Recommended Video Cards for ArchiCAD 19

by Gábor Almási · updated: 06.11.2015

Windows Specific Recommendations

OpenGL 2.0 compatible graphics card with on board memory of 1024 MB or more is recommended to fully exploit hardware acceleration capabilities.

In ARCHICAD 19 because of the optimised OpenGL engine the 3D navigation is smoother and faster then before, free from flickering, even with big models. Check the test results here.

We do not recommend the following video cards:

  • NVidia Quadro FX series
  • AMD FireGl series

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, but there are several tools that can help you, like AMD’s cat uninstaller or third party tools like driver cleaner or driver cleaner pro 1.5

Video Card drivers

Certified Nvidia Quadro driver: 348.07 Release date 05/05/2015

Certified AMD FirePro driver: 14.502.1019 Release date 04/08/2015

Nvidia GeForce driver: 353.06 Release date: 05/31/2015

AMD Radeon driver: Omega (14.12) Release Date 12/09/2014

“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 and Nvidia Quadro K series. This product line is recommended by GRAPHISOFT for ArchiCAD 19.
  • AMD to test and certify video card drivers for the AMD FirePro series. This product line is recommended by GRAPHISOFT for ArchiCAD 19 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

Recommended video cards for laptops

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

Video card drivers for Macs

OpenGL compatible graphics card with on-board memory of 1024 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.


Video Card Tests Including 3D Speed

Here you can see the results how the different videocards have performed on a standard computer configuration. The cards were tested with a small (250000 polygon), a medium (1,6M polygon) and a large (10M polygon) size project on two operating systems: Windows 7 64-bit and Windows 8.1 64 bit. The FPS number indicates a frames per second ratio based on the speed of Quadro 600 on Windows 8.1. 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 cards

The following video cards have been tested for ArchiCAD 19 on Windows 7 (64-bit):

Small project (250000 polygon) – FPS ratio:

quadro_win7_3D FPS

 

Medium project (1,6M polygon) – FPS ratio:

quadro_win7_skyscreaper FPS

Large project (10M polygon) – FPS ratio:

quadro_win7_10M FPS

AMD Fire Pro cards

The following video cards have been tested for ArchiCAD 19 on Windows 7 (64-bit):

Small project (250000 polygon) – FPS ratio:
firepro_win7_3D FPS
Medium project (1,6M polygon) – FPS ratio:
firepro_win7_skyscreaper FPS
Large project (10M polygon) – FPS ratio:
firepro_win7_10M FPS

Geforce Gamer cards

Some popular gamer cards have been tested for ArchiCAD 19 on Windows 7 (64-bit):

Small project (250000 polygon) – FPS ratio:
geforce_win7_3D FPS
Medium project (1,6M polygon) – FPS ratio:
geforce_win7_skyscreaper FPS
Large project (10M polygon) – FPS ratio:
geforce_win7_10M FPS

Radeon Gamer cards

Small project (250000 polygon) – FPS ratio:
radeon_win7_3D FPS
Medium project (1,6M polygon) – FPS ratio:
radeon_win7_skyscreaper FPS
Large project (10M polygon) – FPS ratio:
radeon_win7_10M FPS

Error Descriptions


Test Results – Windows 8.1 (64 bit)

 

Nvidia Quadro cards

The following video cards have been tested for ArchiCAD 19 on Windows 8.1 (64-bit):

Small project (250000 polygon) – FPS ratio:

quadro_win8_3D FPS

Medium project (1,6M polygon) – FPS ratio:

quadro_win8_skyscreaper FPS

Large project (10M polygon) – FPS ratio:

quadro_win8_10M FPS

AMD Fire Pro cards

The following video cards have been tested for ArchiCAD 19 on Windows 8.1 (64-bit):

Small project (250000 polygon) – FPS ratio:

firepro_win8_3D FPS

Medium project (1,6M polygon) – FPS ratio:

 

firepro_win8_skyscreaper FPS

 

Large project (10M polygon) – FPS ratio:

firepro_win8_10M FPS

AMD APU technology (Fire Pro)

The following APU chips have been tested for ArchiCAD 19 on Windows 8.1 (64-bit):

Small project (250000 polygon) – FPS ratio:

apu_win8_3D FPS

Medium project (1,6M polygon) – FPS ratio:

apu_win8_skyscreaper FPS

Large project (10M polygon) – FPS ratio:

apu_win8_10M FPS

Geforce Gamer cards

Some popular gamer cards have been tested for ArchiCAD 19 on Windows 8.1 (64-bit):

Small project (250000 polygon) – FPS ratio:
geforce_win8_3D FPS
Medium project (1,6M polygon) – FPS ratio:
geforce_win8_skyscreaper FPS
Large project (10M polygon) – FPS ratio:
geforce_win8_10M FPS

Radeon Gamer cards

Small project (250000 polygon) – FPS ratio:
radeon_win8_3D FPS
Medium project (1,6M polygon) – FPS ratio:
radeon_win8_skyscreaper FPS
Large project (10M polygon) – FPS ratio:
radeon_win8_10M FPS

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 Speed number indicates a frames per second ratio based on the speed of the Quadro 600 on Windows 8.1 with the full Global Illuminated model (with shadows on).

Test Results – Windows 7 (64 bit)

 

Nvidia Quadro cards

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

FPS ratio:
quadro_win7_BIMx FPS

AMD Fire Pro cards

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

FPS ratio:

firepro_win7_BIMx FPS

Geforce Gamer cards

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

geforce_win7_BIMx FPS

Radeon Gamer cards

radeon_win7_BIMx FPS

Test Results – Windows 8.1 (64 bit)

 

Nvidia Quadro cards

The following video cards have been tested for BIMx on Windows 8.1 (64-bit):

quadro_win8_BIMx FPS

 

AMD Fire Pro cards

The following video cards have been tested for BIMx on Windows 8.1 (64-bit):

 firepro_win8_BIMx FPS

AMD APU technology (Fire Pro)

The following APU chips have been tested for BIMx on Windows 8.1 (64-bit):

apu_win8_BIMx FPS

GeForce Gamer cards

Some popular gamer cards have been tested for BIMx on Windows 8.1 (64-bit):

geforce_win8_BIMx FPS

Radeon Gamer cards

radeon_win8_BIMx FPS
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