Is a MacAir recommended for Engineering?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Shadow-Man4, Aug 26, 2013.

  1. Shadow-Man4 macrumors newbie

    Jul 31, 2013
    I'm going to college in a few weeks and have been researching about getting a durable laptop for my couple of years in Engineering.

    As I was reading on the internet, AutoCad which is a 3D software is not compatible with the Mac OS X. My university provides free software for Windows version of AutoCad and so I am restricted to working in the University's labs if I want to work on that software.

    Buying a Windows laptop on the other hand solves this problem. I want your advice. Is a Mac good enough for Engineering or should I get a Windows laptop?

    Let me give a few reasons why I'd like a Mac: First and foremost, a laptop isn't really a laptop if it isn't portable. MacAir is a powerhouse, light, thin, and has awesome battery life from what I've heard. The only disadvantage is that this one software won't work on it unless I run bootcamp/parallel, which I don't plan on running since I don't wanna pay extra as I can pay less and get a compatible windows machine anyway.

    I know this is a Mac forum, but please without any bias I'd like to know your recommendation on this. I'd really like to get a Mac since the Windows laptop I'll get isn't going to be a machine that is so portable.

    If you recommend a Windows laptop, can you guys give me some advice into that? I'd like to know which is the most durable, is relatively light and has good specs? Dell/HP/Sony/Asus, the list goes on and I can't seem to find which is the most durable of all.
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    AutoCAD 2013 from Autodesk is compatible with Mac OS X, AutoCAD 2014 is not. Maybe AutoCAD 2015 will be again compatible with Mac OS X.

    See here for compatibility.

    Depending on what you actually wanna do within AutoCAD, the MacBook Air (there is no MacAir yet) might be a bit underpowered due to its dual cores and only integrated graphics, albeit being quite good.

    Often it is recommended to use a quad-core computer with dedicated graphics for that, which leave you with the 15" MacBook Pro with Retina Display due to its small weight (unless 2 KG is to heavy) and excellent screen and screen real estate.
  3. 8080532 Suspended

    Apr 7, 2013
    A mac will do you fine with Engineering. My gf and I are both engineers, she's a Environmental Engineer (Similar to Mech. Eng.) and I'm a Computer. Eng. We both use mac and are able to use VMware View Client to use the school's software through our computer. If anything, you can bootcamp or get parallels/VMware to run windows software.

    If your school provides ssh (Secure Shell login) then you can use that too. Let me know if you are still confused.

    PS. find out what your school offers for mac. They usually provide more information through the Computer Programing - Major website.
  4. Shadow-Man4 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 31, 2013
    I meant to say Macbook Air but figured MacAir would be a shortcut, haha. Anyway, will the Macbook Air i5/8/128 run AutoCad well? Like will it lag and whatnot or will it run relatively smooth?

    Macbook Air Retina Display is abit too expensive for me, although I know it's awesome. The problem is I'm not sure my university provides Mac OS X version of AutoCad for free, I'll check about that.

    Thanks for the reply!
  5. cxc273 macrumors regular

    Dec 12, 2012
    I handle PR and communications at an engineering college and I can tell you that a lot of students use Macs -- MacBook Airs, MacBook Pros, etc.

    What you should do is check with your college to see if there are any computer requirements for your major. They'll often have some suggestions for you.

    A MacBook Air might be underpowered for your purposes, but perhaps a Retina MacBook Pro might do the trick. They weigh a little bit more, but are still very portable.

    And if you do decide on a Mac, don't forget that Apple's got an educational discount plus the $100 iTunes gift card special going on until Sep. 6.

    Good luck in school!
  6. 8080532 Suspended

    Apr 7, 2013
    My gf has a base model 13" MBPr and it just takes a LONG time to load up and then it freezes when she uses AutoCad. So take the advice ^ and go with a dedicated GPU - 15" mbpr.

    I have the 15" mbpr and i don't have any problems with any software.
  7. Shadow-Man4 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 31, 2013
    Yep, I know about the discount and would like to get my Macbook Air with that, but a student from my University said the University doesn't have any computer requirements, he is an Engineering student with a Macbook Pro. e said he can run all softwares on it and it's been good, and he even told me both Windows and Macs will do the trick. The only problem is that the CAD version the uni uses isn't compatible with the Mac, so he has to use the computer labs for that.

    I'm confused now. I really don't want to get a Windows laptop because of the battery life and poor portability, but I guess I'll have to if that's the case. :eek:
  8. m98custom1212 macrumors 6502

    Jul 20, 2013
    Toledo, Ohio
    I just use wiped OSX and installed windows.. Macbook Air was cheaper of the Ultrabook I was looking at Acer S7 and Sony Pro 13
  9. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012
    Sounds like to me you are already emotionally invested on the Mac. Because there are very portable Wintel Ultrabooks. The often quoted direct competitors to the Air are the Samsung Ultrabooks and the Asus Zens.

    But your insistence that you won't run bootcamp or parallel is illogical and slams the door on a Macbook.

    As others already mentioned, there maybe other versions of OSX autocad but if u have to buy it yourself, even with student discount - ouch! Fact is lots of engineering stuff run under Windows. Yes, yes there are work-arounds and such, but if u don't even want to shell out for parallel, then you are talking yourself toward an Ultrabook.
  10. m98custom1212 macrumors 6502

    Jul 20, 2013
    Toledo, Ohio
    False, I use macbook air just fine with Autocad and other modeling software

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