System Recommendations

Vectorworks 2014

The following are real-world system recommendations for running Vectorworks 2014. In some demanding cases, we would suggest a more capable machine than is described by these recommendations. Likewise, there are some less demanding situations where Vectorworks will perform well on older hardware.

General Recommendations

Macintosh

Windows

Operating System

Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later

Windows XP SP 3
Windows Vista SP 2
Windows 7 SP 1
Windows 8

Other Software

QuickTime

QuickTime 7.7.0 to 7.7.3

(higher versions not recommended)

Processor

Intel Core 2GHz or better

Pentium 2GHz or better

Other Hardware

DVD-ROM drive (dual layer)

Screen Resolution

1024 x 768 minimum, 1280 x 800 recommended

RAM*

2GB minimum,

4GB highly recommended,

8GB recommended for large files and complex renderings.

* See the discussion in the Optimizing Performance section below.

Additional Details

Video Cards

IMPORTANT - Vectorworks 2014 added improvements which placed higher demands on graphic hardware. The performance and quality of the graphics provided by the new Vectorworks Graphics Module depend directly on the speed, memory, and supported extensions of the graphics card. These new features have the potential to provide a very fast and fluid experience if used on capable hardware, or a noticeably slower experience if used on older or incompatible hardware. Starting with Vectorworks 2014 graphic cards should support at a minimum OpenGL version 2.1; cards not meeting this recommendation will have limited functionality and poor performance when rendering in OpenGL mode. In general, the more powerful your video card is, the better your Vectorworks experience will be.

The amount of Video RAM (VRAM) required to drive Vectorworks adequately depends largely on the size of the display being used and the complexity of the Vectorworks document. Medium-sized displays with a native resolution of 1600x1200 or less should be driven by a graphics card with at least 256MB of VRAM.  Larger displays, such as displays that are 30” or larger, should use a modern graphics card with at least 512MB of VRAM, with 1GB or more recommended.

Vectorworks 2014 introduced significant OpenGL improvements that drastically improved the rendering of shadows and edges. These improvements are VRAM-intensive and require at least 512MB, with 1GB of VRAM being preferable. If you want to take full advantage of improved OpenGL shadows and edges, especially in situations where you have any combination of the following:
    - many lights
    - point lights
    - image textures
    - anti-aliasing
    - high shadow quality
and if you have a video card with less than 512MB of VRAM, you should consider upgrading your video card.

We strongly recommend that all users check that their video drivers are current. The majority of display problems reported to our Technical Support department have been traced to older video drivers.                                                

For the latest information on our video card recommendations for Vectorworks 2014, see the following Knowledgebase article: http://kbase.vectorworks.net/questions/714, or go to the Vectorworks Knowledgebase and search for "OpenGL".

Remote and Virtual Machines

We do not consider remote login environments such as Remote Desktop, Terminal Services and VNC or virtual machine environments such as Parallels and VMware to be appropriate for regular work, so Vectorworks performance in these situations is not of primary concern to us. They may be appropriate for administrative testing or utility purposes, and Vectorworks is fully functional in these environments. You should not expect high performance in these environments, however, especially with interactive screen feedback.

We do support Vectorworks running under Bootcamp on Intel Macs. As long as you have appropriate and current drivers for the hardware on your machine, you can expect fast and reliable Vectorworks behavior.

Maintenance Releases

Unless there is a known problem with a maintenance release of the operating system, we recommend the latest maintenance release at the time we ship a new release of Vectorworks as a minimum because that is what we test with. If you have problems with an earlier maintenance release, we will often ask you to update as an initial troubleshooting step.

On Windows we recommend against updating QuickTime, primarily because many Windows users are not aware that Vectorworks depends on QuickTime and can possibly change behavior when QuickTime is updated. We have never had problems, however, which were traced back to bugs in newer releases of QuickTime, so updating QuickTime on Windows is not a risky choice.

64 Bit Windows

While Vectorworks is fully supported in both 32 bit and 64 bit Windows environments, we generally recommend using a 64 bit Windows operating system for Vectorworks 2014.

While Renderworks is fully supported in both 32 bit and 64 bit Windows environments, we strongly recommend using a 64 bit Windows operating system for Renderworks 2014, as it will take full use of 64 bit addressing.

Optimizing Performance

RAM requirements are usually driven by performance considerations. Large files and especially complex rendering modes consume large amounts of memory. On the Mac the operating system will take advantage of nearly all of the RAM that you have up to 4GB. On Windows the operating system will by default only take advantage of 2GB of RAM, but can be coerced into using up to 3GB. See the following Vectorworks Knowledgebase article for information on how to use up to 3GB of RAM on Windows: http://kbase.vectorworks.net/questions/663, or go to the Vectorworks Knowledgebase and search for "3GB".

For users who have 64 bit machines and work with large files and complex renderings, we recommend installing 8GB of RAM to give the rest of your system more RAM breathing space when Vectorworks is approaching the maximum. When RAM runs out, Vectorworks usually continues to function, but is slowed significantly by the need to access the hard drive to provide virtual memory. Extreme lack of RAM may cause operations to generate errors in cases where given sufficient RAM they would otherwise succeed. Faster hard drives can have an unexpectedly large impact on system performance especially when virtual memory is actively being used.

Faster or slower processor clock speeds have a predictable impact on Vectorworks performance. Hard drive size requirements are driven by the total size of Designer with Renderworks including all content files. You can reduce this size by opting to not install some Vectorworks content files.

More Information

For the latest support information on Vectorworks 2014, go to the Vectorworks Knowledgebase and search for "2014".


Vectorworks 2013

The following are real-world system recommendations for running Vectorworks 2013. In some demanding cases, we would suggest a more capable machine than is described by these recommendations. Likewise, there are some less demanding situations where Vectorworks will perform well on older hardware.

General Recommendations

Macintosh

Windows

Operating System

Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later

Windows XP SP 3
Windows Vista SP 2
Windows 7 SP 1
Windows 8

Other Software

QuickTime

QuickTime 7.7.0 to 7.7.2

(higher versions not recommended)

Processor

Intel Core 2GHz or better

Pentium 2GHz or better

Other Hardware

DVD-ROM drive (dual layer)

Screen Resolution

1024 x 768 minimum, 1280 x 800 recommended

RAM*

1GB minimum,

4GB highly recommended,

8GB recommended for large files and complex renderings.

* See the discussion in the Optimizing Performance section below.

Additional Details

Video Cards

IMPORTANT - Vectorworks 2012 and Vectorworks 2013 contained improvements that placed significantly higher demand on the graphics hardware. The performance and quality of the graphics provided by Accelerated Navigation and Improved OpenGL Shadows depend directly on the speed and memory of the graphics card. These new features have the potential to provide a very fast and fluid experience when used on capable hardware, and a noticeably slower experience when used on older or incompatible hardware. In general, the more powerful your video card is, the better your Vectorworks experience will be.

The amount of Video RAM (VRAM) required to drive Vectorworks adequately depends largely on the size of the display being used and the complexity of the Vectorworks document. Medium-sized displays with a native resolution of 1600x1200 or less should be driven by a graphics card with at least 256MB of VRAM. Larger displays, such as displays that are 30” or larger, should use a modern graphics card with at least 512MB of VRAM, with 1GB or more recommended.

If you use OpenGL rendering, Vectorworks 2012 contains significant OpenGL improvements that drastically improve the rendering of shadows. These improvements are VRAM-intensive, however, and require at least 512MB, with 1GB or VRAM being preferable. If you want to take full advantage of improved OpenGL shadows in Vectorworks 2012 and Vectorworks 2013, especially in situations where you have any combination of the following:
- many lights
- point lights
- image textures
- anti-aliasing
- high shadow quality
and if you have a video card with less than 512MB of VRAM, you should consider upgrading your video card.

We strongly recommend that all users check that their video drivers are current. The majority of display problems reported to our Technical Support department have been traced to older video drivers.

For the latest information on our video card recommendations for Vectorworks 2013, see the following Knowledgebase article: http://kbase.vectorworks.net/questions/714, or go to the Vectorworks Knowledgebase and search for "OpenGL".

Remote and Virtual Machines

We do not consider remote login environments such as Remote Desktop, Terminal Services and VNC or virtual machine environments such as Parallels and VMware to be appropriate for regular work, so Vectorworks performance in these situations is not of primary concern to us. They may be appropriate for administrative testing or utility purposes, and Vectorworks is fully functional in these environments. You should not expect high performance in these environments, however, especially with interactive screen feedback.

We do support Vectorworks running under Bootcamp on Intel Macs. As long as you have appropriate and current drivers for the hardware on your machine, you can expect fast and reliable Vectorworks behavior.

Maintenance Releases

Unless there is a known problem with a maintenance release of the operating system, we recommend the latest maintenance release at the time we ship a new release of Vectorworks as a minimum because that is what we test with. If you have problems with an earlier maintenance release, we will often ask you to update as an initial troubleshooting step.

On Windows we recommend against updating QuickTime, primarily because many Windows users are not aware that Vectorworks depends on QuickTime and can possibly change behavior when QuickTime is updated. We have never had problems, however, which were traced back to bugs in newer releases of QuickTime, so updating QuickTime on Windows is not a risky choice.

64 Bit Windows

While Vectorworks is fully supported in both 32 bit and 64 bit Windows environments, we generally recommend using a 64 bit Windows operating system for Vectorworks 2013.

While Renderworks is fully supported in both 32 bit and 64 bit Windows environments, we strongly recommend using a 64 bit Windows operating system for Renderworks 2013, as it will take full use of 64 bit addressing.

Optimizing Performance

RAM requirements are usually driven by performance considerations. Large files and especially complex rendering modes consume large amounts of memory. On the Mac the operating system will take advantage of nearly all of the RAM that you have up to 4GB. On Windows the operating system will by default only take advantage of 2GB of RAM, but can be coerced into using up to 3GB. See the following Vectorworks Knowledgebase article for information on how to use up to 3GB of RAM on Windows: http://kbase.vectorworks.net/questions/663, or go to the Vectorworks Knowledgebase and search for "3GB".

For users who have 64 bit machines and work with large files and complex renderings, we recommend installing 8GB of RAM to give the rest of your system more RAM breathing space when Vectorworks is approaching the maximum. When RAM runs out, Vectorworks usually continues to function, but is slowed significantly by the need to access the hard drive to provide virtual memory. Extreme lack of RAM may cause operations to generate errors in cases where given sufficient RAM they would otherwise succeed. Faster hard drives can have an unexpectedly large impact on system performance especially when virtual memory is actively being used.

Faster or slower processor clock speeds have a predictable impact on Vectorworks performance. Hard drive size requirements are driven by the total size of Designer with Renderworks including all content files. You can reduce this size by opting to not install some Vectorworks content files.

More Information

For the latest support information on Vectorworks 2013, go to the Vectorworks Knowledgebase and search for "2013".