Version 6 of Plaque Simulator (PS6) is designed for recent (2009 models or later) Apple Macintosh computers with Intel Xeon, Core i7, or Core i5 multicore processors that can install OSX version 10.9 or greater. As of February 2018, Eye Physics recommends running PS6 on the fastest computer you can afford (e.g. ≥3.46 GHz) with at least 4 processor cores, 16 GB of RAM and OSX 10.12.6 (Sierra). Support for MacOS 10.12 (Sierra) requires PS6 version 6.4.1 or later.
Intel Xeon and Core i7 processors are hyper-threaded which means that for each processor core that is physically present, the operating system addresses two virtual or logical cores, and shares the workload between them when possible. The Intel Core i5 processor found in many off-the-shelf iMacs and Mac laptops has less cache and the 4 core variant is not hyper-threaded. These computers may, however, be ordered with an upgrade to the Core i7 processor at the time of purchase at a slightly higher price. PS6 will run nicely on the Core i5 processor but dosimetry performance will be a bit slower than on the i7.
Plaque Simulator version 6.2 and later leverages multicore processors when performing all 2D, 3D and histogram dosimetry calculations. For instance, when running on the hyper-threaded 4 core Xeon processor, PS6 distributes its dosimetry calculations uniformly and concurrently amongst 8 logical cores, resulting in a 5X acceleration compared to running on a single logical core. The acceleration factor is about 7X on a 6 core processor and at ≥12X on a 12 core processor.
Eye Physics recommends running PS6 on the fastest hyper-threaded multicore processor (e.g. Xeon or Core i7) that your institution can afford in order to achieve the best overall user experience possible. For any given processor speed, increasing the number of cores will proportionally increase the speed of multidimensional dosimetry calculations, resulting in more rapid isodose line, isodose surface and dose histogram comparisons of alternative plan options. OSX leverages the GPUs on the video card to accelerate graphics and many features of the operating system, so choosing the most powerful video capability offered at the time of purchase (or as an after-market upgrade for 2009-2012 Mac Pros) is also desireable.
The software development system as of February 2018 is a 2009 Mac Pro desktop (aluminum tower case) which has been upgraded from its stock configuration to firmware MacPro5,1 and a pair of 3.46 GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon processors (total 12 physical cores, 24 logical cores), an 802.11ac+Bluetooth_4 mini PCIe card, an AMD Radeon R9 280X 3072 MB graphics card reflashed for OSX, a 4 port USB3 PCI card, a 2TB Samsung SSD boot drive mounted on a PCI SATA3 adapter card and 4 WD Black series 6TB hard disks, a DVD-RW optical drive, and 64 GB RAM running under MacOSX 10.12.6 (Sierra). Peripherals include a pair of Dell 24" ultrasharp display monitors, Epson 4870 and 4990 Photo flatbed scanners with VueScan software and a Dell C1760nw LED printer. All of the 2009 Mac Pro upgrade components are available on ebay and/or from various other internet vendors.
To get the most from Plaque Simulator you will want to do image based planning. Eye Physics uses the following well known 3rd party software solutions to prepare CT, MR, ultrasound and fundus images for export to Plaque Simulator.