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Recommended Hardware

Marton Kiss
Graphisoft
Graphisoft

General Recommendations

If you are looking for a list of certified hardware configurations tested by GRAPHISOFT to work well with Archicad, you can find it here.

Platform

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 25 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
Schematic Entry-level Entry-level Mid-range
Average Entry-level Mid-range Mid-range
Detailed Mid-range Mid-range High-end

Example workstations and laptops - Entry-level, Mid-range, High-end


Workstations
 PC Entry-level Mid-range High-end
CPU Intel Core i5-9600K AMD Ryzen 5 3600X Intel Core i7-9700K AMD Ryzen 7 3800X Intel Core i9-9900K AMD Ryzen 9 3950X
RAM 8 GB 16 GB 32 - 64 GB
GPU NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4GB AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT 4GB NVIDIA Quadro RTX 4000 8GB AMD Radeon Pro W5700 8GB NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 16GB AMD Radeon Pro WX 8200 8GB
Disk 256+ GB SSD 500+ GB SSD NVMe 500+ GB SSD NVMe
OS Windows 10 64-bit 1903+ Windows 10 64-bit 1903+ Windows 10 64-bit 1903+
 Mac Entry-level Mid-range High-end
Model 27-inch iMac 27-inch iMac 27-inch iMac Pro
CPU Intel Core i5 3.50 GHz Intel Core i7 4.2 GHz Intel Xeon 8 core 3.20 GHz
RAM 8 GB 16-32 GB 64+ GB
GPU AMD Radeon Pro 570 4 GB AMD Radeon Pro 575 4 GB AMD Radeon Pro Vega 56 8 GB
Disk 1 TB 7200 RPM HDD 512 GB SSD 1 TB SSD
OS macOS 10.15 macOS 10.15 macOS 10.15

Laptops
 PC Entry-level Mid-range High-end
CPU Intel Core i5-9400F AMD Ryzen 5 3550H Intel Core i7-9750H AMD Ryzen 7 3750H Intel Core i9-9980H
RAM 8 GB 16 GB 32 GB
GPU NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti Mobile 4 GB AMD Radeon RX 5300M 3GB NVIDIA QUADRO P2000 4GB AMD Radeon Pro WX 4150 4GB NVIDIA QUADRO P4200 8GB AMD Radeon Pro WX 7100 8GB
Disk 256 GB SSD 500+ GB SSD NVME 500+ GB SSD NVMe
OS Windows 10 64-bit 1903+ Windows 10 64-bit 1903+ Windows 10 64-bit 1903+
 Mac Entry-level Mid-range High-end
Model 15-inch MacBook Pro 15-inch MacBook Pro 16-inch MacBook Pro
CPU 8th Gen Core i5 2.20 GHz 8th Gen Core i7 2.60 GHz Intel Core i9-9980HK
RAM 16 GB 16-32 GB 32 GB
GPU AMD Radeon Pro 555X 4 GB AMD Radeon Pro 555X 4 GB AMD Radeon Pro 5500M 8GB
Disk 512 GB SSD 512 GB SSD NVMe 1 TB SSD NVMe
OS macOS 10.15 macOS 10.15 macOS 10.15

Useful information


Archicad

CPU

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 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.
wp-content_uploads_2017_10_Warning_18x18.png
WARNING:
Since Archicad 17, only 64-bit operating systems are supported.

RAM

From 8 GB to 32 GB of RAM size is recommended nowadays depending on the size and the level of detail of your model. In very large, complex and detailed projects, 64GB RAM is suggested. While most of the times Archicad will not allocate the full RAM size, it is suggested to have a big utilization headroom for multiple Archicad instances or functions that are RAM intensive. When RAM allocation is maxed out, data are being cached on the disk drive that can severly deteriorate the performance and overall responsiveness of Archicad.

Storage

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 256GB) SSD combined with a large conventional hard drive for data storage. You will install the system and Archicad on the SSD, but you will store files on the conventional drive. Nowadays, NVMe SSD drives are quite affordable, so such drives are highly recommended. Check our brief SSD benchmark results: SSD

Graphics Cards

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 VRAM. We currently recommend 2GB or more. Drivers are key for optimal performance. If you want to have a peace of mind about driver support, 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.

Displays

Screen real estate is a huge productivity factor. Here we have only one recommendation: The bigger the better. Apart from the physical size of the monitor that defines the screen estate, the screen resolution can also affect it. For example a 2K  monitor provides bigger screen area than a 4K monitor for any scaling below 200%. You can also hook up two or more monitors, if your graphics card supports that. You can even have more graphics cards to support an array of displays. However most graphics card on the mid and upper range are fully capable to drive a few 4K monitors.

BIMx

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

CPU

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.

Memory

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 Pro, iPad (2017 and later), iPad Air 2, iPhone 7 and 7 Plus or newer).

HDD

Any current storage device should be fine for BIMx.

Graphics Cards

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:

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