Vectorworks 2018 System Requirements

The following are real-world system requirements for running Vectorworks 2018. In some demanding cases, we would suggest a more capable machine than is described in these hardware profiles. Likewise, there are some less demanding situations where Vectorworks will perform well on older hardware.

Operating Systems

macOS 10.12 (Sierra)

Mac OS X 10.11 (El Capitan)

Mac OS X 10.10 (Yosemite)

Windows 10 64-bit

Windows 8.1 64-bit

Windows 8 64-bit

Windows 7 SP1 64-bit

Minimum Hardware Profile

Entry-level Profile:

For small projects, simple models/drawings with a low level of detail, simple renderings (such as, small residential projects, small theaters, small landscaping design)

Processor:
  • 64-bit Intel Core i5 (or AMD equivalent) or better
RAM:
  • 4GB or more
Graphics Card:
  • OpenGL 2.1 compatible graphics card with 1GB of VRAM or more
  • some integrated graphics cards such as Intel Iris graphics are acceptable for simple models/drawings, but a dedicated graphics card is preferable
  • Vectorworks with Vision requires a dedicated graphics card, preferably released in the past three years
  • using multiple view panes with different visibilities in all panes requires a graphics card with at least 2GB of VRAM
Display
Resolution:
  • 1440 x 900 or higher
Hard Disk:
  • 10GB free disk space is required for the installation
  • 30GB or more is required for a full installation with all libraries.

 

Recommended Hardware Profiles 

High-end Profile:

For large projects, complex and very detailed models/drawings, complex renderings (such as large BIM projects, large entertainment venues, commercial sites, GIS, high end landscaping design, photorealistic rendering)

 

Processor:
  • 64-bit Intel Core i7 (or AMD equivalent) clocked at 3GHz or better
RAM:
  • 16GB-32GB or more
Graphics Card:
  • a dedicated OpenGL 2.1 compatible graphics card with 4GB of VRAM or more
  • Vectorworks with Vision requires a dedicated graphics card, preferably released in the past three years.
Display
Resolution:
  • 1920 x 1080 or higher
Hard Disk:
  • 10GB free disk space is required for the installation. 30GB or more is required for a full installation with all libraries.
  • installing Vectorworks on flash storage (SSD) is recommended

 

Mid-level Profile:

For medium-size projects, complex models/drawings with medium level of details (such as small commercial projects, mid-size entertainment venues, residential site modeling)

 

Processor:
  • 64-bit Intel Core i5 (or AMD equivalent) clocked at 2GHz or better
RAM:
  • 8GB-16GB or more
Graphics Card:
  • a dedicated OpenGL 2.1 compatible graphics card with 2GB-4GB of VRAM or more
  • Vectorworks with Vision requires a dedicated graphics card, preferably released in the past three years.
  • using multiple view panes with different visibilities in all panes requires a graphics card with at least 2GB of VRAM, with 3GB or more recommended for large files.
Display
Resolution:
  • 1920 x 1080 or higher
Hard Disk:
  • 10GB free disk space is required for the installation. 30GB or more is required for a full installation with all libraries
  • installing Vectorworks on flash storage (SSD) is recommended

 

Network Requirements for Project Sharing
Project sharing requires high-speed network connections. As the network bandwidth increases, so does project sharing performance. Slower network speeds can still provide a satisfactory user experience if you minimize operations that transfer large amounts of data over the network (such as committing changes to the project file or refreshing a local working file).
LAN Sharing:
  • minimum: A Fast Ethernet (100Mbit/s) network connection
  • recommended: A Gigabit Ethernet (1Gbit/s) network connection is required for large projects
Cloud Sharing:
  • project sharing using cloud-based storage requires a high-speed internet connection (50Mbit/s or above).
  • this method of sharing works best with small teams or small projects. It is not recommended for large teams or large projects
Hard Drive:
  • storing large project files on flash storage (SSD) is recommended

 

Additional Details

Graphics Cards

IMPORTANT – Several Vectorworks features have placed higher demands on graphic hardware. Additionally, the performance and quality of the graphics provided by the Vectorworks Graphics Module depend directly on the speed, memory, and supported extensions of the graphics card. These 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. Graphics cards should support at a minimum OpenGL version 2.1; cards not meeting this recommendation will have limited functionality and poor performance. In general, the more powerful your graphics 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 1920×1080 or less should be driven by a graphics card with at least 1GB of VRAM.  Larger displays should use a modern graphics card with at least 2GB of VRAM, with 4GB or more recommended.

OpenGL rendering of shadows and edges are VRAM-intensive and require at least 1GB, with 2GB of VRAM or more being preferable. If you want to take full advantage of 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
– excessive geometry

and if you have a graphics card with less than 1GB of VRAM, you should consider upgrading your graphics card.

Using Multiple View Panes with different visibilities in all panes can be VRAM-intensive and require at least 2GB of VRAM, with 3GB or more recommended for large Vectorworks documents.

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. In general, a recent graphics card running the latest drivers is preferable to an old high-end graphics card running outdated drivers.

Vision Pro requires a dedicated OpenGL 3.0 compatible graphics card preferably released in the past three years. We do not recommend any integrated Intel video chipset. While Vision may run under these environments, we do not support them due to their lack of performance and speed.

For the latest information on our graphics card recommendations for Vectorworks 2018, 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 Boot Camp on Mac machines. 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.

Optimizing Performance

For users who work with large files and complex renderings, we recommend running with at least 8GB of RAM. 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 a 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 Vectorworks including all content files. You can reduce this size by opting to not install some of the larger Vectorworks content files.

Project Sharing and Network Bandwidth

The performance of Vectorworks when working on a shared project over the network will depend on the available network bandwidth. If the network bandwidth is insufficient, operations that transfer large amount of data over the network will be slow.

We recommend at minimum a Fast Ethernet (100Mbit/s) network connection. For large projects, a Gigabit Ethernet (1Gbit/s) network is required for a fast and fluid experience.

Project sharing using cloud-based storages requires a high-speed internet connection (50Mbit/s or above). This method of sharing works best with small teams or small projects. It is not recommended for large teams or large projects.

Although project sharing requires high-speed network connections in general, slower network speeds can still provide a satisfactory user experience if you minimize operations that transfer large amounts of data over the network (such as committing changes to the project file or refreshing a local working file).

Examples of data transfer times during commit and refresh operations for different bandwidths and project file sizes are shown in the chart below.

Project File Size Network Bandwidth (download/upload) Commit/Refresh Data Transfer Time
100 MB 50Mbit/s ~20s
100Mbit/s ~10s
1Gbit/s ~1s
500 MB 50Mbit/s ~100s
100Mbit/s ~50s
1Gbit/s ~5s
1GB 50Mbit/s ~200s
100Mbit/s ~100s
1Gbit/s ~10s

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