How to Choose the Best Computer for Chief Architect and 3D Design Software

Chief Architect running on a laptop.

Phillip Gibney Profile Image By Phillip Gibney

Chief Architect produces 3D Home Design Software for professional designers and DIY homeowners. From automated features for quickly creating floor plans, section details, and layouts to photo-realistic 3D renders for visualizing the design, the software is a powerful tool for those with residential design needs. Because the software is so powerful and robust, a question we often hear at Chief Architect is “what type of computer do I need to run the software”? Many computers are capable of running Chief Architect; however, depending on the specs, some will run Chief much more efficiently.  Investing in the right computer will also help ensure that the computer will run future versions of Chief effectively for a longer period of time, making your investment more cost effective over time.

  1. Understanding System Specifications
  2. Real-Time Ray Tracing
  3. Multi-Tasking – factor in other uses for your computer (i.e. video editing, web design, etc)
  4. Tips and Considerations
  5. Is Real-Time Ray Tracing in Chief Architect available on a Mac?
  6. Resources to get you up and running quickly

Choosing the right tool for any job is critical. Would you attempt to hang drywall for a whole house with a screwdriver or drywall gun? Although a screwdriver is significantly cheaper, it will provide minimum performance whereas a drywall gun will save you an enormous amount of time and energy. The principle of ensuring you have the correct tools in the field, also applies to the tools used in the office. A computer that may seem like a bargain may be impractical for running a 3D program like Chief Architect. When computer shopping there is no specific price point you should target, but instead there are certain recommended system specifications you should account for.

Multiple computers at a Chief Architect event.

Understanding System Specifications

There are specific minimum system specifications needed to run Chief Architect, but we strongly encourage you to go with our recommended system specifications. As we release new versions of the software each year, the minimum system specifications may change due to advancements in the software’s capabilities and technology. Going with our recommended system specifications will help ensure that your computer will run Chief Architect efficiently and help extend the useful life of your computer.

Computer SpecificationExample of use in ChiefSpecification needed to run Chief Architect
Video Card (GPU): Produces the image you see on your screenRenders views of the model on screen including reflections, shadows, lighting, and more.Minimum1
Windows 10 / 11: 2GB Memory with DirectX12 Shader Model 6 support & (1) Dedicated Video card such as Nvidia GeForce RTX or AMD Radeon Gaming cards or (2) Intel integrated graphics 9th generation “Skylake” or newer.
macOS Big Sur / Monterey: M1, M2 or select Intel/AMD

Windows 10 / 11: Nvidia GeForce RTX 30 Series or AMD Radeon™ RX 6000 Series
macOS Big Sur / Monterey: M1, M2 or select Intel/AMD

1Real Time Ray Tracing requires a Windows computer with a Nvidia GeForce RTX or AMD Radeon™ RX 6000 Series video card
Processor (CPU): Brains of the computer, process inputsMost drawing, editing, and building operationsMinimum

6+ Core Intel i9+ or AMD Ryzen Class Processor

Apple M1 and M2 processors are supported.
Windows computers with ARM processors are not supported.
Random Access Memory (RAM): Short term storageStores data temporarily for quick access by the applicationMinimum

  • Video Card (GPU): Also referred to as the Graphics Card or Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), this is the part of your computer that produces the image you see on your screen.  Since Chief Architect is a graphics intensive program, the graphics card is an extremely important part of the computer for day-to-day design work. There are a few types of Video Cards: integrated, workstation, and gaming. While some integrated (Intel) and workstation cards will work with the software, it may run slower since integrated (Intel) cards share computer resources from the CPU and RAM and workstation cards don’t perform well when doing 3D rendering in Chief. Gaming video cards do not share computer resources and are designed specifically for 3D rendering tasks used in Chief Architect. For best performance, we recommend a gaming class video card with 4GB+ or more of video memory on a Mac, and on a Windows PC NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX series or AMD Radeon™ RX 6000 Series. Here is information on why we specifically recommend these video cards. Additionally, computers with gaming video cards typically meet all of our required system specifications.
  • Processor (CPU): The Central Processing Unit (CPU), often referred to as the Processor, is the brain of your computer. The processor takes inputs from your computer’s RAM and processes them for output. As you are typing on the keyboard or working in a software program like Chief, the processor is performing billions of operations each second to understand and react to the inputs. The performance of a processor is a function of the number of cores and the speed it is capable of running which is measured in gigahertz (GHz). More cores and higher speed is better, particularly if you expect to run multiple applications simultaneously or work on large projects. We recommend an Intel i9 or AMD Ryzen class processor or equivalent with 6+ cores.
  • Random Access Memory (RAM): Commonly known as just “memory”, RAM is used for short term data storage. The computer uses memory to store information your computer is actively using so that it can be accessed quickly.  The more programs your computer is running, the more memory it will need to run efficiently. A computer with insufficient memory for the tasks that are running will have major performance issues.  The RAM is measured in the number of gigabytes (GB). We recommend 32GB of RAM.

“I recommend a Windows computer with a NVIDIA GeForce RTX or AMD Radeon RX graphics Card. A new computer with a Ray Tracing capable card is likely to meet our required system specifications for several versions.”

— Brian Beck, Software Testing Engineer

Real-Time Ray Tracing

Ray Tracing is a process in which the software produces a still, photo-realistic image by calculating the path of light as it travels through the model and bounces off surfaces. Chief Architect Premier and Interiors X12 and prior performed traditional Ray Tracing, which can be time-consuming, sometimes hours, depending on your computer hardware and model size. Chief Architect Premier and Interiors X13 and newer support real-time ray tracing on Window PCs, meaning you can navigate through the model in real-time while in the Ray Trace rendering technique. The minimum video card required to perform real-time ray tracing is a NVIDIA GeForce RTX 20 series, but we recommend either a NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 series or AMD Radeon™ RX 6000 Series. If real-time ray tracing is important to you, make sure the computer has one of these video cards. If the graphics card in your Windows PC does not support real-time ray tracing, you will still have access to ray tracing rendering with the traditional ray trace feature.

Please note, that real-time ray tracing requires a Windows PC. On a PC, certain newer NVIDIA and AMD video cards support GPUs with hardware acceleration specifically for real-time ray tracing – see a list of GPUs that support this feature.  Mac’s hardware does not support the same level of GPU hardware acceleration necessary for real-time ray tracing. The Mac version of Chief Architect still performs 3D rendering, CPU Ray Tracing, and has new features.

If you want to check the system specifications on a computer you already have, you can do so by following the instructions in this Knowledge Base Article.

If you have found a computer you like, feel free to contact us and we would be happy to review the system and provide you with feedback. Additionally, we have made this printable checklist to guide you in computer shopping.


For many, a computer is a multi-functional tool that will perform other important tasks in addition to running Chief Architect. For example, you may be using your computer daily for accounting software to run your business, video and photo editing software to provide content for your website, and managing your social media, in addition to running Chief.  If you are using your computer to run other software and are often multi-tasking with several programs open simultaneously, it is a good idea to consider more RAM.  Consider between 16GB and 32GB of RAM and lean toward the higher number if you are multi-tasking.

When upgrading your computer you will want to check to see if other software you use will be compatible with a new computer or if other software will need to be upgraded as well. In addition to meeting our recommended system specifications, make sure you are meeting any recommended system specifications for other software programs you use.

Chief Architect running on a desktop with two monitors.

The software and files you create or download are typically stored on the computer’s hard drive. The two most common types of hard drives are hard disk drives (HDD) and solid state drives (SSD). While hard disk drives may be cheaper, you will get faster performance in starting your computer, launching applications, and opening files from a solid state drive. Additionally, solid state drives will often require less battery power. To improve performance when multi-tasking, consider looking for or upgrading the hard drive to a solid state drive (SSD) that is at least 512GB though a 1 terabyte (TB) drive would be preferred.

To further increase your productivity, maximize your screen space with a large monitor, or even better two medium sized or large monitors. Having ample screen space to clearly see your floor plan views, elevations, and 3D views simultaneously will make it easier and faster to work on the plan. Make sure that your video card is powerful enough to handle the monitors you have in mind and, when setting up your system, plug your computer monitors directly into the video card (if applicable). If your primary computer is a laptop, a second monitor can be a huge benefit – but make sure your laptop’s graphics card is up to the task.

Tips & Considerations

If working on computers isn’t high on your list of hobbies, it may seem like choosing a system is a journey fraught with traps and pitfalls.  It certainly doesn’t have to be – armed with some basic information about system components, you can make informed decisions. Here are some tips and considerations to factor into your computer purchasing decision:

  • If you are doing a lot of rendering buy a desktop over a laptop. The video cards and performance are A LOT faster. Typically desktops are also more economical.
  • Be cautious of computers that are micro computers or a computer/tablet hybrid. These computers rarely meet our recommended system specifications or may be running an operating system that is not compatible with Chief (such as Android). A low number of cores, only 4GB of RAM, and a non-gaming (Intel, integrated, or workstation) Video Card often result in minimal software performance.
  • Chief Architect software is not supported with emulators or virtual machines/environments, such as Hyper-V, Oracle VM, VMWare, Parallels, VirtualBox, and others. Running Chief Architect in this type of configuration often leads to problems with properly recognizing the system’s hardware, such as the graphics/video card (GPU), since these systems emulate hardware instead of utilizing the actual components installed
  • Windows or Mac? This is really a matter of personal preference; however, if you choose to switch to a different operating system, you should factor in additional time to learn how to navigate a new computer platform. If switching platforms, you will want to check to see if other software you use will work on the new platform.
Example of Chief Architect running on Mac and Windows laptops.
  • Some computers come with solid state drives that may have minimal storage space, such as 128GB or 256GB. As you install programs, and download or create files, you can quickly run out of storage space. Check to see if the solid state drive is large enough to hold all of your programs and files, preferably 1TB, or upgradable.
  • Many computers come with a return policy, warranty, and support. Make a note of these policies and factor them into your purchase decision. Warranties may require product registration. Don’t forget to register your computer once you get it set up. Some retailers or manufacturers may even offer assistance in getting your new computer set up. Be sure to ask about this.
  • Make a plan for transferring data from your old computer to your new computer. Migrating to a new computer is a great opportunity to assess your files and how you manage your files. If your files were unorganized on the old computer, make it a goal to be better about file management on your new computer. After you decide on which files to keep, you need to get the data from the old computer to the new computer. Consider backing them up to the cloud or an external hard drive and relocating them to the new computer. In addition to your Chief Architect files, you can migrate your Chief Architect libraries, toolbars, hotkeys, and templates. This Knowledge Base article has information on how to do this.  When in doubt, contact your local computer experts for advice or assistance.

Is Real-Time Ray Tracing in Chief Architect available on a Mac?

The primary reason Chief Architect does not currently support real-time ray tracing on Mac is that current Mac hardware lacks hardware acceleration for ray tracing.  This applies to both older Mac computers and more recent Apple GPU hardware, including M1, M1 Pro, M1 Max, M1 Ultra, and M2.  Ray tracing on a Mac is still supported using the traditional ray trace feature (utilizes the CPU).

GeForce RTX GPUs introduced hardware accelerated ray tracing in 2018.  What we mean when we use the term “hardware accelerated” in this context is that these graphics cards have physical circuitry dedicated to tracing rays in a 3D scene.  On NVIDIA GPUs, these are referred to as RT Cores: “RT Cores are accelerator units that are dedicated to performing ray tracing operations with extraordinary efficiency.”

Recent AMD GPUs also have hardware accelerated ray tracing.  It has been pointed out by users that you can install certain AMD GPUs that have hardware accelerated ray tracing on some Apple computers.  We are occasionally asked why Chief Architect is still unable to perform ray tracing under such a configuration.  The answer is that on Windows, driver vendors have implemented the requisite functionality to take advantage of these hardware capabilities.  On Mac, the driver vendors have not implemented the requisite functionality. When running under the macOS, ray tracing hardware on these GPUs is effectively unused.

The lack of hardware acceleration does not mean that ray tracing on Apple is impossible.  Metal provides APIs for ray tracing on the graphics card.  However, ray tracing performance via these APIs on GPUs lacking hardware acceleration is slower by a factor ranging from tens to hundreds of times.  We explicitly disable ray tracing on Windows computers with GTX 10-series GPUs for the same reason; while DirectX Ray Tracing will technically work on those cards, we don’t find the performance level acceptable for our products.  We have made the decision not to support real-time ray tracing in Chief on hardware that would be beneath a certain performance threshold.  We define this threshold as “cards that provide hardware acceleration for ray tracing.” 


Lastly, have fun and get excited! Chief Architect Software is very fun and easy to use and computer shopping is part of the process. We want you to be successful in using Chief Architect and it all starts with ensuring you have the right tools for the job – in this case the right computer for running Chief Architect. Getting a properly equipped computer will help ensure fast, smooth performance and maximize the service life of your investment.

Don’t forget to download your printable checklist to guide you in computer shopping.

Once you’ve got your new computer up and running, use these resources to get started with Chief Architect.

Good luck and have fun on your hunt for your next computer to run Chief Architect Software!


L. Joly

Hi! Could my HP Spectre x360 15-eb0020ca support your software as Architect Premier or Architect Interiors?

Chief Architect


Yes, your computer meets the minimum requirements for X12/2021. A great test of compatibility is to download a trial, the trial will run exactly as the purchased version will run and has the only limitations of saving, printing, and exporting. Make sure to generate a cross-section, elevation, and 3D views to give it a good test.

Chief Architect Trial

Chief Architect Sales

Danny T

I love this program but I’m running into freezing problems. I currently have a brand new MacBook Pro 13″ do you have any suggestions on how I can improve this issue?

Chief Architect

Hello Danny,

Thank you for reaching out, please contact our technical support team so they can narrow down the issue and assist you with a solution.

Tech Support: 208-292-3400
Hours: Monday – Friday, 7AM – 5PM PT

– Chief Architect Sales

S Wingfield

Is Chief Architect compatible with a computer running on a Xeon W processor and a Quadro RTX GPU?

Chief Architect


Yes the processor and GPU not only meet our requirements but beyond recommendations for the X12/2021 version. A great test of compatibility is to download our free trial, the trial will run exactly like the purchased program.

– Chief Architect Sales


Do keep in mind that the consumer geforce rtx 3080 and 3090 are considerably faster at 3d rendering and ray tracing than the fastest available “pro” quadro rtx gpus. Don’t let the insane prices of the quadros fool you into thinking they are faster.

When performing intensive tasks such as designing and gaming, CPU is the be all and end all. It’s what will help ensure that a computer runs at a steady space and helps complete tasks as quickly as possible.


Hi there I’ve just received the Program and I am looking at purchasing my brand new lap
Top. I am very comfortable with Apple products however I also use a Surface PRO for work and I seeing that it is required to purchase a 15” monitor is that absolutely required?

Chief Architect

Hello Moira,

The size of monitor is recommended for ease of use. If you would like to double check that the computer’s specifications meet our requirements you can contact us at 208-292-3400. We are open Monday – Friday, 7 AM – 5 PM PT.

Chief Architect Sales

has there been a stand out computer? looking for an upgrade. Thanks

Chief Architect

Hey, John! We don’t have any particular brands we recommend. We do however recommend getting an RTX graphics card for the Real-Time Ray Tracing that’s coming in Chief Architect X13.

Suzanne Maloney

Is Real Time Ray Trace taking the place of Physically Based Rendering in x13? I currently rely heavily on PBR and am thinking of moving from a laptop to a desktop, but I’m not clear on how vital the recommendations/minimums will be if I’m not a devotee of Ray Trace.

Chief Architect

Hello Suzanne,

Real Time Ray Trace is NOT taking the place of Physically Based Rendering. It is an improved ray trace rendering in real time, stepping up the capabilities of the current ray trace rendering.


Chief Architect Sales

Mark Senior

Great post. The right hardware makes an enormous difference, especially if you’re working with large files like point clouds too.


I am wondering if there is any consideration given in new releases to helping designers comply with IRC code requirements and adopt new building technologies like using ICCFs and ICFs and emplying rain screens and Continuous Insulation etc…

Chief Architect

Hello Robert,

We are improving our software with each release based on what helps our customers be most successful. Currently, the wall types included in the initial download include several ICF options. You can also create a custom wall type and save it as your default for new plans. See our guide on defining a new wall type.

If you have any more feedback on how to improve the software, feel free to send your ideas to


Chief Architect Sales


I am considering to buy Chief Architect, but given that you’re not supporting or planning to the support the Apple Silicon, that would not work for me… Given that the ARM based processors are incredibly fast and have great GPU performance, I don’t really get why you’re not supporting this, particularly with the next gen Mx chips to be even more powerful…

Kerry Hansen

Hi Marco, Thank you for this comment. I wanted to update you and let you know that our X14 version now has native support for Mac’s M1 processor.

Leigh Coleman

iMac 27” 2020 – 3.6GHz 10-core 10th-generation Intel Core i9 processor, Turbo Boost up to 5.0GHz, Radeon Pro 5500 XT with 8GB of GDDR6 memory, or Radeon Pro 5700 with 8GB of GDDR6 memory, or Radeon Pro 5700 XT with 16GB of GDDR6 memory be best? I am planning to get Chief Architect and will be using a new iMac. I have home designer pro currently. I will also be needing training with chief architect and creating a designer drafting business. I would appreciate any help and or advice. Thanks for your help..

Chief Architect

Hello Leigh,

The recommended memory on your video card is 8GB, although more would certainly not hurt. All three cards listed meet the recommended system requirements. Keep in mind the real-time ray tracing portion of the article and that Mac computers do not have the hardware to support the new feature.

Chief Architect Sales

Jeremy Hege

I appreciate the article but I am fairly illiterate concerning computer specs. Could any one recommend two computers that fit these specs? One in the $1,000-$2,000 range and one in the $2,000-$4,000 range? It would be a huge help, thanks.

Chief Architect

Hello Jeremy,

Feel free to reach out to us when you have narrowed down your options and we can verify compatibility with the current version of the software.


Chief Architect Sales


Does x13 support multi-gpu, like nvidia sli, for real time ray tracing? What kind of frame rates are you seeing, or how long does a frame take to fill in, on a 3080 or 3090 in a fairly complex multi-light scene? Do you have any benchmarks or demo videos showing current performance on that level of hardware? I would prefer to work in 4k, and want to get an idea if I should wait for a 3090 ti or 3090 super, or the rtx 4000 series.
Also curious if ray tracing is gpu accelerated for video walkthrough rendering, and also if walkthroughs can be offloaded to a gpu render farm with multiple gpus running in parallel?
Final question would be what, if any, support have you tested or implemented for vr headsets?
Thank you in advance!

Robert Walter

I’ve been using Home Designer for many years and love the software. As an avid Mac/OSX user, when will you provide support for Apple silicon M1/M1X?

Chief Architect

Hello Robert,

Thank you for your loyalty to Home Designer Software. We currently support M1 processors. You can check our system requirements page for the most current information.


Chief Sales

Mark Weimer

Does the new 16″ MacBook Pro (late 2021) with M1 Pro (16-core GPU) or M1 Max (32-core GPU) with 32GB or 64GB unified memory support real-time ray tracing?

Chief Architect

At this time Mac hardware does not support real-time ray tracing. A higher-level graphics card as mentioned in the article above is required for real-time ray tracing.

You can still perform ray trace renderings on a compatible Mac computer and enjoy all of the other new features of X13.

We hope you found this information helpful!

– Chief Architect Sales

Kenne Thomas

Just got an HP Envy 15.6″ intel 11th gen i7 16gig ram 512gig SSD with the intel iris xe integrated graphis card. When going into 3d camera mode everything is black except the drywall, unless you zoom really close then you can see the surfaces. Is my new laptop the problem as far as the requirements?

Chief Architect

Hello Kenne,

Although integrated graphics cards are not ideal, your graphics card meets the requirements. We suggest opening your program, selecting the edit menu > preferences > render > check box for texture compression.

If you are still having the issue please call our technical support department to assist you.

Technical Support: 208-292-3400
Hours: Monday – Friday, 7 AM – 4 PM PT


Chief Architect Sales

Kristen M.

I just upgraded to an HP Envy x360 with intel CORE i7 (11th generation) and intel iRISx internal graphics. After downloading my Designer Pro 12 (2021), I am having the same 3D rendering issues Kenne describes above (black shadows and/or pixelated surfaces). I did as you suggested, checking the box for texture compression, but no change.

It seems my new laptop may not be compatible with my Pro12, although my older/previous HP Envy x360 (with intel CORE i7 8th generation and Intel UHD graphics) ran fine until I was low on storage. Why the trouble with the new laptop but not the old?

Thank you,
Kristen M.

Chief Architect

Hello Kristen,

Thank you for reaching out and providing your computer specifications. For the best assistance with your issue, please contact our technical support department below.

Technical Support
Monday – Friday, 7 AM – 4 PM PDT


Chief Architect Sales

Sharroan Stewarts

Please advise me on a laptop under $1000 that would works for this program. I am just a hobbyist so nothing real fancy please. I am technology illiterate to all these system requirements. Thank you in advance.

Chief Architect

Hello Sharroan,

We do not share specific computers to purchase but if you have one in mind feel free to send it to and we will be happy to assist you in verifying compatibility.


Chief Architect Sales


I am looking at a HP Pavilion Gaming 16 notebook. It’s listed as having Windows 10 Home • Processor: 10th Generation Intel Core i5-10300H • Display: 16.1-inch diagonal, FHD (1920 x 1080), IPS, micro-edge, anti-glare • Memory: 8 GB DDR4-2933 SDRAM (1 X 8 GB) • Internal storage: 256 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 (4 GB GDDR5 dedicated) • Sound: Audio by B&O with dual speakers • Battery life: Up to 5 hours and 15 minutes (mixed usage) Up to 7 hours and 30 minutes (video playback) Up to 5 hours and 30 minutes (wireless streaming) • Wireless: Realtek RTL8822CE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2×2) Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0 combo • Camera: HP Wide Vision 720p HD camera with integrated dual array digital microphones • Product weight: 4.78 lb • Keyboard: Full-size, acid green backlit, shadow black keyboard with numeric keypad.

As I said, I am just a hobbies who loves to create, plan, and organize spaces. So, I’m not looking to use this laptop for any other use than to “play” with my Chief Architect program occasionally.

Thank you for your help.

Chief Architect

Hello Sharroan,

Thank you for reaching out to us. The computer you listed here does meet the system minimum requirements. This is a great system for a hobbyist. Keep in mind if you are using Chief Architect Interiors or Premier, the real-time ray tracing feature will require NVIDIA GTX 2060 or above.


Chief Architect Sales


Would Chief Architect be functional on the HP Pavilion laptop system below? Thank you!
Windows 11 Home
11th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 processor
Intel® Iris® Xᵉ Graphics
16 GB memory; 512 GB SSD storage
13.3″ diagonal FHD display

Chief Architect

Hello William,

Yes, the computer you listed is compatible with our X13/2022 version requirements.


Chief Architect Sales

Paul Guidry


I’m going to be purchasing a new computer and want to know if this configuration will work. I understand that real-time ray tracing does not work with MAC and that is ok.

Here are the specs: Apple M1 Pro with 10-core CPU; 16-core GPU; 16-core Neural Engine; 16GB RAM memory; and 1TB SSD storage

Kerry Hansen

Hi Paul, I spoke with our Tech Support Team and this computer meets the minimum requirements and should work fine with Chief Architect X13 / Home Designer 2022 if you are not looking to use some of the rendering techniques available. It does not meet our recommended specs. Please reach out to our technical support team at 208-292-3399 M-F 7am – 4pm Pacific if you have additional questions.


I am shopping for a new computer and wanted something for multi-use for work & personal. I know the screen is smaller than recommended, but is the chief architect compatible with the Surface Pro 8?

Quad-core 11th Gen Intel® Core™ i5-1135G7 Processor
Quad-core 11th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-1185G7 Processor
i5 and i7 options with storage 256GB and above built on the Intel® Evo™ platform
Windows 11 Home
Preloaded Microsoft 365 Apps8
Microsoft 365 Family 30-day trial9
Preloaded Xbox app
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate one month trial

Chief Architect

Hello Stephanie,

The computer you listed above technically meets the system requirements for Chief Architect X13/Home Designer 2022. That being said, the Intel Iris X is an integrated card and we really recommend a dedicated graphics card for optimal performance. Feel free to contact us at 208-292-3400 for more details.


Chief Architect Sales

Dale Livingston

Will be designing new home. Not a professional, but skilled.
Will be buying Chief Architect Professional.
Need to buy laptop. Is this too much laptop?
Dell XPS 17″
11th Gen Intel i7
Windows 11
32MB Ram
Nvidia GT Force RTX3050 4GB GDDR6
Seems like its well optioned, but over $2300. Are their Dell Inspirions that will work without any issues?

Chief Architect

Hello Dale,

The laptop you listed will run the software very well. We understand your concern in the purchase price, the laptop you chose is on the high end of specifications. Keep in mind that you can land somewhere in between the minimum and recommended specifications and still run the software well. Although we do not endorse any computers specifically, you can send another set of specifications over and we will help you determine compatibility.

Hope you found this information useful!


Chief Architect Sales


Hi, looking to upgrade to the chief architect Premier and was wondering if this will run on the newest iPad Pro? The 8‑core CPU of M1, 8‑core GPU, 16 Core Neural Engine 2 TB of SSD memory.

Danielle Schroeder

Thank you for reaching out, John.

The software was created for desktop or laptop use. Unfortunately, we do not support it running on a tablet or iPad. However, we provide an app that works with the software for free. The 3D Viewer models are interactive virtual reality models that you can view on a phone, tablet, or web page.

3D Viewer:


Hello, would this computer run Chief Architect ok.
or should i upgrade anything for better performance.


HI, will this system setup run chief architect ok or if you can recommend any upgrades would be appreciated
12th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-12700 processor (12-Core, 25MB Cache, 2.1GHz to 4.9GHz)
Operating System
Windows 11 Pro, English
32 GB, 2 x 16 GB, DDR5, 4400 MHz; up to 128 GB
Graphics Card More Info
NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 3080, 10 GB GDDR6X, LHR
Hard Drive More Info
1 TB, M.2, PCIe NVMe, SSD

Kerry Hansen

Hi Ray, I checked with our Technical Support team and this system shouldn’t have any problems at all. Thank you for reaching out.

Hello! So I’m one of those “mac people” and I’m having a hard time figuring out what desktop to purchase to run CA the most effectively. I’ve read this article, I’ve looked at the “computer shopping checklist” and I’ve looked at the system requirements on the website, and each of those are slightly different. Which of these machines would be better:

Option 1
Apple M1 chip with 8‑core CPU, 8‑core GPU, and 16‑core Neural Engine
16GB unified memory
1TB SSD storage

Option 2
Apple M1 chip with 8-core CPU with 4 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores, 8-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine
8GB unified memory
512GB SSD storage

Option 3
(this one I’d have to buy refurbished)
3.6Ghz 10-core Intel Core i9
128GB of 2666MHz DDR4 memory
Radeon Pro 5700 with 8GB of GDDR6 memory

Chief Architect

Hello Beth,

Thank you for your inquiry! Option 1 will perform better based on X14 requirements.


Chief Architect Sales


You mentioned Chief not being compatible with a virtual machine; does this also apply to cloud-based VMs through a service like Azure?

Chief Architect

Hello Ennio,

Thank you for your question. Chief Architect runs locally on your computer. Chief Architect software is not supported with any emulators or virtual machines/environments.


Chief Architect Sales

jack wallace

Is there any benefit in using windows pro over home? I need to upgrade my laptop and need to narrow it down.

Thanks for your time

Chief Architect

Hello Jack,

As long as your computer meets the system requirements, as far as our software goes, it can work with either. If you have a computer or a couple of computers you are considering, feel free to reach out to our sales team at, and we can assist in verifying compatibility.


Chief Architect Sales

Phil Majer

Will Home Designer Pro work with Dell Insperion i7425-A266PBL-PUS

Chief Architect

Hello Phil,

Please contact our technical or sales departments to run through your systems specification to ensure compatibility at 208-292-3400. We are open Monday – Friday, 7 AM – 4 PM PT.


Chief Architect Sales

Michael Moss

I am a Residential Architect in New Jersey. I have been using AutoCadLT02 for 20 years. The software is not compatible with the new computers. I would like to switch to design software more oriented to Residential Design with 3D capability, however, I have a standard construction drawing prototype set with an extensive library of details, notes, design prototypes, etc. developed over the years. Is any of this extensive CAD work transferable to the Chief Architect software without redrawing or re-writing years worth of work? Can I take an Autocad drawing from a third party Engineer or Architect and use the drawing in this format?

Chief Architect

Hello Michael,

Thank you for your interest in Chief Architect Software. You can import .dwg or .dxf files into the program. For creating a 3D structure we have a CAD to walls import process that is detailed in the knowledge base article, Using CAD to Walls from an Imported DWG/DXF.

You can use the Free Trial download to test out the process of importing your CAD files.

I hope you found this information helpful.


Ariana, Chief Architect Sales

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