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  • Vectorworks 2015 System Recommendations

    PVA - Jim

    For Vectorworks 2016, visit THIS PAGE.

    The following are real-world system recommendations for running Vectorworks 2015.  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 2015, the minimum OS requirement for Macintosh is OS X 10.7.5.



    Operating System:  
    OS X 10.7
    OS X 10.8
    OS X 10.9
    OS X 10.10

    Intel Core i5 or better

    Other Hardware:
    DVD-ROM drive (dual layer)

    Screen Resolution:
    Recommended: 1280x800
    Minimum: 1024x768

    Display color depth:
    15 bit or higher

    System Memory (RAM):
    4GB minimum, 8GB for best user experience




    Operating System: 
    Windows XP SP 3
    Windows Vista SP 2
    Windows 7 SP 1
    Windows 8.1

    Intel Core i5 or better

    Other Hardware:
    DVD-ROM drive (dual layer)

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

    Display color depth:
    15 bit or higher

    System Memory (RAM):
    4GB minimum, 8GB for best user experience

    Individual Product Requirements:

    Vectorworks  Fundamentals:
    RAM: 2GB Minimum*, 4GB recommended
    Hard drive space: 10GB free
    Vectorworks  Fundamentals plus Renderworks:
    RAM: 4GB Minimum*, 8GB or more recommended
    Hard drive space: 10GB free

    Vectorworks Designer:
    RAM: 2GB Minimum*, 4GB or more recommended
    Hard drive space: 10GB free
    Vectorworks Designer plus Renderworks:
    RAM: 4GB Minimum*,  8GB or more recommended
    Hard drive space: 10GB free

    *See the discussion in the Optimizing Performance section below.

    Video Cards


    We do not recommend integrated (non-dedicated) graphics hardware of any kind for Vectorworks. Intel HD, Intel Iris and Intel Iris Pro graphics perform poorly in internal testing.

    IMPORTANT – Like past releases, Vectorworks 2015 added improvements which placed still 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 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 1920x1080 or less should be driven by a graphics card with at least 512MB of VRAM.  Larger displays, such as displays that are 30” or larger, should use a modern graphics card with at least 1GB of VRAM, with 2GB or more recommended.

    OpenGL rendering of shadows and edges are VRAM-intensive and require at least 512MB, with 2GB of VRAM 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

    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 2015, see THIS ARTICLE.


    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.


    32-bit / 64-Bit Machines


    On the Mac, Vectorworks is a 64-bit application and will run on all supported MacOS versions.


    On Windows, Vectorworks can be run as either a 32-bit application or as a 64-bit application.  


    Optimizing Performance


    For users who run in a 64-bit environment and 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 Designer with Renderworks including all content files. You can reduce this size by opting to not install some of the larger Vectorworks content files.

    Edited by JimW

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