Finale 3D’s rendering engine runs almost entirely in the computer’s graphics processing unit (GPU), so if you are considering buying a new computer to run Finale 3D, the most important specification for your new computer is its GPU. By and large, Finale 3D will run on almost any Windows computer sold in 2018 or later, and will run on many computers as old as 2016 or older if they have good GPUs.
In the Mac world, Finale 3D works on any Mac from 2016 or later running Windows over Bootcamp. At the time of this writing, Finale 3D will not run with acceptable performance over Parallels or other virtual machines on the Mac, because the virtual machines do not adequately emulate some of the advanced rendering capabilities of the GPU.
So, if you are buying a new computer, here is what we recommend:
- Get an 8Mb or 16Mb computer with an SSD hard drive and the most expensive GPU you can afford. If you can’t remember those details, you can just buy a “gaming computer” or a “multi-media computer”, because computers advertised as such will generally have the right specifications.
- Avoid buying a computer whose graphics capabilities are described as “Intel integrated graphics” or “Intel HD graphics” or really anything that says “Intel” or “integrated”, because what those words mean is that the computer does not actually have a dedicated GPU; instead, its graphics are generated by a chip set associated with the CPU, which means the computer will not be fast for the type of dynamic graphics that Finale 3D generates.
- Expect to pay about USD $1100 to USD $1300 for our recommended configuration. However, you can get an acceptable computer with a decent GPU for as low as USD $800 if you are willing to compromise on other specifications.
Table 1 – Minimum specifications and recommended specifications
|Minimum||Windows 7, 64bit||Intel 4400||8Mb||Any||2018 up-to-date|
|Recommended||Windows 10, 64bit||Nvidia GeForce 1060 or better||16Mb||Any||2018 up-to-date|
At the time of this writing we recommend the Nvidia GeForce 1060 because it is a fast GPU for a reasonable price. Obviously you can spend more for a faster GPU, which will make Finale 3D run smoother on complex shows, but the 1060 is good middle ground. Figure 1 shows a comparison of performance of Nvidia GPUs running a video game whose performance characteristics are similar to those of Finale 3D. You can refer to this chart if you are deciding whether to spend more for a better GPU.
Figure 1 – Benchmarks of Nvidia GPUs, May 2019.