Mac Pro for Architecture student?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Hdunlopclark, Feb 20, 2012.

  1. Hdunlopclark macrumors member

    Nov 15, 2007
    Hello everyone,

    Well, about 4 years ago, I would know all the information that I need to know. I was obsessed with apple, and knew everything about their product line! Then I got to the point where school was pretty important grade wise, so I lost interest. Recently I have been looking at Universities and the computer/software I will be using.

    I need some information, so I thought I would come and ask you wise, lovely people! I used to be on here a lot!

    Okay, I am going to be starting university in september 2013, so I need to start saving now for this mac, as I only have a part time 10 hour a week job, so it will take a while.

    I am going to be using AutoCAD, ArchiCAD, CS5 suite, and a few other programs that are similar to these all for Architecture.

    I presume there will be updates between now and then anyway, so what is on the agenda for updates? Any ideas when they are due? I am going to have a budget of about £3000. If I was to get the Mac Pro now, I would be getting the base (Quad) model) and with the 15% student discount the pro will be about £1700, but I presume the line will change, but I will probably stick with the base model. Do you think this will be adequate for what I am looking to use.

    As for display, I am probably looking to get a couple of second hand 20" cinema displays of eBay. I really like the design of them, and they are great displays. Can't justify paying £800 for the current 27" cinema display, it is just too much.

    Any advice would be great!

  2. xxBURT0Nxx macrumors 68020


    Jul 9, 2009
    yes, the mac pro will likely get an update (maybe two) before Fall '13. I feel like you really don't need a mac pro though. The new macbook pros are very capable machines (15" and 17" models). The macbook pros will almost certainly see two more updates before Fall '13, so they will be even better by the time you need one.

    I would personally stick to the macbook because in school I feel that portability is key. There are going to be times when you need to go to a library to get work done and get away from distractions. Sometimes you will have to do group projects and need to meet up with friends/classmates. You also aren't going to have to buy a keyboard/mouse/screen to go with the computer like you will with a mac pro, although you can definitely grab an external monitor to use when you're at home/dorm room.

    The mac pro is just going to be a much more expensive machine, and although it's VERY nice, I think you are over thinking the machine you will need. You aren't going to need a $4000 power horse to get through school, and I don't think you will even notice much of a difference running those programs on a mac pro vs. macbook pro (at university level - you aren't going to be using these programs to their full potential, but rather learning different aspects of the programs and how to implement them together to get the results desired). Plus the benefits of portability will be a lot more beneficial than the performance differences you would see imo.
  3. twietee, Feb 20, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2012

    twietee macrumors 603


    Jan 24, 2012
    Depends too on what uni you are going to study..I know the AA in London i.e. has a focus on those crazy designs where you have to have processing power. I studied at an academy where they focus on hand made models and clean black and white drawings. So it can differ a lot. For those programs you listed above a nice macbook pro + external display would be sufficent and the route i'd probably take.

    And as you don't know how much time you have to spend at the university, it can be pretty senseless to have a nice macpro waiting for you to come home;)

    But if you're going to get a macpro, do not buy a 20" display. I have a 23" ACD at home for my work and it's way too small to fit in all those panels nicely..oh I see you want a couple of ACDs. Although I still think 23" is way better for drawing than 20", you can fit in a complete A4, but I could be wrong on that.
  4. Genghis Khan macrumors 65816

    Genghis Khan

    Jun 3, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia
    from one architecture student to another

    it depends on what you plan on doing. i went down the digital architecture path, and i happened to get a scholarship at the time, so bought a Mac Pro. for me, it was definitely worth it.

    for a mac fan and architecture student there are two things we need to consider
    - all of our software is on windows. yes there are mac versions of some of them, but all are made for windows first.
    - most of our programs are hardware intensive. which sucks if you buy an iMac or MacBook Pro. even if they do the job at the moment, you can't upgrade them.

    If you buy an MBP, you'll be buying a new one in ~3 years. My Mac Pro has been going 3 years, and I'm just about to upgrade the graphics and install an SSD. should be fine for another couple of years.

    also, if you do go the Mac Pro route, i'd recommend two of these screens ( if you're making presentations in adobe suite, IPS panels are such a luxury, and these are actually decent, but not too expensive. and i'd recommend two of them, because once you go two screens, you can't go back
  5. Plymouthbreezer macrumors 601


    Feb 27, 2005
    Hello there,

    I'll be graduating in a few months with my Architecture degree. Some observations:

    CAD, Revit, SketchUp, and CS5 should get you by.

    A lot depends on your University's facilities: depending on what they have available for student use, your personal computer needs might not be as high. We have one of the best labs in Massachusetts, and there forth, I've been fine with a 2007 MBP and a 2011 iMac. Running Windows on the iMac is fine for CAD and even Revit, which is a pretty processor intensive program. SketchUp is useful for preliminary design work, and will run on whatever.

    That said, your first year or two, try doing stuff the old way. Vellum and a straightedge. Nothing beats it when you're trying to learn about design. I've seen so many folks jump right into Revit, thinking they are going to be a great designer, and honestly, they miss so much because they have spent all their time mastering the software, which is going to be totally different in five years when they start their IDP Hours. Architecture is a long road: You have undergrad, which is either four years or five (if it is a B.Arch) Add two more for your M.Arch, and then three more for your 5,600 hours of work experience before you're even eligible to sit for your seven exams. If you learn Revit in 2012, chances are it will be a bit different than what you'll be using by the time you get your first job.

    Anywho, find out what your Department has for a lab, and go from there. If you can work in Studio, often times that's easier (you can plot your drawings there, use much faster and nicer computers with full versions of the software, etc.).

    Good luck! While I know the programs, drafting manually is waaaaaay more fun:

  6. t0rr3s macrumors 6502


    Dec 23, 2010
    got through the course without one but it'd have been nice. :) i used to take naps while waiting for my models to render, not that i needed any more of an excuse to sleep.

    but yep, do get to know your studios and facilities available.
  7. SuperCachetes macrumors 6502a


    Nov 28, 2010
    Away from you
    This, for all the reasons listed. The MBPs will handle your core software fine and will be a lot more versatile than a desktop.

    This, too. As an architect 20 years out of school, I can tell you that you just can NOT design on a computer as effectively as on paper. The eye/hand-coordinated act of sketching and working things out stimulates parts of the brain that get unused just staring at different colors of lines on a monitor. It's critically important as a student. Good luck to you.
  8. derbothaus, Feb 21, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2012

    derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    Macbook Pro 15" would be perfect with Quad i7. Faster than the base Mac Pro processor in varying degree's depending on what you are doing. Single threaded stuff (80% of general software) it is way faster. Multi-Core aware stuff it is slightly faster. If you only have 1 Mac make it a strong laptop. The reasons should be obvious as you can take it to class etc. AND they are getting crazy fast. You can use the Cinema Display still with the DVI adapter. If your work demands lots of extended rendering you may need the Mac Pro though. The MBP will finish ahead of the MAc Pro but if your pushing the MBP into 85ºC for hours on end everyday it will not last very long and it will be pretty noisy. Rendering and maxing the processors on a Mac Pro is a whisper quiet experience.
  9. initialsBB macrumors 6502a

    Oct 18, 2010
    I also agree MacBook Pro would be better. My father is an architect who uses ArchiCAD for some very big projects (an airport in South Africa) and he uses almost exclusively his MacBook Pro 17", with sometimes an iMac on the side. The Mac Pro will definitely have more raw power IF you get the higher configurations, not the base model.

    Get a beefy i7 processor, lots of RAM, and you should be fine. You can dual boot Windows so that you get both Mac and PC versions of software.

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