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More and more architects are systematically using 3D visualization as an integral part of their design workflow. Successful projects and great visualization go hand in hand. Architects and designers have turned to Lumion for their visualization solution because of its simplicity, quality and speed. In order to get the most out of this cutting edge software technology, there are some choices to make in relation to hardware. This article aims to shed light on choosing the right hardware for a great Lumion experience.

What does a great Lumion experience feel like?

As an architect you should expect your software to be fast and reliable. Loading and updating 3D models should simple and speedy. You should be able to click your scene into shape with effortless ease and without being hindered in your thought process. As waiting time is a crucial factor in creating a smooth and efficient workflow you will also not want to wait too long for your production to render.

This kind of software experience will not only speed up production, it will also make visualizations easy and fun to create. Choosing the right hardware is essential for creating this experience.

Nvidia Geforce GTX 980

Unleashing the power of the Graphics Card

A GPU is a combination of many processors on a graphics card. These processors carry out all calculations necessary to display images on your computer screen. The development of Lumion has been enabled by the development over recent years of the Graphics Processing Unit(GPU). Lumion works together with the graphics card to produce compelling scenes, which unfold in real time on your screen. This same GPU power is harnessed in producing the final rendered images and videos (animations), with the result that render time is very short.

Which Graphics Cards are recommended?

The Nvidia range of graphics cards produces excellent and reliable performance levels but other cards suitable for high performance gaming are also suitable for Lumion. Some affordable super-performer favorites amongst Lumion users are:

For Desktop computers

  • GeForce Titan X
  • GeForce GTX 980 or GTX 980 Ti
  • GeForce GTX 780 or GTX 780 Ti
  • GeForce GTX 970

For Laptop computers

  • GeForce GTX 980M
  • GeForce GTX 970M
  • GeForce GTX 780M

The desktop cards are more powerful than those for laptops but all of the cards above deliver a great experience with Lumion. The passmark website is an excellent way to check the power of your graphics card. Basically, the score is related to the power and the speed of rendering, so in general, the higher the passmark score, the better the performance

Any score above around 2500 points will deliver a nice experience with Lumion and any score below 1500 points will struggle even to run Lumion. The higher the score, the better the performance and the shorter the render times. But as performance increases, so does the price. So there’s a value-for-money trade-off to think about.

What computers work well with Lumion?

It’s important to bear in mind that a desktop will have a significantly better performance than a laptop for any given price.

As a rule of thumb, computers designed for playing high-end games are also ideal for using Lumion. They also tend to be better value for money than high-end architectural computers, which are often not optimised for using real-time visualization programmes like Lumion.

The below list is far from complete but it’s indicative and has been created with value-for-money in mind. There are many other computers on the market which will also work very well with Lumion.

Laptops

Model Hardware comments Indicative price $US*
* Price is region-dependent – check your local suppliers
Asus G751JY 17.3 inch laptop with Geforce GTX980M (4GB dedicated graphics memory). Heavy for a laptop but very powerful and relatively quiet. $2500
MSI GT72 Dominator Pro 17.3 inch laptop with GeForce GTX 980M GPU (8GB dedicated memory). Big laptop but very powerful. $2300
ASUS G751JT 17.3 inch laptop with Geforce GTX970M (3GB dedicated graphics memory). Less powerful but cheaper version of Asus model. Will still run Lumion very well. $1500
MSI GS60 2QE-230NL GHOST PRO 15.6 inch laptop with GTX 970M graphics card. Thin and light. Good combination between portability and power. Will run Lumion very well. $2000

Desktops

Model Hardware comments Indicative price $US*
* Price is region-dependent – check your local suppliers
Acer Predator G3-605 I9970 Includes Geforce GTX 980 graphics card (4GB dedicated graphics card memory). Gaming computer with good combination of speed and price. $1800
HP ENVY Phoenix 850-000nd Includes GeForce GTX 970 (4GB dedicated graphics memory). If purchasing from a large and widespread business brand like HP is important, this desktop is a good compromise between performance and price. GTX 970 is a lower performance card than the GTX 980 but it will run Lumion very well. $2100
Corsair Epical X99 Extreme Includes Geforce GTX 980 graphics card (4GB dedicated graphics card memory). High-end gaming computer with excellent performance. Possible to configure the computer to your own specification. $2500
Alienware Area-51

Alienware Area-51
Includes Geforce GTX 980 graphics card (4GB dedicated graphics card memory). High-end gaming computer with excellent performance. Possible to configure the computer to your own specification.

$2500

Summary

Lumion is like a racing car. It’s fun and it’s powerful. But without a race-track, you can’t use it to best effect. A great graphics cards is the race-track that Lumion needs. The better the race-track, the faster Lumion can go, the more fun you have and the speedier and more seamless your workflow. Luckily, Lumion is a lot easier to drive than a racing car!

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