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Mac Pro Xeon E5 advice

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Hi All,

Apologies if this has been covered off before / elsewhere (I did look, briefly at least...)

I'm in a bit of a predicament with my hardware selection and just wanted to get an idea as to whether other users have had similar problems and found any resolutions.

I'm running a 2013 Mac Pro (El Cap 10.11.1), Quad Core, Xeon E5 processors, 32GB Ram with AMD firepro D300 graphics and I am having constant, relentless and varying issues using Vectorworks (2016, SP2).

Vectorworks UK are telling me that as my processors are E5 instead of i5 that this is causing the problems, but I am struggling to accept that this would cause sometimes even simple tasks to fall over.

I'm aware my machine does not meet the 'minimum spec' and can accept some degraded performance as a result, but was not expecting anything like I am experiencing.

I'd be really grateful for some anecdotal input from other users who've had similar issues so I can try and work out a way forward. I'm struggling to accept that I'll end up having to use my Mac Pro as the bin it was designed to be rather than a high end machine I had hoped it would be.

For what it is worth, I have tried multiple system re-installs (from the OS up).

Thanks in advance.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

After these system installs, did you start from anew blank user account or did you backup/migrate from your older installations into it?

Xeons might have varying render speeds and different ratios for the various render phases, but I wouldn't expect them to flat out cause problems compared straight across with an i5/i7.

Also, what kinds of issues were you seeing? I may be able to point you in the right direction.

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Hi Jim, thanks for your reply.

After the installs I did set up with a completely new OS account. No migrations, everything was reinstalled from scratch - I ended up doing a complete format and reinstall.

In terms of the issues, the general complaint is very slow response to pretty much all actions and tasks (selecting, zooming, panning, changing views etc), but it is compounded when I am working with more complex files.

I find the software hangs (long pause and spinning beach ball) when doing things like editing the properties / going in and out of an object, group or symbol.

If I select a number of objects (like 50 tables and chairs for example) I occasionally experience a crash (seems to be the more objects the higher the chance), but it always takes a long time for the objects to become selected and then even longer for the info (numbers of objects etc.) to appear in the Obj. Info palette.

Also worth mentioning that I am running VW2016 (SP2) on my Mac Book Pro (10.11.1) which provides a much better experience in general viewing and editing of files. In fact Vectorworks can take up to 4 times longer to start up on my Mac Pro than on my MacBook!

The actual rendering performance (speed) however on my Mac Pro is better than my Mac Book.

I'm aware this is possibly a bit unspecific...


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Hi Jim, I've uploaded a short clip using a file I am just starting to work on. What the screen capture doesn't really show is the delay between selecting or editing an object and the fact that the spinning beach ball appears each and every time! The drawing itself is a simple one and even has issues with all the complex objects hidden. Larger set ups with complex scenic elements, more seating and in larger venues compound the problems significantly.

Maybe I am just expecting too much!


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  • 1 month later...

Apologies for the bump, but was just wondering Jim / anyone if you ever managed to identify any similar issues or had any other thoughts about what I could do to possibly resolve my ongoing performance issues?

I'm a bit desperate as I move in to another very busy period of planning, and I'm pretty dismayed at the lack of engagement and support from the UK distributor - best solution they could offer was to advise I update my graphics driver software... the 'OS' penny never really dropped with them, but shows how much attention they paid to my system profile report :).

8 years of using VW without too many issues, last 6 months have been really painful. Even knowing that other people are running similar hardware set ups to me either with / without problems would help me a bit.

Thanks all, apologies for the whine too.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

I was unable to replicate this here in 2016 SP2 on the 2013 Mac Pros we have, there is a D300 and D700 version here and neither presented with these issues (One was OS X 10.10.5 and the other was 10.11). Do you have the same problems if only one monitor is connected? Honestly if after a clean wipe the issues still persist often its hardware related but this isn't a normal case.

There is no real way of manually updating graphics drivers on Macs other than regular OS updates, theyre normally behind Windows drivers by a good bit because of that.

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Hi Jim, thanks for the reply - at least I know in principal my system should work OK, so I will try a full reinstall again and see where this gets me. I haven't tried with one monitor to be honest, so will give that a go as well.

As far as the drivers go, yes I am very aware that updating drivers is a windows thing and not a mac thing - It would be nice if VW support in the UK appreciated this too and didn't just go through the motions by offering windows based troubleshooting solutions to Mac users.


"We have seen that assigning Vectorworks its on driver or increasing the driver performance has improved the quality of Vectorworks.

We have found a useful link that will help you add Vectorworks (instead of serato) to your programs list:


And this:

"We have been informed by the software engineers that the minimum requirement to run Vectorworks 2016 is an i5 processor.

This is the likely cause for the software reacting very slowly on the desktop machine.

Please see the 2016 System Requirements for 2016 below:


Is the full extent of support my VSS subscription solicited - Thanks for engaging a little more Jim :)

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