Recommended hardware configurations

Last edited on January 26, 2012

We often get asked what the BEST hardware configuration for running TouchDesigner is. This is usually dependent on your project’s requirements, so there no one system fits all needs. That said, here are some recommendations for a high end TouchDesginer system.

CPU
Multicore CPUs are a plus, such as Intel Quadcore i7. Some aspects of TouchDesigner (such as movie reading, process queuing, serial and OSC inputs) run in separate threads which can benefit from 4 or more cores. Furthermore, if you are creating a large project with multiple TouchDesigner .toe processes running, make sure the system has a core dedicated for each process.

RAM
Generally we recommend at least 4GB of RAM. 32-bit versions of Windows can use 2GB of RAM per process, so by installing 4 GB of RAM you will ensure that RAM is not a limiting factor for your project. 32-bits apps can use 3GB by using the /3GB switch, however this reduces the amount of memory the OS has to use for other things (such as drivers), so setting this switch may cause devices to stop functioning on your OS. The low prices of RAM these days make it a very good investment. When running multiple TouchDesigner processes under 64-bit Windows, try to multiple this number by the number of processes.

Graphics Cards
NVIDIA is recommended, AMD ATI Radeon is now supported. Geforce cards are great for the money, and very fast. A Geforce 9800 is a minimum, preferably the new 500-series Geforce cards work very well. If you have the budget and need top end performance, go for the Quadro series cards. They generally offer a bit more graphics RAM and are all manufactured by one company which offers consistent reliability making them favorable for large scale projects.

Cards with 2 GPUs on them or SLI configurations are not beneficial to TouchDesigner at this time.

The graphics card is one of the most important parts of a TouchDesigner system, extra money spent here will benefit the system the most.

Hard Drives
Where video playback is important, solid state drives (SSDs) will increase performance substantially. We often use a drive other than the system drive for media files.

Operating System
We recommend 64-bit Windows 7 or 64-bit Windows XP. Other XP/Vista/7 versions will work also.

Systems Derivative uses
1 - Top-end workstations for mission critical projects - where reliability, expandability and performance are the most important requirements = Boxx workstations www.boxxtech.com. HP Z800 workstations are excellent.

2 - Portable systems - where performance and portability are the most important requirements = Shuttle systems http://us.shuttle.com/. Get a Shuttle with a large enough power supply based ion your peripherals. 400 to 450 watts is usually good enough.

3 - Laptops - If you are always on the road and/or your laptop is your main system:

(a) gamers’ laptops like the ASUS G74, G73, G53 series, MSI GT684, Toshiba Qosmio X770, or others with the Geforce 560M or similar.

(b) Macbook Pro with an NVIDIA card in it, the newer the model the better. Use Bootcamp and install Windows.
http://www.apple.com/macbookpro/

4 - Bang for your buck - where performance and price are most important = Build you own computer based on the recommendations above. We have a preference to ASUS motherboards and Intel CPUs. Always make sure your power supply can handle the motherboard-GPU combo you use.

See also www.touch077.com/downloads for our minimum system requirements.

HI Ben,
thanks fo the HW rec!
is this as relevant now as it was in 2009? no major changes to multithreading or other parts of touch to take into account? 64 vs 32? SSD? best value and best performing video cards currently?
an updated summary would be brilliant thanks!

Funny how those are my notebook specs and Touch Designer crashed on start… Is it because my card in a ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870? it has 1.0 GB GDDR5 SDRAM, shouldn’t it be enough? My laptop’s a G73JH from ASUS.

Rest of my specs:

Win7 64bit
I7 720qm
8gig RAM

Thanks,

F.

What about windows 8 support?

I’ also wondering about support for Windows 8? I’ about to upgrade my workstation and would like to get Windows 8 x64 rather than Win 7 x64.

SideFx Houdini is supporting Win 8 it which is great! Haven’t yet seen mention of Touch Designer supporting Win 8. If not I’ll stay with win 7.

regards
Nick

I’m running on Windows 8 now and it’s working fine. There are some text rendering bugs that have been fixed and are getting ironed out, but otherwise it’s good.

Can anyone explain how processor speed directly relates to Touch Designer? When may it be a bottle neck?

There is a good article on Optimization in the wiki which describes how to identify CPU vs GPU bottlenecks, and what parts of a TouchDesigner system might be bound to the CPU. Generally, a faster CPU will help with any of the CPU bottlenecks mentioned in this article.