Thursday, October 15, 2009

Testing VisionRez 2010 on Windows 7

Click here for all 3 VisionRez reviews
I write this as I install VisionRez Standalone 2010 on my freshly built new computer, sampling a brownie cooked by my young daughter, and recover from suspected appendicitis (maybe not?). The computer, sporting 4mb RAM is targeting for some testing! I installed an old XPpro 32bit and then installed Release Candidate version of Windows 7 32bit. I skipped Vista as un-nessessary marketing drool but 7 sounds like they got the mix right. Even better I don't have to pay for it until March 2010 when it will start shutting down every 2 hours. And now - what I really want to do, set up Windows7RC 64bit. To do this I have used a Gnome tool to split up the new 1TB hard drive into 4 seperate partitions, the 2x Win7 OS's are installed on smaller 20Gb drives ready for toasting if I don't procede with any OS upgrade. (have to remember not to save anything important to those drives). Actually Windows7 seems to have it's own partition tool so probably needn't have bothered except to say I've now used a linux tool. All OS's are available from a boot menu. Windows 7 32bit & 64bit both show up as simply Windows 7.

My aim is to test ACA in a 64bit environment. If succesful I might move here for my work machine and install some extra RAM. Now ACA doesn't natively use more than 1 cpu except on a couple of executions, like regenerating or redrawing windows and then only 2. But the new Mental Ray rendering engine will pump up as many cores as you have, bringing Quad core into their own. If you plan on rendering, then quad's may have their use but for general ACA work, a faster Dual core will bring you better return. The 64bit environment will allow you to use more than 4mb of RAM. Apparently 32bit can access close to 4Mb but you need to include your graphics card so if it's a 512Mb, then only ~3.5Gb of RAM will be addressed. Further I understand that any one application can only use 2Gb. 64bit opens up a lot more RAM for use in Windows. I bought all except the CPU as I had an old D805 Dual Pentium lying around so that may penalize my results a little. But it can overclock so we'll see what I can get out of it. The $100 case has a nice blue lit fan that's large enough to cool the whole room so hopefully overclocking will bring a decent improvement. If it does become my work machine it will have to be upgraded.

So to VisionRez 2010

So when I saw that VisionRez invited tryouts of their latest release based on the v2010 series I jumped at the chance to take a look at this excellant residentially slanted tool. Whilst we bemoan AutoDesks ignoring the residential community's cries for better 'resi' tools, this is VisionRez's market so you can be assured of their focus. However, they are an American firm and the product, heavily customised for residential reflects the US building methods. This is a great opportunity for me to check out their product and evaulate how easy it could be moulded to fit a different market. My fear is that I may wish that I had bought their more residentially targeted product rather than the broader, general and less focused ACA. I am installing the 64bit VisionRez Stand Alone.
VisionRez series of products are based on ACA, either a plugin for your full version, or 2 standalone versions based on cut down versions of ACA (depending on what you need)
VR Designer and VR Builder. I am reviewing the full version standalone.

Builder includes the Framing, Bill of Materials etc, gear required for actually building it. Designer doesn't include these or Curtain walls & Spaces. (See link for complete list) But the prices are keen for cut down versions and a many may not require these extra features. Designer is $1495US which get's you an amazing amount of power as a residential designer. That's the same price as the plug-in for a full version. For a small office that want's to tool up on a great CAD platform, produce models for rendering and CD's efficiently this is a great option.

Of course VR is famous for their roof tool which looks everything a roof tool should be, except it can't naturally create a Gablet or Dutch hip, both which can be easily created by the native ACA tool. Apparently North Americans just don't do them. But Aussies do and often so therein is a problem that I am interested in seeing how to resolve in VR. But VR is a lot more.

One thing that surprised me was that they had not enabled the default install of the express tools. I understand that they are not supported but the amount of users who have paid the enormous price for the full version but don't know about these fanastic, practical & versatile tools is just silly. To a power user it's anaethema not to have them available.

So - don't install default, go custom, add Express Tools, and also add the UK version if you are using Metric. UK version is a lot closer to Aussie use that the US Metric. Of course if you are in the US then just go with the US versions - they will be right in your pocket.

One error on install - MS SQL server seems to have issues with Win7 but it installed so we'll see. The install starts and I am greeted with Robert Shelton of VisionRez work team's images in slide presentation. Robert's images are so good it's either inspiring or makes you want to give up ever trying a rendering again. I choose to be inspired. (Also on YouTube)

It seems that a full version of ACA is installed and then the plugin. I'll be interested to see how a VR created model and data is handled in a regular version of ACA2010. (update - it doesn't completely - a barge board looses it's sloping profile and becomes a large square mass).

Oh and the test also comes with an install of HSB which will build wall & roof frames in both timber or steel. This should be fun. - Ouch, HSB wouldn't install! - Error. (I think this is stated in the install help - as I didn't order that product it won't install).

So how is it? To be continued.......


Anonymous said...

I've been using XP64 for a couple of years and it's much more stable than 32bit. I also need the 8Gb of RAM for rendering larger ACA files.

I'm with you in hating vista.

Nathan Ellery said...

Yes I should make moves to get onto the new system. atm my wife is enjoying the big wide screen. :-)

JamesT said...

I am surprise to see that this software travel out of US :) I've been using VisionREZ for a few years now. The software is create by a small company therefore bugs and crashes are to be expected. I've grown to like visionrez mainly because of all the customize items they added for residential.

Nathan Ellery said...

HI James.
I'm not using VisionRez but had the DVD sent to me to tryout for 30 days. I too love the focus on residential work that it has but it is very american and I would have to spend some time creating local content incorporating it into VR. Once done though I think it would be great to use in our environment here.