Best Computer For ArchiCAD

ArchiCAD is a popular BIM and 3D design software package. Whether your field of work is architecture, design, or construction, it would be greatly beneficial to have a well optimised ArchiCAD computer.

In this article, we’ll be talking about the components you need to build the best workstation PC for ArchiCAD.

CPU – Single-Thread or Multi-Thread?

Different software makes use of the CPU in different ways. To elaborate, certain software has tasks that use multiple cores, but other programs only really use 1 or 2 cores. 

Frequency is often conflated with this kind of performance, but this is not always the case. IPC (Instructions per Clock) is another important factor, and benchmark comparisons are more important than comparing GHz.

This makes it important to have the latest generation processor and platform in your system. Each new generation of processor will have increased single-threaded performance over the previous.

CPU multi-thread comparison
CPU single-thread comparison

The benchmarks above show how CPU performance can very between generations and platforms. 

A Threadripper is better for multi-threaded tasks, but is outperformed by a much more affordable Ryzen 7 in single-threaded processes. 

A previous generation i9 costs more than the Ryzen 7 and even has a higher boost frequency (5.0GHz vs 4.7GHz) but is outperformed in both areas.

CPU – Frequency

Although this program is used for 3D modelling, which is undoubtedly a visual application, you may be surprised to know that it is not very intensive on a system’s GPU. ArchiCAD scales with CPU threads and frequency.

Tasks like modelling are single threaded applications, which means it’s important that the thread being used is able to run quickly.

A Ryzen 5000 series CPU would be a great choice for your ArchiCAD computer, as these are able to boost up to very high frequencies.

CPU – Core Count

Rendering is where more threads would come in handy. A few years ago, this would have meant that an Intel Xeon CPU is your only option, but this is no longer the case. The latest generation of AMD Ryzen CPUs feature far more cores than earlier generations, with the Ryzen 5 being a 6-core, 12-thread processor. Ryzen 9 CPUs have up to 16 cores, and there are plenty of choices in between. They’re also a lot more affordable than Xeon CPUs with similar specifications, and are unlocked to allow for overclocking.

This makes AMD Ryzen a great option for your ArchiCAD computer, whether you’re looking at speed, cores, or even price.

GPU

As we’ve noted above, An ArchiCAD computer won’t need a very powerful GPU. We should also point out that it is not necessary to use a Nvidia Quadro graphics card for this application. We have found greater performance from regular Nvidia GeForce graphics cards, and these cards also have the benefit of being more affordable than Quadro cards with similar specifications. As such, a GTX1650 will have you covered, and also makes working with multiple monitors a lot easier.

You should, however, take into consideration any other applications you may be using. If you plan on using add-ons such as Enscape, Twinmotion, or Lumion, you’re going to want something more powerful.

An RTX series graphics card, such as an RTX3060, or even up to the new RTX3080, may be a great investment for you.

RAM

ArchiCAD can perform adequately with 16GB RAM. This is great as a starting point, but larger projects tend to use a lot more RAM. For that reason, we would recommend opting for 32GB if it is within your budget. This will allow for optimal performance even on projects like airports and hospitals, and will also leave enough headroom for other applications. It will also make the computer a lot more future proof.

Storage

Storage technology has come a long way over the past decade. Solid State Drives are known to be much faster than mechanical hard drives, but they’re also seen as pretty expensive.

It was pretty common to install the OS on a 120GB SSD, and everything else on a 1TB HDD, so that you could at least start up your PC super quickly.

Recently it’s become more viable to just use a larger SSD, from around 500GB to 1TB, and this is exactly our approach with our PCs. Having everything stored on SSDs means you’ll be able to save and load programs, and also transfer data, at incredible speeds. The SSDs we use are M.2 form factor and use the NVMe protocol, which means they take up no additional space in your case, and are even faster than standard 2.5” SATA drives.

Our Apollo systems currently feature PCIe 3.0 SSDs, and our Vulcan and Hydra system include even faster PCIe 4.0 SSDs.  

SATA vs PCIe

You also still have the option of adding in some HDDs if you need to store projects and media you are not actively working on. We would recommend adding these in at a later stage so you can prioritize parts like the CPU. 

Why choose us?

Often when you purchase a prebuilt system, it hasn’t even been switched on. If you’ve taken a look at our “Why Us?” page, you’ll already be aware of our unmatched assembly and testing processes, our swift and effective customer support, and our extensive technical knowledge and expertise.

Our team is comprised of lifelong computing enthusiasts with backgrounds in computer hardware and software, and we’re able to spot and resolve errors before the system is even shipped. By the time you receive your system, the likelihood of any kind of failure is as close to zero as possible. If you do encounter any issues, we’ll most likely be able to sort it out for you remotely, and in that rare case you’ll need to send the system in, you’ll be covered by our 3-Year (or 4-Year) warranty and lifetime hardware support.

Our systems combine the performance of enthusiast grade components and the stability of professional workstations. Yes, there are other places you can spend your money, but in terms of actual performance and quality, we simply have no competition. 

Conclusion

As we said before, each Modena Computers Workstation is custom built to the workflow and budget requirements of its user. It’s important to consider other programs you may want to use with this workstation.

During our consultation process, you can let us know exactly which programs you want to use with your machine, and we’ll be happy to help you understand what you need. 

Keep in mind that opting for higher performance right out of the gate offers much greater value than getting exactly what you need right now. A higher performance PC won’t need downtime to upgrade any time soon, and will also allow you to complete more work in less time. It could pay itself off a lot sooner than a more affordable option.  

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