iPad or MacBook for Architecture???

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by jakeroast, Dec 11, 2016.

  1. jakeroast macrumors newbie

    Dec 11, 2016
    Hi there,

    I am in need of some advice! I already own a MacBook air 13", and I need to start using some sort of device for my architectural drawings and research. I went into Apple and saw that they do a digital drawing pad that links to my Mac so I can complete my drawings. But, the staff member also showed me their new iPad pro and gave me a demo with a drawing app called 'Concepts' using their new apple pencil. I can also get auto cad and other design apps on their as well.

    Basically, what I want to know is whether a MacBook Air 13" or iPad pro is better for Architecture Design!
  2. chrfr macrumors 604

    Jul 11, 2009
    An iPad is not going to be sufficient for what you will need.
  3. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 68000


    Oct 17, 2016
    Are you studying Architecture or simply as a hobby? Couldn't recommend either of them personally, if you're using Autodesk software in all honesty you'd be best with Windows. AutoCAD has for a long time being pretty terrible on a Mac, and is something that benefits from a beefier computer if doing professional stuff (Really should use a desktop). Also you'd probably want to run 3DS Max for visualisation of stuff which doesn't run on Mac.

    If it's just a hobby then you could at a stretch use Vectorworks with SketchUp+V-Ray or something, but I'd use a Pro not an Air for that. As to an iPad, I cannot imagine the difficulty of trying to design any structure on that device, might be alright for simple furniture design but anything requiring multiple layers, x-refs, plotting etc. is just not going to be fun!
  4. campyguy macrumors 68040

    Mar 21, 2014
    Portland / Seattle
    Longtime AutoCAD and Mac user (both since the late 80s) and owner of a small (~50 employees) engineering company with a couple of gig architects on board, and I've worked with architects for longer than I care to admit. Oil and water, architects and engineers, and, finally, Macs and CAD - they're generally repellant of each other unless forced by others into the same space...

    If I were looking for a drawing-related set up today I'd either buy one of the new Wacom tablets over an iPad Pro (I own and use the latter, but not for drafting/drawing/CAD/CAM work) to plug into your Air OR (my personal preference here, and my next portable computer) go for one of Wacom's new MobileStudio Pro units - I've seen a demo unit and I almost locked the vendor in a room while absconding with the MobileStudio Pro. There's two takeaways from this bit - my preference for CAD/CAM work is to use apps on the Windows platform, and the MobileStudio Pro fits that along with the most precise styli I've ever used (and I've used Wacom tablets since the late 90s...), and the MobileStudio Pro ticks both boxes in running Windows and accurate display/styli; the 16" MobileStudio Pro will be shipping with nVidia's Quadro, my most-preferred CAD app GPU (AutoCAD and Revit simply fly with Quadro GPUs). These new MobileStudio Pro devices can also be used as a tethered drawing tablet.

    I'd sell your Air and couch the money you've planned on an iPad Pro and get a MobileStudio Pro that suits your needs - some 13" configurations are already shipping but I'm waiting a couple of months for a 16" unit. As a backup plan, Wacom's new Cintiq tablets should be out soon and it can used with your Air - I'd rather have a new Cintiq Pro to enhance your Air over an iPad Pro, as I'm planning to sell my iPad Pro for a 16" Cintiq Pro. In my almost-30-years of experience with CAD, unless you're using Nemetchek software, stick with Windows and go from there. I have production employees working for me with CAD/CAM apps, and they're all on Windows - my work, generally review and markup work in AutoCAD/Revit is done with either those apps on my rMBP while working in a Win 10 VM via Parallels Desktop or via VPN to my main workstation at the office - but never natively on a Mac. Cheers!
  5. richinaus macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2014
    Some good info here and I have been looking at the new Cintiq's too - they look very nice.

    However, really the only reason to go PC is Revit, everything else can be done on a mac, to a point. But if I was starting out, the above is solid advice and go with a PC until you know your work flow and what apps work for you.
    Maybe a dell XPS 15" is a good solution also.
    Look at Rhino, sketchup, 3ds max and vray for other apps you should learn. These are more on the design side.

    Just one other extra note : if you get a mac, you can separate business and personal on it through using the PC for biz and mac for personal. It is a good way of using one computer all the time but not having the same experience all day and all night.

    As others have said though, get a 15" pro machine or a desktop. None of these apps are much fun on a small screen, for any longer than an hour or 2 max.

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