First MacBook for Engineering Degree - How much RAM?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by miniroll32, Jul 13, 2015.

  1. miniroll32 macrumors 6502a

    miniroll32

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2010
    #1
    Hey guys!

    Soon I'll be purchasing my very first MacBook Pro for university. I'm entering a product design engineering degree, but when it comes to computing requirements all I know so far is that I'll be given a copy of SolidWorks CAD software to run and install (which I've never used), and I'll require the Adobe suite (which I already own).

    The main question is; would 8GB RAM be enough to run this software side-by-side on a daily basis? I know "the more the better" is always true, but I'm on a tight budget so I would love to hear your opinions.

    Thanks
     
  2. TheIguana macrumors 6502a

    TheIguana

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2004
    Location:
    Canada
    #2
    You have answered your question ;)

    SolidWorks doesn't run on Mac OS so you will need to install Windows using Bootcamp or use a virtual machine. If you are going the Bootcamp route you will be fine with 8Gb of RAM, if your going to try a virtual machine get 16Gb. Also in either case don't be silly get at least a 256Gb SSD. It makes life easier when having two operating systems installed.

    8Gb is the minimum spec SolidWorks recommends so as long as you have that you should be okay. For Photoshop,, Lightroom, Illustrator and Premiere Pro you will be okay with 8Gb unless you are editing really large documents or have an enormous photo library in Lightroom. Your mileage may vary with other Adobe Apps.
     
  3. happyfrappy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Location:
    Location eh?
    #3
    I agree you've answered your own question. If you'll be multi-tasking between Adobe programs the more memory is a necessary evil, when I was an undergrad during the PowerPC G4 era I quickly learned "minimum/recommended" requirements were an utter joke.
     
  4. khabboub macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2014
    Location:
    Tampa
    #5
    You can install solid works on any of the new macs in boot camp. it runs pretty smoothly.

    the program itself doesn't scale up well. so you might have to mess around with the display settings (like setting it at full resolution and then scaling everything by 150% or 200%).

    a lot of my fiends and i have MacBooks, we are all mechanical engineering. heck one of my friends runs solid works in a virtual machine on a 2013 macbook air (i do not recommend it, you can only make very simple parts and assemblies).

    the new 13 rmba run solid works very well actually, and even one of the newer macbook airs will probably run is very well. but if you think you will be making crazy complex assemblies, get the 15 dgpu rmbp. but the 13 inch is more than capable for just about everything else.

    also, if you are going to use boot camp, try to get as much hard drive space as you can afford. hard drive space runs out quickly.
     
  5. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    #6
    Source: I'm a mechanical engineer and do CAD in SolidEdge ST7, SolidWorks and CATIA on the daily.

    For academic purposes 8GB RAM is plenty. You will not be doing anything very complex anytime soon. For complex parts and assemblies up to a hundred parts or so you shouldn't run into any hiccups.

    CAD is very GPU dependent, moreso than it is RAM dependent. An unsupported graphics card, such as the integrated intel card in the 13" machine you're looking at would utterly cripple my workflow. Should you ever get more serious about CAD work a few years from now, that computer just won't cut it. I use a work issued HP Zbook 17 with all the upgrades you can do to it at the office, and sometimes find it too slow. I'd be throwing a 13" MBP out the window after an hour working with it.

    I strongly recommend you run any CAD software you'd like to use in Windows via Bootcamp. Having the whole of the computer's ressources for the task at hand will help immensely.

    My 2 cents.
     
  6. zombiecakes macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2012
    #7
    You wont ever be able to upgrade the ram, 8gbs is fine for now but it may not be for long, many computers are shipping with 16gbs as standard these days which means apps are going to adapt to the market over the years. 16gbs is safe and is guaranteed to last years, 8gbs is a gamble.
     
  7. campyguy macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2014
    Location:
    Portland / Seattle
    #8
    jerwin's post is a bit of "old news", related to SW 2013. Dassault is moving toward Win 64-bit OSes, and now they're stating that Boot Camp is not supported at all (http://www.solidworks.com/sw/support/SystemRequirements.html - see the very last point at the bottom of the page). 2013 and 2014 ran fairly well in Boot Camp - 2015, not so much.

    If SW 2015 is what you'll be living in, skip the Mac OS environment - you may be able to get it working but your school's IT likely won't be able to help you there. I also use Parallels Desktop, and I'm seeing slowdowns in SW 2015 when I demo it.

    If you need SW 2015 and insist on a Mac - get the largest SSD and the most RAM you can afford as you'll need them, and you'll need to budget for a 64-bit Windows license. Shop the refurb Apple Store and you'll see a decent discount. You'll also need a fair amount of patience. We use SW in my office - on a Windows workstation.
     
  8. makinao macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2009
    #9
    As much 1) the machine can accommodate, 2) you can afford.
     
  9. TheIguana macrumors 6502a

    TheIguana

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2004
    Location:
    Canada
    #10
    I've always assumed that they put that in as a disclaimer so they didn't have to deal with the plethora of posts in their forums complaining that they don't support Macs. But not for any real technical reason.
     
  10. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    #11
    I'd have to install SW2015 on my personal Mac to check but I think it'd run fine.
     
  11. mlts22 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2008
    #12
    I would say 16GB is a must, just because even though one might use all of it, the rest of it functions as an I/O cache, speeding things up, as a disk read can be pulled from memory as opposed to having to go the disk. It is a $200 upgrade at purchase... but well worth it.
     
  12. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #13
    It also makes very little difference with SSD's as standard, 16GB is in no way a must unless your use case and apps demand it. Hell even 8Gb is overkill for many people, 4GB is recommended and the absolute must is 2GB.
     
  13. miniroll32 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    miniroll32

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2010
    #14
    Thank you all very much for your replies! It sounds like 16 GB would make sense if I'll be running other apps alongside SolidWorks

    It's also good to know that the software is very reliant on the GPU. Given I'll be working with (presumably) simple designs, would the Intel Iris graphics of the 13" MBP cope?
     
  14. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    #16
    For simpler stuff it won't matter too much. You will not be able to make use of RealView though, which is a bummer if you're into product design.
     

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