Hardware configuration


flow5 is available for Windows 10, macOS and Linux platforms running on x86-64 bit processors.

mac-OS on ARM processors

flow5 v7.10 has been tested successfully on Mac OS mini M1 using the Rosetta 2 translator.
A binary version of flow5 running natively on ARM-M1 processors is under development. Its release will depend on the availability of all library dependencies on the new platform.

Processor – x86

Since the program performs intensive calculations for the analyses and in the pre- and post-processing phases, its speed of execution will scale with the computer’s CPU power.

Also worth mentioning is that multi-threading has been implemented as much as possible, which means that the application’s execution speed will increase with the number of processor cores. A multi-core configuration is therefore recommended for performance.

Restriction: flow5 makes use of the Intel® MKL library, which is specifically optimised for Intel processors. Although preliminary testing has shown that the application runs on other processors with comparable performance, please note that there is no guarantee from Intel® that this will always be the case.

RAM memory

Boundary Element Methods such as the ones implemented in flow5 require the construction of large size influence matrices. Unlike matrices used in finite element analysis, these matrices are dense and not sparse. This means that they make use of large amounts of RAM. Consequently, mesh sizes may be limited by RAM availability.

For instance, a mesh with 10,000 elements will require a 10K x 10K matrix that will make use of approximately 1 GB of memory when stored in double precision. Nonetheless, this is something that PCs with standard 8 GB RAM configurations can handle without difficulty.

Testing has shown that an 8 GB configuration can support matrix sizes up to 15,000. At higher matrix sizes, the OS may become sluggish or even unresponsive.

Lower RAM sizes will limit maximum mesh sizes accordingly.

The RAM memory is requested at the start of the analysis, i.e. when the “Analyze” button is clicked, and is freed at the end of the analysis, i.e. when the analysis window closes.


A standard GPU is sufficient to run flow5 and display the 3d graphics, providing it supports OpenGL 2.1 or a more recent version. This should be the case for all graphic cards less than five years old. See the troubleshooting guide for more detailed explanations.

There have been reports that the 3d views of xflr5 display correctly on old graphic cards supporting only OpenGL 3.1, whereas the 3d views of flow5 do not.
The recommendation is to run flow5 on a configuration which supports at least OpenGL 3.3.

At this time, flow5 does not run any calculations on the GPU. There is a plan to investigate whether transferring some tasks to the GPU can improve performance, but given the improvements already made with the use of Intel’s MKL and with multi-threading, this is now far down in the list of priorities.

Standard configuration

A recommended configuration such as the one used to run the demos is

  • Windows 10 64bits
  • processor Intel i5 4 cores
  • 8 GB RAM
  • Screen resolution 1900 x 1200
  • OpenGL 3.3+

Minimal configuration

  • Windows 10 64 bits, macOS and linux 64 bits; flow5 does not run on 32 bits configurations
  • OpenGL 3.3 +