Which is the lightest laptop that can run 3D CAD software reasonably well

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by peterpan123, Aug 2, 2015.

  1. peterpan123 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2014
    #1
    Hello, I am a long term Mac user. Currently I use a rMBP 15" 2014. I use both Mac OS and Windows 7 for work. At the same time, I use Galaxy Note PRO 12.2 as my phone and tablet on train. Together with notebooks and other stuff, the total weight is getting heavy. I was hoping that the iPad Pro could run Mac OS but it seems unlike. Am I correct? What is the lightest Mac laptop that can run 3D CAD software such as SolidWorks reasonably well?
     
  2. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    #2
    Define "reasonably well".

    I'd hit up Solidwork's support and see what they recommend. bear in mind that some 3d software is only supported with certain GPU chipsets, and if you aren't running one of those GPUs, and run into bugs, all bets are off.

    i.e., you'll open a trouble ticket, they'll ask for hardware spec, note your unsupported GPU and just close your ticket. Make sure you verify with the vendor before you buy.
     
  3. BrettApple macrumors 65816

    BrettApple

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2010
    Location:
    Heart of the midwest
    #3
    From what I found in a quick search would be the Dell Precision M3800. Starting at 4.15 pounds with a quad i7, and an Nvidia Quadro K1100m.

    Other options are it's bigger brother, the Dell Precision M4800. The HP ZBook 15 (or ultrabook w/AMD FirePro) and Lenovo W540.

    If you have to go with a Mac, your only option is really the high end 15" MacBook Pro with the dedicated GPU. It won't be specifically for CAD however, since it's the Radeon R9 M370X rather than a FirePro card or an Nvidia Quadro card.

    Though I have seen people run it on a MacBook Air and 13" Pro. But you would be limited in how complex you can get before the Intel HD graphics start to choke up. Though the HD6000/6100 seem to hold their own reasonably well. It's no match for a current dedicated card.
     
  4. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    #4
    ^ yup, and bear in mind that last i checked (admittedly some time ago), Surprac (for example) does not support consumer GPUs. Yes there are driver differences and performance/quality trade offs are different, but we ran into real world problems at work using non-quadro Nvidia cards with Surpac. Definitely check with the vendor(s) you intend to run software from!
     
  5. peterpan123 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2014
    #5
    Solidworks runs very well on my current rMBP 15" with 16GB RAM annd i7. It also went well with a rMBP 15" bought 3 years ago. The GPU in these Mac are not officially supported but they run well. By "reasonably well", I mean "no lack".
     

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