Is This MBA Suitable for AutoCAD?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by AkramHD, Jul 27, 2014.

  1. AkramHD macrumors member

    Aug 23, 2013
    I'm thinking of getting this MacBook Air

    13-inch : 128GB
    1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor
    Turbo Boost up to 2.7GHz
    Intel HD Graphics 5000
    4GB memory
    128GB PCIe-based flash storage

    I would mainly be using it for AutoCAD and checking emails. I'd just like to know, would it be able to handle AutoCAD for long periods of time on battery power, and is it powerful enough?

    Thank you.
  2. stridemat Moderator


    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    The system requirements on the AutoCad website say the following for the 2014 version:

    Macbook Air 2.1 description.
  3. kelon111 macrumors 6502

    Mar 16, 2013
    For simple modelling you'll be fine.
    If you are using AutoCAD for your job , I would say get another laptop.

    Here are some alternatives : Dell Precision M3800 , HP Zbook 14
  4. Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    The current MacBook Airs are actually very powerful little computers. I run VectorWorks (another CAD package), Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro on mine. I can rip a TV show on the MBA in less than 15 minutes. Same show takes 75 minutes on my 2008 15" MacBook Pro.

    However… running CPU intensive software certainly impacts battery life. Just watching movies might give me 10 hours on battery. Running Final Cut Pro might only last 3 hours.
  5. kelon111, Jul 27, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2014

    kelon111 macrumors 6502

    Mar 16, 2013
    MacBook Airs still use ULV CPUs and only have integrated GPUs.

    An Intel HD 5000 isn't going to match a Quadro K1100m when it comes to rendering.
    Neither would an HD 5000 match a FirePro M4100.

    Once you get used to the power of a real dedicated card , going back to an integrated GPU solution feels like going back to the past.
  6. Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    Once you get used to carrying around the 11" MacBook Air, going back to a big heavy laptop feels like going back to the past. :D

    Seriously, it should be obvious that the MacBook Air is not the most powerful computer on the market. But its faster than MacBook Pros from just a few years ago, and it's "good enough" for my kind of use.
  7. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Jul 1, 2004
    The OP said nothing about rendering/ 3D. Not all CAD is 3D, and if you do CAD, you'd know this and appreciate the difference. For 2D CAD graphics (and even some light 3D work), integrated graphics are just fine, even at longer stretches.
  8. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

    Mar 12, 2014
    Jacksonville, Florida
    AutoCad 2014 is installed on my 2013 MB Air with i7, 8gb and 512ssd and it runs fine. I use it mainly in the field and seriouss work falls to the desktop.

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