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ARM Mac support

Tamas Gaspar
Graphisoft
Graphisoft

On WWDC 2020 in June, Apple announced its planned transition of system architecture of its Macintosh computers from Intel-based CPUs to Apple-designed chips that use the ARM architecture. Full transition is planned to take a couple of years, with the first computers with the new ARM chipset available to purchase starting November 2020.

Graphisoft is actively working on adapting our solutions to be compatible with the new hardware environment. This document is to describe our plans and to provide answer to frequently asked questions.

When will Graphisoft solutions become compatible with Macs with ARM chipset?

Graphisoft solutions are compatible with the new hardware via Apple’s Rosetta translation environment today. Since the announcement of the change, our development is working on the Developer Transition Kit received by Apple to manage the necessary modifications of the software. As Archicad is a versatile BIM tool, there is a large amount of work to be done to achieve compatibility and benefit from the advantages of this new technology.

In July 2022, Graphisoft released the Technology Preview version of Archicad 26 for Apple Silicon. The package was made available for public testing. We made some benchmark tests and they showed very promising results.

According to our plans, a full commercial release of Archicad natively running on the ARM architecture is to be expected in Q4 2022.

Should I buy Intel or ARM-based Macs if I need to invest in new computers now?

It depends on your typical project types/sizes you want to do with Archicad. The hardware Apple released in November 2020 are computers with entry-level hardware specs matching only Archicad’s minimum hardware requirements. So if you are doing small(er) scale typically residential projects, a new ARM-based computer might be an eligible choice. If your typical projects are medium to large size, we recommend that you wait until Apple releases computers with more RAM and processor cores. You can find our detailed performance review with M1 chip here.

For how long will Graphisoft support Intel Macs?

Naturally as long as Archicad is not released to run natively on ARM our default Mac platform is for the Intel-based architecture. Even after the release of the ARM-native version of Archicad we are planning to have a comfortable transition period so there will be an overlap when we release our products for both Intel and ARM chipsets.

How does Archicad work on ARM Macs with Rosetta 2?

Rosetta 2 is a translator that allows apps with x86_64 instructions to run on Apple Silicon. To the users, Rosetta is almost transparent. However, the translation process takes time, therefore users might experience certain slowness with translated apps.

We conducted a series of tests with the M1 and M1 Pro chips. In short, we found no serious issues running supported versions of Archicad and BIMcloud on Rosetta 2. Archicad runs as fast or slightly faster than on Intel-based computers with similar specifications even via Rosetta. For more information, please check out this article for M1 performance review and this article for M1 Pro/Max performance review.

Comments
Jaime-airc_digital
Contributor

Any updates on the transition into Apple Silicon? We are eager to release the full power of the new chips within Archicad! Thanks.

FKB
Participant

Hi there, have you already made any tests with Archicad natively running on the ARM technology? Lately we are unsatisfied with AC25 performance, so we are considering transition to apple silicon. Can you please tell us approximate date of performance comparison etc? Thank you

pedrohfonseca
Participant

Hi, 

Any updates on the transition into Apple Silicon? 

Maxam
Participant

I'm definitely seeing slower speeds on M1 when updating model linked sections and elevations w color surfaces.

Eduardo Rolon
Moderator

FYI,
The Arm version does not have the Original Attribute Manager it only has the new-UNUSABLE one. This should be in the notes.

On the other side of the coin, it is stable and "feels" snappier panning and zooming around.

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