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PVA - Jim

Vectorworks 2015 , 64bit and other technical questions

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I have been cleared to answer questions related to hardware, system requirements, compatibility and the conversion to 64bit here publicly ahead of the official 2015 release. Ask anything you like, I will answer if possible.

A few questions and answers that have come up already:

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Q: Will Vectorworks 2015 be 64 bit?

A: Yes! Vectorworks 2015 will be 64bit on Mac OS X (so, any Mac running OS X 10.7 and up at the moment) and will have both 32bit and 64bit versions on the Windows side. This is mainly to allow for Windows XP to still run Vectorworks this next year but I am fairly certain this will be the last year we support XP at all since Microsoft already dropped it in April. Most likely the following year Windows will be 64bit only as well.

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Q:

I know when 64bit transitions happened in the past for other developers efficiency went down the drain (cough Adobe) . Have you noticed if in VW, the same tasks require more cpu or ram?

Also, have you experienced how well VW performs when working on larger files with millions of polygons. If you have enough ram, does it bog down or does it chug along as if you had a model with less than a million?

A: Luckily since there was so much optimization and squeezing to try to get Vectorworks 2014 and prior to fit within the limits of 32bit, once rewritten for 64bit we did not suffer from the bloat that a lot of other applications did. The application is about the same size installed, any significant differences in size are pretty much all related to object libraries.

Larger files may still bog down speed wise, but Vectorworks should no longer buckle and crash except in extreme scenarios with multiple millions of polys or massive files, it will bulldoze through the workload in its way and then resume functioning where before it would smack into the memory cap and never recover.

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Q:

Now that is done is there more 'space' for the refinement of exsisting tools and faster development of new tools?

A: Yes! The conversion of Vectorworks to 64bit took a huge percentage of our total engineering resources and spanned multiple years. It took so long because we wanted to keep adding new features at the same time. Now, all development can return to correcting existing limitations and adding completely new features.

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System requirements/recommendations:

Optimizing performance in general:

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.

Operating System:

Mac:

You will need OS X 10.7, 10.8, 10.9 or 10.10 (when it officially launches). Vectorworks 2015 has worked well on the test releases of 10.10, if there is a significant difference between the beta releases from Apple of 10.10 and the final release version that make Vectorworks 2015 incompatible, it will be patched ASAP.

Windows:

This will be the LAST year you will be able to use Windows XP most likely. I personally recommend Windows 7 64bit currently. Windows 8.1 64bit is also showing promise but it still has some weird quirks to it and takes some getting used to.

RAM:

You should have a minimum of 8GB. If you have less, there have been improvements in 2015 that allow it to stuff itself into smaller amounts without becoming unstable as it did in the past, but honestly, RAM is VERY cheap compared to how much it benefits your daily work. I personally recommend that 8GB be the minimum you consider.

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Exciting news Jim. What can the average VW user expect to see that is different to the 32 bit version?

I know when I'm placing plant groups in Landmark (if the symbol is complex) there can be a significant lag when trying to re-size a large group. Will this sort of action be improved?

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Exciting news Jim. What can the average VW user expect to see that is different to the 32 bit version?

I know when I'm placing plant groups in Landmark (if the symbol is complex) there can be a significant lag when trying to re-size a large group. Will this sort of action be improved?

Yes, lag seems reduced across the board even for planting plans and light plots (which tend to get bogged down the most.) It will still slow down in files with many thousands of complex polys, but to a much smaller degree in the testing I have done and seen here than in 2014 and prior versions.

The lag in 3D Wireframe and OpenGL is almost completely gone, it really only lags once it reaches the limits of your graphics hardware. In testing here, the more hardware I threw at it, the faster it got.

Top/Plan will get the full benefits of this next time around most likely, at which point pretty much all drafting/navigation speed problems in Vectorworks will be a thing of the past.

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Returning to a previous discussion--now that you are able to talk about the actual pending release--is there a significant performance difference between a low end MacPro and a maxed out iMac?

Dillon

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Returning to a previous discussion--now that you are able to talk about the actual pending release--is there a significant performance difference between a low end MacPro and a maxed out iMac?

The current Mac Pro has dual graphics cards, which unfortunately will not benefit Vectorworks specifically. We can currently only take advantage of one graphics card at a time.

So as of this post and looking at Apple's spec page, the breakdown pits only ONE of the Mac Pro's two AMD FirePro D300s vs the iMacs single Nvidia GeForce 775M.

These cards are both excellent on their own, so much so that most likely you will be getting the max possible best performance in Vectorworks from both of them, with the Mac Pro winning out only in VERY complex OpenGL situations with max light sources, shadows, transparency and textures all over the place.

During regular 3D wireframe/OpenGL use, you would likely not notice the difference in graphics performance.

However in Renderworks, the base Mac Pro would likely trounce the maxed out iMac in rendering times. as 8 logical cores at 3.7GHz for the Mac Pro beats out 8 logical cores at 3.4GHz on the iMac. In addition to the Xeon (the CPU in the Mac Pro) being better built for heavy tasks like rendering and (this is personal suspicion) I am willing to bet the Mac Pro has superior cooling, meaning it can run hotter for longer before having to throttle itself down to prevent overheating.

That being said, I am normally a Windows guy... but I had the chance to use both the base Mac Pro and the maxed Mac Pro, and they were the smoothest and fastest pieces of hardware I have ever laid my nerdy fingers upon.

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Thanks for the response. You hear this a lot, but your posts have made a world of difference in my feelings about VW.

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Thank you very much. I do what I can to help. I am working to get as much information out to you guys as possible and get all relevant feedback to the right ears internally. It's going well so far!

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Another thing I forgot! QuickTime is no longer needed.

All the components of Vectorworks (The UI in general and animation/movie creation) now rely on either the VGM or other internal technologies. No more keeping track of which version of QuickTime you have installed or making sure to update it regularly or messing up your iTunes libraries during troubleshooting.

This was only ever an issue for users on Windows, but for us in support it was a common culprit of "Can't launch Vectorworks" issues. I'm glad to see it go.

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With the introduction of 64 bit to VW, will we have the ability to choose a session based default 3D render mode?

i.e. all renders in 3D can be defaulted to hidden line? Live hidden line rendering?

Edited by Kizza

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That's outside of what I am able to discuss so far, unfortunately.

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Sorry if this has been asked but will VW 2015 take advantage of multithreaded processors, other than just renderworks?

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Given that most present graphical limitations are likely due to not being 64 bit, I didn't feel it inappropriate to ask..

How stable is it then?

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How stable is it then?

That's the 64 million bit question!

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Sorry if this has been asked but will VW 2015 take advantage of multithreaded processors, other than just renderworks?

Not entirely yet in the way you mean. More of the underlying work that Vectorworks has to do is multicore, but normally these actions are not the majority of the slowdowns. Its next up for the big background features.

Given that most present graphical limitations are likely due to not being 64 bit, I didn't feel it inappropriate to ask..

How stable is it then?

Nothing is inappropriate to ask here, I just can't answer some things yet. Ask away and I'll do my best. For release I will do a full AMA (Ask Me Anything) as well where I won't be so limited. I will also try to come back to older threads and retroactively answer questions whose answers were considered secrets at the time of asking.

Its REALLY stable. Often during testing of the early releases I come across crashes with new tools or converting old files but 2015 seems extremely resilient to abuse. In situations where 2014 and earlier would buckle and crash 2015 will plow on and recover after completing the operation.

That said, I'm sure its still possible to break it, but I was pretty abusive to it in testing and it held up better than any version prior by a large margin.

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i.e. all renders in 3D can be defaulted to hidden line? Live hidden line rendering?

How about:

"a fix for this annoyance is coming soon"?

;)

In any case, while it's certainly good news that VW2015 is stable and 64bit, it's good to remember that the other big boys have had these for years. It's about the other goodies as well....

Edited by Kizza

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Its the other goodies they wont let me off the leash about! I will chew through the straps ASAP.

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The current Mac Pro has dual graphics cards, which unfortunately will not benefit Vectorworks specifically. We can currently only take advantage of one graphics card at a time.

With the Mac Pro's dual graphics is it safe to assume that if/when Cinema 4D starts using the GPU for rendering, it would simply port into the next edition of VW?

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Hi Jim

Great news that not only are we going to get 64 bit, but the fact that the freeing up of the tech team will allow our other gripes to be sorted and new features added.

One question on 64bit for windows, are you saying this will be available alongside 32 bit or will not be available at all until next year when XP support dies?

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With the Mac Pro's dual graphics is it safe to assume that if/when Cinema 4D starts using the GPU for rendering, it would simply port into the next edition of VW?

Actually I do not know. I know we plan to keep upgrading to the different versions of their engine, but I do not know if simply swapping out the rendering engine with a newer version that does GPU rendering will allow Renderworks to do it directly. I will check.

So did anyone ask? When??? 2014 was released in October I believe.

"When" is on the list of things I cannot discuss, sadly.

One question on 64bit for windows, are you saying this will be available alongside 32 bit or will not be available at all until next year when XP support dies?

On the Windows side there will be both 64bit and 32bit this year, the installer will simply check your OS and install the correct version I believe. Next year most likely, or at least "soon" there will only be a 64bit version for Windows.

Jim,

Is Renderworks rendering faster?

Renderworks is (and was in 2014) pretty much tied directly to your hardware's max speed already. 2015 has a small amount of optimization that wasn't in last time around, but in speed comparisons I have not noticed a huge bump. Maybe on the order or 5-10% faster in 2015 in some cases when you go from the 32bit version to the 64bit version, but not a constant speed increase across the board.

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Jim,

Is Renderworks rendering faster?

Bruce, I suspect much of this is tied to which version of CineRender is being used by VW. VW may have improved the code that passes things to the renderer though.

VW seems to have moved to CineRender 14 with VW2014. It was using CineRender 12 before that. VW also doesn't unlock all of the CineRender features. Maxon has added a lot of new features which VW doesn't leverage yet (Physical Renderer, better Global Illumination and most recently the Reflectance Channel in R16). CineRender is very efficient and built for a competitive industry so it moves forward on a much faster development cycle.

This is just a guess, but given that Dave from NV was asking about what we wanted to see in the way of rendering improvements not that long ago on these forums, I would say the renderer is going to be switched over to a newer version in VW2016.

Kevin

Edited by Kevin McAllister

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