Recommended Video Cards for ARCHICAD 20

by Gábor Almási · updated: 06.16.2016

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.

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 Windows 10 driver:  362.56 Release date 05/13/2016

Certified Nvidia Quadro Windows 8.1 driver:  362.56 Release date 05/13/2016

Certified AMD FirePro driver: 15.301.2601 Release date 05/18/2016

Certified AMD Radeon Pro driver: 16.40.2802 Release date 11/01/2016

Nvidia GeForce driver win 10: 368.22 Release date: 05/23/2016

Nvidia GeForce driver win 8.1: 368.22 Release date: 05/23/2016

AMD Radeon driver: Crimson 16.6.1 Release Date 06/06/2016

“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, Nvidia Quadro K and M series. These product lines are recommended by GRAPHISOFT for ARCHICAD 20.
  • AMD to test and certify video card drivers for the AMD FirePro V and W series. These product lines are recommended by GRAPHISOFT for ARCHICAD 20 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 Iris 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 with 4K display. 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 8.1 64-bit and Windows 10 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 8.1

The following video cards have been tested for ARCHICAD 20 on Windows 8.1:

Small project (250000 polygon) – FPS ratio:



* maximum resolution is 2560×1440


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



* maximum resolution is 2560×1440


Large project (10M polygon) – FPS ratio:

 * maximum resolution is 2560×1440

Error Descriptions

Test Results – Windows 10

The following video cards have been tested for ARCHICAD 20 on Windows 10:

Small project (250000 polygon) – FPS ratio:



* maximum resolution is 2560×1440


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



* maximum resolution is 2560×1440


Large project (10M polygon) – FPS ratio:

 * maximum resolution is 2560×1440

Error Descriptions

¹ Using Splitter results noisy display

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 Windows 8.1. 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 8.1

The following video cards have been tested for BIMx on Windows 8.1:


Error Descriptions

Test Results – Windows 10

The following video cards have been tested for BIMx on Windows 10:


Error Descriptions