Graphics Card

The speed and quality of the screen display depends mainly on the performance of the graphics card. For Vectorworks, it is best not to use a built-in card, but a dedicated graphics card with a memory of 2-8GB or more.

Some Vectorworks features require more of the graphics hardware than others. The screen speed and quality provided by the Vectorworks Graphics Module for displaying 2D plans and 3D models is directly related to the speed, memory size and supported features of the graphics card. When using the right hardware, Vectorworks delivers fast and smooth performance. If you are using older or incompatible hardware, you will notice that Vectorworks is significantly slower.

Graphics cards must support at least MacOS Metal GPI Family1 or Windows Direct X 11. Cards that do not comply with this recommendation, have limited functionality and are not powerful enough, especially for Shaded rendering. In general, the more powerful your graphics card is, the smoother your Vectorworks experience will be.

We recommend that everyone check if the video drivers are up-to-date. Most of the issues with monitors that our support team receives, are related to older video drivers. In general, we recommend a recent video card with the latest drivers over an old high-end video card with outdated drivers.


Windows users install the latest video drivers from their card vendor's website. This installation is especially important for new PCs. After updates to the Windows operating system, you should also reinstall the latest video drivers.

Using multiple display with different visibility in all windows can be VRAM intensive in large Vectorworks documents.

Rendering shadows and edges is also VRAM intensive, especially when combined with many light points, image textures, anti-aliasing, high shadow quality and excessive geometry.


MacOS users should use the latest stable version of MacOS (non-beta), as MacOS continuously includes video driver improvements. Our testing has shown that Metal drivers in old MacOS versions may have serious problems on certain specific video hardware. After updating to the latest MacOS, the same hardware performed well and without any problems. Small version updates can also improve stability. Graphics problems on certain hardware on MacOS 10.15.1 are simply solved by upgrading to MacOS 10.15.7. For these reasons, we recommend using the latest MacOS with your system.

M-series and Unified Memory:

Apple M1 and later M-series share memory for general processing and graphics. We recommend more memory for these systems than for traditional systems where RAM and VRAM are separate.

Review MacOS Metal Version

You can view the graphical hardware information by choosing About this Mac -> System Report... -> Video/monitors. On laptops with more than one GPU, the system report will show the less powerful "integrated" video GPU and then the more powerful "dedicated" video GPU. For example, Metal compatibility is listed as: "Metal Family: Supported, Metal GPUFamily MacOS 1 v4", which means that this hardware can be described as "GPUFamily1 v4".


Requires AVX support on AMDand Intel CPUs. Renderworks will not work on older Intel Macs that are missing AVX support, even if macOS 11 is installed on them by bypassing official Apple installers.

Set Graphics Card to Windows
Set Graphics Card to MacOS
Last update: 23/10/2023
Julie is the author of this solution article.

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