TransCAD and TransModeler are high performance technical software products that are often used to perform demanding computational tasks. Consequently, we recommend using the fastest, modestly priced systems that are available at any particular point in time.
Recommended hardware is described below. Please feel free to check with us before purchasing a new system as new options become available nearly every week.
Windows 10, 8 (including 8.1), 7, and Vista are supported. Older versions of Windows, including Windows 98, ME and NT, are no longer supported. Server versions of Windows (2008 and later) are supported only with a special TransCAD Remote Desktop license. We are now recommending these 64-bit OS’s for all new machines, so that they are able to access more memory with the new 64-bit version of TransCAD.
TransCAD/TransModeler benefit from the fastest processors, and we recommend 4, 6 or 8-core single and dual processor machines with those chips for running large models. TransCAD and TransModeler have key multi-threaded procedures that automatically sense and take advantage of multiple cores and multiple CPUs. In particular, the standard user equilibrium (UE) traffic assignment will scale almost linearly with the number of cores. UE will run roughly eight times faster when there are two quad core CPUs or a single eight core CPU. The matrix engine in TransCAD 6 is also multi-threaded and benefits greatly from multi-core hardware. There are also procedures whose performance scales with the clock speed of the CPU, so higher clock speeds are always desirable.
For workstations, we recommend the Intel Haswell and Ivy Bridge families of processors (fourth and third generations of Core i7 and Xeon E3-1200 and E5-2600), since they offer substantial performance improvements over the older Intel Core 2 family of processors. The first or second generation Core i7 and Xeon 3500/3600 and 5500/5600 series are also acceptable choices. Core i5 desktop processors are satisfactory, but somewhat slower.
For notebooks, we recommend the fastest Haswell Mobile quad-core Core i7s, since they have significantly longer battery life and can be nearly as fast as a desktop.
As TransModeler is a fully 64-bit application, we recommend 16GB of RAM and 64-bit Windows 7, although 4-6 GB will be sufficient for many users and also sufficient for the 32-bit version of TransModeler. If you want to run models with more than 5,000 zones or more, you will want to have even more RAM available. The maximum memory supported by Windows 7 Professional is 192GB.
200GB or more of disk storage space is recommended. If you will be working with many large data sets, you will want much more hard disk storage. The 7200rpm SATA drives are a good choice for high performance at an inexpensive price. Using two hard drives can improve performance when separate drives are utilized for input and output for procedures. This improvement can be obtained more generally by using two drives with RAID level 0 (striping) either in software or hardware. A cost-effective solution that we can recommend is use of 2 SATA drives with a RAID controller. It is always wise to frequently backup your important data, but this is especially true for RAID 0, which seems to fail more often.
Many of the new solid state drives (SSD) are very fast. These drives can be used with good advantage for some of the intensive I/O tasks in model runs. We have been impressed with the Intel 520, Samsung 840 and Crucial M500 drives. For best performance, it is important to look at the write speed of the SSD.
A DVD-ROM drive is recommended as TransCAD and TransModeler are supplied physically on DVD; a download option is also available.
We recommend for archival purposes, purchasing a drive that also can write DVD discs.
For TransModeler, a good graphics card is critical for the animation of the simulation. TransModeler has full 3D animation that requires hardware-based OpenGL acceleration. For the best 3D performance we recommend the nVidia Fermi GTX400, GTX500, GTX600 and GTX700 series (consumer) cards. The nVidia Quadro cards based on the Fermi processor should also work, but cost significantly more.
The older nVidia 200 series and the ATI Radeon HD 5800+ graphics cards should also work well. We are cannot recommend the older ATI video cards for Transmodeler 3D, since their OpenGL drivers seem much slower than the nVidia drivers.
Many older nVidia and ATI Radion cards and will also work, but with lower 3D performance. A minimum of 128MB of video memory is required, but 512MB is recommended.
For good 3D animation with TransModeler on a notebook, we recommend a high-end nVidia graphics card. Many older laptops cannot animate complex 3D simulations.
For TransCAD, any of video adapters mentioned above will provide good 2D performance and have OpenGL acceleration for 3D. Avoid the nVidia Quadro NVS cards, since they do not provide 3D acceleration.
This is very dependent on user preferences. A 20” or larger monitor that can display at least 1280x1024 is recommended. We like the 24” wide-screen panels that can display 1920x1080. We purchase Samsung and Dell UltraSharp LCDs. Dual monitors can be very useful for heavy interactive use.
This is site dependent. Gigabit Ethernet is a good choice for new installations.
TransModeler should work with any printers that work well with Microsoft Windows. We have had good luck with high resolution (e.g. 1440 x 720) Epson printers in small and medium formats as well as with large HP inkjet printers (plotters). Caliper produces large format maps and exhibit graphics using a Hewlett Packard DesignJet 790. We also use HP Color Laserjets CP6015 and 500 M551 for smaller maps.
Many of our above suggestions also apply to notebook computers. We recommend the Haswell (fourth generation) quad-core Mobile Core 7s. We recommend a fast SSD or a 7200rpm drive, now available in configurations up to 1TB. It is also important to have a good video processor with nVidia graphics (for TransModeler).
We do not recommend running large TransCAD models or TransModeler simulations in a virtual computing environment (VMWare, Windows Terminal Server, etc). Our compute intensive engineering applications will at times make use of all the resources available to them. This is especially true of CPU and for TransModeler GPU resources. While key components are multi-threaded, other portions are not and benefit from the fastest clock speeds available. Typical virtualized servers have no more CPU capacity than high-end engineering workstations, so it is not feasible to replace multiple workstations with a single server and it makes little financial sense to do so.