Softnet Systems, Inc. Speech Recognition Specialists

Dragon NaturallySpeaking Release 12-13 System Recommendations

Releases 12 and 13 can use much more CPU than Release 11. But they can operate, using the proper selection of acoustic models, on systems that run Releases 10 or 11 well.

By far the most important system aspects to consider are the CPU speed and the RAM.  The other requirements are satisfied on almost all recent systems, except that some don't have DVD drives.  We have installed these products on many systems without DVD's by using either USB drives or network drives for the installations.

  • RAM: minimum 1 GB for Windows XP, 2GB for 32-bit Windows Vista, and 4 GB for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2003/2008. We recommend 3GB or 4GB RAM for Windows XP and Windows Vista 32-bit for Release 12. We recommend 8GB+ for Windows 7 32-bit systems though 4GB will work in situations where only one or two applications are in use.. We recommend 8GB+ for Windows Vista 64-bit, Windows 7 64-bit, Windows 8 64-bit and Windows Server 2003/2008/2011 64-bit.  If buying a 64-bit system, Softnet Systems suggests that 8GB or more may make your system run faster.
  • CPU: minimum 1 GHz Intel® Pentium® or equivalent AMD processor or 1.66 GHz Intel® Atom® processor. Nuance recommends at least 1.8 GHz Intel Dual Core or equivalent AMD processor.  Softnet Systems recommends at least a 2.5GHz Intel Dual Core or equivalent for best results for professional dictation. Slower systems will be.... slower!
  • (IMPORTANT: SSE2 instruction set required) As a practical matter, that is a non-issue on any system that is less than 5 years old.
  • Processor Cache: minimum 512 KB, Nuance recommends 2MB. This influences performance, paying more for 6MB, 8MB, or more will help Dragon performance.

These other requirements should be verified but are typically included with systems.

  • Free hard disk space: 15 GB (10 GB for localized non-English versions) Our recommendation is much higher than Nuance's, if you are too tight on drive space then you need to be very careful with your installation.
  • Supported Operating Systems:
    • Microsoft Windows 7 or 8, 32-bit and 64-bit. If you are buying a system that you may wish to use remotely, we advise getting Windows 7 Ultimate or (if in a larger, licensed environment) Windows 7 Enterprise so that the RDP capability can be used.
    • Release 12, but not 13: Microsoft Windows Vista SP1 and SP2, 32-bit and 64-bit. Avoid buying a system with Windows Vista.
    • Release 12, but not 13: Microsoft Windows XP SP2 and SP3, 32-bit only
    • Windows Server 2008 SP2, 64-bit. If remote access is an issue, then Windows Server 2008 SP2 or later is strongly advised.
  • Microsoft® Internet Explorer® 8 or higher (free download available at  
  • Multimedia sound card supporting 16-bit recording, which has been the default for years.   If using a USB microphone, the USB audio adapter is the sound card.  As a practical matter, all systems sold today meet these requirements.
  • DVD-ROM drive required for installation. We can assist and provide installation via download or a USB drive if you don't have a DVD reader available.
  • Nuance-approved noise-canceling headset microphone (included in purchase) or equivalent. Microphones mentioned on this site meet these specs whether or not they appear on the Nuance-approved list. See details at Bluetooth microphones, recorders, and Tablet PCs).
  • Note: An internet connection is required for product activation (a quick anonymous process), though the connection need not be on the system where Dragon is loaded.
  • Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12 or 13 do not support dictation directly into Electronic Medical Record (EMR) Systems. For EMR support, please use Nuance Dragon Medical Practice Edition 2. This is enforced for many EMR's.


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