Architecture Student looking into newMBP's...could use some opinions.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Raider33, Jun 14, 2009.

  1. Raider33 macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2009
    Hey all,

    I'm a 4th year architecture student who's pc has recently gone crappy, and am looking for a new laptop. I use the laptop pretty much everyday for programs such as autocad, form-z, revit, rhino, 3dsmax, as well as most of the adobe suite.

    I know that most of these programs would need to use the bootcamp or whatever it's called, but would one of the new macbook pros run these programs well? How hard is it to use the bootcamp or parallels or whatever? Will rendering images be bad on the 13 or 15 inch mbp? I was kind of looking at the 13"(my old was fifteen, and I really don't think I would notice the lost space) with the 4 gig ram, and 250 gig hard the graphics card a good card?

    I will also use the laptop for normal every day use.

    Basically....should I just stick to a new pc? :-/
  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008

    Buy base MacBook and upgrade RAM and HD by yourself. Also consider an external monitor when you're using it at home/campus.
  3. Maccleduff macrumors regular

    Jun 26, 2007
    Most of the programs you mention are windows only, and you'd maybe benefit from a quad core PC to speed up the render times. Its gonna be a hassle to go into bootcamp everytime you want to use the windows programs. Vmware fusion/parallels is good, but for rendering its not as fast as running windows natively.
    Currently rhino has no OSX version (although its in development). Form Z does, Revit and Autocad doesnt, 3ds max doesnt, Adobe suite does. Thats a lot of apps which are windows only.

    Unless you need the portability, a pc would give you the best bang for buck.
    Go for the Macbook Pro if you want portability and mac osx.

    (Im a Macbook pro user, but also use mac native programs, Modo, CS4, sketchup. The only windows program i use on a regular basis is Autocad and I use Vmware fusion for that.)
  4. Raider33 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2009
    Thanks guys :)

    When I listed all of the different was more to list the possible programs I'd use in the fall. It seems each semester the studio professor has told us to use one and stuck with it. My main worry was more that the programs wouldn't run well on the macbookPro...whether in mac os or using the parallels to run windows.

    I've been using an old inspiron 1505 with 2gig ram and 1.86 ghz...Do you all think the macbookPro(even possibly the 13") would be a worthy upgrade where I notice smoother running and handling of programs, or would it be something that would cause me more problems then just going the pc route :p
  5. dollystereo macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2004
    If you get a mac (i wouldnt for stuying architecture), you should get the 1999 15" MBP because Rhino an 3dstudio Max will benefit from the 9600GT card.
    The 9600GT is 4x faster than the 9400. The 9400 is fast, you should try with someone you know.
    Good Luck

    Dell has good 15" laptops, the Studio line is quite powerful and beautiful. I dont know why Architect software hasnt been made for mac yet.
  6. charliex5 macrumors regular

    Jun 27, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    I'm an arch student and I got the base 15" MBP before they changed them so they don't have the 9600M GT that comes standard. With an upgrade of ram to 4gb this thing does everything I need and more. If you do really feel that you need a bit more speed, a PC would be a much cheaper option (just not as beautiful and awesome of course ;) )

    Overall, I'm very happy with how my MBP has worked out. I love working in OSX so much better because of the OS and when I switch over to Vista every so often everything works great but just doesn't feel as smooth of an experience as OSX. It really boils down to how much you want to spend, how much power you want, and whether or not you have a preference on OS.

    By the way, Time Machine has saved my ass more times than I can count when working on projects late at night and I screw something up. I feel that OSX gives me the freedom and inspiration to be as creative as possible while Windows is simply good for "getting it done."

    Just my 2 pennies.
  7. monicaparallels macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2009
    Parallels for Architecture

    I'm so glad you're looking into a Mac! I love my mac and would never be able to switch back. You might want to look at this MacTech article that compares to two top virtualization systems so you can still use your Windows programs on your mac.

    Monica from Parallels
  8. Raider33 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2009
    I've been kind of looking at it is basically something that will run windows at the same time as osx? Does that mean I'd be able to flip back and forth between the two rather than rebooting the system? Does running them both at once slow down the performance of windows while running the heavier programs?

    I'm sure anything I do will be loads better than what I already have...I'm just trying to figure out which option would be the best for me ;)
  9. rgarjr macrumors 603


    Apr 2, 2009
    Southern California
    For 3d work using Acad or Max you can't use Parallels, it will cripple these programs.. u need to run Windows on Boot Camp.
  10. Raider33 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2009
    Haha...very good to know :p Looks like I will be using bootcamp ;)
  11. Raider33 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2009
    One other question...what difference would the 'dedicated graphics' card do between the base 15'' model and the next up? as far as rendering/speed/performance? Would I be better off going for the "lower end" and maxing out hard drive and ram(4gig)?
  12. Raider33 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2009
    So I think I'm going to be going with the 2.66 GHz 15" macbookPro that has the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M + 9600M GT with 256MB.

    With 4gig Ram, the only other thing I'm thinking I will need is to boost the hard drive to 500 gigs.

    Should that be plenty to run the boot camp and such, as well as rendering and such well?

    Right now this system completely blows the specs of the pc I had been using out of the water, so I'm not too worried about running the programs....I just want to make sure there will be enough with the boot camp to run both systems well.

    Do you think this should work well for me?
  13. BMJT macrumors regular

    Jun 6, 2009
    Bristol, UK
    Crikey, how much is all that going to set you back?? I hope you had a well paid year out!

    (Just finished my P1 and am looking for a job (+ my first Mac) at the moment)
  14. amir05 macrumors newbie

    Jun 25, 2009
    also eager for advice

    hello all,
    also an arch student, 1 year, just before all my computer studies begin.
    i'm a huge mac fan, definitely buying a new mac book pro 13 in the next week or two.
    1. just can make up my mind regarding the specs
    i'm either going for the mbp 2.66 with 4 ram or the 2.53, obviously much more expensive.

    i don't want to buy the base model and then find out my 3d apps work "almost perfect"
    is the extra cpu speed really going to make a difference? using autocad, sketchup, maybe some 3d rendering but only for student personal use..

    2. also, can anyone give me some peace of mind from their experience: in working on autocad on a mac with paralles or vmware?
    is it possible? is it smooth? or is it annoying and then you end up using bootcamp?

    thanks a lot in advance!

  15. jrichie macrumors regular

    Feb 4, 2003
    I have lots of experience at this.....

    Don't think about using acad on parallels. Bootcamp is the only viable option and this also applies to 3DS.

    Get the best video card you can get and ram. Don't even consider the 13" if this is your only computer

    Have a look at the refurbs on the apple store site. I saw a 2.66 old model for a really good price a few weeks back, but no doubt they have all gone.

    I don't like to say it but if you are using just PC based software a lovely Dell would be great. I use Vectorworks in OSX most of the time and love the 2010 version - great for working in 2D [much more flexible and quicker....]
  16. Maccleduff macrumors regular

    Jun 26, 2007
    I use AutoCad on Vmware fusion (on windows 7) and its fine.
    If you plan to use 3d studio max, then use Bootcamp for that to take full adavantage of the graphics card.

    I would also go for the 15inch MBP with the 9600gt as a minimum if you plan to do any 3d work.
  17. Maccleduff macrumors regular

    Jun 26, 2007
    Do you mean vectorworks 2009? I dont see vectorworks 2010 on their website...
  18. amir05 macrumors newbie

    Jun 25, 2009
    it is going to be my only laptop (and comp) but i want it to be actually portable. from my experience - a 15 and up tends to be so heavy and bulky, that you can't be assed carrying it around..
    for at home work i have a wide screen, 21 inch that'll i 'll connect when i'm not on the go.

    regarding all the 3d work, i appreciate the advice, are you an architect? or a student? forgive the question :)

    i'm only a first year student, 4 more to go. the only software architects use here is autocad, vector works i fear is not used at all therefore i might be obliged to stay with the herd,
    but anyway, for the remaining years in uni, i think only autocad and a bit of rendering for final works at the end of the year.. nothing professional or "work related"

    mostly i'll be doing student things- docs, spreadsheets, web browsing and autocad-
    so i'm definately hoping to stay on the mac os x side and be able to do parallel for autocad and not have to bootcamp.

    so the question: for this kind of student work, what do you think:
    the 2.66 or 2.53?
    and how much ram, 2 gb or 4?

    thanks a lot!
    if more people are using autocad with parallel i'd love to hear about their expreiences! not laggy, smooth? no probs?


  19. niuniu macrumors 68020


    Mar 29, 2009
    A man of the people. The right sort of people.
    I read somewhere that AutoCAD or whatever the big one is, is going to do a new Mac version soon
  20. Maccleduff macrumors regular

    Jun 26, 2007
    Im a second year archi student, trust me , you will need all the computing power you can get.

    go for the 2.66ghz with the 9600gt, and 4gb ram. Photoshop and vmware/parallels will eat up ram so it makes sense to max it out.
  21. amir05 macrumors newbie

    Jun 25, 2009
    i meant 2.26 of course.
    thanks for the replies.
    i'm gonna go for the 2.26, 4 gb ram and as far as hd space i'll sort it out with external drives.

    thanks for the info.

    * which one would you recommend, vmware or parallel? for autocad and ms office? (unfortunately msoffice for mac doesn't support my other languages yet..)

    and how much ram did you assign each os ? i heard it's not that trivial and that the correct settings can really make a difference

  22. Genghis Khan macrumors 65816

    Genghis Khan

    Jun 3, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia
    To the Archi students looking for a new laptop.

    If this is going to be your working laptop (i.e. you have no desktop), you're going to NEED a few things.

    1) Get the biggest screen you can afford: more pixels is always better. when you're working late at night, you'll really appreciate this ;) .

    2) Use Bootcamp: everything works faster and smoother. as we tend to work hours/days on end, there's nothing to be gained by quickly switching from one OS to another.

    3) Max your RAM: you'll have heaps of programs open at once usually, and even if not...all the programs we use are RAM hogs.

    4) HDD space is not critical: movies and music will take up just as much (if not more) than files for uni.

    5) Get a mouse: self explanatory...makes everything sooo much easier. PC mice tend to be better to use though.

    6) Processor and Graphics: now this is a tricky one. Programs we use will use very little of each (autocad) or all of both (rhino and 3ds max). It's for this reason I have both a laptop and desktop. My advice is to go for processor speed over graphics power (the only programs we use that use the graphics card are the viewports in modeling programs).

    Good luck :)

    - Michael
    (a fellow architecture student)
  23. amir05 macrumors newbie

    Jun 25, 2009
    parallels desktop 4.0 suggested requirements?

    hello all,
    as i've written, i'm just about to purchase my new macbook pro 2.26 13 inch.

    regarding working with parallels 4.0 (i've never done this before),
    and working mainly with Microsoft office and mainstream programs-

    will 2.26 processor and 2 gb ram be enough for a smooth experience?

    (not intended for using autocad and 3d programs- for these i'll run in bootcamp)
  24. Detektiv-Pinky macrumors 6502a


    Feb 25, 2006
    Berlin, Germany
    !!Screen Resolution!!

    Don't by the 13' Macbook! :eek:

    You don't want to run graphics design software on 1280 x 800 Pixels. Even with a secondary monitor at home. You buy a notebook to be usable on the run...
  25. butterfingarz macrumors newbie

    Jul 28, 2008
    I am an architecture student as well going into my 3rd year. I am looking to purchase a mac mainly because I love my iPhone 3G, and also I got bored and put Leopard on my Dell 700m and loved it so I want to purchase the real thing. I am concerned because like others I use programs such as illustrator, photoshop, google earth, sketchup, rhino with vray, autocad, maya, 3ds max. And while working I usually use a minimum of 3 of these programs simutaneously as well as itunes. Rendering images -> loading to photoshop -> then to illustrator for example. I am concerned because I have read parallels perform as well as natively running the OS, bootcamp is not an option for me. If this is the case I hate to say it but my alternative is a Dell. Specifically the studio xps 16 with with all equivalent hardware plus a 1080p 16:9 screen, HDMI out, and a big bonus 1G of DDR3 video memory. Not as sexy as the mac but the next best thing. With all these apple offers the MBP is pretty close in price to the Dell too so I really wanted that Mac.

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