Which 2011 mbp for AutoCAD use?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Treeman574, Feb 24, 2011.

  1. Treeman574 macrumors regular

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    Feb 5, 2011
    Location:
    QLD, Australia
    #1
    I am planning to purchase one of the new mbp models for university and would like some advice on the matter. (Note: values below are in Australian Dollars)

    I will be using AutoCAD 2011 quite frequently, but require a portable and affordable laptop.

    So far my options are the low end 13" with 500GB upgrade ($1342), the high end 13" ($1579) or the low end 15" ($1999).

    Would the ATI graphics card and quad core make a serious difference to the performance, and is it worth upgrading to 8GB Ram (+ $200)? The problem is that I am still a student and would not like to spend $2000 on a laptop or have the bulk of a 15" laptop. Yet I would still like to future proof it as much as possible.

    On a separate note, would the better graphics card and processor make any difference for connecting to a large screen? The two monitors I use are 19" and 32".


    Any advice would be great!
     
  2. superericla macrumors 6502

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    Sep 27, 2010
    #2
    I would suggest not upgrading the hard drive or ram through apple as you can get it much cheaper otherwise.
     
  3. snaky69 macrumors 603

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    Mar 14, 2008
    #3
    Autocad requires a decent graphics card, unless you are doing huge 3D Cad, ram and hard drive upgrades won't be doing much for you.
     
  4. Treeman574 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Feb 5, 2011
    Location:
    QLD, Australia
    #4
    The 500GB upgrade is only $60 so I figured it was worth it. But is it really worth $500-$700 extra for a quad core and the graphics improvement?
     
  5. sab165 macrumors member

    sab165

    Joined:
    May 15, 2008
    #5
    I run AutoCad on my Mid-09' MBP occasionally. To be honest I would go with the higher end 15" (2.2Ghz w/ 1GB GPU) just for the better GPU. When you start to handle larger drawings, parts, etc. you'll be extremely happy to have the better GPU. And as far as HDD and memory goes, don't upgrade through Apple because their prices are a good deal higher than other places on the interweb.

    In short, Yes it is worth the extra money without a doubt! Better processor, better GPU, more screen real-estate.
     
  6. zcast macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2011
    #6
    I just purchased a 17" with a bunch of bells and whistles. I will drawing in Vectorworks almost exclusively on the machine and wanted to future-proof myself as much as possible. I have used 2 previous models of MBP to draw in, both a 15" and 17". After working on a 17", I can't go back to a smaller screen.

    Now I know the 17" is out of your budget, but drawing in AutoCad can be just as graphics heavy as any 3d game. What I would rank highest on priority is screen resolution. If they had made a 13" MBP with a high res display, then sure, I would almost recommend that. Seeing though as the resolution is so crap on it, I would bet you would be cursing up a storm trying to get all your design palettes on your tiny screen and then try to draw. I know I would.

    Anyway, I would go for the base 15" without any upgrades. the processor/ram/HDD is more than enough to draw CAD and having a discrete GPU helps when you get into the 3D lines or rendering aspects of AutoCAD. Also it makes it easier to drive that massive 32" you use. I think you will find that a 15" isn't a huge brick to lug around and you'll thank yourself for it down the road.

    -Z
     
  7. Treeman574 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Feb 5, 2011
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    QLD, Australia
    #7
    Thanks for the input! I am leaning towards the 2.0GHz 15" now, as you say it's not a huge brick and will help run the 32" screen. I will be using my mbp as a dvd player quite often. (Thank jobs for the optical drive! :D)
     
  8. rgarjr macrumors 603

    rgarjr

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    Southern Cal
    #8
    Are u going to run the Mac ACAD or Windows version?
     
  9. Apple Expert macrumors 65816

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    Jan 31, 2010
    #9
    I'd probably go with the top of the line 15". You don't need the faster i7 processor, but the 1gb discrete video card should help out. But ultimately you can only buy what you can afford.
     
  10. Treeman574 thread starter macrumors regular

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    QLD, Australia
    #10
    Would the 256mb ATI graphics be a serious improvement from the Intel 3000, since the 1GB ATI is not an option due to the cost.
     
  11. gox81 macrumors member

    gox81

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    Jan 25, 2011
    #11
    Purely from a student POV, i'd go with a base 13", it's like 650$ cheaper in your case, a -lot- of money to spend on other things :p..at least for a student (not everything evolves around a laptop, at least not for me..haha xp)
    But really, 3d rendering probably wont be a problem for these new MBP's..
    My friends white macbook from a few years back runs solidworks, he doesn't have a problem with it.
    Comes down on how demanding you are, do you want to cope with slower rendering etc? Or do you want things to go more smoothly..? How high do you set the bar?
    13" > superportable, stuff works, cheaper
    15" > less portable, stuff works faster, expensive :eek:
    My 2 cents
    :D
     
  12. zcast macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2011
    #12
    Yes it will be an improvement. Remember, it auto-switches only when you need that extra power. I know the Intel 3000 is getting downplayed a lot today, but in all reality, it is a decent baseline card when paired with the processor. Playing DVDs, basic gaming, even 2D cad will most likely all be handled by the 3000. You probably won't be starting to tax the ATI card until you are pushing the external monitor at high resolutions or doing extensive 3D gaming.

    Even though the ATI card has dedicated 256mb on it, if it needs more it captures it from the system memory for those short times you might need more. Again in your case, probably not all that likely.

    -Z
     
  13. thekingoflimbs macrumors newbie

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    Feb 24, 2011
    #13
    so how much better is the 1GB than the 256MB?
     
  14. BubbaMc macrumors regular

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    Nov 15, 2010
    #14
    What will you be drafting?

    I've used Autocad with cards FAR less powerful than the HD3000 with no issues (2D/3D electrical drafting).

    For university I can't imagine you doing any huge projects, the 13" might be just fine.
     
  15. inspectomatt macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2010
    #15
    Has anyone had any luck getting AutoCAD for mac to run on the new high-end MBP? I can't get it to load, it just crashes on startup. I also can't find the graphics card listed by autodesk, so maybe they aren't supporting it yet?
     
  16. thekingoflimbs macrumors newbie

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    Feb 24, 2011
    #17
    Has anyone figured out yet if the new macbook pros support AutoCAD for mac?
     
  17. iMacprobook macrumors member

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    Apr 6, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #18
    So for 3d cad renderings, is a better gpu of more benefit than a faster processor? I use Vectorworks spotlight inc Renderworks(2011) for 3d furniture design, and am currently using a 2010 white c2d, which can bog down on final quality renderworks, and as i'm paid to use this i'm asking similar questions to the op regarding cpu over gpu demands. My Mac Pro flies with this, though i'm not always able to be drawing at my office, but always connect to a 20" minimum cinema display.

    So, 13" i7, or stick with my c2d? Again as per Treeman574, futureproofing (3-4yrs) would be good at this stage. I hope i'm not barging in with my own questions too!
     
  18. zcast macrumors newbie

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    Feb 24, 2011
    #19
    Its all about cpu processing power.

    -z
     
  19. Treeman574 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Feb 5, 2011
    Location:
    QLD, Australia
    #20
    Thanks for the input everyone! I've bit the bullet and ordered the base 15" model with no upgrades. I figure I want this laptop to last 4+ years, and I will be eventually using it for work, not just university study.

    Any upgrades I can do myself when necessary later down the track, eg. More Ram, SSD...
     
  20. superericla macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2010
    #21
    You can self-upgrade the ram and move to an ssd yourself without voiding warranty. You could also take it a bit further and replace the optical drive if you don't use it with a secondary hdd or ssd.
     
  21. colour macrumors regular

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    Mar 13, 2009
    #22
    is your version cracked ;) ?
     
  22. AlanFord macrumors regular

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    Feb 26, 2011
    Location:
    Cro
    #23
    Running AutoCAD on 15" base MBP and everything is working just fine.
    So if this is max you can buy I would recommend this one.Specially because of the larger screen compared to 13" and dedicated gpu.
     
  23. colour macrumors regular

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    Mar 13, 2009
    #24
    The graphics card will help in the 15" but its really up to you, if you can afford to invest more into it then its a little more future proof and snappier.

    I have a 13" i7 8gb ram and i run 3d modeling / cad apps and it works great but if you where really really serious about it i'd recommend saving a little and buying something better with a better GPU, so the macbook pro 15" line. (Rendering will be faster and it will run quicker)

    I bought a 13" because I prefer it to be smaller and more portable and when its on a desk plugged into my screen it doesn't matter if it has a small res. The only fault it has is that the GPU isn't a high end one but it's still good. Regardless if you get a 13" 15" or 17" buy an external screen they make things easier when your using more then one display.
     
  24. Apple Expert macrumors 65816

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    Jan 31, 2010
    #25
    Thanks for the info. :)
     

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