Choosing a computer to run Vectorworks
requires a little understanding of what's under the covers of the machine. The latest system requirements for Vectorworks
are maintained by Vectorworks
themselves and we recommend you review them to see the latest advice. However, this page is here to demystify some of the technical terms. Graphics software requires a number of elements inside the computer in order to run to its optimum capability. These elements are the processor (CPU), Memory (RAM), Graphics Card and Graphics Memory (VRAM).
The processor is the brain inside the computer. It's the bit that does stuff when you ask the computer to do something. Processors are rated in terms of speed - how many things it can do in a second. Most processors now have a "dual core" or "quad core" meaning that they can split the task into two or four (but only if the application is written in a way that can be split). It's like queuing at the Post Office - one queue, but many counters open to help you. If your machine does not have a fast enough processor, you will find Vectorworks will not perform well. Processors cannot easily be upgraded. A processor upgrade will be a similar cost to a new computer.
The memory (RAM) is the part of the computer where the processor can store stuff it is working on. When your machine is switched on, any applications you wish to run are stored in memory. Once the machine is switched off, the memory is lost unless you have first saved work to your hard drive (which is the same as putting something back into your filing cabinet after working on it). Memory can usually be upgraded fairly easily - although do check that this will be possible for whichever machine you choose.
Graphics cards are dedicated bits of hardware which allow your computer to process graphic information quickly and efficiently. Many cheaper PCs will have a basic graphics capability built into the main processor and you will not have the choice to add a separate graphics card. These are NOT SUITABLE for running Vectorworks. Vectorworks requires a graphics card with its own dedicated graphics memory! See the recommendations from Vectorworks, Inc. for the latest information on recommended graphics cards. If you do not have appropriate graphics hardware, you find that Vectorworks crashes and is very sluggish to use. Vectorworks have a list of tested hardware to help you make a choice.
32 bit or 64 bit? a 32 bit piece of software (application) can only address (talk to) 3 GB of memory (RAM), whereas a 64 bit application can address far larger amounts of memory (more than your machine is likely to accommodate!). Since the release of Vectorworks 2016, Vectorworks is only available as a 64-bit application which means it can address large amounts of memory. Renderworks is also a 64 bit appllcation. Both must be run on a 64 bit operating system such as Mac OS 10.9 or higher, or the 64 bit edition of Microsoft Windows. For those with older versions of Windows, which are 32-bit, you will not be able to run the latest version of Vectorworks.
Do you need an Apple Macintosh? Vectorworks runs on either PC or Mac - and you don't need to decide when you place your order. The software you receive can be installed on either platform. We love our Macs, and have never met someone who regretted buying one. But of course if you are a Windows/PC person we can support and train you on either platform!