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Installation & update
About program installation and update, hardware, operating systems, setup, etc.

ArchiCAD & RAID 0 on a PowerMac G5

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Hello --

A friend of mine has a PowerMac G5, running OS X 10.4 and ArchiCAD (not sure which version).

He's looking to improve his system to boost ArchiCAD performance, and is looking at employing RAID to do so, having read that ArchiCAD creates a lot of temporary files and does a lot of reads during walkthroughs.

I myself am familiar with RAID but not ArchiCAD, he is familiar with ArchiCAD but not RAID.

My questions are:

1. With regard to temporary files, are these written to /tmp or in the user's home directory?

2. Can the temporary directory be specified in the settings (and subsequently be mounted upon a different device)?

Many thanks for your help.
Not applicable
Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I know ArchiCAD doesn't really use the harddrive heavily when doing anything other than saving and loading. Even then, saving is a 5 second process for me, so there aren't really massive gains to be had.

As long as your friend is using ArchiCAD 12 and above, it will use as many cores as you can throw at it.

He should spend the money on getting a faster and larger number of processor cores, and also a faster graphics card as this will give smoother navigation in the 3D window.

ArchiCAD likes a decent amount of RAM too, but I have no idea if macs have the same 32bit/ 3.5GB limitation as many windows machines.

This may help regarding the temporary files -
The wrote:
Special Folders
On this screen (Options > Work Environment > Special Folders), you can relocate the Temporary, Cache and Template Folders to a hard disk volume that is different from the default location.
The Temporary Folder stores data required for the quick operation of ArchiCAD.
The Cache Folder stores 3D projections, PhotoRendered images and other project data. The cache data is used when the program generates the image files automatically in the background and stores them in the chosen Cache Folder. ArchiCAD uses the Cache Folder for quick display and updating of images on the screen.
• On MacOS, very large hard disks are recommended for advanced imaging, because the Cache Folder can expand to dozens of megabytes when rendering a very complex Project with shadow casting.

• On Windows, ArchiCAD keeps this data in the virtual memory. Set the limitation of the page file to the highest possible value when rendering a very complex Project with shadow casting.

The Template Folder contains template (.tpl) project files shipped with ArchiCAD. Template files do not contain any virtual building elements, but certain attributes and options have been pre-set.
When using remote network volumes, ArchiCAD’s operations may be affected by the network performance capabilities.
Note: If your startup volume does not have the recommended amount of free space when you launch ArchiCAD, you will have the opportunity (through an alert box) to select another volume during the startup process.
You can set which of your computer’s disk volumes will house the Special Folders by using the appropriate radio buttons. Using the Default Location is recommended, but you can choose another volume with the Browse buttons.
Note: If you choose a custom location which is not available, ArchiCAD will use the displayed system default location.
Changes to the folder location settings will take effect after the program is restarted.
Not applicable
Peter, many thanks for the reply. Just to update you, my friend is using ArchiCAD version 9.

Also, taken from

is the following quote (hence my original question):
Since ArchiCAD reads/writes a lot of data during operation (not just project files, but temporary data too, like cache files), it is a good idea to have a RAID setup for both data safety and performance. Learn more about RAID: Some ArchiCAD tasks (e.g. how much time it takes to start ArchiCAD) are Hard-disk limited, so the RPM value of your Hard Disk is directly influencing the speed of certain tasks in ArchiCAD.
Not applicable
Well, if the article says it's faster, it probably is faster, but I don't know where you would really notice it.

You may find this link to a post by Dwight useful, where he mentions a RAID setup on a mac (on page two) -

Anyone else out there using a RAID setup with ArchiCAD that can give their experiences?
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My experience is that hard drive speed makes little difference in the speed of using ArchiCAD. I tried putting the temporary folder on a RAM disk once and the difference in 3D was insignificant. This was a few years ago but I don't imagine much has changed. The RAID might boost startup time but how much difference this makes depends on how many time you open files in a day. I do it a lot and don't find it too burdensome.

If you want speed there is no substitute for lots of fast processors and plenty of RAM. The slight boost that you might get from a RAID 0 setup is not worth the cost nor loss of reliability* as far as I am concerned.

*A two disk RAID 0 is twice as likely to fail as a single hard drive.
Graphisoft Partner
Graphisoft Partner
RAIDing might give you slight speed boost, but the CPU is your real bottleneck.
I did some testing on my quad-core machine a while ago and running AC on a RAID stripe(2x SATA barracuda) as opposed to on 1 disk made no noticeable difference in any operations.
If drive speed is a big problem for you, I would suggest using SSDs instead.
Josh Osborne - Central Innovation

HP Zbook Studio G4 - Windows 10 Pro, Intel i7 7820HQ, 32Gb RAM, Quadro M1200
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