Revit on Macbook Pro or Dell Precision M6500?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by rcr, Jul 27, 2010.

  1. rcr macrumors member

    rcr

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2010
    Location:
    Newcastle Upon Tyne
    #1
    Hi,

    I'm approaching a return to uni this september (pt2 architecture)and have decided to get myself a fairly decent laptop. I've never had a mac, but have heard a lot of good things about them. Thing is, I need it particularly for CAD and such and in particular something that runs Revit, Photoshop and SketchUp well... of course Revit is the most demanding of those and I wonder how these two systems compare? I know this is a mac forum, but I'm hoping for some reasonably objective advice. If any of you have experience using Revit and similar BIM and CAD software with either of these (or similar) builds I'd really like to know about your experiences to help me make a choice!

    Thanks...

    Macbook pro:

    2.66GHz Intel Core i7
    8GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2X4GB
    500GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm
    SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    MacBook Pro 17-inch Hi-Resolution Antiglare Widescreen Display
    Backlit Keyboard (British) & User's Guide (English)
    iWork preinstalled
    Accessory kit

    Dell precision M6500:

    Processor One Intel® Core™ i7-820QM(1.73GHz, 8MB,Quad Core) Memory runs at 1333MHz
    Microsoft Operating System English Genuine Windows® 7 Professional (64Bit OS) Recovery DVD included
    Memory 8GB 1333MHz DDR3 Dual Channel (4x2GB)
    Video Card 1 GB GDDR5 for ATI FirePro M7820 (with 1GB dedicated memory)
    Hard Drive 500GB Serial ATA (7200RPM) (Free fall sensor)
    Optical Devices 8X DVD+/-RW Drive Tray Load with Optical Software Included
    Wireless Networking EMEA Dell Wireless 1397 (802.11 b/g) Mini Card
    Bluetooth EMEA Dell® Wireless 365 2.1 Bluetooth™
    Camera Integrated 3.2 Mega Pixel Camera with Microphone for Silver Base
    LCD 17in Widescreen WUXGA (1920x1200) Antiglare Silver with White Led LCD Panel
    Microsoft Application Software Microsoft® Office Starter 2010 ( Excel Starter 2010, Word Starter 2010)
     
  2. kny3twalker macrumors 65816

    kny3twalker

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
    #2
    You should probably get the Dell since it sounds like you will be using this notebook for your renderings.
    With the Dell, you can upgrade the graphics to a better professional card than listed: FX2800 or FX3800, and you can get the RGBLED display which will be a better screen than the macbook pro.

    The macbook pro would probably be a fine choice, but the Dell is more comparable to a mobile desktop. And I would highly suggest that if you get the Dell, you should get the RGBLED display.
     
  3. rcr thread starter macrumors member

    rcr

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2010
    Location:
    Newcastle Upon Tyne
    #3
    Those Nvidia cards are optional on the Dell build. That sounds like very good advice. It seems to be the Dell would be more appropriate for me, only the mac is so very seductive.
     
  4. ArchiMac macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2006
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    #4
    The Dell certainly has the specs on the Mac. and would be the clear choice of the two for rendering-out extensive animations or gaming.

    I've just returned to Uni (M.Architecture) myself and use a 4yr old 17" MBP with ArchiCAD, SketchUP, Cinema 4D, Adobe Suite, etc without a hitch. I work through C4D and CS4 with a wacom tablet which apparently is taxing on the graphics card - haven't noticed it though.

    The point is - you don't need maximum processing power to achieve the structure/documentation of your architecture - the processing power is used in the rendering which is something that no laptop will excel in anyway (but can most certainly do, and do well - particularly if you will be rendering stills).

    It may seem crazy, but the actual weight and dimensions of your laptop will have an effect on your comfort as you're lugging it back and forth from classes, home, work, the train, etc, so give that a thought too.

    I couldn't imagine any problem running REVIT under Parallels or VM. It might be worth finding out how many cores your software can access - I believe a majority only access two (meaning less RAM would be accessed?) (Someone knowledgable might want to clarify this). Mac RAM is expensive and needing less (than a whopping 8GB) might free up some $ to spend on accessories (ext storage, wacom tablet, cool laptop bag...)

    A 4yr old laptop working flawlessly (aside from the ageing battery) is nothing to scoff at, and I'm not confident that a Dell (or HP, or VAIO, or Toshiba...) would age as gracefully. I have absolutely no regrets with my laptop (apart from the weight issue - maybe I should have bought the 15" instead?).

    Of course, not matter which laptop you opt for, there will always be a newer, faster, pimped-out model tomorrow so a certain degree of 'buyer's remorse' is all part of the experience! - Hope you choose the MacBook Pro, and best of luck with your studies.
     
  5. crazzyeddie macrumors 68030

    crazzyeddie

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    #5
    I would not get that processor. The clockspeed is just too low for what you will using the computer for. I would opt instead for the 2.66ghz i7 Dual Core. It only has two physical cores, but still has 4 threads.
     
  6. rcr thread starter macrumors member

    rcr

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2010
    Location:
    Newcastle Upon Tyne
    #6
    After talking to someone who uses Revit they say the difference between using 4 and 8 gigs of RAM is very significant. Are there limitations on the amount of RAM the macbookpro uses when running windows?

    Please explain to me more the difference between the processors crazzyeddie, and I hope the studies go well there too ArchiMac, thanks for the comments, they're really useful!
     
  7. rcr, Jul 4, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2011

    rcr thread starter macrumors member

    rcr

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2010
    Location:
    Newcastle Upon Tyne
    #7
    A year down the line, swapping the windows laptop I bought for an iMac.
     
  8. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #8
    What was wrong with the laptop, were you unhappy with the hardware, or software or both?
     
  9. rcr thread starter macrumors member

    rcr

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2010
    Location:
    Newcastle Upon Tyne
    #9
    A bit of both really... I spent a lot on a high spec laptop that didn't seem to run any better than computers a third of the price and had a number of distracting graphics issues with it, but it was hard to tell if it was because of the laptop or the software. Plus the thing was just too heavy, stuck somewhere between a desktop and laptop it was a bit of both, too heavy to be portable but not reliable enough (nor with a large enough screen or cpu) to be a desktop. Oh and one more thing... heat. The software I use is fairly demanding and the laptop was getting so hot it could burn skin. It is not reassuring.

    That's the stick.

    The carrot:

    Mac can now run all the software I need (since they introduced autoCAD mac) plus the more I see of OSX and the Apple software the more I'm convinced it's for me. I'm tired of things not working, or being more complicated than they need to be. I hope I'm not expecting too much from Apple. My order for the imac in my signature is due on the 12th, it'll be my first Mac!
     
  10. Aldaris macrumors 68000

    Aldaris

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2004
    Location:
    Salt Lake
    #10
    Are you going to use bootcamp/windows partition to use Revit?

    I'm using AutoCAD for Mac and it runs without a hitch on my 2008 Unibody 2.4 GHz and 6 GB Ram.

    AutoDesk seems very committed to the Mac OS platform although it'll take some time for all the Applications they choose to support natively.

    In the end either will work, although you'll still be in a windows environment with Revit, and I have heard mixed feelings on how well the boot camping preforms based on individual setups.
     
  11. 2hvy4grvty macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2011
    #11
    Have you considered a thinkpad? They're a great deal lighter, you get similar performance and build quality as the Dell, if not superior, and just on another class altogether compared to the MBPs.

    And there's the HP Elitebooks to consider.
     
  12. rcr thread starter macrumors member

    rcr

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2010
    Location:
    Newcastle Upon Tyne
    #12
    I'm set on the 27" imac (order is in)... I have no real need for a laptop to design on now, in stage 6 we're in a locked atelier (we must supply our own computer) and after that I'll take it home. Will possibly get a reconditioned 11" MacAir when I have some spare cash, for email/internet/wordprocessing/showing presentations on the hoof.

    I no longer need to run Revit, am looking forwards to learning Vectorworks which runs Mac native. I want all my software to run on OSX, for a start I don't want to spend £200 on a copy of windows.
     
  13. auhlixer macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2006
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    #13
    I would go with the 2011 refurb 2.3 15"

    I use it for inventor which is the older brother of revit and it works great. I have windows 7 pro 64bit in the optibay on a ocz agility 2 120gb and it runs awesome. I wouldn't get last years model because of the gpu. Throw 8gb of ram in there and your golden
     
  14. rcr thread starter macrumors member

    rcr

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2010
    Location:
    Newcastle Upon Tyne
    #14
    I intend to buy an extra 8GB Crucial RAM soon (for 12GB) after I see how the 4GB fares, and then someday buy and instal an SSD to run my main programs from.

    Inventor was the first CAD software I used many years ago now, I don't find the Revit UI half as intuitive, nor the parametric constraints as easy to work with. Of course, two very different types of software.

    I'm just starting out with Vectorworks, but I'm optimistic. I recognize elements of a lot of other software in it: Sketchup, Revit, ArchiCAD, AutoCAD and it seems to be becoming a popular (and more affordable) alternative to the industry big boys.
     
  15. Aldaris macrumors 68000

    Aldaris

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2004
    Location:
    Salt Lake
    #15
    Congratulations on your decision-Wish you all the best at Uni.
     
  16. rcr thread starter macrumors member

    rcr

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2010
    Location:
    Newcastle Upon Tyne
    #16
    Thanks.
     

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