If you are looking for a list of certified hardware configurations tested by GRAPHISOFT to work well with ARCHICAD, you can find it here.
All GRAPHISOFT products are available on both Windows and Mac platforms. BIMx has both iOS and Android based version for mobile devices. Choose the platform according to your taste. The two versions (Mac and Win) are fully compatible (file formats, TeamWork) so you can even work in mixed environments.
System Requirements and Hardware Recommendations
|ARCHICAD 22||BIMcloud Basic||BIMcloud|
|Previous versions||Previous versions||Previous versions|
|Recommended Hardware for ARCHICAD||Recommended Hardware for BIMcloud Basic||Recommended Hardware for BIMcloud|
Recommended Graphics Cards
Example configurations for ARCHICAD
The following chart can help to identify, what type of computer configuration might be appropriate for the given tasks. In the next “Example workstations and laptops” section specifications are given for each of the levels on both platforms. You can also find a list of certified hardware configurations here, sold as-is.
|Project size \ Level of detail||Small||Medium||Large|
|Residential homes||Apartment and office buildings||High rises, hospitals, campuses|
- About Multiprocessing
- About 64-bit
- How to use MagicMouse in ARCHICAD
- How to use MagicTrackpad in ARCHICAD
With the implementation of CineRender engine by Maxon in ARCHICAD 18 a high performance CPU becomes even more essential than before. Besides rendering, the industry-first Background processing (available from version 17) uses multiple cores intensively. Background processing greatly helps the performance, navigation and display of extra-large, complex models. We recommend at least 4-core processors for standard BIM workstations, but 6-8+ cores can be optimal for the calculation of larger projects and quick rendering. It is worth keeping in mind though that prices rise exponentially with performance. For rendering speed – CineRender, Cinema 4D, Artlantis, the CPU is the most important component, so on computers doing all day renderings a high end processor is a good choice but on all other computers (not only used for rendering – regular BIM workstations) better invest more on the other parts.
ARCHICAD supports 64-bit on both platforms. To see the benefits of this, you need more than 4GB of physical RAM. 8 -32 GB+ is recommended nowadays depending on the size and the level of detail of your model. While most of the times ARCHICAD will use significantly less than this, since RAM is now cheap there is really no reason to economize here. There are times when you will run multiple copies of ARCHICAD or run other applications simultaneously.
ARCHICAD stores cached data while it operates, so there is a lot of file I/O going on while working in ARCHICAD — not just when saving files. Therefore hard drives are a key — and often overlooked — speed factor. With the price of solid state drives (SSD) coming down every year, they might be a sensible investment. You don’t need a huge SSD. You are better off with a smaller (say 128GB) SSD combined with a large conventional hard drive. You will install the system and ARCHICAD on the SSD, but you will store files on the conventional drive.
Check our brief SSD benchmark results: SSD
ARCHICAD uses hardware acceleration in both 2D and 3D. That said, while the importance of hard drives is often underrated, graphics cards are often overrated. In general we can say that it is more important to have a recent graphics card than a particularly high-end graphics card. It’s not a bad practice to replace the graphics card at the half of your computer’s lifespan.
When you buy a new card, it’s important to have enough graphics RAM. We currently recommend 1GB or more. Drivers are key for optimal performance. If you want to have a peace of mind about drivers, you might consider going with a “professional series” graphics card — at a much heftier price. You can find a list of recommended cards in our knowledge base.
Screen real estate is a huge productivity factor. Here we have only one recommendation: The bigger the better. You can also hook up two or more monitors, if your graphics card supports that. You can even have more graphics cards to support all of your displays.
From the point of view of BIMx we should separate the related computers, devices to two groups:
- the computers where the BIMx model is exported and Global Illumination render is performed
- the devices that can open and play the BIMx model
Up to ARCHICAD 15 the Global Illumination render is performed by the CPU. Starting with ARCHICAD 16 this load is shared between the GPU and the CPU. As the majority of the render is calculated by the GPU, any mid range CPUs should just work fine. For the second group any recent CPUs should be good even low-range ones.
Even the largest models can be opened with 4 GBs of RAM. Note that between iOS devices only the latest ones has enough RAM to open large models (iPad 3 and 4, iPad Air, iPad Mini 2nd gen., iPhone 5 and 5S has 1024 MB RAM).
Any current storage device should be fine for BIMx.
As BIMx is a graphics intensive application the most important factor is the graphics card and the amount of the available video memory. A large project with Global Illumination rendering may require more than a GB of video RAM. You can check the required memory at the Global Illumination settings after clicking Initialize. As the Global Illumination render is calculated mostly by the GPU you might want to consider a newer card – mid range and above. You can find a list of recommended cards in our knowledge base.
You may want to optimize your model to run on even on entry level computers or on mobile devices. For techniques see: BIMx/Optimization
This article is based on the following previously published articles, with updated and extended content:
- What kind of machine should I buy written by Tom Waltz
- Find the Optimal Hardware Configuration for ARCHICAD written by GregKmethy published on CAD Speed