MBP 17 for an architecture student- advice please?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by jrockette, Aug 8, 2010.

  1. jrockette macrumors newbie

    Aug 8, 2010
    Hi, this is my first post here so please bare with me for any n00bness :)

    Okay, I'm an architecture student looking for a new notebook. I'm still undecided about "going mac" for the first time so I just want some honest opinions from people who use macbook pros for serious 3D designing and heavy, ram-hungry, graphical use. If I buy one it will definitely be the 17"- need the high res.

    Some of the things that concern me is that I gather you can only get 512mb dedicated graphics, and that the 17" isnt available with i7 quad core (??) or with more than 4gb RAM (ideally I'd like 6gb min). Correct me if I'm wrong.
    Have people found these specs sufficient for the uses I'm talking about? Additionally I know I will have to run Windows Bootcamp for some programmes, was wondering how that affects your studies having to always switch?

    Maybe what I'm asking for seems like an overkill, but I'm not technically minded and seriously not looking to upgrade until I finish my degree and I really need something futureproof. So if any architects or similar design students could tell me how they find using the mbp purely for their work I'd be super grateful (things like aesthetics, OS, brand dont really matter to me if you know what I mean) thanks

    (once again this is my first post so sorry if this topics been done- I did search the forums and guides as best I could)

    tl;dr - how are the macbook pros (17) for architecture students?
  2. tiwizard macrumors regular

    Jul 12, 2010
    You can upgrade to 8GB IIRC

    It takes 2 seconds for my MBP to turn off, another 30-40 for Windows to boot up-- it isn't really time consuming. You can also run VMWare Fusion/Parallels off of your Bootcamp partition so you can use the same partition in Bootcamp and a VM.
  3. MikeinJapan macrumors regular

    Apr 23, 2010
    A 17 i7 MBP with 4GB will do you fine. I think the i5 would be okay too but get the i7. I think RAM could be an issue but 8GB RAM is just too pricey at the moment.

    I run OS X with win 7 via parallels and have very little problems but I am not super heavy user but I do edit a fair bit and have no problems power wise.

    I think you are over thinking. MBPs are fast and will run anything you throw at them and they will do so for the foreseen future.
  4. TheBritishBloke macrumors 68030


    Jul 21, 2009
    United Kingdom
    You can get the i7 (add $200) and upto 8gb (add $400 or aftermarket) ram in the 17".

    As for using windows, if it won't be intensive you can use vmware fusion or parallels. Even if you need to use boot camp it takes 3 seconds to turn off.

    The graphics card will be fine, its not technically the amount of VRAM that matters, but the card itself, lots of people here use MBP's for architecture.
  5. jrockette thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 8, 2010
    oh ok, I'll take a closer look at the website and configurations available it seemed like those options werent there on the uk site when I first looked- although to be honest, that will take the price welllll over £2000 and I doubt if I can afford it. the price is already an issue :/ I mean I could (grudgingly) settle for i5, but a good graphics card and tonnes of ram are essential.

    yep my windows work will be intensive- hours at a time for some programmes- and i know i've already said i'm not bothered or loyal to OS and brands, but I kinda feel that if I'm paying for apple, I want to use apple software...

    I'm definitely overthinking lol! Sorry it's in my nature - I like to obsess over everything! Thank you for the quick replies
  6. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    Since AutoCAD is returning to OS X I'd say the 17" i7 will be great. You may not need all of that but knowing it will last you 4-5 years will probably be nice.

    In the meantime parallels will work but I would recommend a windows machine if there wasn't the possibility of Autodesk returning to the Mac.
  7. CaoCao macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2010
    My Dad is an architect, and he's running Pentium 4s so upgrade in the near future, this is great!
  8. galstaph macrumors 6502a


    Jul 24, 2002
    The Great White North Eh
    I'm an architecture student (final year of my masters this year). I have a 17" mbp. in my first year I had my trusty 2007 2.4 high res santa rosa, it took everything I could throw at it, that is until it decided to have a logic board failure and some other things, but apple helped me out and replaced it with an early 2009 2.66 17" high res (yea for applecare, buy it). So first off yes these machines are great and will handle (just about) anything you can throw at it; add in the faster ram and i5s/i7s available in the 2010 machine over my 2009 and it is a potent combo, running osx or windows (I recommend windows 7 professional or ultimate 64bit for your windows)

    My current 2009 has 4gb ram and handles most things fine. On my mac side I run Rhino for mac (beta), cs4/5 (photoshop, illustrator and indesign), vectorworks (really should look into this program if you want your workflow to stay mac), maxwell render, sketchup and maya.

    On my windows (7 professional) side I run autocad 2010, autocad architecture 2010, revit 2010, 3d studio max design 2010, Maya 2010 (seems to work better in windows), rhino 4, maxwell render and sketchup.

    I will only bog down my machine if I am working on a stupidly large file (>200mb) or rendering insane scenes with vray and rhino or maxwell render (but this is the justification I gave my wife for buying a mac pro... being able to render faster).. So IF you are doing the average stuff you'll get by just fine, the hardware is among, if not, the best in class. Going for an i7 and high res you cannot go wrong (just remember, glossy (which I have) or matte get the screen calibrated)

    so the questions to you are: what year are you in, what software do you need to run most, how much money can you spend...
    There are some windows laptops that are not as elegant, and possibly not as reliable, but will have the same or better specs as a macbook pro while saving you a few hundred... architecture is still primarily a windows world:rolleyes:, keep that in mind.

    Myself I find it hard to not buy a macbook pro, I've had good experiences with my two 17s (I couldn't go smaller if I wanted to the screen real estate is just essential)

    hope that helps
  9. jrockette thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 8, 2010
    ahhh thanks that was really useful. I'm becoming more and more comfortable with the idea of getting a MBP now. I just needed to be sure that there was more there than they "look so pretty" and it's "all about the experience".

    I'm only a second year student, and to be quite honest, this is the first time I will be doing my work primarily by computer as in year one, i chose the option of doing it mostly by hand (never again). So I'm not really sure which programmes I will end up using- I know my school favours windows (but approve mac, of course) and as such the programmes we mostly use are autocad, 3ds max and sketchup and maya.

    I doubt I'll be doing anything really intensive, but as I mentioned, it has to be future proof because I won't be upgrading again until my year out, or my masters. My budget is just under £2k - that's with a finance plan. And obviously I could get a beastly laptop for that price.

    BTW, do you like the glossy screen? I've heard the matte/antiglare can be better for colour accuracy and reflection? Also do you know how much the higher education discount is on MBP?
  10. galstaph macrumors 6502a


    Jul 24, 2002
    The Great White North Eh
    I have no issues with the glossy, I've had both, and what I've found is that generally speaking, for architecture, it really is personal preference. I like the vibrancy you get from the glossy (makes presentations look really nice), but it is slightly harder to calibrate, you will need to get a decent colour profile at the least (there are some floating around the forums, try colour matching with different profiles on) if you are doing indesign presentation boards, the main thing is to know what colours you are using and what colours the printers print (adobe rgb and cmyk usually work well with most printers/plotters) also the hardest colour to match (true of most lcd displays) is black.... there are at least 5 different colours of 'black' that are standard, be consistent and you're fine, otherwise you will see it in the print.

    price wise, I'm in Canada I believe you're in the uk? edu pricing is roughly 10% +/- a few percentage points depending on hardware.

    If you really want the best bang for your buck and are on a tight budget you can look into the apple student developer program ($99 us iirc) which will allow you to get a one time developers discount of roughly 20% off, but you will want to use that wisely (i.e. better for larger cost purchase) if that is the route you take, I used mine on my 2007 machine, which at the time would have cost $3300cad and I got it with ASD discount at 2600... seemed good at the time, but I wish I'd kept it for my mac pro, that sucker was expensive...

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