Last Modified: 09/2/2015
The following are real-world system requirements for running Vectorworks 2016. 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.
Vectorworks 2016 and later are 64 bit applications. 32bit operating systems will NOT be able to run Vectorworks 2016 and later.
Mac OS X 10.9
Mac OS X 10.10
Mac OS X 10.11
Windows 7 SP 1 (64-bit)
Windows 8 (64-bit)
Windows 8.1 (64-bit)
Windows 10 (64-bit)
64-bit Intel Core i5 (or AMD equivalent), Intel Xeon E4 series or better
4GB minimum - 8 GB recommended
8GB – 16GB recommended for large files and complex renderings.
OpenGL 2.1 compatible graphics card
VRAM: 1GB (minimum), 2GB-4GB (recommended)
A dedicated graphics card is highly recommended
1440 x 900 minimum
1920 x 1080 or higher recommended
* See the discussion in the Optimizing Performance section below.
** See the discussion in the Graphics Card section below.
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 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. Graphics 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 1920x1080 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
- 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".
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 but you should not expect good 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.
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.
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 Designer with Renderworks 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, Gigabit Ethernet (1Gbit/s) networks are highly recommended for a fast and fluid experience. Slower networks can still provide a satisfactory user experience if operations that transfer large amount of data over the network, such as committing changes to the project file or refreshing a local working file, are kept to a minimum.
For the latest support information on Vectorworks 2016, go to the Vectorworks Knowledgebase and search for "2016"
Edited by JimW