solidworks: which mac?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by aferro, May 1, 2008.

  1. aferro macrumors newbie

    May 1, 2008
    hi guys,

    in my office, an architectural/ptoduct design studio, we work on macs (all old g4/g5 processors) and on a single pc (2x3ghz single core) for solidworks engineering problem.

    Right now we are going to buy a new computer to work with solidworks, using a special offer that we got from a reseller, and my question is: 3.06 ghz imac or 8 core 2.8 ghz with nvidia option card (the quadro is not for us, only for its price)?

    The choices depends from these factors:

    - cost
    - the imac is brand new, the mac pro came out on january and i'm tired to buy something to see the major upgrade arriving in 2/3 weeks
    - is the difference so impressive from the imac and the mac pro for a normal solidworks use?
    - the display, if we decide to buy it, will be changed according to macworls buying suggestions, very soon (but we could use an old lacie 22 electron)

    so, accordgin to you, and considering that we have max 6000 dollars to spend (2500 only for a mbp) and we want to spend the money in a good way, which mac you will buy?

    thanks in advanc for your help,

  2. digitalnicotine macrumors 65816


    Jan 11, 2008
  3. iMpathetic macrumors 68030


    Oct 7, 2007
    I would second the Mac Pro. Apple hadn't updated it for almost two years when it was revised, so it's actually probably more future-proof, especially because you can stick a faster processor in the low-end MP if you really want to.
  4. kkat69 macrumors 68020


    Aug 30, 2007
    Atlanta, Ga
    Save some money and go with the iMac.

    If you go the MP route you would not only end up paying more (for what your asking for they will both run just fine so that's not an issue) 1. for the MP itself, and 2. for additional parts, ie., monitor for starters yet another pricey cost.

    The money saved with the iMac you can buy some 3rd party RAM which can be pretty cheap and use the other saved money to buy other things needed.
  5. jamisonbaines macrumors regular

    Dec 14, 2007
    not solid works but solid edge

    i was running solid edge through vmware on a mac mini with how many other apps open. i think you should be fine with either machine.

    if you are using a 2x3ghz pc now you should have some feel for how it will perform (presumably better than that on a new imac)

    mac pro is a nicer machine with much more room for expansion but unless you are utilizing it i don't think the cost is justified.

    (i need a job)
  6. plasticguy macrumors newbie

    Feb 14, 2008
    Ohio, USA
    Pro or iMac? Solidworks?

    I run my Solidworks on an old PC ( shudder) single core laptop with 2 GB RAM and it works ok for industrial design ( 3D parts for rapid prototyping applications). I think either machine has the horsepower to give you the room to work.

    I just put 4 GB of RAM in my 20" iMac last Fall and it smokes on regular graphics work. It should do just fine on Solidworks too although I have not run it yet.

    I see from your post that your firm really seems to hold on to equipment for a long time so the Pro may give you more in the long-term.

    Good luck with your choice.
  7. mgsarch macrumors regular

    Jan 19, 2008

    You cannot go wrong with a Mac Pro. I, personally, would not go near an iMac for myself. If you have the know-how (which isn't really much at this point) your Mac Pro is much much more long term. You can add HDs, Graphics Cards, whatever else comes out.

    I have the 8-core 2.8 and it's fantastic. I triple boot Leopard, Kubuntu, and Vista.

    The problem with the iMac's that most non-arch people wouldn't catch is that they use consumer graphics cards. If you have any interest in using a Quadro/FireGL card that's designed for CAD work you have to go Mac Pro. I had the high end Macbook Pro 2.33, 3gb ram and it literally could not render a bunch of my Maya work. My Mac Pro renders it in seconds .... literally. The imac's 4GB limit on ram worries me. :( I have 10gb and between CS3, Maya, or Autocad in Windows I can easily stress the system.

    Neither is cheap, in my opinion there's no question which is appropriate. I'm scared of all-in-one's though.
  8. ktbubster macrumors 6502a


    Jan 20, 2007
    Ok, well, considering I can run solidworks even decently via VMware fusion on my 2.2 MACBOOK, I think either will be fine...

    However, I clearly do a lot less intensive things then I'm sure a big firm would do.

    Honestly, once you upgrade the imac a bit you are encroaching macpro territory and i assume you already have a screen and keyboards and such for said computer, so i'd go with the macpro.

    You guys clearly keep things for a while (g4s etc) atleast a few years, and the macpro will allow for expandability and all those great things for a business. You can put in multiple harddrives incase of crashes, up the ram like crazy as time goes on, and even add in extra disc drives and all that.

    For a business and design firm it is probably just a better option, and like people said, they upgradedin january after pretty much 0 upgrades for 2 years. You should be fine.

    if you want to save a bit more money they have 2.8s in teh refurb store now so you could save a few hundred that way.

    Future proof = macpro. That's my 2 cents. (and that way you can upgrade and swap screens and such as you see fit down the line)

    P.S. where are you located? I am graduating in a week in ID and i need a job :) hehe

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