Note: Recommended settings for Video Hardware Acceleration updated on 9/25/11
I use Revit every day on a MacBook Air using Parallels Desktop for Mac and Windows 7, and the performance is not an issue.
Check out these tips to improve the performance on your computer...
Many users marvel when I do Revit demonstrations using Windows 7 running on Parallels Desktop for the Mac.
My experience with virtualization solutions has been varied – ranging from painfully slow to near Windows-native performance. Here are some tips for running Revit software on a Mac based on my testing:
My preferred computer for day-to-day use is a MacBook Air with:
- Processor: 2.13 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
- Memory: 4GB RAM
- Disk: 256 GB Solid State Drive (SSD)
- OS: Mac OS X 10.7.1 (Lion)
- Screen Size: 13-inch
The biggest factor that affects Revit performance is the amount of RAM memory available, so I’d always recommend configuring your Mac with the maximum RAM available. In some cases, it may be more economical to buy a stock Mac with a standard RAM configuration, then swap out the memory with higher capacity SIMMS from an external source – so, consider both strategies.
The SSD also seems to improve performance. Access to files is very fast, and the lack of moving parts extends the battery life between charges.
I also use a MacBook Pro with:
- Processor: 2.66 GHz Intel Core i7
- Memory: 8GB RAM
- Disk: 500 GB Hard Drive
- OS: Mac OS X 10.7.1 (Lion)
- Screen Size: 15-inch
This computer is faster for some operations (such as analysis and rendering), but in day-to-day Revit use, I see very little difference from the MacBook Air. So, given the choice, I carry the MacBook Air due to the much lighter weight and better battery life.
Apple has refreshed the hardware specs with new releases, so the equivalent, but improved new computers would be:
- MacBook Air (Same as above + 1.7 GHz Intel Core i5) = $1,599.00
- MacBook Air (Same as above + 1.8 GHz Intel Core i7) = $1,699.00
- MacBook Pro (Same as above + 2.2 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7) = $2,399.00
Impact of Hardware Specs on Revit Performance
Parallels 6 / Windows 7 32-bit
Configuring Parallels Desktop for Macintosh – Version 7
- View Mode
Use Full-Screen or Window. Avoid Coherence to preserve performance.
- Virtual Machine: Configuration: General: Number of CPUs
If you have a Dual Core, select 1 processor. If you have a Quad Core, Select 2 processors.
- Virtual Machine: Configuration: General: Memory
Give as much memory as you can spare to Parallels. On the 4 GB MacBook Air, I give Parallels 2 GB (the minimum needed for Revit to runwell). On the 8 GB MacBook Pro, I set this to 4 GB.
- Virtual Machine: Configuration: Options: Optimization
Performance: Faster virtual machine
Disable “Enable Adaptive Hypervisor”
Enable “Tune Windows for speed”
Power: Better performance
Free Space: Disable “Automatically compress virtual disks”
- Virtual Machine: Configuration: Options: Security
Integration: Disable “Isolate Mac from Windows” if you want to store your Revit project files in a Mac folder.
- Virtual Machine: Configuration: Options: Sharing
Share Folders: All disks
IMPORTANT >>> Shared Profile: Disable “Share Mac user folders with Windows” (if left enabled, this will really slow down Revit file operations to a crawl)
SmartMount: Enable “Map Mac volumes to Windows”
ShareWindows: Disable “Access Windows folders from Mac”
- Virtual Machine: Configuration: Options: Applications
Disable “Share Windows applications with Mac”
Disable “Share Mac applications with Windows”
- Virtual Machine: Configuration: Options: Coherence
Disable “Use Crystal Mode”
Enable “Disable Windows Aero”
- Virtual Machine: Configuration: Options: Full Screen
Disable all options
- Virtual Machine: Configuration: Options: Modality
Enable all options
- Virtual Machine: Configuration: Options: Advanced
Copy & Paste: Enable “Share Mac clipboard”
- Virtual Machine: Configuration: Hardware: Video
Video Memory: 256 MB
Turn on “Enable 3D acceleration” -- while disabling 3D acceleration may improve performance slightly, many analysis and simulation programs require it. If you do turn off 3D acceleration and find that programs are no longer display graphics reliably, turn it back on to see if this setting change fixes the problem.
Windows 7 Settings
- Turn off System Restore
Control Panel > System > Advanced System Settings > System Protection tab > Configure… > Turn off system protection.
- Turn off File Indexing
Right-click C: drive > Properties > General Tab > Disable “Allow files on this drive to have contents indexed...” > Apply changes to drive C:\, subfolders and files.
Disable” Compress this drive to save disk space”
- Anti-Virus Software
If you can avoid installing anti-virus software by practicing safe-computing, do so. Anti-virus software can cause significant system slowdowns.
Revit Options Settings
Disable “Use Hardware Acceleration” -- note: this setting can be tricky. Some newer video card emulations are not understood by Revit's hardware acceleration, so it's often better to disable it. But, to graphically display the results of some types of analysis -- for example, the wind tunnel simulation in Vasari -- it must be turned on. The best setting to use is likely to change as the software gets updated in new releases.
Disable “Use Anti-Aliasing for 3D views”