Hardware Recommendations

Good computing equipment will make working with the SEMA program significantly easier and faster. Please have a look at all the relevant information we have collected for you. (Status: 05/2017)

Intel Core i5, i7 are registered trademarks of Intel Corporation. AMD FX is a registered trademark of AMD Corporation. Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation. Nvidia GeForce GTX, Nvidia Quadro and Nvidia Tegra are registered trademarks of Nvidia Corporation. Trend Micro Officescan is a registered trademark of Trend Micro Incorporated.

Note: In the column "Minimum requirements" you find the minimum hardware requirements. They are sufficient for working with small projects in our software. For your daily work we recommend, however, a more efficient hardware.

PC's and Laptops
Components Minimum requirements Recommendation Professional Comments
Processor Intel Pentium or AMD 6th generation Intel Core i7 or AMD FX with 3 GHZ or higher Intel Core i7 newest generation To a large extend, the processor determines the operating speed of the programs. Particularly for major projects and for visualisation a high-performance processor is very useful.
Memory 4 GB 8 - 16 GB 16 - 32 GB The capacity of the main memory also contributes to a large extend to the speed of the program. For larger projects we recommend a higher memory capacity in order to avoid the risk of data loss.
Hard disk 200 GB SATA 128 GB SSD as HDU system 256 GB SSD as HDU data 256 GB SSD as HDU system 500 GB SSD as HDU data or one big single SSD HDU The required capacity largely depends on the number of installed SEMA versions (approx. 1 GB per version) and the number of projects. Typically, a project needs between 2 and 15 MB, depending on the number and size of components.
Drives DVD-Multinorm DVD-Multinorm DVD-Multinorm A DVD writer is not absolutely necessary, however, it makes your work easier, particularly with respect to data backup and exchange of data.
Interfaces USB 2.0 USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 The program is delivered with a copy protection (dongle) which is best used with a USB interface. The use of a quick USB 3.0 interface doesn't make much sense.
Operating system Windows 7 Windows 10 64Bit Windows 10 64Bit SEMA has thoroughly tested Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. These operating systems turned out to be the best platforms for the SEMA program. We strictly recommend not to use any windows versions older than Windows 7! Please note that from 2018, Windows 7 will no longer be supported by Microsoft.
Graphics adapter 3D graphics card (Nvidia or ATI) with 1 GB RAM Nvidia GeForce from GTX 1000 series with 2 GB RAM Nvidia GeForce from GTX 1000 series with 8 GB RAM For visualisation, one of the latest accelerator cards is absolutely necessary. We recommend Nvidia cards because in our in-house tests they were much better than ATI cards. If you use an ATI card, please see to it that you use it with the most current driver. We recommend not to use graphics cards that use part of the main memory (shared memory)!
Resolution 1024*768 Full HD 1920*1080 or higher Full HD 1920*1080 or higher The optimum resolution for the SEMA programs depends on the size of the monitor (see also "Recommendations for laptops"). For a professional setup, we recommend a system with two monitors.
Pixel depth 32 Bit 32 Bit 32 Bit Particularly for snapping objects in Visualization a 32-bit pixel depth is necessary.
Monitor 17" 22" LCD flat panel monitor or bigger 22" LCD flat panel monitor or bigger For everyone who works a lot on the computer, a high-quality/flat-panel monitor is a very sensible investment. We also recommend to make sure that the monitor/resolution ratio makes sense - we suggest for 14" - 17" monitor a resolution of 1024 x 768 and for a 17" - 19" monitor a resolution of 1280 x 1024. With higher resolutions it is absolutely necessary to use larger Monitors.
Mouse 2-button mouse with scroll wheel High-resolution laser mouse High-resolution laser mouse For very acurate work, a mouse with corresponding sensitivity/speed is necessary. Laser mice offer the best DPI speed. Buttons that can be freely programmed (e.g. for macros) are very helpful.
Keyboard Standard PC keyboard Standard PC keyboard Standard PC keyboard Special gaming keyboards often offer the option to store macros - i.e. you can allocate special, often used tasks to specific keys and thus work a lot more efficient.
Printer Laser printer and ink jet printer Colour laser printer and large-format plotter Colour laser printer and large-format plotter It would be good to have at least one colour device. How well the printer works does not only depend on the printer itself but also on the driver and the paper. Please note the recommendations in the printer manual.
1:1 Output continuous printing DIN A1 Colour inkjet plotter DIN A0 Colour inkjet plotter DIN A0 Colour inkjet plotter Particularly for stairs construction we intended the 1 : 1 output in the SEMA programs. Please be aware that some continuous printers (continuous plotters) only allow output up to a certain length, i.e. you might buy a so-called continuous plotter which can only print up to 3.2 m.

Recommendations for laptops

When you use a laptop computer that means that you normally cannot upgrade individual components which makes it all the more important to make sure you get what you need. We therefore recommend the following:

  • an up-to-date high-performance processor 
  • Monitor with at least 15" and a minimum resolution of 1280*1024. With higher resolutions it is absolutely necessary to use larger monitors.
  • Nvidia graphics cards with at least 1 GB memory
Laptops/Tablets
Components Minimum Requirement Recommendation Comments
Processor Intel Intel Core i7, i5 The processor largely determines the operating speed. We recommend Intel I5 or Intel I7 processors. These processors offer sufficient performance in combination with the SEMA Timber Construction programs and they come with the appropriate graphics card (Intel HD 4000) integrated. On tablets with Nvidia Tegra or ARM processors, the SEMA programs do not work!
System Memory 4 GB 8 GB The size of the main memory also has a significant influence on the speed of the program. For large-scale projects, several main memories should be available. Insufficient memory can lead to data loss in the worst case.
Storage 200 GB SATA 256 GB SSD or more The storage capacity depends mainly on the number of installed SEMA versions (about 1 GB per version) and the number of projects. One project typically needs between 2 and 15 MB, depending on the number of components.
Interfaces USB, LAN USB, WLAN, HDMI The program is delivered with a program protection key. This key requires a free port/interface. The following additional features may also be important: USB interface for data exchange with a USB device, WLAN adapter to access the Internet, HDMI port to connect the tablet to a larger screen, Port/slot for a SIM card for phone calls and mobile Internet, Possibility to expand storage with SD cards.
Operating Systems Windows 8 Pro or Windows 8.1 Pro Windows 10 64Bit IMPORTANT NOTE: The SEMA timber construction programs are not available in the form of an app! Thus, users must make sure that Windows 8 PRO, Windows 8.1 PRO or Windows 10 is used on the respective Tablet PC. None of the SEMA programs will run on Windows 8 RT or Windows 8.1 RT!
Resolution 1024*768 Full HD 1920*1080 or higher The screen should not have less than 10 inches, because with smaller screens the lines in the SEMA Timber Construction programs appear too thin. The ideal resolution for the SEMA programs depends on the screen size (see also info for laptops).
Color Depth 32 Bit 32 Bit Particularly for the snap feature in Visualisation, a color depth of 32 Bit is necessary.

Tablets in CAD

In CAD, a tablet cannot replace a full-scale computer (desktop or laptop). However, it can be very useful for demonstrations for customers or on the building site. With tablets it is usually not possible to exchange components - therefore it is all the more important to pay attention to the technical specifications and details.

Virus scanner

Even without internet connection you can easily infect your computer with a virus, therefore we recommend to always use a virus scanner. We at SEMA use Trend Micro Officescan. Please also note that an "outdated" virus scanner does not help much - therefore you have to update it regularly.

Internet connection

An internet connection is not absolutely necessary but helpful to download SEMA updates or virus scanner/signature updates.

E-Mail

To receive newsletters or to send us projects you have problems with we recommend e-mail access. If you want to send and receive projects, your mail box should have a capacity of at least 10 MB.
Also, if necessary, program extensions (new modules) can be send to you by E-Mail quickly and safely.

General comments about data security

Regular backups, e.g. on DVD or external hard drive are very important. You can use e.g. the Windows Backup program for it. It also makes sense to keep some older backup version so that you can use them in case of a virus infection.

Terminal Server

When using SEMA programs with a terminal server with Windows 2003 TSE (TSE = Terminal Server Edition), the visualization feature can only be used as a form of representation, i.e. you cannot, for example, snap objects. The reason is that TSE 2003 only works with 24-bit pixel depth, the SEMA programs, however, require 32-bit. As of Microsoft Windows 2008 servers, the pixel depth can be changed to 32-bit. However, the default setting of the server is 16-bit – so you have to change the setting. On the client side, you need at least Windows 7 or higher with an up-to-date RDC (Remote Desktop Client), i.e. 6.0 or higher. Windows 8 and Windows 10 (with all updates) already support 32-bit pixel depth. If you do not change the pixel depth setting on the server or use an outdated RDC on the client, the visualization of SEMA only works for representation – SEMA requires a pixel depth of 32-bit.
Please also keep in mind that when working with several clients intensively on a TSE, even a high-performance server quickly reaches its limits. To be able to work productively with our CAD/CAM you need direct and fast access to all resources. Please check before you install the program.

other software

To work with/print out material lists and summary calculations from the SEMA program, we recommend Microsoft Word (it is not absolutely necessary, but makes work much easier).
When you buy a new computer, please keep that in mind because you can normally get Word or Office as OEM version with a new computer at a much better price.

Recommendation for the optimal configuration of your computer, peripherals and operating system

For visualizatioin, set your computer on the highest colour quality (32-bit). When using tubular monitors make sure not to set them on the highest frequency - 80-90 Hz are sufficient and better for your eyes and the monitor.
LCD monitors should be used with their original resolution if possible, as otherwise the screen image is slightly blurred.