Have I got the wrong Mac? Do I need to buy another?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by iwantmymacnow, Nov 9, 2009.

  1. iwantmymacnow macrumors newbie

    Oct 5, 2008
    Hey everyone.

    So I currently have a 13" unibody Macbook (December 2008). I got this for Xmas last year and it was a really big deal because it was a pretty expensive thing for my Dad to give me as a present.

    This year I studied graphic design at uni and had no problems at all running all my Adobe CS4 programs with my MB hooked up to my Dell monitor... all sweet.

    Anyway, here's where it gets tricky. I'm contemplating moving into an architecture degree next year. Obviously in this degree I will be using 3D software such as Autocad and Revit along with creative suite. Somebody told me that the graphics card in my MB isn't good enough for the 3D stuff. So now I'm freaking out! I only got this computer a year ago and apparently if I want an Apple for 3D stuff I have to get a 15/17" MBP?

    Can someone clear this up for me? I am screwed?
  2. Queso Suspended

    Mar 4, 2006
    Never go with what "somebody" tells you in these situations, since people have a tendency to project their computing needs onto others. Best you go straight to the software vendors and ask them.
  3. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    9400M isn't the best one in 3D work... It does the job but it takes more time than e.g. Mac Pro.
  4. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    I think you'll be fine for a good while. People tend to over-estimate in the 3D graphics area. Is a demo of the software available for you to try?
  5. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    If you freak out because someone tells you your graphics card isn't good enough then yes, you are screwed and you should learn to accept information without freaking out. Is that somebody an experienced user of these applications? Has he or she compared them on a MacBook Pro and on a MacBook? Or is it just some clueless twat shouting off their mouth?

    The 9400M is a decent graphics card. And 3D graphics design software very often doesn't need a powerful graphics card at all. Also remember that (a) you will be a beginner, and the models that you are creating will likely be simple compared to those that professionals create and therefore will take much less time to draw and (b) professionals value their time a lot more than you do; they will spend a lot of money to save 10% of their design time, but you as a beginner will mostly sit in front of your computer trying to figure out what to do, and spend much less actual time using the graphics card. For a professional, 10% saved is almost an hour every day. For you, 10% will only be a few minutes.
  6. andylyon macrumors 6502a


    Jul 23, 2008
    Never thought about that before, but I bang on agree and it's a very good point.

  7. chill. macrumors 6502

    Sep 1, 2008
    your graphics card is way beyond good enough, just look at the technical requirements for those programs
  8. galstaph macrumors 6502a


    Jul 24, 2002
    The Great White North Eh
    As a current Master of Architecture student, I can confirm that for basic autocad, revit, sketchup, rhino3d, or even 3ds max you should be just fine with the 9400, and you'll be glad to have the external, as the 13 is pretty small to work on (I have a 17 and want more space:D)
    The macine should be fine enough to work with for most all you will be doing. You will want to look into whether your future school will have a renderfarm though, as rendering always asks for more power than you have;).

    The only times the 9400 will feel extermely slow is if you load it up with a rendered viewport on maya, that can be taxing (using hardware render anyway)
  9. MacKiddyWiddy macrumors 6502

    Aug 18, 2009
    your spec is beyond what is needed... think of the guys on the course who are using windows... that is when you can freak out lol.... obviously it wont be as fast as say a Mac Pro, but it won't be sluggish or laggy, I myself did a bit of CAD on my sisters macbook last summer, and i didn't find many problems
  10. FieryFurnace macrumors 6502


    Sep 19, 2008
    Berlin, Germany
    What do you mean with freak out because using windows? :confused:
    If you are serious with 3D modeling you will use Windows - Win is the way to go.

    I only use Win for modeling 3ds/Maya/SolidWorks/(Autocad).

    To answer the original question:
    Keep your MB for CS4. Work on your modeling in school (use a render farm like mentioned before), or if you really want to work at home, get a desktop PC.
  11. Scarlet Fever macrumors 68040

    Scarlet Fever

    Jul 22, 2005
    I'm doing an Engineering course at the moment, and the computers we use have nothing on the speed of your macbook. It seems CAD programs only actually require a GPU when textures are being used, which at a beginners level is very rarely.
  12. weg macrumors 6502a


    Mar 29, 2004
    You can keep your Macbook, but it needs to be transmogriforked. I can do that via email for you, for only $150.

    (Seriously, don't believe everything people tell you. The graphics card isn't even mentioned in the system requirements of AutoCAD, so I'm pretty sure you're on the safe side. In the worst case, you'll have to upgrade your RAM).
  13. slu macrumors 68000


    Sep 15, 2004
    I love this comment. A sensible comment with actual rational reasons rather than the usual blather you get on this forum stating you can't even really look at a computer with the 9400M in it.

    I like the cut of your jib.

    OP, I agree with this comment 100%. You will be fine.
  14. Winni macrumors 68040


    Oct 15, 2008
    This sounds more like game over for OS X than for your MacBook - most of the software that you are going to need will be pure Windows stuff.

    Anyway. Your MacBook's graphics will be okay for a while. But when this CAD stuff is getting more serious, you might want to look into a workstation class computer with a --professional-- OpenGL accelerator card. Once again, a basic Mac Pro with an nVidia or ATI gaming card in it probably won't cut it.

    But for the time being, I wouldn't worry about it. Relax and see how far your current machine will take you.

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