iMac or Macbook Pro? Architecture Student

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Aznhiga13, Sep 6, 2010.

  1. Aznhiga13 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    #1
    Hi I've been looking around the forums for some answers but most of them aren't recent enough to help me. I'm an architecture student looking to get a new computer but I'm tied between either the iMac or macbook pro. The things I'll be doing are basic autocad work but also some heavy rendering, sketchup and 3dsmax.

    I currently have an early 2008 macbook pro and I don't like the fact that when I try to render something it takes pretty long and I'm also risking burning out the 8600gt graphics card in it. So I'm considering either the imac or macbook pro but I'm stuck in the battle between portability and power. I most likely will be at school more this year and will be doing more renderings and 3D work.

    So my choices:
    -Get the i7 macbook pro and have a more powerful laptop but not be sure if it would suffice compared to what I can get with the iMac for around the same price.
    -Get the i7 iMac and have an amazing desktop computer for working at home but loose in the portability section. I don't want to risk bringing it to school and damaging it or dealing with the hassle too.
    -Get a PC laptop since they have more power than I can get in a macbook pro and I most likely will be using more windows programs, BUT its not an apple. Lol, kidding. I still just don't trust the quality of most pc companies.

    The last thing I am considering is getting the iMac and using a remote desktop program like logmein to access it with my 2008 MBP and use it just for the renderings while I'm at school. It makes sense because that's where I would need the power most but I'm not too sure how well these programs work either.

    Sorry for the long post, but this situation does need a bit more explaining. So if anyone can help or just give suggestions/opinions it would be very helpful in my decision. Thanks!
     
  2. jbyun04 macrumors 6502a

    jbyun04

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2008
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    Canada
    #2
    3D work on a PC is much better than on a Mac. I personally can't stand Maya for OSX, however that being said, I don't trust any PC laptops. If you're sticking with Mac and you think not having portability will hinder you, I would definitely go with the i7 MBP
     
  3. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604

    SnowLeopard2008

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    #3
    If you already have a MBP, then get the iMac. No need for two laptops. The iMac can do the heavy-ifting and your current MBP can be your mobile device. That is, unless you plan on doing all of your heavy stuff on the go.
     
  4. mikethemovie macrumors member

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    Feb 28, 2008
    #4
    Get a new Macbook Pro i7 with some hardcore ram.. Sell the old macbook pro and buy a monitor for home!
     
  5. vistadude macrumors 65816

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    Jan 3, 2010
    #5
    I believe autocad only runs in windows... so that might put a big dent in the imac or macbook pro. But on the other hand, why do you have to bring it to school? Usually you'll just need to print or email your drawings to your professor/students, or keep the files on a usb disk to use in the architecture computer labs. I would recommend the imac for it's power, but on the other hand, I would just use the computer labs at school and avoid buying $2000+ worth of hardware and software when you already have a not-to-old macbook.
     
  6. Aznhiga13 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    #6
    Thanks everyone for the reply. I forgot to mention I most likely will be running Windows 7 in bootcamp so that does keep me more on the mac side of things. My school pretty much requires us to have a computer at school for our studios so we can continue to do our work. I've actually forgotten my laptop once and my professor wasn't too happy.

    I am leaning more towards getting an iMac now because its just a beast of a computer and will make things a lot easier for me. It also doesn't make too much sense to have two laptops as well.
     
  7. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

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    Jul 5, 2008
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    Thule GL @ the TOW
    #7
    My father runs his own firm and he has 9 winXP - win7 boxes running all his programs...

    My uncle who runs a graphics design shop has all :apple:'s...

    What does your university recommend for your program and computer needs?
     
  8. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    Isla Nublar
    #8
    I only use macs for 3D work. Windows isn't too good at it in my experience and I had a $7k HP workstation at work with a high end 3D render card in it.

    I would bring my macbook pro to work (the Macbook Pro in my sig) and use it instead. (Now I have the Mac Pro in my sig as my main machine).

    It really depends on what you want. In my experience, windows crashes 3D programs too much and render times on macs are faster. Some peoples experience differ but I got pretty fed up with the win machines.

    Once I switched to mac, the only thing I had to worry about was how often ZBrush updated (which now Mac and Windows update at the same time so its a non-issue).

    My most used 3D program is Maya on mac. Older versions of Maya were a bit sluggish on the mac but anything above 8 is the same as it is on windows. I LOVE 2011 by the way. Its what I am using now.
     
  9. Aznhiga13 thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 16, 2008
    #9
    Yea my university recommended getting a mac but just this past year switched our main program from archicad to revit and that pissed off a lot of students since now they had to get windows on their macs and deal with a whole other OS.

    I use Artlantis on both my mac and windows side and i don't notice such a big difference, but maybe I haven't done enough to make a good comparison.

    Wow, I just noticed the student discount difference between the iMac and Macbook Pro. Damn you Apple you make my choice so much harder than it needs to be.
     
  10. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    Jan 26, 2008
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    #10
    I would say go for the iMac myself since you already have a 2008 macbook pro. I always recommend people have two computers especially if your work depends on it.

    You can do all of your heavy stuff on your iMac and then transport it to school on your macbook pro. The large screen is a huge benefit for 3D work. I can't wait till Apple released the 27 inch monitors. I will be grabbing some!
     
  11. MacForScience macrumors 6502

    MacForScience

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    Sep 7, 2010
    Location:
    USA
    #11
    Get the iMac it has a significantly better GPU then the MBP and this is important for graphics work; also the extra screen space will make a big difference. A laptop is never going to replace a desktop for serious rendering work. Make sure that you get at minimum 8GBs of ram (more if possible). Any sort of data intensive task my general rule of thumb is 2GB of ram at minimum per core (obviously more is better).
     
  12. cdcastillo macrumors 6502a

    cdcastillo

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    #12
    +1
     
  13. milbournosphere macrumors 6502a

    milbournosphere

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    San Diego, CA
    #13
    Bingo. Don't get a desktop for university, you'll regret it. I'd get a 15" i7 and a nice monitor to work from in your dorm/apartment. That way, you get portability and screen real estate.
     
  14. MacForScience macrumors 6502

    MacForScience

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2010
    Location:
    USA
    #14
    Aznhiga13
    Recommendation
    Huh, if he wants to improve render times get the iMac. Why? Here goes: 2 cores in a MBP or 4 cores in an iMac, NVIDIA 330M in the MBP vs Radeon 5750 in the iMac, for rendering and graphics, the iMac wins hands down. The other issue is if you already have a laptop and you simply need more power you go with a desktop (buying computers 101). As for regretting the desktop at school I had a desktop and laptop at school and it was great take the laptop to class and any highly computationally intense tasks get passed off to the desktop. If you really want to be fancy you set up a VNC network for passing work back and forth.
     
  15. Aznhiga13 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    #15
    Right on the dot. And thanks for all the suggestions guys I decided on the 27inch iMac considering that for the amount of money I'm spending the iMac will give me more than I need in terms of power. It was a hard choice but the 4 actual cores with hyperthreading pushed me over to the iMac. Plus in the long run this computer should work for what I want to do for at least 3 years which I see as a good investment.

    As for the portability issue, I will definitely try setting up a vnc or using something like logmein to have the imac do stuff like rendering when I'm away.
     
  16. ArchiMac macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2006
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    #16
    Same choice to make..

    Hey,

    I was in exactly the same position as you (architecture student with MBP) until 11am this morning. I just bought the i7 iMac!

    I use ArchiCAD, Cinema 4D and Maxwell render, but need to use the occasional windows-only AEC program.

    I too needed some grunt for rendering as I've had situation where my MBP would take 3 days to render animations. That is 3 days staring forlornly at the two little render buckets moving glacially around the screen.

    Looking forward to those quad cores to allow me to take more risky creative decisions and more ambitious animations!

    Good choice.
     

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