System Requirements

Hardware and Software

What You Need to Run Manifold Products

At a minimum you need the following hardware and software:

  • True PC compatible hardware.
  • Available user TEMP space should be three times the size of the largest data set to be processed.
  • Recent Windows edition - All Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7 and Windows Server 20xx editions, both 64 bit and 32 bit, are supported in the current Radian and Manifold product downloads. Manifold guarantees compatibility with Windows 10, the best Windows edition yet!
  • Microsoft's .NET Framework 4.0 or more recent. See details below.
  • Radian Studio requires Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable. See details below.
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Consider the following tips for larger projects, better hardware performance or special uses:

  • Run Windows 10 or more recent.
  • Run 64 bit Windows.
  • Run multicore processors, especially with Radian Studio.
  • Install as much RAM as you can.
  • Install an NVIDIA GPU of Fermi class or more recent. That will provide access to GPGPU computation and will enable smoother 3D rendering of terrains.
  • Terabyte-sized disk drives are inexpensive: give yourself ample free space for data and projects.
  • Larger monitors provide more room for your desktop and two or three monitors allow you to keep many windows and panes open at once.

Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0+

.NET is already installed on newer Windows systems. If your Windows system does not have .NET installed, download and install .NET Framework from these Microsoft links:

Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable for Portable Installations

The portable installations for either Radian Studio or Manifold Viewer require installation of Microsoft's Visual C++ Redistributable package. This is not necessary for Radian or Viewer .exe installation packages, which include the C++ Redistributable package and will install if required. Most modern Windows systems will already have this installed. If not yet installed, portable installation users should download the Visual C++ 2017 Redistributable from the following links and install:

On 64-bit Windows system, install both vc_redist.x64.exe (64-bit) and vc_redist.x86.exe (32-bit). On a 32-bit Windows system, install vc_redist.x86.exe (32-bit).

The above Visual C++ 2017 Redistributable files were downloaded from the following Microsoft links:

If for any reason you prefer to get your Visual C++ Redistributable packages directly from Microsoft, please download them from the links above or from whatever are Microsoft's current links. If Microsoft changes the links you may need to use a search engine to find the latest installation package. If a search engine cannot find the latest Microsoft links, the latest links are usually available on Microsoft's Visual Studio page at:

On that page see Other Tools and Frameworks and then Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable for Visual Studio 2017.

Run Windows 10

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Users are strongly advised to utilize Windows 10. Some users will run Manifold products on older Windows versions, even at times Windows versions that are so old Microsoft no longer supports them. But that is risky and not something Manifold recommends or supports.

Manifold products are not supported for use in Macintosh or any other non-native PC environment using Windows emulators. Manifold products are only supported in true PC compatibles with direct access to the PC hardware not mediated by middleware such as virtual machine emulators, remote consoles, timesharing console servers, attempts to allow "floating" use of Manifold installed on one machine to be used by a variety of client machines and the like. If you want to use floating licenses, acquire a Manifold License Server license and use that.

Internet Recommended - Manifold products are delivered by download so you must have access to Internet to download the installation files, either to install them on the target computer or at least to be able to copy them to a USB drive or some other media to bring to the computer upon which they will be installed. Internet access will also be required to obtain activation keys for your serial number. This is more convenient and can be done automatically if the target computer is connected to Internet. Your Manifold license does not require direct connection to Internet while operating, but some features such as the use of web servers and web data sources will require Internet connectivity to function.

Manifold Internet Map Server (IMS) - Manifold IMS is published for use in the Windows versions cited in the requirements above. Although IMS can work in Windows systems with non-IIS web servers, such as Apache, that are capable of instantiating and using a COM object, only Microsoft's IIS is supported by Manifold tech support for developer support incidents. Please note that Manifold System Personal Edition does not include IMS. Only Manifold System Professional Edition and higher editions include IMS.

64-bit Requirements

You must have a 64-bit Manifold Serial Number and a 64-bit Manifold installation to run in 64-bit mode on 64-bit x64 processors running 64-bit Windows editions. Manifold x64 is not supported for Itanium or other non-x64 bit architectures.

Manifold x64 serial numbers will enable Manifold installations to run in either 64-bit or 32-bit systems. However, if you use a Manifold 64-bit serial number to activate a 32-bit Manifold installation it will run in 32-bits only.

Memory Requirements for Large Projects

Manifold products are designed for an era where RAM memory is cheap and personnel costs are high. For best performance install as much RAM as possible. RAM is so cheap in modern times it is "penny wise and pound foolish" not to load up your system with the maximum amount of RAM it can hold. Windows makes effective use of RAM when multiple applications are running, so this will help all your work go faster and not just Manifold products. As always, keep in mind that to use more than 2GB of RAM effectively you must be running 64-bit Manifold products as well as 64-bit Windows.

Advice on Hardware Configurations

Some suggestions when assembling a system:

  • Go 64-bit and run Windows 10 x64. 64-bit Windows is essential to gain reliability in large processes that 32-bit Windows editions do not have.
  • Run a multi-core processor. It is difficult not to buy a multi-core processor in modern times but the more cores the better. Radian Studio does an especially good job of running parallel on multiple CPU cores. AMD's new Ryzen processors are a fantastic buy, but Intel's Core i7 is still a great multi-core processor as well.
  • A fast graphics card must be installed when performing 3D rendering in terrain windows. NVIDIA®-based cards currently selling for under $50 will provide smooth motion even with large terrains. Manifold recommends cards using NVIDIA graphics processors because they also provide GPGPU capability with Radian Studio and with the Surface Tools extension in Manifold Release 8.00.
  • Get an NVIDIA GPGPU-capable card using a Fermi GPU or more recent. Modern NVIDIA graphics cards use massively parallel architectures to provide supercomputer speed for rendering. GPGPU is a technology that enables applications to upload general computing tasks into those massively parallel processing architectures for fast computation. Radian Studio uses GPGPU automatically everywhere, and Manifold GIS products use GPGPU for many functions with each new release using GPU more and more. Even if you do not utilize the functions that take advantage of GPGPU, you will still have a first-rate graphics card.
  • For very large tasks, such as intensive web server applications using IMS, consider investing in a multi-socket, multi-core machine. This gives you 16, 32 or more cores. Various processes within Manifold GIS can use multiple processor cores, and the additional cores will offload other processes that would otherwise rob some processor performance from Manifold. Radian Studio will automatically parallelize everything to as many cores as you have, so the more cores the better if you are running more demanding tasks in Radian.
  • RAM is very inexpensive and can be used effectively with x64 Windows. Install as much RAM as you can afford. RAM has become so inexpensive that most professional users will automatically install 24 GB and many will max out their motherboards with 32 GB or 48 GB of RAM.
  • Large disk drives are very inexpensive. Get lots of space - terabytes - to hold the maps, images and data sets you will download for free via Internet. Manifold products read zillions of formats so you will find a wealth of free data on the web you can use.
  • A typical entry level system will use Windows 10 x64, 16 GB of RAM, a four to eight core processor and have at least 1 TB of disk. Entry level systems will use one NVIDIA GPU card. In modern times even entry level computers and small notebooks run 64-bit Windows.
  • A typical professional office system will use Windows 10 x64, 24 GB or more of RAM, an eight core processor such as a Core i7 or AMD Ryzen and at least 2 TB of disk, often with dual hard disks in a RAID mirror for redundancy. More advanced systems will use a more powerful NVIDIA GPGPU card and will often have dual cards.
  • A typical high end system will use Windows 10 x64, 32 GB or more RAM, dual processors or a seriously multi-core single processor (think 8+ cores...) and multiple TB+ disks in RAID arrays. Systems intended for number crunching will often be equipped with multiple NVIDIA GPU cards such as three or even four high end cards. Large web applications will, of course, use server farms with multiple servers.

User Requirements

As one long-time Manifold user put it, "Manifold is software for grown-ups."

Manifold products are designed for people who are familiar with Windows and who expect that learning to do amazing, wonderful things with a sophisticated application will require study. Average intelligence is all you need, but what is more important is being willing to read documentation.

A typical new user feels comfortable with Microsoft Office applications like Excel, Word and Access and often knows other applications such as PhotoShop as well. Although prior familiarity with GIS is helpful, what is more important is the ability to read documentation diligently in the recommended order. Most beginners who read documentation and work through examples as recommended by Manifold are comfortably productive at beginning levels in one or two days of attentive study. It doesn't take months or years of study but it does take a couple of days. Expertise builds rapidly with use.

Advanced work with Manifold products, either Manifold System GIS or Radian Studio, such as development of custom applications, use of enterprise databases or web programming, will of course also require expertise in the accessory technologies involved. This is usually straightforward for Windows people, since Manifold utilizes Microsoft standards whenever possible. This assures the accumulated wisdom of the Microsoft ecosystem as well as your existing expertise in standard Microsoft development environments will be directly relevant to your advanced work with Manifold. Manifold products also use industry standards like SQL for manipulating data and standard languages like C++, V8 Javascript, Python and so on without introducing weird, one of a kind vendor languages.

Although Manifold uses Windows style and Windows nomenclature to make it easier for most people, ordinary use of Manifold is fairly easy to learn even if your "home" environment is Mac or Linux or other non-Windows system.

Tips for Learning Manifold Products

The primary resource for learning Manifold Products are the User Manuals. User manuals contains thousands of pages providing general introductions as well as numerous detailed topics, and hundreds of step-by-step examples and procedures.

To save time it is essential to not skim topics but to actually read them attentively and to apply them with care. Folks who try to save time by neglecting the recommended reading will encounter unnecessary frustration and will end up taking longer to learn the product. The learning curve initially is very steep: there is lot of power and capability in Manifold products. But if you hang in there for the first day or so you'll find very quickly it all starts coming together. That first day or so of nearly vertical learning curve will long be forgotten when you have years of incredible power and convenience at your fingertips.

Surprisingly, you don't need to have prior GIS experience to do well with Manifold GIS, nor do you need very much DBMS experience to use Radian Studio in simple ways. Beginners who attentively read the documentation in the recommended order will learn faster and easier than experts who refuse to read any documentation or who just skim. Of course, experts who do read documentation as recommended will become even more productive at advanced tasks at a faster pace than beginners. But those experts who don't invest time into learning a new, sophisticated tool will encounter totally unnecessary frustration.

Experience Radian Power in a Free Tool

See Manifold Viewer in Action. Manifold Viewer is a read-only subset of Radian Studio. Although Viewer cannot write projects or save edited data back out to the original data sources, Viewer provides phenomenal capability to view and to analyze almost all possible different types of data in tables, vector geometry, raster data, drawings, maps and images from thousands of different sources. Manifold Viewer delivers a truly useful, Radian technology tool you can use for free to experience Radian power firsthand. See Viewer in action Watch the Manifold Viewer Introduction YouTube video.

Get Manifold Viewer

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Suggestions to improve Manifold are always welcome. Please see the Suggestions page for tips on making effective suggestions.


Click for larger image: Terrain elevations in Arizona colored on the fly with an elevation palette in a Radian Studio display, as seen in the Gallery page.

About Manifold

Manifold products deliver quality, performance and value in the world's most sophisticated, most modern and most powerful spatial engineering products. Total integration ensures unbeatably low cost of ownership.