How to choose a Revit computer
It is amazing to think that Revit turned 20 this year. Autodesk’s software has played a pivotal role in the Building Information Management (BIM) revolution, and it is by far the world's most used BIM software. If you are looking to use Revit for designing buildings or other structures, you will need a Revit computer capable of meeting the software’s demands.
So, how should you choose a Revit computer?
Start with your needs
Before you start looking into Revit computer specs, go back to the drawing board and think about your needs:
- How big are the building models that your designers work on?
- What size files do they normally use?
- What do you expect to be working on in future?
- Is your workforce remote or in-office?
Answering these questions is important because it could save you a lot of money. It is possible to spend well over $5000 on Revit computer, yet if you do not actually need the most powerful components, a lot of that money will be wasted.
What components are needed for a Revit computer?
The most important components for a Revit computer include:
- RAM (memory): A quirk of Revit’s software architecture is that it is hungry for RAM. Helpfully, there is a straightforward guidelines to calculate your RAM size for Revit. It’s called the “Rule of 20”. According to Autodesk, it means that
“…any Central file will need approximately 20 times its file size in RAM. So using this rule, a 100MB Revit central file will consume approx. 2 GB of RAM.”
- CPU (processor): Revit is mainly a single thread program which means that most calculations run through a single core. Therefore, you should choose a CPU which has the fastest performance that is affordable at least processor so that it can perform tasks quickly. That said, more recent versions of Revit are beginning to use multiple cores for certain tasks, so it is worth choosing a CPU with at least a few additional cores.
- Graphics card: A powerful graphics card is necessary for using Autodesk’s Revit to its full potential. If possible, choose a graphics card that has been optimised to work with Revit - AMD and NVIDIA are good options here.
- Storage: BIM models are becoming ever larger and more complex, so it is recommended that you choose a Revit computer with a powerful hard drive. You should aim for a machine with a solid-state drive (SSD) as this will allow your computer to load up applications and files much faster than a traditional hard drive.
Check the system requirements
For each of the releases of Revit, Autodesk provides a minimum system requirements list which can be found on their website. For example, Revit 2021 system requirements include:
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10
- CPU: Single or multicore Intel, Xeon or i-Series processor or an equivalent AMD processor with SSE2 technology.
- Memory: 8 gigabytes of RAM
- Disk space: 30 gigabytes
However, as with many minimum system requirements, these specifications will only support the most basic usage. If you are designing much larger BIM models, it is recommended that you should get large memory and disk space.
Have you tried a Revit computer in the cloud?
With ever-improving broadband connectivity and cloud computing, it is now possible to rapidly spin up a new Revit computer in the cloud. This allows you to remotely access a machine that has a high frequency CPU and NVIDIA graphics card, while using a regular desktop or laptop in the office or at home. You can then rent the cloud machine for as long or as short a time as you want.
designairspace’s virtual BIM machines allow you to pick and choose the features you would like for your remote Revit computer. Depending on how much space and RAM required for your BIM projects, it is possible to quickly launch a virtual machine that is tailored to your needs.
A cloud-based Revit computer provides plenty of other benefits too:
- Enables remote working
- Allows you to use a flexible workforce (for example, providing freelance designers with a machine remotely)
- Means staff can be productive while travelling
- Reduces the risk that machines in your office or on construction sites get damaged or stolen
- A cloud-based Revit computer can be created in a matter of hours or even minutes - you don't need to wait for it to be delivered
Cloud based Revit computers are just as powerful as desktop machines, but you pay for usage on a monthly basis starting at as little as $20 per month. Check out designairspace’s cloud-based BIM workstations here - or begin your free trial today.