Using Retina MBP for CAD.

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Recont, Jul 29, 2014.

  1. Recont macrumors newbie

    Jul 29, 2014
    Hello everybody, I am looking to switch to mac and the only concern I have is if I will be able to use CAD software in OS X and windows (bootcamp) comfortably on just updated macbook pro retina 13" with core i5 processor? The software is AutoCAD in 2D and 3D and Solidworks. Thank you!
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I think the screen size may be your biggest factor. I found the the 13" screen too limiting when using Photoshop.

    The 15" model, gives you a quad core cpu, a better iGPU (Iris Pro)
  3. Recont thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 29, 2014
    It is not likely for me to use photoshop. More concerns about running engineering software. 15" is too expensive for a student+I am going to buy it in the UK where prices are 30% higher than in States.


    It is not likely for me to use photoshop. More concerns about running engineering software. 15" is too expensive for a student+I am going to buy it in the UK where prices are 30% higher than in States.
  4. hamiltonDSi macrumors 68000


    Jul 29, 2012
    I just bought this summer a 15" rMBP.
    In autumn I will start my first semester at Engineering school. Can't wait to use AutoCAD on this display. I heard that AutoCAD is updated for the Retina Display.
  5. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    If you are not doing anything too complicated, the 13" should work just fine. Don't forget that you have a return period — so I suggest you get the laptop, try it out and return if its not up to your expectations.
  6. chaofahn macrumors member


    Jul 21, 2014
    Haven't tried Solidworks, but as an indicator my 2009 17" MacBook Pro manages to run large AutoCAD files decently, slightly laggy but bearable nonetheless, both on the Mac and Bootcamp Windows version.

    I think the new rMBP models will do just fine. :)
  7. armyk macrumors newbie

    Jul 29, 2014
    AutoCad should be fine, at my school I am using Inventor 2014 on old VAIO with HD3000 graphic card and SSD. It is smooth (small assembelies <500 parts). Now I am planning to update to 13" rMBP. I hope it will be also ok :) (Unfortunately Inentor is not for Mac :()
  8. Recont thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 29, 2014
    Bought 15" MBP Retina today. Haven't been that happy for ages. Installing windows on it to try solid works. If everything runs fine, I'll keep it. My spec is 2.2ghz i7, 16gb ram, 256gb and iris pro. When I came to apple store there was 15" with 2.0ghz and 8gb ram for 1,699 pounds then I asked assistant to check if they have updated macs in stock and spot on, they did have them and most interesting thing that it was 100 ponds cheaper and more powerful. Got it with 14 per cent student discount, bought apple 3 year care plan for 60 pounds (75% off when buying new mac) and used 60 pounds gift card to buy 1tb seagate external drive (was 79.50) so got it for 19.50 :D Hope it will run necessary software because I already like it soooo much and want to keep it.
  9. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    For CAD, you want screen real estate. Lots of it. And RAM. And a good GPU.

    I work with CAD daily (Inventor, AutoCAD, Solidworks) and would not take anything less than a quad-core with 16GB of RAM with a decent GPU.

    I'd go for the 15'' if it was for me.
  10. Recont thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 29, 2014
    Will my configuration of mac run Solidworks, Inventor and AutoCAD good?
  11. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    Listen to maflynn!
    I dont use CAD but I also found the 13" feels a bit cramped, but the 13" is much more portable.
  12. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    It'll run. How good depends on how advanced you are using CAD and how large your assemblies are. If you stay under say, 2-300 parts in your assemblies, including fasteners, you should be good. If your assemblies often reach the 1000+ part, with fasteners, you're going to want a good GPU and gobs of RAM to display it all properly.

    I would personally find a 13'' screen much too cramped to do any serious work.
  13. NStocks macrumors 65816

    Apr 3, 2008
    I'm running Solidworks on Yosemite and it works very well. (Windows 8). I would definitely advise against 13". It's just too small to design anything on. (Don't run AutoCAD because I can't stand it after using it for so long in Architecture school!)
  14. BigJohno macrumors 65816

    Jan 1, 2007
    San Francisco
    I use Solidworks every day for work on a late 2013 retina MBP through bootcamp. but connected to a 23" or 27" ACD. Solidworks does ok with the scaling but windows sucks in general with the retina screen.

    I agree with Snaky69. You would want something like quadro card in a powerful desktop. I work in the furniture industry and we never get above 50 parts. Complex surfacing but not a tone of parts...
  15. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    I did forget about surface modelling, that's usually quite taxing on a system.
  16. Recont thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 29, 2014
    I need mobility, good screen, sound and long battery life so that is why I have chosen mac. Of course desktop will have great advantage over laptop but I am on budget. Also I am going to use my laptop for university studies on engineering course and cannot imagine if I have 300+ parts assemblies.
  17. paolo- macrumors 6502a

    Aug 24, 2008
    My 2010 MBP (base graphics card) handled SolidWorks well, here were no hiccups on my final project which must have been a few hundred parts. Heck, even my 2008 aluminium MacBook could handle simple assemblies.

    CAD isn't as demanding as some people make it out to be. It's just that some people have immense assemblies which obviously require a beast of a computer. FEA and renderings are also quite demanding if you want things done in a timely matter.

    As others have mentioned, Windows doesn't handle the high-res display as well as Mac OS. However, once in most applications, it's ok.
  18. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    The battery life on bootcamp of most Macs isn't all that great. Windows isn't as power optimized as OS X since it has to support a plethora of different hardware configurations.

    In my personal experience with Macs running windows: take your OS X battery life and cut it by a ⅓ or even ½, that's what you'll be getting in Windows.

    Since you want to use CAD programs, you'll be running windows. Might as well buy a more powerful windows machine with great battery life for less, no?

    FWIW, I graduated from university as a mechanical engineer a bit more than a year ago, and my computer was doing a lot more Word, Excel, Matlab and Maple than CAD. And when I did want to do CAD, the school's computer blew my laptop out of the water performance wise.
  19. Recont thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 29, 2014
    Ran benchmark test in solidworks 2014 and results are:
    Graphics 17.8 sec
    Processor 37 sec
    I/O 26.4 sec
    Overall 81.3 sec

    Rendering 19.2 sec
    RealView Performance - sec

    Is it good or bad?
  20. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    Not a clue. I didn't even know there was such a test in solidworks.
  21. TechZeke, Aug 3, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014

    TechZeke macrumors 68020


    Jul 29, 2012
    Rialto, CA
    This. In Engineering School, you won't be doing things that require 16GB of RAM and a Quadro Whatever. In fact, most students at my engineering school use old Windows laptops, and some of the school computers are even older. One guy I know has used a 2007 Windows Vista laptop his entire engineering school career, and the I see allot students going for Surface Pros.

    At my Engineering-and-Construction Office(I work for a Commuter Railroad), trust me, they use stuff allot less powerful and fancy than a rMBP. One engineer only has a laptop that runs a late 2007 core 2 duo. Don't even get me started about the computers used by my state's Department of Transportation.

    Really, for those of us who can afford it, we are blessed to be able use something like a 15" rMBP for school.

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