2D, 3D CAD on a Powerbook?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by toaster_oven, Jan 13, 2005.

  1. toaster_oven macrumors regular

    Jun 7, 2003
    not sure

    is there anyone who uses 3D (FormZ, sketchUp, Maya, etc...) and 2D CAD software (VectorWorks, PowerCadd, ArchiCad, etc...) on a powerbook?

    i need a new computer in a couple months but have no space for a desktop, so I was wondering what people's experience were with powerbooks and CAD software. i'm pretty sure an ibook is out of the question because of RAM, graphics card and so forth... but i won't rule it out completely.



    ps- i use graphics software to a lesser extent - illustrator, indesign, photoshop - what is its performance like on a laptop?
  2. dongmin macrumors 68000


    Jan 3, 2002
    Of all the software you listed, probably the biggest CPU hog is Illustrator. It REALLY slows down when working with big files. Same with FormZ if you're working with complex models.

    But to the main question at hand, a 1.5 mhz PowerBook should be more than fine for your needs, especially if you load it with RAM. I currently use an iBook G4 800 mhz with 640MB of ram and run all the apps you listed without much probs. The only potential issue is when you need to run AutoCAD. I need to use it occassionally to use certain CAD-CAM machines that require AutoCAD files. VPC is still fairly slow on G4s.
  3. bartelby macrumors Core


    Jun 16, 2004
    I use Archicad 8.1 and Cinema 4D XL R8.2 on my Powerbook (15" 1.5GHz 1GB RAM 128MB Graphics), with no trouble at all.
  4. dvdh macrumors 6502


    Apr 6, 2004
    I am a regular FormZ user on my iBook G3/900. For modeling (unless you are into very heavy nurbs), it does quite alright. I generally don't do much rendering on it, but the iBook does render faster in FormZ than my P4 1.6.

    Maya on the modeling side should be alright, but again the slow down will be on the rendering site of things, since Maya is incredibly demanding when it comes to rendering.
  5. toaster_oven thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 7, 2003
    not sure
    thanks for the input-

    i figured rendering would be the big issue - i'm just starting to learn FormZ and the other 3D software, and I don't want to get something that will prevent me from using it in the future.

    i guess now it's pretty hard to justify getting a pb over an iBook... except for maybe the RAM issue... are there any other benefits to a pb for AEC users?


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