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    Vectorworks 2012 System Recommendations

    PVA - Jim

    The following are real-world system recommendations for running Vectorworks 2012.  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.  The Vectorworks user experience is always improved by faster processors and additional RAM.

    Important note: For Vectorworks 2012, the minimum requirement for the Macintosh is Mac OS 10.5.7 running on an Intel processor.


    General Recommendations

    Operating System:  
    Mac OS X 10.5

    Mac OS X 10.6

    Mac OS X 10.7

    Mac OS X 10.8

    Other Software:

    Intel Core 2GHz or better

    Other Hardware:
    DVD-ROM drive (dual layer)

    Screen Resolution:
    Recommended: 1280x800
    Minimum: 1024x768

    Display color depth:
    15 bit or higher

    Operating System: 
    Windows XP SP 3
    Windows Vista SP 2
    Windows 7 SP 1

    Other Software:
    QuickTime 7.6 to 7.6.9
    (higher versions not recommended)

    Pentium 2GHz or better

    Other Hardware:
    DVD-ROM drive (dual layer)

    Screen Resolution:
    Recommended: 1280x800
    Minimum: 1024 x 768 

    Display color depth:
    15 bit or higher

    Product Requirements:

    Vectorworks  Fundamentals:
    RAM: 1GB Minimum*, 2GB recommended
    Hard drive space: 10GB free
    Vectorworks  Fundamentals plus Renderworks:
    RAM: 2GB Minimum*, 4GB recommended
    Hard drive space: 10GB free

    Vectorworks Designer:
    RAM: 1GB Minimum*, 2GB recommended
    Hard drive space: 10GB free
    Vectorworks Designer plus Renderworks:
    RAM: 2GB Minimum*,  4GB recommended
    Hard drive space: 10GB free

    *See the discussion in the Optimizing Performance section below.

    Additional Details

    Video Cards:

    IMPORTANT - Vectorworks 2009 introduced a completely new document interaction interface which depends on a high bandwidth interface between the CPU and the screen. This has the potential to provide a very fast and fluid screen interface if used on appropriate hardware or a noticeably slower interface if used on the wrong hardware. It is especially important to choose a CPU and video card which are current-generation if you use Vectorworks on a very high resolution 30" monitor. Some users may be dissatisfied with 30" monitors when used with older generation processors or video cards. In general, starting with Vectorworks 2009, the more powerful your video card is, the better your Vectorworks experience will be.


    We strongly recommend that all users check that their video drivers are current. Most functional problems have been traced to older video drivers during our testing.


    Please also note that, while modern GeForce cards on the Mac generally behave pretty well with sufficient VRAM, some users have reported stability and performance problems with older NVIDIA GeForce 6800 and 7300 cards starting with MacOS 10.5.6, even when using the most up-to-date drivers. While some users may experience acceptable performance using these cards, we recommend using a more modern NVIDIA card like the GeForce 8800GT for those users who use NVIDIA cards.

    Any video card used with Vectorworks should have a minimum of 512MB dedicated (Non-shared) RAM.

    Strict Minimums:

    The absolute software version requirements in order for Vectorworks to launch are often but not always more relaxed than our recommendations. Vectorworks 2012 requires the following as an absolute minimum:



    • Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista SP2, Windows 7 SP1, or later
    • QuickTime 7.6.0
    • All attached video monitors set to 15 bits per pixel or higher


    • Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later
    • QuickTime 7.0
    • All attached video monitors set to 15 bits per pixel or higher


    We do not currently have strict runtime checks of other aspects of the machine configuration such as the processor architecture.


    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 - 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 most 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 2012.


    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 2012, as it will take full use of 64 bit addressing.


    With those recommendations having been made, we have noticed that drivers for 64 bit Windows can be somewhat more problematic than those for the more mainstream 32 bit versions of Windows. Should you choose to run 64 bit Windows you should make sure that you carefully choose your hardware and driver versions to avoid problems.


    Optimizing Performance


    Faster or slower processor clock speeds have a predictable impact on Vectorworks performance. We choose our recommendation based on our perception of mainstream needs and the current available hardware.


    RAM requirements are usually driven by performance considerations. Large files and especially complex rendering modes consume large amounts of memory. 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.


    Hard drive size requirements are driven by the total size of Designer with Renderworks including all content files. You can easily reduce this size by opting to not install some Vectorworks content files.


    More Information


    For the latest support information on Vectorworks 2012 go to the Vectorworks Knowledgebase and search for "2012".

    Edited by JimW

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