PC Minimum

  • Windows 8 / 7 / Vista
  • 2.4 GHz processor or Multi-Core Processor
  • 2 GB of Memory (32 bit)
  • 4 GB of Memory (64 bit)
  • Video Card:
    • 1. Dedicated Video Card with 512 MB memory, e.g., NVIDIA or ATI
    • — OR —
    • 2. Integrated Graphics, e.g., Intel HD Graphics (driver needs to be 2012 or newer)
    • How can I tell what video card I have?
  • 5 GB of available hard disk space
  • Internet Access *

Mac Minimum

  • Chief Architect X6 or newer
  • Mac OS X v10.8 (Mountain Lion) or newer
  • 2.4 GHz processor or Multi-Core Processor
  • 4 GB of Memory
  • 5 GB of available hard disk space
  • Internet Access *
* Internet access required for installation, license authentication, deactivation and video & library catalog access.

PC and Mac Recommended

  • 8 GB of Memory (64 bit)
  • 50 GB of available hard disk space
  • 1 GB gaming video card

Differences between PC and Mac versions of Chief Architect

PC Mac
Operating System 32 & 64 bit 64 bit only
Walkthrough Export Formats .AVI .MOV .MP4 .M4V
Hardware Lock Security Option Yes No
.WMF, .EMF Support Yes No
Use Gestures to navigate views No Mac Trackpad: Pan, Zoom
SKP Import Yes No

How can I tell what Operating System I have?

Chief Architect

Keep in mind that your needs may vary. A system that doesn’t meet these requirements may be more than sufficient depending on the complexity of models you produce, or it may not be sufficient if you produce complex models – the Artistic Rendering techniques, like watercolor can be demanding on a system.

Tips for Buying a New Computer

If you are considering a new computer system to run Chief Architect, here are some tips to consider:

More memory is better... up to a point.

64-bit operating systems are able to access more memory than 32-bit operating systems. All Mac systems we support are 64-bit. Some PCs are only 32-bit. With 64-bit systems you are able to work with larger, more complex models. It will also allow more applications to run at the same time as Chief Architect. 32-bit operating systems only make 3 GB of memory available to applications. 8 GB is a good minimum memory size (16 GB even better) for a 64-bit operating system.

Most rendering is performed by the video card.

A video card with more than 1 GB of dedicated onboard memory can improve your 3D rendering and response times. Ray Traces and Artistic Rendering Techniques are performed by the CPU and not the Video Card (see below).

Ray traces and artistic rendering techniques are performed by the CPU and not the video card.

Ray Trace Rendering and Artistic Rendering Techniques (Watercolor, Line Drawing) are highly parallel tasks that are performed by your system CPU not your video card. The number of processor cores available is the most important factor in improving the speed of ray tracing and artistic rendering. Memory and CPU speed are also factors that can contribute to improved performance. A quad-core system would be a good choice.

Multiple and/or larger displays can improve productivity.

Think about adding a second monitor to expand your desktop and work space. If you opt for a second monitor, make sure you go beyond the minimum recommended video memory.

For more information on hardware you can access benchmark sites like Video Card Benchmarks and Tom’s Hardware. There are also frequent discussions of hardware on ChiefTalk that can be helpful.