New 13" MBA good enough for AutoCAD?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by FI4O, Jan 7, 2011.

  1. FI4O macrumors newbie

    Jan 7, 2011
    Hello everyone, I just got into university into Mechanical Engineering and wanted to get the 13" 1.86 Ghz MBA to go to school with. Turns out I'll need AutoCAD for my studies and I just now realized how demanding the software is for a computer so I wanted to ask you guys if you think the MBA will be able to deal with it? Also on the AutoCAD for Mac webpage they say 4GB of RAM is recommended. What would you advise me to do? Get the 2GB RAM version or get it upgraded to 4? Or maybe I should get MBP instead? Although I must say that I really like the Air for its low weight compared to the Pro..I don't want to kill my back everyday from carrying it around. In addition I will probably not use AutoCAD every single day, however I prefer doing everything on a laptop instead of a desktop, so I'll probably need it to do a decent amount of work.

    Thanks in advance and I hope I haven't been too vague or anything :D
  2. bri1232001 macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2011
    Do you plan to stick with AutoCAD? If so you might want to get the 4GB if not a MBP.

    I do engineering as well but I only really studied AutoCAD for 4 months. I ran it on an old laptop fine. I also had the option to remote desktop into the schools servers and use a copy of AutoCAD there as well. You might be able to do this and you wouldn't need the upgrades in that case.
  3. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    it should be ok...I doubt you'll be doing anything really involved. if you do, you'll be in a class working in a computer lab anyway. either way you won't be doing any CAD work until at least your third year, and did you know engineering has something like a 70% attrition rate? :rolleyes: so you might drop out anyway.

    I don't like using Remote Desktop for Matlab, much less CAD software.

    a 13" MBP will get you more power without losing much in portability.
  4. FI4O thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 7, 2011
    Yeah, well I don't plan on dropping, that's for sure. Engineering is all I've wanted to do half my life :p Thing is, I don't really know how will things go in my program. I'm not sure if I'll have to use AutoCAD on my own all too often. Although as I go for a masters degree I guess things will change..
  5. kory108 macrumors member


    Nov 17, 2008
    Milwaukee, WI
    I installed it on my 11" Air and it runs fine for simpler projects. Anything too advanced though and it does tend to slow down a bit. That may be due to having only 2 GB of ram though more than the processing power.
  6. firewood, Jan 8, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2011

    firewood macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    Open up the Activity Monitor app and see whether AutoCAD is maxing out memory or the CPUs.

    It seems like it was only a few years ago that the fastest workstations available only had a GB of memory and a CPU slower than a C2D. Yet that's what the biggest businesses used to run their huge AutoCAD models.

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