Fractal Architect icon

Hardware & Software Requirements

Fractal Architect for Mac requires Mac Snow Leopard version 10.6.x or greater. It requires an Intel CPU on your Mac. Most Macs made since mid 2007 or so, use Intel CPU’s.

Optional Retina Display HiDPI Rendering

Optional rendering of all thumbnails and document previews using 2X HiDPI resolution (only on Macs with Retina display).

The default setting on Macs with Retina displays is Standard resolution as the image improvement from HiDPI resolution is barely noticeable with most fractals.

Rendering a 2X HiDPI image does take 4 times longer than standard resolution rendering.
This performance degradation is normal and can be avoided by choosing the Standard resolution.

Mountain Lion Specific Features

Fractal Architect supports these following Mountain Lion specific features:

  1. iCloud integration. Save your fractal documents on iCloud and access them from multiple Macs.
  2. Built-In Image Sharing using:
  3. Built-In Fractal Document Sharing using:
  4. Built-In Movie Sharing using:
  5. Banner Notification (from Mountain Lion Notification Center) when file, file batch or video renders are done .

Lion & Mountain Lion Specific Features

Fractal Architect supports these following Lion & Mountain Lion specific features:

  1. Full Screen mode support for most windows in the app.
  2. Document Autosaving, File Versioning, Version Browser
  3. Autosaving preferences: Autosaving delay & Autosaving Enable/Disable (Enabled is the default).

OpenCL CPU Based Rendering - Snow Leopard. Lion, & Mountain Lion

Fractal Architect uses a builtin OpenCL renderer that uses the CPU as the default renderer for the application.
With CPU based rendering, Fractal Architect works on any Intel-based Mac regardless of GPU manufacturer. This configuration works on any ATI, Intel, or NVida GPU.

OpenCL GPU Accelerated Rendering on Lion & Mountain Lion only

Fractal Architect's OpenCL renderer can target a GPU on the Mac. An OpenCL capable GPU must be present on the system.

Which Macs have a GPU with OpenCL support?

Older Macs often have discrete GPU's that are not supported by OpenCl. The supported GPUs can be found here: Supported GPUs for OpenCL

Intel SandyBridge CPU/GPU (2011 - 2012) processors and early Intel integrated graphics do not support OpenCL on its HD 3000 GPU.
Intel IvyBridge CPU/GPU (2012 +) processors provide OpenCL support for its HD 4000 GPU only on Mountain Lion.

CUDA GPU Accelerated Rendering on Snow Leopard Nvidia GPUs with pre-installed CUDA 5.0

If you have installed Nvidia's CUDA drivers on your Mac, (Snow Leopard only), you can use the Flam4 CUDA renderer to render your fractals.
Application Sandboxing on Lion and Mountain Lion prevent the app from using this renderer, so this feature is supported on Snow Leopard only.