System Requirements

Hardware and Software

What You Need to Run Manifold® Products

Minimum configuration:

  • True PC compatible hardware, running on the actual physical machine.
  • An Internet connection is required to activate a license, to maintain activation, and to move a license to a different machine. See the About Activation page.
  • Available user TEMP space should be three times the size of the largest data set to be processed.
  • Recent 64-bit Windows edition - All 64-bit Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7 and Windows Server 20xx editions, are supported in the current Manifold product downloads. Manifold guarantees compatibility with Windows 10 and Windows 11.
  • Microsoft's .NET Framework 4.0 or more recent. See details below.
  • Manifold Release 9 requires Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable. See details below.
  • GPGPU operation requires Fermi or more recent NVIDIA GPU.
  • See the Licensing page for a discussion of license types and virtual machines.
Open 110 Gigabyte Images See Release 9 technology in action Watch the Open 110GB of Images YouTube video showing how Manifold Viewer opens 110 gigabytes of giant images instantly. Pan and zoom with images georeferenced to the world. Try it yourself with Manifold Viewer.


Release 9 will take advantage of better software and hardware:

  • Windows 10 or Windows 11.
  • Multicore CPUs with 8 or 12 cores (16 to 24 threads!) have become inexpensive.
  • Install plenty of RAM. 24 or 32 GB of RAM is super.
  • Install an NVIDIA GPU of Fermi class or more recent. No need to overspend: a good mid-range card is plenty.
  • Multi-terabyte-sized disk drives are cheap: give yourself ample free space for data and projects.
  • SSD drives have become very inexpensive: enjoy extra speed with an SSD.
  • Two or three monitors provide more room for your desktop. They allow you to keep many windows and panes open at once.

Manifold takes advantage of better capabilities provided in newer versions of Windows. For example, when formatting fields using Style, Release 9 with Windows 10 or Windows 11 supports over 600 language-country combinations for automatic translations of day and month names and local culture formats for dates and numbers. Earlier Windows versions may allow support for only 300 or fewer language-country combinations.

Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0+

.NET is already installed on newer Windows systems. Windows Installer (.exe) installation packages for Manifold will automatically install the required .NET Framework if it is missing. Portable installations may require manual installation of .NET Framework if not already installed. If your Windows system does not have .NET installed, download and install .NET Framework from these Microsoft links:

Microsoft Visual C++ for Portable Installations

Portable (.zip) installations of Manifold Viewer, Release 9 Edge and Manifold Release 9 require installation of Microsoft's Visual C++ Redistributable package. This is not necessary for Release 9 .exe installation packages, which include the C++ Redistributable package and will install it if required. Many modern Windows systems will already have this installed. If not yet installed, portable installation users should download Visual C++ 2017 Redistributable installation files from the Microsoft VC Downloads page.

On 64-bit Windows system, install vc_redist.x64.exe (64-bit).

Tech tip: Windows Installer (.exe) installation packages for Manifold will automatically install required Microsoft .NET Framework and Visual C++ Redistributable packages if they are missing. Portable (.zip) installations do not automatically install required Microsoft components if they are missing. When using portable installations a quick and easy way to ensure Microsoft requirements are installed is to at least once install Manifold from a Windows Installer package. You can then go on to use portable installations knowing all requirements have been installed for you.

Run Windows 10 or Windows 11

Get Microsoft Windows today!

Users are strongly advised to run Windows 10 or Windows 11. 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. Some users report successful use with emulators on Mac, but that is not offically supported. Manifold products are only supported in true PC compatibles with direct access to the PC hardware not mediated by middleware such as virtual machines, 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.

Internet - Manifold products are delivered by download so you must have access to Internet to download the installation files. Internet access will also be required to activate a license, and to maintain activation status for your serial number, with activation checks happening at random every week or two. 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 Release 8 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 Release 8 Personal Edition does not include IMS. Only Manifold Release 8 Professional Edition and higher editions include IMS.

64-bit Requirements

Current Manifold products are all 64-bit licenses. Manifold no longer sells 32-bit licenses. You must have a 64-bit Manifold Serial Number and a 64-bit Manifold installation to run in 64-bit mode on 64-bit Intel or AMD x64 processors running 64-bit Windows editions. Manifold x64 is not supported for Itanium or other non-x64 architectures.

Current Manifold product installations are all exclusively 64-bit installations. Manifold no longer provides 32-bit installation packages or mixed 32-bit/64-bit installation packages. If you have a legacy Manifold product serial number procured in the past, and you are working with a legacy Manifold product installation, 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.

Install Plenty of Memory

Manifold products are designed for an era where RAM memory is cheap and personnel costs are high. For best performance install plenty of RAM. 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:

  • Run Windows 10 x64 or Windows 11 x64. Modern Windows editions are more reliable and generally run faster than older Windows editions.
  • Run a multi-core processor. The more cores the better: Manifold Release 9 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 and Core i9 are still great multi-core processos as well.
  • 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. Manifold uses GPGPU automatically for massively parallel computations, and not just for rendering.
  • No need to overspend on GPU. It's really cool that a very high end card like an RTX 3090 can provide over 10,000 GPGPU cores, but such cards are far and away overkill for almost all GIS work. A mid-range GPU card, costing $250 or less, is plenty. Sub-$200 cards now have over 1000 GPU cores, and when Manifold puts all those to work on computations that already is so much power that it makes little difference adding another few hundred cores, let alone thousands more cores. Even a $100 card will absolutely crush computations compared to a non-GPU system. As a practical matter, anybody with even a slight interest in gaming will have an NVIDIA GPU card for gaming that is more than enough for GIS.
  • For very large tasks, such as intensive geoprocessing using Release 9, consider investing in a CPU that provides many cores. This can easily give you 24, 32, 48 or more cores at a low price. Manifold Release 9 will automatically parallelize everything to as many cores as you have, so usually the more cores the better if you are running more demanding tasks in Release 9.
  • 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, 48 or 64 GB of RAM.
  • Large disk drives are very inexpensive. Get lots of space - several 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.
  • SSD drives have become cheap. Get a terabyte SSD drive and run faster.
  • A typical entry level system will use Windows 10 or 11, 16 GB of RAM, a four to eight core processor and have at least 1 TB of disk. Even entry level machines will often use SSD, at least 512 GB. Entry level systems will use one inexpensive 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 or 11, 32 GB or more of RAM, a 12 core processor such as an AMD Ryzen and 1 or 2 TB SSD plus 4 to 6 TB of archival storage. Professional systems will use a mid-range NVIDIA GPGPU card.
  • A typical high end system will use Windows 10 or 11, 64 GB or more RAM, a seriously multi-core single processor (think AMD Threadrippers) and 2 TB of SSD backed up by several TB of hard disk for archival storage. Systems intended for number crunching will often be equipped with a higher end NVIDIA GPU card or dual mid-range cards.

User Requirements

Manifold products are designed for people who are familiar with Windows and who expect that learning to do amazing 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. As one long-time Manifold user put it, "Manifold is software for grown-ups."

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 Release 8 or Manifold Release 9, 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++, Javascript, 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, Linux, or some other non-Windows system.

Tips for Learning Manifold Products

The primary resources for learning Manifold Products are the User Manuals and Videos. User manuals contains thousands of pages providing general introductions as well as numerous detailed topics, and hundreds of step-by-step examples and procedures. Videos are very helpful to get started, but they are no replacement for the detailed learning you get from reading user manual topics.

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. 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 Manifold Power in a Free Tool

Manifold Viewer is completely free - no need to register, no ads, no upsell, no soliciting donations - it's really free!

Manifold Viewer is the free, read-only version of Manifold Release 9. 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. Viewer includes full SQL as well, with hundreds of spatial and other analytic functions.

Viewer can also create and write spatial indices for entire folders full of LiDAR files, save connections to favorite files and data sources, and even edit and save localization files to translate Manifold into new languages.

Manifold Viewer delivers a truly useful, fully CPU-parallel and GPU-parallel Manifold tool that gives you parallel power and endless Manifold capabilities at zero cost. No need to register, no adware, no requests for donations and no selling: use Viewer however you like, including commercial purposes. You can even redistribute Viewer, all for free.

Viewer is a great way to share the amazing projects you create in Manifold for free. Publish multi-hundred GB projects created in Manifold that anybody can pop open in 1/10th second for free using Viewer. Publish projects that include automatic connections to your organization's databases and worldwide webserved data, and include pre-built, sophisticated analytics and dynamic reporting that users can launch with a point and click. Track pandemics, help first responders fight wildfires, or just help your organization do a better job.

See Manifold Viewer in Action.

Viewer's small download (only 50 MB), instant launch, and clean display - free of convoluted ribbons and endless, confusing buttons - make it perfect for unskilled users. With Viewer a million people can share the dazzling analytics and insights you create with an inexpensive Manifold license, all at fully parallel speed with no need to pay for costly, cloud-based, web processing. Like Manifold, Viewer never crashes, no matter how big or complicated the job.

See Viewer in action Watch the Manifold Viewer Introduction YouTube video.

"Mfd 9 is becoming a really good tool for sharing data with non-GIS folks. Clean interface makes it easy to teach others simple tasks. Easy to transfer a project. Easy to install software. Free viewer." - Forum post

Get Manifold Viewer

Buy Now via the Online Store

Buy Manifold® products on the Online Store. The store is open 24 hours / seven days a week / every day of the year. Orders are processed immediately with a serial number sent out by email in seconds. Enjoy the world's most advanced spatial tools today!

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

Release 9

Click for larger image: Terrain elevations in Arizona colored on the fly with an elevation palette in a Manifold Release 9 display, as seen in the Gallery page.

About Manifold

Manifold is a deep technology company creating advanced, parallel algorithms, next-level technology, and computation know-how that powers faster performance and smarter operations.

License Manifold® technology to power your company's products, or take advantage of Manifold's off-the-shelf commercial products. Jump decades ahead of your competition.

Manifold® brand products deliver quality, performance and value in the world's most sophisticated, most modern, and most powerful spatial products for GIS, ETL, DBMS, and Data Science. Total integration ensures ease of use, amazing speed, and unbeatably low cost of ownership. Tell your friends!

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