Which Mac mini for AutoCAD?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by MaCAD, Aug 17, 2011.

  1. MaCAD macrumors newbie

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    Aug 17, 2011
    #1
    For work I used AutoCAD 2012 on Windows 7. Typically AutoCAD uses up to 15% of my 1 year old i7 pc's cpu and 4 gb of memory. I know that AutoDesk has released AutoCAD for Mac but since it is not 100% equal to the windows version I need to stick with the windows version under Bootcamp. I use AutoCAD for strictly 2D work. I do landscape irrigation design, so 3D is not needed. We do deal with large files with some files having 50+ xrefs. I'm looking for a computer which is able to do light AutoCAD work, but when I use it is able to meet all my needs. I will use this computer maybe once a week to do half a days CAD work, when I get back from meetings and don't want to drive down to the office.

    I was originally planning on a 27" Imac but I think it is overkill for me. I have an old G5 Power Mac with a 20" ACD. I can use my existing 20" ACD with the Mac mini, which I like because it is a matte display. When the 2011 Mac mini's came out they peaked my interest. When the Mac mini isn't being used for AutoCAD, it will be used mainly as a server and HTPC.

    I was planning on buying the $799 Mac Mini and upgrading separately with a 120 GB SSD, 1 TB HD, and 8GB memory.

    Would the dedicated graphics card be worth it for 2D CAD? Or could I upgrade to the i7 Server (that would increase my Handbrake rips) but also be able to handle 2D CAD?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Rapscallion macrumors regular

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    Sep 28, 2010
    #2
    I've been using AutoCAD for Mac for a while now on my 2010 mini and have no issues running it at all, I've recently bootcamped Windows 7 and installed the widows version of AutoCAD and it seems to run equally well. I've never needed to have more then 5 xrefs, so I couldn't comment whether the mini could handle 50 xrefs or not, but I'd venture a guess that the i7 with 8GB of ram could handle it. I'd imagine that any of the 2011 mini's would run 2D AutoCAD flawlessly.
     
  3. MaCAD thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    How do you like AutoCAD for Mac? I saw that they just released 2012 and it is closer to being as full features as the windows version. I would switch to AutoCAD for Mac in a heartbeat if I knew it could at least match everything I use in the windows version.
     
  4. Rapscallion macrumors regular

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    #4
    Has AutoCAD 2012 been released? I should look into that.
    There isn't alot that the mac version cant do, but they didn't include the design center which really seemed strange to me. I like the interface better in the mac version it seems cleaner and the toolbars seem more out of the way.
     
  5. MaCAD thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #5
    AutoCAD WS for Mac was released today in the Mac app store for free today. I think AutoCAD 2012 For Mac was released today, if not it will be tomorrow (but not on the app store). It is a $95, upgrade from 2011. AutoDesk said they added a bunch more features trying to bring the Mac version closer to the windows version.
     
  6. krburrell macrumors regular

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    #6
    Thanks for the tip.
     
  7. MaCAD thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #7
    I just downloaded AutoCAD WS and it is okay. It was able to open some large files that I had but it had problems plotting to PDF. I know it is a very simple editor, mainly for viewing CAD files. You really can't complain when it is a free product.

    On a side note, I was out in the field today and a developer for a large scale project was using ArcGIS on the iPad. It was pretty cool, he had the site's plans in the program and it had GPS built in so when we were out in the middle of nowhere it showed us exactly where we were in the project. I wish AutoDesk would add this is AutoCad WS. That would be a kick ass feature.
     
  8. Rapscallion, Aug 19, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2011

    Rapscallion macrumors regular

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    #8
    I'm going to have to download the 2012 version as soon as I get a chance. I've had WS on my iPhone for some time now, to me its just a viewer for my .dwg files but you are right; its free so no complaints. It probably works better on an iPad anyway. A GPS feature would be great!
     
  9. JeepGuy macrumors regular

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    #9
    Autocad benefits the most from a high clock rate, it's not multi core aware for most tasks, except for rendering 3d. autocad also works better with a 2 monitor setup, as apposed to 1 larger monitor. If I was going to use the mac mini, I would pick the i7 2.7gz with 8gb of memory with the ATI graphics over the quad-core server, since you are using so many xrefs the SSD is a great idea. keep the 20" you have and add a second 20"
     
  10. MaCAD thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 17, 2011
    #10
    I've had Autocad WS for my iphone, but what I was meaning was they now have AutoCAD WS for Mac. It is basically the same as the iphone and ipad version, but on your Mac. Since you have AutoCAD for Mac, it wouldn't matter much to you, but I was hopping I could use it to make PDFs and small changes without having to go into Parallels or bootcamp. Its not quite there yet, you can't change LTscales or other commands I need for plotting. I did wish that they fixed the issue with attributes in blocks, none of our attributes show up in WS.
     
  11. MaCAD thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #11
    I was at first leaning this way because I knew that AutoCAD mainly uses one core and benefits more from a higher clock rate. Also I have always been told that a dedicated graphics card is superior to an integrated card for CAD.

    But this is where I start to waiver on that selection. I only use on average 10% of my PC's CPU when doing CAD. I am now where near maxing out the CPU due to our CAD work only being 2D and then with only using the machine for about 4 hours a week, I figured the quad core would suit me better since I could use it for my handbrake rips. The biggest determining factor would be if the intel integrated graphics card could handle my 2d CAD. If it could without a problem for the next 2-3 revisions of AutoCAD (till AutoCAD 2014) then I could justify getting the sever.

    The reason why I'm nervous is because my work is paying for half my computer and if AutoCAD won't run properly my boss will wonder why he gave me the money then.

    I was liking the server now because I wouldn't have to pay for the CPU upgrade and then mess with buying the Sata cable online. With the server I can pop out one of the HD, replace it with an SSD and then slap the HD in an external case as a backup drive.
     
  12. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

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    #12
    Of course it will handle 2D cad.
     
  13. Rapscallion, Aug 20, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2011

    Rapscallion macrumors regular

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    #13
  14. MaCAD thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #14
    But AutoCAD for Mac 2012 is! Thanks for the heads up though. At least for the time being I'll still use the windows version. Does anyone know what the fee autodesk charges from switching the license from pc to Mac?

    ----------

    Thanks, I just wasn't sure. At the office we have 2GB video cards in our workstations. I know 2D is nowhere near as intensive as 3D but in many files we have 5 square miles of urban design plans open. That is a lot of homes, streets and utilities. Every one gives the intel graphics such a hard time, I wanted to get some opinions.
     
  15. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

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    #15
    That will be taxing on the CPU and memory.
     
  16. Rapscallion macrumors regular

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    #16
    @MaCAD...Did you end up purchasing a new 2011 mini? If so which did you end up buying, and does AutoCAD preform the way you expected?
     
  17. MaCAD thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #17
    I have not purchased a 2011 mini yet. I have been slammed at work and have not had any time to put in the order for it. I was hoping work would slow down some so I had time to setup my Mac mini within the 14 days completely so that if it didn't preform well I could return it. My major work deadline is due at the end of this week, so hopefully next week I'll order it. As soon as I have it up and going I'll let you know my results.
     
  18. JeepGuy macrumors regular

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    #18
    It's $200, but I'm on a subscription, so I don't know if it will be different without.
     
  19. Rapscallion macrumors regular

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    #19
    I'd Appreciate that thanks.



    How much is an AutoCAD subscription, and what are your thoughts on the Windows vs. Mac version?
     
  20. MaCAD thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 17, 2011
    #20
    We are on subscription also, so if I make the switch over I'll have to let my boss know he'll have to fork over $200 to Autodesk. For a $4,000 piece of software $200 isn't much but for $4,000 they should do it for free.

    As you know you can have 1 Seat be installed on up to two computers. Can you have have 1 Seat be 1 PC (Work) and 1 Mac (Home)? I think I know the answer (NO) but I can always hope.
     
  21. AlexMaximus macrumors 6502

    AlexMaximus

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    #21
    For the Mac Mini upgrade in terms of SSD, you will need this kit here as you may or may not know:

    http://www.ifixit.com/blog/blog/2011/08/12/mac-mini-dual-hard-drive-kit/

    I am in the same position and I think about using the mini for ProE. One question though, would you need Windows 7 32Bit Version for Bootcamp?
    Since the Mac Mini with the seperate ATI gfx is dual core only, I think it would run 32Bit Version only.

    Could someone verify this for me ??
     
  22. Rapscallion macrumors regular

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    #22
    I have a 2010 Mini and bootcamp Windows 7 64 bit and run AutoCAD 64 bit without issue.
     
  23. JeepGuy macrumors regular

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    #23
    it will run 32bit, but it will only see 3gb of ram, you are better off upgrading to 64bit. I don't run ProE, but I do run Inventor, and Revit Architecture on my 2009 Mac book Pro, and it really needs the extra Memory, otherwise it's a dog with large assemblies.
     
  24. JeepGuy macrumors regular

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    #24
    The subscription is only a few dollars more than the yearly upgrade. I like the Mac version, but I have a lot of Lisp scripts that I use daily, and they are not supported on the Mac version, so it's kind of a pain to have to switch between versions, I'm sure they will eventually get that worked out.
     
  25. Rapscallion macrumors regular

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    #25
    I like the Mac version a little more, but you are right, it's a pain to have to switch to get tasks done. I'm still learning AutoCAD and the college uses the Windows version; so to be able to do all the assignments I have to use what the college uses.
     

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