Recommended Video Cards for ArchiCAD 15

by GRAPHISOFT, Andor Szőke and IllesArvay · updated: 06.20.2012

Improvements in ArchiCAD 15

3D Line elimination is implemented in 3D window. This is used in case of overlapping lines, by removing the unnecessary. This worked in internal engine prior ArciCAD 15, from now on it is available with the OpenGL engine as well. Trimming Bodies for the new Shell and roof tools are generated by OpenGL engine.

You can read about these features in more detail in our OpenGL ArchiCADWiki article.

General Video card requirements for ArchiCAD 15

  • 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 and Nvidia Quadro (Fermi) series. This product line is recommended by Graphisoft for ArchiCAD 15.
  • AMD to test and certify video card drivers for the Ati Fire Pro series. This product line is recommended by Graphisoft for ArchiCAD 15 as well.

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

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.


Videocard Tests including 3D speed

alt textHere you can see the results that show how the different videocards performed on a standard computer configuration. We decided to test the cards with a rather optimal medium sized project than a huge file. On two operating systems: Win7 64-bit and WinXP 32 bit. The FPS number indicates a frames per second ratio based on the speed of Quadro FX580 on Windows 7.

Frame per second rate shows the speed of the Video Card measured while navigating in the 3D window of ArchiCAD. The speed itself might depend mainly on the memory size of the Video Card. When we open a file and turn on 3D, first the memory of the Video Card is used, when it runs out then the Main Memory (RAM) is used, and finally when that is full then the computer starts to swap the Virtual Memory. Using virtual Memory is much slower then the others, because it takes time to reach the stored information from a file on the hard disk.

ArchiCAD stores the model information of the parameters of the objects,and not by the coordinates of the polygons. Huge files that have a lot of parameters might occupy large ammount of memory. And when the parameters of some geometry objects are set to large resolution or segmentation adds extra burden.

Also there might be a model that itself is only just a few kilobytes, but its parameters would use up much from the Video Card memory with lots of large textures triggering slowness. This way it is not true that we can draw a paralell between the fiel size and the Video Card memory usage.

Test Results – Windows XP (32 bit)

Nvidia Quadro FX cards

The following video cards have been tested for ArchiCAD 15 on Windows XP (32-bit):

Product Range Video RAM Driver Notes FPS
FX 580 Mid-range 512 6.14.12.7071 passed 1.6x
FX 1700 Mid-range 512 6.14.12.7071 passed 1.2x
FX 1800 High-end 768 6.14.12.7071 passed 1.6x
FX 3700 Mid-range 512 6.14.12.7071 Error N1 1.5x
FX 3800 High-end 1024 6.14.12.7071 passed 1.5x
FX 4600 High-end 768 6.14.12.7071 passed 1.5x
FX 4800 High-end 1536 6.14.12.7071 passed 1.6x

Nvidia Quadro cards ( Fermi series )

The following video cards have been tested for ArchiCAD 15 on Windows XP (32-bit):

Product Range Video RAM Driver Notes FPS
400 High-end 1024 6.14.12.7071 passed 1.6x
600 High-end 1024 6.14.12.7071 passed 1.5x
2000 High-end 1024 6.14.12.7071 passed 1.5x
4000 High-end 2048 6.14.12.7071 passed 1.5x
5000 High-end 2560 6.14.12.7071 passed 1.4x

ATI FireGL cards

The following video cards have been tested for ArchiCAD 15 on Windows XP (32-bit):

Product Range Video RAM Driver Notes FPS
V 3600 Mid-range 256 8.850.0.0 passed 1.3x
V 5600 Mid-range 512 8.850.0.0 passed 1.5x

ATI Fire Pro cards

The following video cards have been tested for ArchiCAD 15 on Windows XP (32-bit):

Product Range Video RAM Driver Notes FPS
V 3800 Entry-level 512 8.830.5.4 passed 1.5x
V 4800 Mid-range 1024 8.830.5.4 passed 1.5x
V 5900 Mid-range 2048 8.830.5.4 passed 1.5x
V 7800 High-end 2048 8.830.5.4 passed 1.5x

Geforce Gamer cards

Some popular gamer cards tested for ArchiCAD 15 on Windows XP (32-bit):

Product Range Video RAM Driver Notes FPS
Asus Geforce 8600 GT Mid-range 512 6.14.12.7061 passed 0.8x
Asus Geforce 8800 GT Mid-range 512 6.14.12.7061 passed 1.9x
Asus Geforce 8800 GTX Mid-range 768 6.14.12.7061 passed 0.9x *
Asus Geforce 220 GT Mid-range 512 6.14.12.7061 passed 1.9x
Asus Geforce 250 GTS High-end 1024 6.14.12.7061 passed 1.9x
Asus Geforce 430 GT High-end 1024 6.14.12.7061 passed 1.8x
Asus Geforce 460 GTX High-end 1024 6.14.12.7061 passed 1.8x
Asus Geforce 560 GTX High-end 1024 6.14.12.7061 testing -

Radeon Gamer cards

Product Range Video RAM Driver Notes FPS
Radeon HD 4850 Mid-range 1024 8.850.0.0 passed 1.4x
Radeon HD 5670 Mid-range 512 8.850.0.0 passed 1.4x
Radeon HD 5750 Mid-range 1024 8.850.0.0 passed 1.4x
Radeon HD 5850 Mid-range 1024 8.850.0.0 passed 1.4x
Radeon HD 6850 Mid-range 1024 8.850.0.0 passed 1.4x

Test Results – Windows 7 (64 bit)

Nvidia Quadro FX cards

The following video cards have been tested for ArchiCAD 15 on Windows 7 (64-bit):

Product Range Video RAM Driver Notes FPS
FX 580 Mid-range 512 8.17.12.7071 passed 1.0x
FX 1700 Mid-range 512 8.17.12.7071 passed 1.2x
FX 1800 High-end 768 8.17.12.7071 passed 1.2x
FX 3700 Mid-range 512 8.17.12.7071 passed 1.1x
FX 3800 High-end 1024 8.17.12.7071 passed 1.3x
FX 4600 High-end 768 8.17.12.7071 passed 1.0x
FX 4800 High-end 1536 8.17.12.7071 passed 1.1x

Nvidia Quadro cards ( Fermi series )

The following video cards have been tested for ArchiCAD 15 on Windows 7 (64-bit):

Product Range Video RAM Driver Notes FPS
400 High-end 1024 8.17.12.7071 passed 0.9x
600 High-end 1024 8.17.12.7071 passed 0.9x
2000 High-end 1024 8.17.12.7071 passed 1.0x
4000 High-end 2048 8.17.12.7071 passed 1.0x
5000 High-end 2560 8.17.12.7071 passed 1.1x

ATI FireGL cards

The following video cards have been tested for ArchiCAD 15 on Windows 7 (64-bit):

Product Range Video RAM Driver Notes FPS
V 3600 Mid-range 256 8.850.0.0 passed 1.1x
V 5600 Mid-range 512 8.850.0.0 passed 1.1x

ATI Fire Pro cards

The following video cards have been tested for ArchiCAD 15 on Windows 7 (64-bit):

Product Range Video RAM Driver Notes FPS
V 3800 Entry-level 512 8.830.5.4 passed 1.1x
V 4800 Mid-range 1024 8.830.5.4 passed 1.1x
V 4900 Mid-range 1024 8.850.7.1 testing x
V 5900 Mid-range 2048 8.830.5.4 passed 1.1x
V 7800 High-end 2048 8.830.5.4 passed 1.1x
V 7900 High-end 2048 8.850.7.1 passed 0.73x

Geforce Gamer cards

Some popular gamer cards tested for ArchiCAD 15 on Windows 7 (64-bit):

Product Range Video RAM Driver Notes FPS
Asus Geforce 8600 GT Mid-range 512 8.17.12.7071 passed 0.8x
Asus Geforce 8800 GT Mid-range 512 8.17.12.7071 passed 1.0x
Asus Geforce 8800 GTX Mid-range 768 8.17.12.7071 passed 0.65x *
Asus Geforce 220 GT Mid-range 512 8.17.12.7071 passed 1.1x
Asus Geforce 250 GTS High-end 1024 8.17.12.7071 passed 1.1x
Asus Geforce 430 GT High-end 1024 8.17.12.7071 testing 1.0x
Asus Geforce 460 GTX High-end 1024 8.17.12.7071 testing 1.1x
Asus Geforce 560 GTX High-end 1024 8.17.12.7071 testing -

Radeon Gamer cards

Product Range Video RAM Driver Notes FPS
Radeon HD 4850 Mid-range 1024 8.850.0.0 testing 1.1x
Radeon HD 5670 Mid-range 512 8.850.0.0 passed 0.9x
Radeon HD 5750 Mid-range 1024 8.850.0.0 testing 1.0x
Radeon HD 5850 Mid-range 1024 8.850.0.0 testing 1.1x
Radeon HD 6850 Mid-range 1024 8.850.0.0 testing 1.1x

Error Descriptions

The related Error messages for Nvidia cards:

  • Error N1: Triangulation appeares on large screen resolution (2560×1440)on XP.
  • FPS could not be tested on full capacity

Video Cards tested for BIMx

alt textHere you can see our BIMx results with different videocards. We used a quite complex model, the Shanghai Park Hotel, this can be downloaded from here amongst other BIMx ready Global Illuminated buildings. Tests were done on Win7 64-bit. The FPS number indicates a frames per second ratio based on the speed of the Quadro FX580 on Windows 7 with the full Global Illuminated model (with shadows on).

Test Results – Windows XP (32 bit)

Nvidia Quadro FX cards

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

Product Range Video RAM Driver Notes FPS
FX 580 Mid-range 512 6.14.12.7614 passed 2x
FX 1700 Mid-range 512 6.14.12.7614 passed 1.7x
FX 1800 High-end 768 6.14.12.7614 passed 2.5x
FX 3700 Mid-range 512 6.14.12.7614 testing -
FX 3800 High-end 1024 6.14.12.7614 passed 2.6x
FX 4600 High-end 768 6.14.12.7614 testing -
FX 4800 High-end 1536 6.14.12.7614 passed 2.3x

Nvidia Quadro cards ( Fermi series )

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

Product Range Video RAM Driver Notes FPS
400 High-end 1024 6.14.12.7614 passed 1.6x
600 High-end 1024 6.14.12.7614 passed 2.0x
2000 High-end 1024 6.14.12.7614 passed 2.4x
4000 High-end 2048 6.14.12.7614 testing -x
5000 High-end 2560 6.14.12.7614 passed 2.6x

ATI FireGL cards

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

Product Range Video RAM Driver Notes FPS
V 3600 Mid-range 256 8.850.7.2 passed 1.1x
V 5600 Mid-range 512 8.850.7.2 passed 1.4x

ATI Fire Pro cards

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

Product Range Video RAM Driver Notes FPS
V 3800 Entry-level 512 8.850.7.2 testing -
V 4800 Mid-range 1024 8.850.7.2 testing -
V 4900 Mid-range 1024 8.850.7.2 testing -
V 5900 Mid-range 2048 8.850.7.2 passed 1.5x
V 7800 High-end 2048 8.850.7.2 passed 1.5x
V 7900 High-end 2048 8.850.7.2 passed 1.5x

Geforce Gamer cards

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

Product Range Video RAM Driver Notes FPS
Asus Geforce 8600 GT Mid-range 512 6.14.12.8026 passed 2.1x
Asus Geforce 8800 GT Mid-range 512 6.14.12.8026 passed 2.7x
Asus Geforce 8800 GTX Mid-range 768 6.14.12.8026 passed 0.8x
Asus Geforce 220 GT Mid-range 512 6.14.12.8026 passed 1.8x
Asus Geforce 250 GTS High-end 1024 6.14.12.8026 passed 2.7x
Asus Geforce 430 GT High-end 1024 6.14.12.8026 passed 2.1x
Asus Geforce 460 GTX High-end 1024 6.14.12.8026 passed 2.6x
Asus Geforce 560 GTX High-end 1024 6.14.12.8026 testing -

Radeon Gamer cards

Product Range Video RAM Driver Notes FPS
Radeon HD 4850 Mid-range 1024 8.881.0.0 passed 1.5x
Radeon HD 5670 Mid-range 512 8.881.0.0 passed 1.4x
Radeon HD 5750 Mid-range 1024 8.881.0.0 passed 1.5x
Radeon HD 5850 Mid-range 1024 8.881.0.0 passed 1.5x
Radeon HD 6850 Mid-range 1024 8.881.0.0 passed 1.4x

Test Results – Windows 7 (64 bit)

Nvidia Quadro FX cards

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

Product Range Video RAM Driver Notes FPS
FX 580 Mid-range 512 8.17.12.7589 passed 1x
FX 1700 Mid-range 512 8.17.12.7589 passed 0.95x
FX 1800 High-end 768 8.17.12.7589 passed 1x
FX 3700 Mid-range 512 8.17.12.7589 passed 1.1x
FX 3800 High-end 1024 8.17.12.7589 passed 1x
FX 4600 High-end 768 8.17.12.7589 testing x
FX 4800 High-end 1536 8.17.12.7589 passed 1x

Nvidia Quadro cards ( Fermi series )

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

Product Range Video RAM Driver Notes FPS
400 High-end 1024 8.17.12.7589 passed 0.97x
600 High-end 1024 8.17.12.7589 passed 1.1x
2000 High-end 1024 8.17.12.7589 passed 1.5x
4000 High-end 2048 8.17.12.7589 passed 1.1x
5000 High-end 2560 8.17.12.7589 passed 1.1x

ATI FireGL cards

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

Product Range Video RAM Driver Notes FPS
V 3600 Mid-range 256 8.850.7.1 passed 0.75x
V 5600 Mid-range 512 8.850.7.1 passed 0.74x

ATI Fire Pro cards

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

Product Range Video RAM Driver Notes FPS
V 3800 Entry-level 512 8.850.7.1 passed 0.75x
V 4800 Mid-range 1024 8.850.7.1 passed 0.65x
V 4900 Mid-range 1024 8.850.7.1 testing x
V 5900 Mid-range 2048 8.850.7.1 passed 0.73x
V 7800 High-end 2048 8.850.7.1 passed 0.6x
V 7900 High-end 2048 8.850.7.1 passed 0.73x

Geforce Gamer cards

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

Product Range Video RAM Driver Notes FPS
Asus Geforce 8600 GT Mid-range 512 8.17.12.8026 testing x
Asus Geforce 8800 GT Mid-range 512 8.17.12.8026 passed 1x
Asus Geforce 8800 GTX Mid-range 768 8.17.12.8026 passed 0.85x
Asus Geforce 220 GT Mid-range 512 8.17.12.8026 testing x
Asus Geforce 250 GTS High-end 1024 8.17.12.8026 passed 1x
Asus Geforce 430 GT High-end 1024 8.17.12.8026 passed 1x
Asus Geforce 460 GTX High-end 1024 8.17.12.8026 passed 1x
Asus Geforce 560 GTX High-end 1024 8.17.12.8026 testing -

Radeon Gamer cards

Product Range Video RAM Driver Notes FPS
Radeon HD 4850 Mid-range 1024 8.881.0.0 testing x
Radeon HD 5670 Mid-range 512 8.881.0.0 testing x
Radeon HD 5750 Mid-range 1024 8.881.0.0 passed* 0.65x
Radeon HD 5850 Mid-range 1024 8.881.0.0 passed* 0.55x
Radeon HD 6850 Mid-range 1024 8.881.0.0 passed 0.74x

Error Descriptions

The related Error messages for Gamer cards:

  • Our complex test file caused speed issues, and flickering of a second screen although it was possible to navigate.

Below you can find a testfile for videocard testing purpose.

ArchiCAD15_GraphicsCardTest.pla

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