Need Honest Opinion on what to get

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by FilipMil, Aug 15, 2008.

  1. FilipMil macrumors member

    Jul 29, 2008
    Hows it going everyone, I'm a Second Year student in University, Architecture program and i am having a problem choosing my first Mac. Heres the issue:

    I saved up $3,500 this summer which will be going towards my new laptop. I waited through first year and now i realized that a home computer is not going to cut it, so I'm sort of in a transition between another PC Laptop, or a brand new first time Macbook Pro(the revision hopefully coming in Sept.)

    Now the issue is, as an Architecture student, i use CAD. yes, and the only way to use CAD programs on a Mac is through Bootcamp or VMware Fusion. Now i was going to purchase a Macbook Pro (current one) but i heard about the GPU problems and such, so i decided il wait a little longer.

    Now i found two great computers and i need your serious opinion, please dont respond GO for MAC, MACs rule, or PC's suck. anyway both computers are going to have 4GB RAM(unless more available on new macbook pro), highest possible graphics card, and it is going to be a 15.4". My PC choice is the Alienware M15X.

    The reason i love mac so much is the operating system, the security, cleanliness and i know it will last me for at least as long as im in University. I would consider the PC due to the fact that i dont need to split partition my HDD or have a virtual machine running to use AutoCAD.

    So please, any professionals in the feilds of Interior Design or Architecture, and yes of course all the opinionated MAC users, please give me the most logical opinion, thanks.
  2. Baffles macrumors regular

    May 27, 2008
    Upstate New York
    Honestly, I'd say go for the Mac. I just took the plunge and am loving it. In my opinion, Alienware is some of the most overpriced crap out there with HORRIBLE support. I have heard many horror stories about them.

    As far as the GPU issue, that alienware uses the 8800M GT, which has the same chances of failing as the GPU in the MacBook Pro.
  3. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor


    Staff Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    Disclaimer: I am not an architect or architecture student.

    Surprise, surprise...I'm going to suggest the MBP. You can have all the things you like about OS X, and still flip over to Windows when you need it. With hard drive sizes these days, partitioning them isn't that big a deal, and it gives you tons of flexibility.

    Another factor to consider is the weight...the Alienware is a full pound and half heavier than the MBP. It doesn't sound like a lot, but it really is. I assume you'll be toting this thing all over the place as you work on projects, and you're going to want portability.
  4. dissdnt macrumors 65816


    Aug 3, 2007
    Well in general no matter what your going to be spending at least 1k more getting a mac then a pc counter part.

    Also with PC laptops like Alienware (somewhat over priced)/Dell you get a lot more video card choices, you can top out options that would help you with real time 3d CAD software, video ram etc.

    You can run a mac in bootcamp, i do, and it's native so it's fast. But in general for the money and the options you're probably better off going PC.

    Having said that mac's rules hehe i love my macbook pro.
  5. hitnrun7 Guest

    Jul 3, 2008
    Well if you need to use AutoCAD, and not some other CAD program, then get the windows computer. Its just going to be cheaper in that you no longer need to buy a windows license and can now spend more on hardware.
  6. FilipMil thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 29, 2008
    True True, all your points are great thanks

    Well heres what i think, and this is what ive been thinking before i heard about the GPU problems. My number one choice is Mac, thats for sure, and running Bootcamp or anything else wont be a problem for me. Now, the question is, i have 4GB of Ram, how should i split it. Cuz knowing with the PC i wont have to split.
  7. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    On the PC side, I would go a Dell Precision or a Thinkpad W700; yes you want dedicated workstation video cards for your CAD work; I'm not an engineering student, but I still know the difference in performance between a gaming video card on the Alienware and a workstation class video card on the Precision and Thinkpads.

    On the Mac side, you'll only have the MacBook Pro and it will be a gaming video card, so not much of a choice there.

    Don't forget with CAD and stuff, it's about quality, not speed.

    If you're getting a Mac, and you plan to run the stuff you said you would, you use BootCamp, install Vista 64-bit, and all 4GB of RAM will be utilized.
  8. monkey86 macrumors 6502


    Aug 5, 2008
    dont go alienware - they have no batterylife :)

    if you can run cad on parallels that will be worth a look.

    if you are running windows via bootcamp (best bet in my opinion) you should be able to use all the mac resources.

    so you wont need to split the ram at all.

    go for the mac hopefully the revision and get applecare.
  9. ThunderRobot macrumors regular


    Aug 10, 2008
    Glasgow, Scotland
    I'm a qualified (but non-practicing architect) working in a design studio with Interior Designers.

    If your only choice is AutoCAD, go for a non-Apple solution. Whether it's AlienWare, Sony or whatever is your choice.

    However if you've got a bit of freedom over your CAD package of choice I'd go for a MacBook Pro with vectorworks. It's 100% compatible with AutoCAD and any DWG / DXF producing package and is simple enough to pick up if you have AutoCAD skills.

    Obviously it's your choice, but I'd have no hesitation in recommending MBP / Vectorworks combo. Either way, good luck with the studies.

  10. nidserz macrumors 6502a


    Mar 28, 2008
    Dubai x Toronto
    I'm not Mac expert nor an architect/interior design student but my best friend is in interior design and I have convinced her to get a Macbook Pro (when updated).

    She doesn't user her current laptop (A 13" Sony Z Series) for AutoCAD but was hoping with her new laptop she would be able to do more work at home rather than the computer lab at 3-4AM. I advised her that for the time when she will actually need it for AutoCAD she can boot up in XP using Boot Camp. For everything else Mac OS should be great. She will be using the Mac for photoshop, iPhoto, and some iMovie.

    So as far as I know the only thing she will run in Windows is AutoCAD. I mentioned a desktop, but she feels like protability is the way to go. Surf the net, take notes, edit photos - all on-the-go

    I have nothing against windows, but I am new to the Mac side and don't do anything intense - just e-mail, browse, photoshop, and MSN. Another co-worker uses a Macbook solely in BootCamp (couldn't learn the Mac OS) and has no problems running all windows apps. But, if your going Mac, use the OS as much as you can and you'll love it :)
  11. bartzilla macrumors 6502a

    Aug 11, 2008
    I'd suggest the Apple option, I suspect just about everyone here will.
    If you do decide to get a Windows- based machine, I would suggest not getting the Alienware stuff. You're paying over the odds for a Dell computer in a tacky garish case with that stuff. If you want to go down that road, get the dell 'pro' laptop equivalent of the alienware and keep the money you'll save in your pocket for a rainy day, for being a student can be an expensive business.
  12. Firefly2002 macrumors 65816

    Jan 9, 2008
    If it's a choice between Alienware and the Mac, get a Mac. Alienware is overpriced, and I'm guessing it's a fat notebook (could be wrong though)

    Alphaod makes a very good point:

    If you want CAD performance, get something with a workstation graphics card, not a gamer's card.
  13. FilipMil thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 29, 2008
    Ya the choice i will probably make is a Macbook Pro, hopefully with a Quadro FX graphics card if it comes out, and i need a bit more detail on the vectorworks? what do u mean by that ? what is that combo...

    Oh and i should get a 64 bit XP or Vista? right? from what i hear with that i wont need to split the ramm?
  14. wadejc85 macrumors 6502

    Jul 9, 2008
    I'm an environmental engineering graduate now in a master's engineering program doing an assistantship, and I couldn't be happier with my iMac.

    I have XP running on a partition, which allows me to use all of the US EPA's freeware programs, AutoCAD, and the like. I find that AutoCAD runs better on my iMac than it did on my HP. To my experience, EPA's freeware programs seem to be buggy on Vista.

    I also enabled the option that lets me view my XP files in OS X. This way, I can access all of my Excel files and CAD drawings while typing up a report, presentation, etc etc..

    My recommendation is the Mac with XP. Good luck!
  15. FilipMil thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 29, 2008
    Thanks alot guys

    alright next question now that i know that im getting a mac:) yes first mac WOOT WOOT haha

    well VMware Fusion or Bootcamp, i dunno about Parallels
  16. wadejc85 macrumors 6502

    Jul 9, 2008
    Boot Camp. Period.

    CAD software is too CPU intensive to not be running on a native OS.
  17. FilipMil thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 29, 2008
    alright done deal!

    Thanks everyone, now im gonna go research into bootcamp a little more.
    If anyone has any other suggestions if its not a mac please be free to tell me!
    thanks again
  18. Firefly2002 macrumors 65816

    Jan 9, 2008

    Come on.

    There's not going to be a Quadro FX graphics card for the MBP next revision, and probably ever.

    As for Vectorworks, last time I checked, that was for Mac too. I know I have a version on my Beige for Mac OS 9, I doubt they dropped support with OS X =p

    A 64-bit operating system can address up to 2^64 bytes of memory. So yes, it can address well over 4 GB.

    32-bit operating systems don't "split" RAM, they merely address no more than 4 GB. This means that if you have 4 GB system RAM, you're left with 4 GB minus the other memory on your computer, such as the 256 or 512 MB video card, the computer's caches, etc, meaning between 3.3 and 3.5 GB.
  19. FilipMil thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 29, 2008
    well i had to try didnt i lol
    imagine they have a choice between GPU's. that would be a great success, between a CAD and Gaming video card, alot of professionals use macs, so it would be the best thing

    so what is this vectorworks
  20. wadejc85 macrumors 6502

    Jul 9, 2008
    CAD software: see website

    It's popular software. I completely forgot about it. Could be a substitute instead of AutoCAD. Talk to professors at your university to see which program(s) they recommend.
  21. FilipMil thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 29, 2008
    AutoCAD is a recommended program. and i just fool around with any other program i can get
  22. wadejc85 macrumors 6502

    Jul 9, 2008
    If AutoCAD is recommended, get that. Trust me. I've strayed from professors' recommendations, and it usually kicked me in the tail. :p

    Just a thought! ;)
  23. FilipMil thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 29, 2008
    i have all the required software and all, i just need a computer :p
    thats what this whole thing is about

    ok forget alienware from this title thread, if mac was not a choice, what would i get?
  24. wadejc85 macrumors 6502

    Jul 9, 2008
    Forget Mac and Alienware? I've had good experience with HP, bad experience with Dell, Sony.
  25. freeflywing macrumors newbie

    Aug 14, 2008
    I think that Macbook pro isnt a good choice, since CAD runs on PC. if you use bootcamp to run windows, it is not a good choice either. even tho it is a native operation system, running windows produce a lot of heat. in my experience, i have over heat problem running windows vista and xp. on the other hand, using desktop computer (MacPro or PC) will shorten a lot of time on RENDERING; but Mac Pro is way too expensive, you can get a really kick ass computer with your budget.

    my conclusion is :I will use PC desktop or laptop instead of mac or mac pro, but since you have a macbook, a desktop would be a good choice.


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