2018 15" MBP Graphics Card Performance & RAM

Michael73

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Feb 27, 2007
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Very specific buying question...
My son is looking at buying a 2018 15" MBP. He's taking an engineering class that uses Autodesk's Inventor software (he plans on running it in Bootcamp using Windows 10 - here are the system requirements). Does anyone know whether there's an appreciable difference between the MBPs stock Radeon Pro 560X with 4GB of GDDR5 and either of the Radeon Pro Vega options with the HBM2 memory? If so, is there any difference between the Vega 16 and Vega 20?

As a bonus question, would he be better of saving the $$$ on bumping the graphics card and doubling the RAM from 16GB to 32GB?
 

Falhófnir

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Aug 19, 2017
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Seconded, if you're primarily running windows 10 software, there really is no better way than via a computer designed from the ground up for W10. By the time you've shelled out just to upgrade to 1TB of storage (you will want this for bootcamp or you're going to be getting very tight on storage space) you're already paying well over the odds, it just isn't worth it. If he really wants a mac, you could probably get a high end windows laptop and a new MacBook air for less than a specced out pro.
 
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unglued

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Feb 20, 2016
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I don’t even know if they have Bootcamp drivers yet for the new MBP’s. And if they did how stable they would be trying to run memory and graphics hungry Inventor.
 

Conutz

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Oct 24, 2014
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Joburg
For an engineering course, I’m pretty sure assembles would be relatively simple (far less than the 500 parts Autodesk recommend 20GB RAM for), so don’t think a dedicated Windows machine is necessary. I’d bet Inventor would even run okay in a Virtual Machine - I’ve done it on a 2012 MBP and 2014 rMBP and it ran fine, granted, with around 30-part assemblies. Nice part about VMs is also the ability to quickly restore the entire VM from an image!
 

brdeveloper

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Apr 21, 2010
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I've seen comparisons between a FirePro D700 and a Vega 64. The latter is around 100% faster than the former. That is, in five years, the top-notch workstation GPU for Mac is worse than a consumer 2017 GPU. Perhaps I would save money and invest on an eGPU solution, getting the cheaper internal GPU option I could.

P.S.: don't know how Windows behaves with eGPUs.
 
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Falhófnir

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Aug 19, 2017
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For an engineering course, I’m pretty sure assembles would be relatively simple (far less than the 500 parts Autodesk recommend 20GB RAM for), so don’t think a dedicated Windows machine is necessary. I’d bet Inventor would even run okay in a Virtual Machine - I’ve done it on a 2012 MBP and 2014 rMBP and it ran fine, granted, with around 30-part assemblies. Nice part about VMs is also the ability to quickly restore the entire VM from an image!
The thing for me is how poor value it is - I'm guessing for a student, money is an object, and if OPs son specced out a MBP as described with the Vega 20 and 1TB of storage, that's £3,374. What you're getting is 1050Ti performance for 1080 money. You can get something like an i9 Dell XPS 15 with a GTX 1050Ti and 1TB of storage for £2,399 - literally a thousand pounds less and you get the i9. You can also get something like an ASUS ROG Zephyrus with a GTX 1060 for £1,599. If you got that you could get a 13" Touch Bar MacBook pro and still come in under the specced out 15" pro!
 
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richinaus

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Oct 26, 2014
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Macs are great but when it comes to Autodesk software in general it runs much better on windows machines.

For a student I wouldn’t suggest anything else than a windows machine, like others have, for this work.
 

Conutz

macrumors regular
Oct 24, 2014
203
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Joburg
The thing for me is how poor value it is - I'm guessing for a student, money is an object, and if OPs son specced out a MBP as described with the Vega 20 and 1TB of storage, that's £3,374.
Agreed, there is “better” value, but that applies to all of us who buy Macs - the value is in the eye of the beholder. There’s also something else to consider: it’s a course, likely 6-month or a year (my undergrad was). Then, the OP is already considering a Mac, so can likely afford it. Tying these two together: is it worth making such a compromise (i.e. Windows machine), for a single course? I wouldn’t...
 

richinaus

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Oct 26, 2014
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Agreed, there is “better” value, but that applies to all of us who buy Macs - the value is in the eye of the beholder. There’s also something else to consider: it’s a course, likely 6-month or a year (my undergrad was). Then, the OP is already considering a Mac, so can likely afford it. Tying these two together: is it worth making such a compromise (i.e. Windows machine), for a single course? I wouldn’t...
I am not advising on value but actual use. They will be far better off on windows if using Autodesk software on the whole.
I would be looking at something like the HP Zbook Studio G5 or similar, which costs basically the same as an MBP.

The graphics cards are workstation mobile ones by Nvidia which will be far better for the work they are doing. And if needed can still add an egpu.

If it is short term then they should just get the computer that suits them most and a MBP is fine, but if a degree [longer term] then 100% PC for engineering / architecture etc.

So for the OP, a MBP will be fine in bootcamp, and just spend up to your budget as more is better [if I was buying now would get a Vega 20 but these are for work used all day long, not a 'course']. But just be wary there may be some things that dont work as smoothly in Bootcamp as in a full windows machine, with Autodesk.

BTW tell your son to have a look at Fusion 360 too - awesome piece of software [runs on Mac & Win, but better on Windows........]
 

Michael73

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Original poster
Feb 27, 2007
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Thanks for the replies everyone.

Here are some more details. My son is a sophomore in high school but taking a college-level class called "intro to engineering design." It's a year-long class and he tells me that this semester they're doing 50-75 part assemblies while next semester they'll ramp up to 150 part assemblies. After the class is over in the spring, he won't need need the horsepower because he won't be taking any more classes like that (he'll be pursuing an International Baccalaureate degree which has its own curriculum).

The life span of the machine as I see it, is to see him through the rest of high school. Beyond that, we'll probably get him a new machine when he goes off to university where he wants to study particle physics and math.

As far as cost goes, I'm paying for the majority of the machine. He and I made a deal years ago that I would buy him (up to a specified amount, after that he pays for the rest) a mac of his choosing if he became an Eagle Scout which he completed last month.
 
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richinaus

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Oct 26, 2014
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Thanks for the replies everyone.

Here are some more details. My son is a sophomore in high school but taking a college-level class called "intro to engineering design." It's a year-long class and he tells me that this semester they're doing 50-75 part assemblies while next semester they'll ramp up to 150 part assemblies. After the class is over in the spring, he won't need need the horsepower because he won't be taking any more classes like that (he'll be pursuing an International Baccalaureate degree which has its own curriculum).

The life span of the machine as I see it, is to see him through the rest of high school. Beyond that, we'll probably get him a new machine when he goes off to university where he wants to study particle physics and math.

As far as cost goes, I'm paying for the majority of the machine. He and I made a deal years ago that I would buy him (up to a specified amount, after that he pays for the rest) a mac of his choosing if he became an Eagle Scout which he completed last month.
Get the computer he wants, he deserves it.
 
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