Recommended Video Cards for ArchiCAD 17

by GRAPHISOFT, Gábor Almási and Csaba Kézér · updated: 01.09.2014

Improvements in ArchiCAD 17

The latest 3D OpenGL related improvements:

  • The Real-time 3D Cutting Planes
  • Separation of OpenGL 3D window from Internal Engine to some extent
  • OpenGL Vertex Buffer Object (VBO) improvements- performance improvement on mac which consists in handling video card memory more efficiently

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


Windows Specific Recommendations

alt text OpenGL 2.0 compatible graphics card with on-board memory of 256 MB is required, 512 MB or more 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

Installing video card drivers

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 or third party tools like driver cleaner or driver cleaner pro 1.5

“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 for both cards, there are main differences in their firmware and driver.
“Gamer” cards (such as Nvidia GeForce and AMD/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 polygon count is high in CAD modeling, and the quality of the stationary image of the wireframe or the 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 AMD FirePro ) 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 AMD) 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 17.

  • AMD to test and certify video card drivers for the AMD Fire Pro series. This product line is recommended by GRAPHISOFT for ArchiCAD 17 as well.

Video card drivers for laptops

In most cases, graphic card drivers for laptops are supplied by the laptop manufacturer, and graphic card vendor supplied drivers (so called “reference drivers”) won’t be installed 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.


Mac Specific Recommendations

alt text

Video card drivers for Macs

OpenGL compatible graphics card with on-board memory of 256 MB is required, 512 MB or more is recommended to fully exploit hardware acceleration capabilities.

Since Macs are offered 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 access video card functions directly, which minimizes the possibility of application-specific display problems. On Mac there are no third-party drivers, and the drivers that Apple builds into the operating system are very thoroughly tested for OpenGL compatibility, since the Quartz graphic engine itself is based on OpenGL. This means a big difference between the Mac and the PC platforms, where are hundreds of different video cards available. Drivers from different manufacturers, that are mostly 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.

For the best performance choose Mac computers with dedicated graphics cards. Integrated Intel HD 3000, 4000 cards work with ArchiCAD, but their performance is limited.

Known Errors on Mac:

Antialiasing is turned off by default on some video cards. Find the description and the list of the affected cards here: Antialiasing is not Available on Computers with Certain Video Cards.


Video Card Tests Including 3D Speed

alt textHere you can see the results how the different videocards have performed on a standard computer configuration. The cards were tested with a medium size project on two operating systems: Win7 64-bit and Win 8 64 bit. The FPS number indicates a frames per second ratio based on the speed of Quadro FX1700 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, the memory of the Video Card is used first, 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 can be much slower than 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 objects’ parameters, and not by the coordinates of the polygons. Huge files that have a lot of parameters might occupy large amount 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 file size and the Video Card memory usage.

Test Results – Windows 7 (64 bit)

Nvidia Quadro FX cards

The following video cards have been tested for ArchiCAD 17 on Windows 7 (64-bit):

Product

Range

Video RAM

Driver

Notes

FPS

FX 1700

Mid-range

512

331.82

passed

1.0x

FX 1800

High-end

768

331.82

passed

2.0x

FX 3500

Low-end

256

307.45

error*

0.6x

FX 3700

Mid-range

512

331.82

passed

2.0x

FX 3800

High-end

1024

331.82

passed

2.0x

FX 4600

High-end

768

331.82

passed

2.0x

FX 4800

High-end

1536

331.82

passed

2.0x

Nvidia Quadro cards ( Fermi series )

The following video cards have been tested for ArchiCAD 17 on Windows 7 (64-bit):

Product

Range

Video RAM

Driver

Notes

FPS

400

High-end

1024

331.82

passed

1.4x

410

High-end

1024

331.82

passed

2.0x

600

High-end

1024

331.82

passed

2.0x

2000

High-end

1024

331.82

passed

2.0x

4000

High-end

2048

331.82

passed

2.0x

5000

High-end

2560

331.82

passed

2.0x

K4000

High-end

3072

331.82

passed

3.0x

AMD FireGL cards

The following video cards have been tested for ArchiCAD 17 on Windows 7 (64-bit):

Product

Range

Video RAM

Driver

Notes

FPS

V 5600

Mid-range

512

8.911.3.4

error*

1.3x

AMD Fire Pro cards

The following video cards have been tested for ArchiCAD 17 on Windows 7 (64-bit):

Product

Range

Video RAM

Driver

Notes

FPS

V 3800

Entry-level

512

9.003.3.3

passed

2.1x

V 4800

Mid-range

1024

9.003.3.3

passed

2.3x

V 4900

Mid-range

1024

9.003.3.3

passed

2.3x

V 5900

Mid-range

2048

9.003.3.3

passed

2.5x

V 7800

High-end

2048

9.003.3.3

passed

2.7x

V 7900

High-end

2048

9.003.3.3

passed

2.6x

W 5000

Mid-range

2048

9.003.3.3

passed

2.4x

W 7000

High-end

4096

9.003.3.3

passed

2.6x

AMD APU technology (Fire Pro)

The following APU chips have been tested for ArchiCAD 17 on Windows 7 (64-bit):

A 300

Entry-level

512

9.003.3.3

testing

x

Geforce Gamer cards

Some popular gamer cards tested for ArchiCAD 17 on Windows 7 (64-bit):

Product

Range

Video RAM

Driver

Notes

FPS

Asus Geforce 8600 GT

Mid-range

512

331.82

passed

1.1x

Asus Geforce 8800 GT

Mid-range

512

331.82

passed

2.0x

Asus Geforce 8800 GTX

Mid-range

768

331.82

testing

x

Asus Geforce 220 GT

Mid-range

512

331.82

passed

1.4x

Asus Geforce 250 GTS

High-end

1024

331.82

passed

2.0x

Asus Geforce 430 GT

High-end

1024

331.82

passed

2.0x

Asus Geforce 460 GTX

High-end

1024

331.82

testing

x

Asus Geforce 560 GTX

High-end

1024

331.82

testing

x

Radeon Gamer cards

Product

Range

Video RAM

Driver

Notes

FPS

Radeon HD 4850

Mid-range

1024

8.961.0.0

passed

2.4x

Radeon HD 5670

Mid-range

512

8.961.0.0

passed

2.6x

Radeon HD 5750

Mid-range

1024

8.961.0.0

passed

2.6x

Radeon HD 5850

Mid-range

1024

8.961.0.0

testing

x

Radeon HD 6850

Mid-range

1024

8.961.0.0

passed

2.6x

Radeon HD 7770

Mid-range

1024

8.961.0.0

passed

2.4x

Error Descriptions

* Trace rotation with ArchiCAD extended on two screens produces trashy feedback.


Test Results – Windows 8 (64 bit)

Nvidia Quadro FX cards

The following video cards have been tested for ArchiCAD 17 on Windows 8 (64-bit):

Product

Range

Video RAM

Driver

Notes

FPS

FX 1700

Mid-range

512

331.82

passed

1.0x

FX 1800

High-end

768

331.82

passed

2.0x

FX 3500

Low-end

256

307.45

error*

0.6x

FX 3700

Mid-range

512

331.82

passed

2.0x

FX 3800

High-end

1024

331.82

passed

2.0x

FX 4600

High-end

768

331.82

passed

2.0x

FX 4800

High-end

1536

331.82

passed

2.0x

Nvidia Quadro cards ( Fermi series )

The following video cards have been tested for ArchiCAD 17 on Windows 8 (64-bit):

Product

Range

Video RAM

Driver

Notes

FPS

400

High-end

1024

331.82

passed

1.4x

410

High-end

1024

331.82

passed

2.0x

600

High-end

1024

331.82

passed

2.0x

2000

High-end

1024

331.82

passed

2.0x

4000

High-end

2048

331.82

passed

2.0x

5000

High-end

2560

331.82

passed

2.0x

5000

High-end

2560

331.82

passed

2.0x

K4000

High-end

3072

331.82

passed

3.0x

AMD Fire Pro cards

The following video cards have been tested for ArchiCAD 17 on Windows 8 (64-bit):

Product

Range

Video RAM

Driver

Notes

FPS

V 3800

Entry-level

512

9.003.3.3

passed

2.3x

V 4800

Mid-range

1024

9.003.3.3

testing

2.4x

V 4900

Mid-range

1024

9.003.3.3

passed

2.4x

V 5900

Mid-range

2048

9.003.3.3

passed

2.6x

V 7800

High-end

2048

9.003.3.3

passed

2.8x

V 7900

High-end

2048

9.003.3.3

passed

2.6x

W 5000

Mid-range

2048

9.003.3.3

passed

2.4x

W 7000

High-end

4096

9.003.3.3

passed

2.8x

AMD APU technology (Fire Pro)

The following APU chips have been tested for ArchiCAD 17 on Windows 8 (64-bit):

A 300

Entry-level

512

9.003.3.3

testing

x

Geforce Gamer cards

Some popular gamer cards tested for ArchiCAD 17 on Windows 8 (64-bit):

Product

Range

Video RAM

Driver

Notes

FPS

Asus Geforce 8600 GT

Mid-range

512

331.82

passed

1.1x

Asus Geforce 8800 GT

Mid-range

512

331.82

passed

2.0x

Asus Geforce 8800 GTX

Mid-range

768

331.82

testing

x

Asus Geforce 220 GT

Mid-range

512

331.82

passed

1.5x

Asus Geforce 250 GTS

High-end

1024

331.82

passed

2.0x

Asus Geforce 430 GT

High-end

1024

331.82

passed

2.0x

Asus Geforce 460 GTX

High-end

1024

331.82

testing

x

Asus Geforce 560 GTX

High-end

1024

331.82

testing

x

Radeon Gamer cards

Product

Range

Video RAM

Driver

Notes

FPS

Radeon HD 4850

Mid-range

1024

8.0.891.0

passed

2.3x

Radeon HD 5670

Mid-range

512

8.0.891.0

passed

2.4x

Radeon HD 5750

Mid-range

1024

8.0.891.0

passed

2.5x

Radeon HD 5850

Mid-range

1024

8.0.891.0

testing

x

Radeon HD 6850

Mid-range

1024

8.0.891.0

passed

2.5x

Radeon HD 7770

Mid-range

1024

8.0.891.0

passed

2.3x


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 FX1700 on Windows 7 with the full Global Illuminated model (with shadows on).

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 1700

Mid-range

512

331.82

passed

1.0x

FX 1800

High-end

768

331.82

passed

1.4x

FX 3500

Low-end

256

307.45

error*

1.0x

FX 3700

Mid-range

512

331.82

passed

3.8x

FX 3800

High-end

1024

331.82

passed

1.6x

FX 4600

High-end

768

331.82

passed

3.0x

FX 4800

High-end

1536

331.82

passed

5.5x

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

331.82

passed

1.4x

410

High-end

1024

331.82

passed

1.6x

600

High-end

1024

331.82

passed

2.8x

2000

High-end

1024

331.82

passed

3.5x

4000

High-end

2048

331.82

passed

6.9x

5000

High-end

2560

331.82

passed

7.3x

K4000

High-end

3072

331.82

passed

8.4x

AMD FireGL cards

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

Product

Range

Video RAM

Driver

Notes

FPS

V 5600

Mid-range

512

8.911.3.4

passed

1.3x

AMD 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

9.003.3.3

passed

2.0x

V 4800

Mid-range

1024

9.003.3.3

passed

2.8x

V 4900

Mid-range

1024

9.003.3.3

passed

3.0x

V 5900

Mid-range

2048

9.003.3.3

passed

4.2x

V 7800

High-end

2048

9.003.3.3

passed

5.8x

V 7900

High-end

2048

9.003.3.3

passed

5.8x

W 5000

Mid-range

2048

9.003.3.3

passed

5.3x

W 7000

Mid-range

4096

9.003.3.3

passed

5.9x

AMD APU technology (Fire Pro)

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

A 300

Entry-level

512

9.003.3.3

testing

x

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

331.82

passed

1.8x

Asus Geforce 8800 GT

Mid-range

512

331.82

passed

4.8x

Asus Geforce 8800 GTX

Mid-range

768

331.82

testing

x

Asus Geforce 220 GT

Mid-range

512

331.82

passed

1.8x

Asus Geforce 250 GTS

High-end

1024

331.82

passed

5.1x

Asus Geforce 430 GT

High-end

1024

331.82

passed

2.5x

Asus Geforce 460 GTX

High-end

1024

331.82

testing

x

Asus Geforce 560 GTX

High-end

1024

331.82

testing

x

Radeon Gamer cards

Product

Range

Video RAM

Driver

Notes

FPS

Radeon HD 4850

Mid-range

1024

8.961.0.0

passed

1.6x

Radeon HD 5670

Mid-range

512

8.961.0.0

passed

1.7x

Radeon HD 5750

Mid-range

1024

8.961.0.0

passed

1.6x

Radeon HD 5850

Mid-range

1024

8.961.0.0

testing

x

Radeon HD 6850

Mid-range

1024

8.961.0.0

passed

1.7x

Radeon HD 7770

Mid-range

1024

8.961.0.0

passed

1.6x


Test Results – Windows 8 (64 bit)

Nvidia Quadro FX cards

The following video cards have been tested for BIMx on Windows 8 (64-bit):

Product

Range

Video RAM

Driver

Notes

FPS

FX 1700

Mid-range

512

331.82

passed

2.4x

FX 1800

High-end

768

331.82

passed

2.8x

FX 3500

Low-end

256

307.45

error*

2.8x

FX 3700

Mid-range

512

331.82

passed

2.9x

FX 3800

High-end

1024

331.82

passed

3.0x

FX 4600

High-end

768

331.82

testing

x

FX 4800

High-end

1536

331.82

passed

3.4x

Nvidia Quadro cards ( Fermi series )

The following video cards have been tested for BIMx on Windows 8 (64-bit):

Product

Range

Video RAM

Driver

Notes

FPS

400

High-end

1024

331.82

passed

1.3x

410

High-end

1024

331.82

passed

1.3x

600

High-end

1024

331.82

passed

2.2x

2000

High-end

1024

331.82

passed

3.1x

4000

High-end

2048

331.82

passed

3.4x

5000

High-end

2560

331.82

passed

3.5x

K4000

High-end

3072

331.82

passed

4.2x

AMD Fire Pro cards

The following video cards have been tested for BIMx on Windows 8 (64-bit):

Product

Range

Video RAM

Driver

Notes

FPS

V 3800

Entry-level

512

9.003.3.3

passed

2.2x

V 4800

Mid-range

1024

9.003.3.3

passed

3.1x

V 4900

Mid-range

1024

9.003.3.3

passed

3.4x

V 5900

Mid-range

2048

9.003.3.3

passed

4.7x

V 7800

High-end

2048

9.003.3.3

passed

6.8x

V 7900

High-end

2048

9.003.3.3

passed

6.7x

W 5000

Mid-range

2048

9.003.3.3

passed

6.3x

W 7000

Mid-range

4096

9.003.3.3

passed

6.7x

AMD APU technology (Fire Pro)

The following APU chips have been tested for BIMx on Windows 8 (64-bit):

A 300

Entry-level

512

8.982.2

testing

x

Geforce Gamer cards

Some popular gamer cards tested for BIMx on Windows 8 (64-bit):

Product

Range

Video RAM

Driver

Notes

FPS

Asus Geforce 8600 GT

Mid-range

512

320.18

passed

2.0x

Asus Geforce 8800 GT

Mid-range

512

320.18

passed

5.1x

Asus Geforce 8800 GTX

Mid-range

768

320.18

testing

x

Asus Geforce 220 GT

Mid-range

512

320.18

passed

2.1x

Asus Geforce 250 GTS

High-end

1024

320.18

passed

5.3x

Asus Geforce 430 GT

High-end

1024

320.18

passed

2.5x

Asus Geforce 460 GTX

High-end

1024

320.18

testing

x

Asus Geforce 560 GTX

High-end

1024

320.18

testing

x

Radeon Gamer cards

Product

Range

Video RAM

Driver

Notes

FPS

Radeon HD 4850

Mid-range

1024

8.0.891.0

passed

2.5x

Radeon HD 5670

Mid-range

512

8.0.891.0

passed

2.6x

Radeon HD 5750

Mid-range

1024

8.0.891.0

passed

2.6x

Radeon HD 5850

Mid-range

1024

8.0.891.0

testing

x

Radeon HD 6850

Mid-range

1024

8.0.891.0

passed

2.7x

Radeon HD 7770

Mid-range

1024

8.0.891.0

passed

2.7x


Test files: Here you can find the test files, which were used in the tests. You can test your own video card by following the steps in the pla.

GraphicsCardTest
SpeedTest


Troubleshooting

In this article you can find a collection about the discovered known issues with Video Cards: CategoryVideoCards

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