Autodesk Hardware Recommendations

This document outlines recommendations for workstation hardware necessary to effectively use Autodesk products. These recommendations are general in nature, do not address unique conditions, and may not be applicable to all customers and situations. These recommendations are provided as a service to the customers of CADD Microsystems (CADD), to assist them in purchasing the most capable workstations at the best price.
This document was written for the 2019 release of Autodesk products but can be used for older versions as well.

Installation Requirements

Operating Systems

There are many choices between operating systems and virtualization, as well as software that is compatible with both. Hopefully, the matrix below will help you make the right choices for your organization.

Architecture, Engineering & Construction Collection

Software Product32-Bit Support64-Bit SupportVirtualization
Autodesk AutoCAD**x1xx
Autodesk AutoCAD Architecturexx
Autodesk AutoCAD MEPxxx
Autodesk AutoCAD Map 3Dxx
Autodesk AutoCAD Plant 3Dxx
Autodesk AutoCAD Electricalx1xx
Autodesk AutoCAD Raster Designx1xx
Autodesk Civil 3Dxx
Autodesk Revitxx
Autodesk Revit Livex
Autodesk Dynamo Studiox
Autodesk Navisworks Managexx
Autodesk 3ds Maxx
Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis Professionalx
Autodesk Vehicle Tracking***x
Autodesk Fabrication CADmepx1x
Autodesk Structural Bridge Designx1x
Autodesk ReCap Prox
Autodesk Advance Steelx
Autodesk InfraWorksx

Design Suites

Software Product32-Bit Support64-Bit SupportVirtualization
AutoCAD Design Suite Standard *xx
AutoCAD Design Suite Premium *xx
AutoCAD Design Suite Ultimate *xx
Autodesk Building Design Suite Standard *xx
Autodesk Building Design Suite Premium *xx
Autodesk Building Design Suite Ultimate *xx
Autodesk Infrastructure Design Suite Standard *xx
Autodesk Infrastructure Design Suite Premium *xx
Autodesk Infrastructure Design Suite Ultimate *xx

Other Point Products

Software Product32-Bit Support64-Bit SupportVirtualization
Autodesk AutoCAD LT**x1xx
Autodesk Navisworks Simulatexx
Autodesk AutoCAD Mechanicalx1xx
Autodesk Inventorxx
Autodesk Mayaxx
  • Not all products in the suite/collection will support virtualization. Refer to the list of exceptions on Autodesk’s system requirements for each individual product.

** Also available for Mac OS X

*** See Host application’s system requirements for 32-bit and virtualization compatibility

x¹ – Not supported on 32-bit version Windows 10

Hard Disk Requirements

Autodesk Suites

With the introduction of suites in 2012, the hard disk requirements have increased significantly, not only for installation but also for the extraction of files associated with the installation process. For example, the Building Design Suite Ultimate 2019 requires 50GB of space just for installation.

Prior to committing to installing a full suite of products, ensure you have the disk space required to install the software you need. Some guidelines are listed below.

Suite ProductInstalled SizeAvailable Space for Installation
Standard Suites15 GB Minimum35 GB free disk space
Premium Suites35 GB Minimum35 GB free disk space
Ultimate Suites50 GB Minimum35 GB free disk space

Autodesk Collections

The series of Collections that Autodesk has introduced are simply a series of individual point products and not all tied to one installer like suites are. Each product in a suite will have its own individual hard disk requirements and you must calculate the free space needed for the products from the collection you wish to install. They are readily available from the Autodesk website.

2D Drafting and Design

The recommendations shown here are geared toward those using AutoCAD or an AutoCAD-based product primarily for two-dimensional (2D) drafting and design. This includes lines, polylines, blocks, text, dimensions, etc. Software used would include:

  • Autodesk AutoCAD
  • Autodesk AutoCAD MEP
  • Autodesk AutoCAD Architecture
  • Autodesk AutoCAD Map 3D

Note: Many of the products listed here contain robust 3D modeling tools, but these recommendations are geared towards those who don’t normally use these features.

Operating System

CADD recommends one of the following:

  • Windows 10 64-bit (Professional)
  • Windows 8/8.1 64-bit (Professional or Enterprise)
  • Windows 7 64 bit (Professional or Ultimate)

These operating systems come in 32-bit or 64-bit versions.  For 2D drafting and design, 32-bit may be sufficient.  However, most workstation-class computers can no longer be purchased with a 32-bit operating system. With Microsoft ending support for Windows XP and since 64-bit is now the norm, Autodesk is slowly phasing out support for 32-bit software.  Windows 10 still offers a 32-bit version install, but Autodesk does not support its products on this platform.

Typically, the extra cost between operating systems is minimal; however, one issue you may encounter, mostly with Windows 8/8.1, is finding hardware drivers that work with the latest operating system.  For more information on the differences between these operating systems, see the section in the Appendix called “32-bit vs. 64-bit Operating Systems”.

CADD recommends:

  • Windows 7 Professional for 2013-2016 Autodesk products
  • Windows 10 for use with 2017-2019 products

CADD does not recommend the use of Windows Vista or Windows XP.  Autodesk has discontinued all product support for Windows Vista and Microsoft’s support for Windows XP expired on April 8, 2014.

Processor / CPU

When it comes to speed, the fastest processor available is usually not worth the premium price for the incremental gains in speed you will see. It is usually better to get the second or third fastest processor which may be only 5%-10% slower, but 2/3 to 1/2 the price.

The number of cores a processor has is also an option when purchasing a new computer. Multi-core processors allow you to take full advantage of processing speed in a 64-bit system, so a quad-core processor is quickly becoming the norm. For Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10 systems, the recommendation is to have, at a minimum, a quad-core, 3Ghz or higher processor.

Memory / RAM

4GB for 32-bit systems

8GB-16GB for 64-bit systems

Hard Disc Drive (HDD)

Storage space is not usually an issue, but speed is. You will need to get at least a 7,200 rpm drive. If your budget allows, the new Solid State HDD’s can have substantial speed improvements, but they are still very expensive.

Graphics Card

Always purchase a separate (discrete) graphics card of at least 1 GB of RAM and avoid “integrated”-only graphics card setups. CADD recommends nVidia Quadro cards, but AMD/ATI also have certified graphics cards as well. It is best to see if Autodesk has tested and certified a particular card before specifying it in a workstation. See the section in the Appendix called “Autodesk Graphics Hardware List” for more information.

3D Modeling and Visualization

The recommendations shown here are geared towards those modeling in three dimensions (3D) and/or creating visualizations. Software used would include:

  • Autodesk Revit
  • Autodesk AutoCAD
  • Autodesk AutoCAD Architecture
  • Autodesk AutoCAD MEP
  • Autodesk AutoCAD Map 3D
  • Autodesk Civil 3D
  • Autodesk Navisworks Simulate / Manage
  • Autodesk 3ds Max / 3ds Max Design
  • Autodesk ReCap*

All of the products listed include robust 3D modeling tools (except Navisworks) as well as rendering engines.

Operating System

CADD recommends one of the following:

  • Windows 10 64 bit (Professional)
  • Windows 8/8.1 64-bit (Professional or Enterprise)
  • Windows 7 64 bit (Professional or Ultimate)

Note: Civil 3D 2014 is only supported on 64-bit operating systems.

Both operating systems come in 32-bit or 64-bit versions. However, most workstation-class computers can no longer be purchased with a 32-bit operating system. With Microsoft ending support for Windows XP and since 64-bit is now the norm, Autodesk is slowly phasing out support for 32-bit software. We recommend that if you plan to work in a true 3D environment you choose a 64-bit operating system.

Typically, the extra cost between operating systems is minimal, However, one issue you may encounter, mostly with Windows 8/8.1, is finding hardware drivers that work with the latest operating system. For more information on the differences between these operating systems, see the section in the Appendix called “32-bit vs. 64-bit Operating Systems”.

CADD recommends:

  • Windows 7 for 2013-2016 Autodesk products*
  • Windows 10 for use with 2017-2019 products

CADD does not recommend Windows Vista or Windows XP since Autodesk has discontinued all product support for Windows Vista and Microsoft’s support for Windows XP expired on April 8, 2014.

*Recap 2015 is not supported on Windows 7 Home Premium.

Processor / CPU

When it comes to speed, the fastest processor available is usually not worth the premium price for the incremental gains in speed you will see. It is usually better to get the second or third fastest processor which may be only 5%-10% slower, but 2/3 to 1/2 the price.

The number of cores a processor has is also an option when purchasing a new computer. Since up to 16 cores can now be utilized for near photorealistic rendering, multi-core processors are recommended for true 3D software such as Revit. For this reason, it is usually worth getting, at minimum, a quad-core processor. For Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10 systems, CADD’s recommendation is to have, at minimum, a quad-core, 3 Ghz or higher processor.

Memory / RAM

You can never have too much RAM. That being said, make sure to have a minimum of 8GB-16GB. Some workstations cannot have 8GB, only 6GB or 12GB for 64-bit.

Hard Disc Drive (HDD)

Storage space is not usually an issue, but speed is. You will want to get at least a 7,200 rpm drive. If your budget allows, the new Solid State HDD’s can have substantial speed improvements, but they are still very expensive.

Graphics Card

Always purchase a separate (discrete) graphics card of at least 1GB of RAM and avoid “integrated”-only graphics card setups. CADD recommends nVidia Quadro cards, but AMD/ATI also have certified graphics cards. It is best to see if Autodesk has tested and certified a particular card before specifying it in a workstation. See the section in the Appendix called “Autodesk Graphics Hardware List” for more information.

Virtualization

Throughout the industry, many firms are opting for a virtualized environment. It allows for flexibility for workers and collaboration across firms. Virtualization is becoming more and more affordable and part of our daily lives.

Because of the specific needs that Autodesk products require, the requirements for virtualization are just as specific.

Virtualization

  • XenApps® 7.6
  • XenDesktop™ 7.6
  • Citrix License Manager
  • Citrix Profile Manager
  • VMWare Horizon® 6.1 or later
  • VMWare VSphere® 6 or later

Server OS

  • Windows Server 2016, Standard and Datacenter Editions
  • Windows Server 2012 R2, Standard and Datacenter Editions
  • Windows Server 2012, Standard and Datacenter Editions
  • Windows Server 2018 R2 SP1, Standard, Enterprise, and Datacenter Editions

Graphics Adapter

Always purchase a separate (discrete) graphics card of a least 1 GB of RAM and avoid “integrated”-only card systems. CADD recommends nVidia Quadro cards, but AMD/ATI also have certified graphics cards as well. It is best to see if Autodesk has tested and certified a particular card before specifying it in a workstation. See the section in the Appendix called “Autodesk Graphics Hardware List” for more information.

Authentication

Windows Active Directory

Roaming Profiles may be supported depending on application.

Client OS

  • Windows 7 SP1 64-bit
  • Windows 8.1 64-bit
  • Windows 10 64-bit

Client Browser

Google Chrome

User Access

Client machines should be bound to the network domain.

Software Exceptions

Autodesk Showcase, AutoCAD Raster Design, Autodesk ReCap, Autodesk Navisworks Simulate, Autodesk Inventor, Autodesk 3ds Max, Autodesk InfraWorks, Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis Professional, Autodesk Navisworks Manage, and XenApp 6.5 FP1 are not supported.

Appendix

32-bit vs. 64-bit Operating Systems

As mentioned above, Windows operating systems come in either 32-bit or 64-bit configurations. 32-bit had been the standard for almost two decades (since Windows 3.1 in 1992). 64-bit configurations have existed since 2003, and are now the standard for high-end workstations. They have distinct advantages over 32-bit systems, some of which are outlined in the table below:

Feature32-Bit64-Bit
Maximum amount of total system RAM4GB128GB+
Maximum amount of RAM dedicated to an application running2GB

(3GB with some tweaking)

No limit if it’s a 64-bit software

2GB if it’s a 32-bit software

Computing SpeedSignificant increase for 64-bit software

As you can see from this chart, you need to be running 64-bit applications to take advantage of a 64-bit operating system. Fortunately, since the 2010 release, most Autodesk products come in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions, and they are both included with your purchase (in other words, you don’t have to pay extra for the 64-bit version).

With each version year release, Autodesk is slowly phasing out compatibility with 32-bit operating systems. 2019 Collections and Suites have limited compatibility with 32-bit systems. AutoCAD, AutoCAD LT. AutoCAD Architecture and AutoCAD MEP are the few remaining products with 32-bit compatibility.

Most computers built within the last 4 years are 64-bit capable, but many of them may be running a 32-bit operating system. There is a free utility called CPU-Z (www.cpuid.com) that can be used to find out whether your workstation is 64-bit capable or not. If it is, it may be much cheaper to simply upgrade your workstation instead of purchasing a new one by getting a 64-bit operating system, adding RAM (if possible – check your workstation’s user manual), and possibly replacing your graphics card.

Autodesk Graphics Hardware List

The graphics card on your system is one of the most important resources your software uses. Autodesk is constantly testing graphics card drivers for how well they run with their products. You can use the Graphics Hardware List found on Autodesk’s website to look up which driver version is tested, supported, and even certified for use based on your operating system and the version of your Autodesk product:

http://autodesk.com/graphics-hardware

The link above will take you to a webpage that allows you to search for the best driver for your particular graphics card. Simply fill out the form with your information. (Example shown below)

Once you complete the “Product”, “Year” and “Operating System” fields, a list of all the relevant graphics cards will appear. You can then see if your particular card is in the list and even download the driver from that web page.

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