Always check before installing pCon.planner that your hardware meets the recommended minimum system requirements. If this is not so, there is no guarantee that the software will run smoothly. You will find the recommended system requirements here.
The type of graphics card installed on your system will be a crucial factor in stable operation of pCon.planner, determining the level of performance.
There are two basic types of graphics card. One is the onboard card. These are simple graphics chips that have only a small memory of their own with which to process graphics data. They make use of parts of the random access memory (RAM) of the computer. They have the advantage of not consuming much electricity, being relatively cheap to buy and being suitable for most applications such as text and image processing. Onboard cards are, in particular, frequently installed in laptops.
The other sort are the dedicated graphics cards. These are cards which have a powerful processor (GPU) and a high-volume graphics memory. They are systems which will always provide generally higher performance than onboard card solutions. They are suitable for everyday office use, which usually means 2D applications, such as in image processing, but they are also intended for use in the 3D field.
As the pCon.planner is 3D software, it will need adequate resources on the hardware side. This means that it can only be used to its full performance level if installed with a dedicated graphics card.
It is, however, possible to operate it with onboard systems, although with some limitations. There is a description below of what to do to optimize operation on the lower-performance type of graphics card system.
There are laptops which use both onboard and dedicated graphics cards. These are called hybrids. The user can decide which graphics card to use to support the application currently being operated. If you have a hybrid, you should therefore assign the dedicated card to pCon.planner. We have written more on this in our blog entry: How to solve display and performance problems in pCon.planner and recommend you look at it.
Quite often, any problems with the pictures in pCon.planner are not due to the graphics hardware but to a certain piece of software, the driver program, which was used to install the graphics card in the (Windows) operating system. For that reason we recommend you always use an up-to-date graphics card driver. These are usually to be found on the web pages of the particular graphics card manufacturer.
The modes of render for pCon.planner are distinguished by their processing speeds. If you choose Concept mode for up-to-date graphics cards, that will usually be the quickest. On older systems the quickest will be Shaded mode. It is worth trying out how the differences between the modes work out on your system.
A second monitor or a projector can be used to extend the main display as a second screen. When this possibility is used while pCon.planner is running, there may be picture faults and even a crash of the software. One of the most frequent reasons is shortage of graphics card memory. In both cases (crash or poor pictures) we recommend that you operate only one monitor while running pCon.planner.
Use the following tips to help you optimize performance. They can help particularly in the case of graphics hardware that is more than 2 years old, so that despite the limitations you can work with the software.
The Extended Options for rendering provide you with the opportunity to adapt the graphic representation, enabling it to make less demand on the hardware resources.
The extended options are to be found in the Render group, View tab. There is a small icon on the right lower edge (see the red circle in the screenshot on the left). Click on this.
Change over to the Quality tab.
Set Texture Quality to Simple and the Shadow Quality to Normal.
Global Edge Reduction has been preset to 11%. Raising this figure will have a positive effect on the computations for the representation of objects.
You should avoid opening pCon.planner more than once, as the hardware resources required would then have to be shared rather than simply being available to the one instance.
While running and using pCon.planner, do not use other 3D applications at the same time (for instance AutoCAD), as the same hardware resources will be accessed by both applications and in each case there will be a reduction in performance.
If you have fairly weak graphics hardware, it may be wise to work simply in one viewport without subdividing it. Also, reducing the size of the screen area used for the software on your monitor will mean the graphics are computed faster.