Recommended Computer Workstations For Archicad [2021]

Best Workstation For Archicad

Archicad is a hugely popular, user-friendly and efficient BIM software package containing a vast collection of powerful tools. However, configuring a Workstation optimised to Archicad can be a challenge due to the varied features available such as 2D / 3D modelling, photorealistic rendering and analysis, creating conflicting demands on your hardware. This article explores the different hardware requirements Archicad has to discover the best Workstation configuration to optimise your BIM workflows.

CPU

The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is key to all Workstation builds. Selecting the right CPU for your specific tasks is essential for optimal performance and critical to ensuring compatibility with other hardware you may require. There are two main factors to consider when selecting your processor for BIM use. The first consideration you should make is the number of cores and threads you will need. The second consideration is the frequency or clock speed of those processor’s cores.

Archicad is primarily a 2D / 3D modelling software application, and similarly to other modelling applications, Archicad runs significantly better on high clock speed processors. Processors with high clock speeds often have lower core counts, which has the added benefit of making them cost-effective. If your primary use for Archicad is modelling, we recommend either an Intel Core or AMD Ryzen based Workstation. Make sure to select a CPU that gives the very best clock speeds available to maximise performance.

If you plan to do other tasks on the system, such as CPU rendering, you will benefit more from a higher core count processor such as those found in our AMD Ryzen Threadripper range of Workstations. Alternatively, for occasional rendering, a high-end AMD Ryzen 9 solution may offer you better value for money while maintaining high modelling clock speeds.

If you plan on GPU rendering, then the CPU is no longer required for creating those images and therefore, the extra cores and threads of the AMD Ryzen Threadripper will be unnecessary. However, you may still wish to select a higher-end processor option such as the AMD Ryzen Threadripper solutions if you plan on using multiple Graphics in your system. See below for more details on GPU rendering as an option.

Graphics Cards

Like all 2D / 3D modelling professional applications, we recommend installing a professional NVIDIA graphics card over a consumer focused NVIDIA GeForce alternative. NVIDIA Quadro graphics cards are designed and built specifically for professional workflows and run on stringently tested drivers to guarantee stability and maximum performance. They also support features such as ECC memory and enhanced compute capabilities, which can be very beneficial.

We recommend selecting an NVIDIA Quadro Graphics card with 2-4GB of VRAM (Graphical Memory) for light users and people starting to learn Archicad. For more intensive workloads then you may require 6+ GB of VRAM.

If you plan on GPU rendering with applications such as Lumion, then selecting a graphics card with more CUDA cores will be a massive benefit to you. For even more performance, think about opting for multiple graphics cards. GPU rendering scales very well; therefore, adding a second graphics card of the same type often leads to nearly a 100% boost in performance and is often cheaper than buying a single high-end graphics card.

Memory

Archicad can require a relatively large amount of system memory (RAM) to perform optimally. However, it is important not to overspend on too much memory. Excess memory offers no performance benefits, but upgrading your CPU or graphics card will provide dramatic improvements. Balancing memory capacity is essential, however, as not having enough memory will hurt performance dramatically.

We generally recommend 16GB for entry to mid-level users and 32-64GB for intensive users. You may also wish to increase your memory capacities if you intend on running multiple programs simultaneously. Following these recommendations means you should have plenty of memory to ensure your Workstation operates smoothly without wasting your budget.

If you have an existing Archicad system, we recommend checking Windows Task Manager while working on one of your current projects to refine your Memory requirements even more. Contact us today if you need any further assistance.

Storage

There are currently three major types of storage often used within Workstations today. Traditional Hard Disk Drives (HDD), SATA based Solid State Drives (SSD) and NVMe Solid State Drives (NVMe SSD). HDD’s provide outstanding value for money and the largest capacities for storage drives, but they are very slow compared to SSD’s. SATA SSD’s are more expensive than HDD’s but are faster than a traditional HDD. NVMe SSD’s use PCIe technology rather than SATA to transfer data making them the quickest and best-performing option by a significant amount. There is a premium to pay for this speed, but the increase in performance has made them by far the most popular drives today.

We recommend a 2-drive configuration of either a SATA SSD or NVMe SSD, depending on your budget. The SSD is for your primary operating system, applications and active project files. A traditional Hard Disk Drive should also be installed for cost-effective long-term bulk storage. This combination has become very popular amongst Workstation users as it offers excellent value for money and large storage capacities while maintaining exceptional performance.

Recommended Archicad Specifications

Project SizeEntry-levelMid-rangeHigh-end
CPUAMD Ryzen 5 / AMD Ryzen 7
Intel Core i5 / Intel Core i7
AMD Ryzen 9
Intel Core i9
AMD Ryzen Threadripper
Intel Core X-Series
Memory16GB DDR416GB+ DDR432-64GB DDR4
Graphics Card2GB+ VRAM4GB+ VRAM6GB+ VRAM
StorageSATA SSD + HDDNVME SSD + HDDNVME SSD + HDD

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