free, open source software for 3D geophysical data analysis and visualization

McIDAS-V System Requirements

McIDAS-V should run on any platform that fully supports Java and Java 3D. It has been tested on Linux, macOS, and Windows. AIX and IRIX support the requirements in certain configurations, but have not been tested.

To run McIDAS-V, a system will need to have a minimum of a 500 MHz processor and 512 MB of RAM free. However, if you are purchasing a new system, it is recommended that an Intel system running McIDAS-V have at least a 2 GHz processor, 4 GB memory (RAM), and at least 1 GB free hard drive space. Please note that Java on 32 bit operating systems can only utilize 1536 MB, while 64 bit operating systems can utilize all of the available memory. Performance will be better with faster processors and more memory. We have seen the best results with NVIDIA hardware and drivers.

Detailed requirements for the following are listed below:

Operating Systems

The chart below lists the software versions, by vendor, that McIDAS-V is known to run on, and that McIDAS User Services tests:

OS Known to Work Tested at SSEC (1)
Linux Red Hat Linux 4.0+ Red Hat Enterprise Linux WS 6.7 (64 bit)
Red Hat Enterprise Linux WS 7.2 (64 bit)
OS X/macOS(2) OS X 10.8+ macOS 10.12
Windows Windows XP, Vista, 7, 10 Windows XP with Service Pack 3
Windows 7 Enterprise

(1) The local ADDE servers are distributed as binaries compiled only on these Operating System versions. If you are running versions other than those listed, the local ADDE servers may not work and give you an error message that the "Local Server is not running."
(2)Beginning with McIDAS-V version 1.5, Java 7 is now being used. OS X versions 10.6 and earlier do not support Java 7 and therefore McIDAS-V will not work on those versions.

Graphics Cards and Drivers
McIDAS-V works on systems with graphics cards that support OpenGL (all systems) and Direct-X (version 8.0+, Windows only). On Linux, the driver must support GLX, an X windows system extension to OpenGL programs. McIDAS-V also works on systems with stereo graphics cards. We have seen the best results with NVIDIA hardware and drivers, and with the display configuration set to a high screen resolution and the maximum number of colors.

McIDAS-V utilizes the latest developments in graphics cards, drivers and Java3D. If you encounter any problems with system instability (such as using all of the memory or CPU on your machine, or frequent software crashes) or unusual data displays with "torn" or "gray" images, you should make sure you have the latest driver for your system. Even if the system is brand new, the driver may not be the most recent version available.

Please Note: We have received reports of McIDAS-V failing to start (i.e., the windows never appear) on some systems using integrated graphics chipsets, including:

  • Intel GMA 4500MHD
  • Intel GM965
  • ATI Radeon X300 family (including X550, X1050 and R300)

To determine the brand and driver information of your graphics card, follow the guides for each platform below:

  • Windows
    • Win7/Vista: From the Start menu, open the Control Panel (click Start->Settings->Control Panel if you have the Classic Start menu). Open the Device Manager. Under the Display adaptors tree, you will see your graphics card listed. You can double click on the graphics card for more information.
    • XP: From the Start menu, right-click on My Computer, and select Properties. From here, navigate to the Hardware tab. Open the Device Manager, and look under the Display adaptors tree to see your graphics card. You can double-click on the graphics card for more information.
  • Linux
    • Open a command terminal and type the following command "lspci -v". The graphics card information will be listed under "VGA compatible controller."
  • OS X/macOS
    • 10.8: Open the Apple menu and select "About This Mac". Click on the "More Info..." button to open the About This Mac window. The graphics card will be listed next to Graphics.
    • 10.12: Open the Apple menu and select "About This Mac". Click on the "Displays" tab. The graphics card will be listed under the display information.

Once you have determined your graphics card brand and driver information, check the manufacturers web page for information on their updated versions. Here are links to some of the most common graphic card Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM):

Java Versions
McIDAS-V runs on any platform that supports:

  • Java version 1.8+ (non-beta versions only) AND
  • Java 3D version 1.6+; JOGL 2.3.2

McIDAS-V is packaged with the following versions included:

  Versions Included with McIDAS-V
JRE (Java Runtime Environment) Java3D JOGL (Java OpenGL)
Linux(1) 1.8.0 1.6.0 2.3.2
OS X/macOS 1.8.0 1.6.0 2.3.2
Windows 1.8.0 1.6.0 2.3.2
other unix none 1.6.0 2.3.2

The necessary versions of the JRE, Java3D and JOGL are included with the Linux, OS X/macOS, and Windows installers. If other platforms fully support Java version 1.8+, Java 3D version 1.6+, and JOGL 2.3.2 they should also work, but have not been tested.

(1)The version of the Mesa library that comes with Red Hat Linux may be incompatible with Java 3D packaged with McIDAS-V. If you experience X server crashes when exiting McIDAS-V, you will need to build and install Mesa from source available at

System Memory and Processor Speed

McIDAS-V can be demanding of hardware speed and memory depending on the size of the datasets you wish to work with. It is recommended that the system have a minimum of 512 MB of RAM free for McIDAS-V use. Performance is significantly better with 1 GB RAM or more. Please note that 32 bit Java Runtime Environments (JRE) can utilize a maximum of 1536 MB RAM, while 64 bit JREs can utilize all of the RAM available to the operating system (64 bit OS required).

The recommended processor speed will vary by platform. You can run on a system as slow as 500 MHz or even less, but response will be correspondingly reduced. In general, the faster the processor, and the more memory your system has, the better the performance will be.

For reasonable performance, it is recommended that an Intel system running McIDAS-V have at least a 2 GHz processor and 4 GB memory (RAM). Performance will be even better with faster processors and more memory.


McIDAS-V is designed to access data on remote servers on the Internet, as well as from local files. Downloading data from remote servers benefits from a fast connection to the Internet, since many data fields are large.

The following ports are used to access remote data, and must be open through any firewalls or proxies at your location:

  • 21 - FTP
  • 80 - WWW
  • 112 - ADDE servers (imagery, radar, point, upper air and profiler data)
  • 8080 - THREDDS data servers

When accessing local data via <LOCAL-DATA> ADDE datasets, incoming ports 8112 - 8122 must be allowed (Windows users may need to explicitly allow this connection). The Local ADDE Data Manager will attempt to connect to ports 8112 to 8122. If port 8112 cannot be connected to, port 8113 will be attempted, and then 8114 and so on.