Like most software developers, Autodesk maintains a list of system requirements for Revit that can be used to help ensure the hardware in your system will work with their software. However, this "system requirements" list only covers the very basics of what hardware is needed to run the software, not what hardware will actually give the best performance. Because of how inconsistent those lists can be, we've taken the time to perform testing to determine what hardware run Revit he best. Based on this testing, we have come up with our own list of recommended hardware for Revit.
When it comes to CPUs there are two main specifications that define the capability of a CPU:
- The frequency directly affects how many operations a single CPU core can complete in a second (how fast it is).
- The number of cores is how many physical cores there are within a CPU (how many operations it can run simultaneously).
Whether a high frequency or high core count CPU is better depends on how well a program is designed to take advantage of multiple CPU cores (often referred to as multi-threading).
The majority of design tasks in Revit is only able to utilize a single CPU core which makes a high frequency CPU - regardless of the core count - an ideal choice for these tasks. Because of this, our "Modeling & Design" workstation comes with an Intel Core i7 6700K CPU capable of speeds of up to 4.2GHz.
If you want to improve your rendering times, however, we suggest using a CPU with a higher number of cores. The Autodesk Raytracer (ART) rendering engine (which is the only included rendering engine in Revit 2017) can benefit greatly from using a CPU with more cores like those found in our "Rendering Optimized" workstation. If you need even higher performance, you may consider our dedicated CPU rendering recommended systems, although the Autodesk Raytracer engine can only utilize up to 16 physical cores.
Video Card (GPU)
When working with models in Revit, the video card is solely used to display the model on the screen. While a more powerful video card may allow the model to be drawn at a higher FPS (frames per second) when rotating, zooming, or panning around the model, the video card requirements for Revit are relatively low. For most users, a low to mid-range card (such as a Quadro K620 2GB or M2000 4GB) will be more than powerful enough.
In fact, rather than the power of the card itself, the amount of VRAM (video memory) on the video card is likely going to be what determines which card you should purchase. If you only work with a single 1080p display, the Quadro K620 with 2GB of VRAM should be adequate. If you work with multiple displays, however, the Quadro M2000 with 4GB of VRAM is likely a better choice. For 4K displays, we recommend the Quadro M4000 with 8GB of VRAM. It has more power than Revit should ever be able to use, but it has plenty of VRAM to power even multiple 4K displays with no issues.
Between consumer and professional video cards, Autodesk's official policy is that they "only recommend and support the professional NVIDIA Quadro and AMD FirePro graphics family cards" [source]. Because of this, our recommended systems default to NVIDIA Quadro video cards but in some situations (such as VR visualization) a consumer GeForce card may be a better option. However, be aware that these consumer cards are not quite as reliable as the professional cards and do not have official Autodesk support.
While the exact amount of RAM you need is going to depend on your particular projects, for Revit we generally recommend a minimum of 16GB. This should allow you to open and work with a single model with a file size of approximately 700MB without any issues. If you work with even larger models or tend to have Revit running alongside other programs like Photoshop or 3ds Max, you may want to consider upgrading to 32GB of RAM.
Storage (Hard Drives)
With the falling costs associated with SSDs, we almost always recommend using an SSD for the primary drive that will host your OS and the installation of Revit itself. The high speed of SSDs allows your system to boot, launch applications, and load files many times faster than any traditional hard drive. If your budget allows, it is also a very good idea to have a second SSD that can be used to store your active projects to further decrease load and save times. We highly recommend using an OS drive with a capacity of least 500GB to ensure you do not need to upgrade your primary drive (which is often a complicated process) in the near future.
Since SSDs are still more expensive than traditional drives per GB, for long term storage we recommend using a traditional hard drive (or two if you need even more storage!). Using a SSD can be useful in some situations, but most of the time the high performance of an SSD is simply not required for a storage drive.