6.14.12.5957 passed
2000 High-end 1024 6.14.12.5957 passed
4000 High-end 2048 6.14.12.5957 passed
5000 High-end 2560 6.14.12.5957 passed

ATI FireGL cards

The following video cards have been tested for ArchiCAD 14 on Windows XP (32-bit):

Product Range Video RAM Driver Notes
V 3600 Mid-range 256 8.723.0 passed
V 5600 Mid-range 512 8.723.0 passed

Gamer cards

Some popular gamer cards tested for ArchiCAD 14 on Windows XP (32-bit):

Product Range Video RAM Driver Notes
Asus Geforce 8600 GT High-end 512 6.14.11.9745 passed
Asus Geforce 8800 GT High-end 512 6.14.11.9745 passed
Asus Geforce 8800 GTX High-end 768 6.14.11.9745 passed

A known Ati card issue is that many old drivers cause crashes, but recent drivers are ok to use.


Test Results – Windows 7 (64 bit)

Nvidia Quadro FX cards

The following video cards have been tested for ArchiCAD 14 on Windows 7 (64-bit):

Product Range Video RAM Driver Notes
FX 580 Mid-range 512 8.17.11.9759 passed
FX 1700 Mid-range 512 8.17.11.9759 passed
FX 1800 High-end 768 8.17.11.9759 passed
FX 3700 Mid-range 512 8.17.11.9759 passed
FX 3800 High-end 1024 8.17.11.9759 passed
FX 4600 High-end 768 8.17.11.9759 passed
FX 4800 High-end 1536 8.17.11.9759 passed

Nvidia Quadro cards ( Fermi series )

The following video cards have been tested for ArchiCAD 14 on Windows 7 (64-bit):

Product Range Video RAM Driver Notes
600 High-end 1024 8.17.12.5957 passed
2000 High-end 1024 8.17.12.5957 Error N1
4000 High-end 2048 8.17.12.5957 passed
5000 High-end 2560 8.17.12.5957 passed

ATI FireGL cards

The following video cards have been tested for ArchiCAD 14 on Windows 7 (64-bit):

Product Range Video RAM Driver Notes
V 3600 Mid-range 256 8.723.0 passed
V 5600 Mid-range 512 8.723.0 passed

Gamer cards

Some popular gamer cards tested for ArchiCAD 14 on Windows 7 (64-bit):

Product Range Video RAM Driver Notes
Asus Geforce 8600 GT High-end 512 8.17.11.9745 passed
Asus Geforce 8800 GT High-end 512 8.17.11.9745 passed
Asus Geforce 8800 GTX High-end 768 8.17.11.9745 passed

Error Descriptions

The related Error messages for Nvidia cards:

  • Error N1: Trace reference rotation problem with two screens.

Video Cards tested for Virtual Building Explorer

Test Results – Windows 7 (64 bit)

Nvidia Quadro FX cards

The following video cards have been tested for VBE 2 on Windows 7 (64-bit):

Product Range Video RAM Driver Notes
FX 580 Mid-range 512 8.17.11.9759 testing
FX 1700 Mid-range 512 8.17.11.9759 testing
FX 1800 High-end 768 8.17.11.9759 testing
FX 3700 Mid-range 512 8.17.11.9759 testing
FX 3800 High-end 1024 8.17.11.9759 testing
FX 4600 High-end 768 8.17.11.9759 testing
FX 4800 High-end 1536 8.17.11.9759 testing

Below you can find a testfile for videocard testing purpose.

ArchiCAD14_GraphicsCardTest.pla

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