Graphisoft has announced version 12 of its market-innovating BIM (building information modeling) application ArchiCAD. Arguably the world’s most forward-thinking architectural 3D CAD software has become the must-match BIM tool in the industry and the Budapest-based company has made another major step forward being the first BIM software tool provider to have extensive multiprocessor and multi-core processor support beyond the domain of photo-realistic rendering. In ArchiCAD 12, announced today, Graphisoft has made dramatic improvements in both 2D navigation and 3D model generation — including sections and shadow casting. Both make for a significantly better design environment.
BIM and Multithreading
Threading much of the ArchiCAD 12 code base has allowed the program to accelerate aspects of the BIM process that will benefit the end user in dramatic ways –streamlining workflows and dramatically decreasing wait times. In addition to the extensive multithreading Graphisoft has toldArchitosh that the company has made “serious optimizations throughout the code base” itself.
In a private preview of the application at the AIA National Convention last month, Miklos Szovenyi-Lux, Director of Product Management, Graphisoft, told Architosh that the development team at Graphisoft is leading the industry in programmatic optimizations and the advancement of the use of leading-edge multi-core processors. This applies to the powerful Intel Xeon Quadcore chips found in both PC and Apple’s powerful Mac Pro workstations.
2D view acceleration has been handled in several ways, including a split of the processing between the main system core processors and the optimized algorithms for the graphics processing unit (GPU) that have been developed. 3D view generation is handled by multi-core processors while optimized algorithms for speeding up 2D generation utilize Apple’s Quartz in Mac OS X and Microsoft’s Direct X technologies in Windows. Ultimately, work is passed back to the GPU for final display. Graphisoft has said that in ArchiCAD 12 they now use the GPU for the complete 2D display where in the past only parts of the 2D display used the GPU.
Algorithmic optimization has also played a large role in the speed improvements in ArchiCAD 12. While Miklos Szovenyi-Lux could not divulge details, he said the entire code base has been analyzed for improvements with extensive reworking of algorithms.
An Industry First
Graphisoft is the first BIM provider to make this type of code optimization. With Graphisoft ArchiCAD 12, the recommended minimum GPU must now have at least 256 MB of memory. The company has produced a list of certified GPUs for ArchiCAD 12 and the list is PC-focused. Graphisoft told Architosh there is no Mac list of GPU’s because on the Mac everything is automatic. The complexity of drivers and tweaks to them is not necessary for the company so no such list will be produced.
With such advanced multithreading work involved in ArchiCAD 12 the company is now recommending multicore processor-based workstations for the utmost performance using ArchiCAD 12. Graphisoft’s industry-leading use of multithreading with BIM should become even more interesting in 2009 when Apple releases Snow Leopardwith its system-wide set of new technologies called “Grand Central”, bringing unrivaled support for multicore systems to Mac OS X. The combinations of unmatched multicore BIM on an unmatched multicore OS X will certainly lead to dramatic improvements in the industry for architects.
For more information on the full ArchiCAD 12 announcement please read this report here: