Softnet Systems, Inc. Speech Recognition Specialists

Release 9 Hints

Buying or Upgrading a Computer System

Basic Advice for Dragon NaturallySpeaking Release 9

For Release 9, we strongly recommend a system faster than 3GHz (or a dual core CPU, 2GHz or faster in each CPU), with at least 1 GB RAM with Windows-XP or 2GB RAM with Windows Vista. Going slower than that won't be effective over the long run, though the software will run OK for some special purposes.

  • Plan on using a USB adapter ($39) if the on-board sound system does not meet your needs. If being used professionally for heavy dictation, 2GHz/1GB are MINIMUM requirements.

Detailed Hardware Advice for Dragon NaturallySpeaking Release 9

For professionals planning to dictate at least 15 minutes per day who are acquiring a new system, the choice is simple. Get almost the fastest system you can. In the short term, you might save a little money by buying a slower system, but you will have buyers remorse within a year. This is a productivity tool, and should be handled like other capital expenses.

RAM and sound cards are critical to success. With Microsoft Vista, 2GB RAM is MINIMUM and 3-4GB RAM is not being extravagant. On systems of 2007-2008, the sound cards are more likely to be adequate than in previous years. With Windows-XP, 1GB may be sufficient for many users though the added expense for 2GB is often small ($50-$120 in most cases) and easily justified even for a tiny improvement in performance or reliability.



Windows-XP was most common for Release 9 users. Vista was being introduced, but in many cases was not the best solution. Vista SP1 appeared early 2008 and solved enough audio problems to make it a stable platform for NaturallySpeaking. Dragon 9 is not supported on 64-bit Microsoft Windows Vista, shop specifically for 32-bit Vista systems.

Office-2007 was bundled with many systems. There are several versions of Office-2007 at different price points. They differ in the other applications. If you need Access, Publisher, PowerPoint, or Excel, make certain you get the right bundle. My opinion is that Word works better with NaturallySpeaking than other word processors.

Office 2010 is not supported by Release 9 though portions may work with 9.5.


Core2Duo 2.4+ GHz CPU's, 3+GB RDRAM, Windows-Vista Business or Ultimate (32-bit, NOT 64-bit versions), Office-2007 (or 2003) Professional

The above runs NaturallySpeaking 9 well.


If upgrading a system, concentrate on adding RAM. RAM upgrades are usually simple to acquire and install.

If you can increase CPU speed by 40% or more without changing motherboards then a CPU upgrade may make sense. Anything less than that and it is hardly worthwhile.


Use the same CPU/RAM guidelines as above. Plan on buying a "USB Pod" if the on-board sound system isn't adequate for your needs, or alternately buy a USB microphone to use. Tablet-PC's work OK though you must more carefully shop for appropriate CPU's. The ultralight systems using the VIA CPU's do not work well with NaturallySpeaking 9, and because they have small L2 cache, Release 10 may not even install on such systems.


These PC's are characterized by having a stylus and generally being lighter in weight than notebook computers. They are intended to be carried around. Most of the designs are less than a year old. Most allow handwriting recognition and the functions of a touch-pad screen.

Tablet-PC's are interesting, but there were significant technical problems that weren't resolved in Windows-XP. You will likely not be able to use BOTH NaturallySpeaking 9 and handwriting recognition effectively on a Windows-XP system due to these problems. Vista has its own problems but is a better choice if one wishes to use BOTH handwriting recognition and speech recognition.

There is a higher risk associated with usage of a Tablet PC with Release 9.


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