Video Card/Graphic Guidelines for Vectorworks

Once in a while we’ll have a Vectorworks user that’s recently upgraded inform us that objects intermittently disappear from their screen that were visible with the previous release. Often this an issue related to an older, underpowered graphics card or outdated graphics card drivers.

In the recent versions Vectorworks  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. Graphic cards should support at a minimum OpenGL version 2.1; cards not meeting this recommendation will have limited functionality and poor performance, particularly when rendering in OpenGL mode. 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.

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 graphics card recommendations for Vectorworks 2016, go to the Vectorworks Knowledgebase and search for “OpenGL”.

This purpose of this document is to provide guidance for users looking to purchase a new computer or upgrade exiting video hardware.

For information on specific known video graphic cards issues, please consult the following knowledge-base article: Click here

 

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