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gvelthuis

Vectorworks 12 on MacMini

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For the CAD department, we have to buy new Macs. We are using 4-G4/G5 desktops at the moment All with brand new Cinema Displays. Upgrading to Tiger and Vectorworks 12 is expected to make more power necessary. The dealer wants to sell us 4 new MacPro's.

A MacPro with two 2.66GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon's costs $2500 however.

For the same amount of money I can buy three MacMini's with one 1.83Ghz Intel Core Duo.

We don't need expansion slots, no large harddisks, no advanced cd/dvd burners and 1 Gb of RAM is probably enough for Vectorworks. The machines will only be used for 2D CAD drawing which is not very power demanding.

There is already a fast G5 for Photoshop, 3D and multimedia stuff. One of the old ones can take over the server work from the old iMac.

Of course, the dealer says we have to buy MacPro's, but my intuition says MacMini's could do the job as good as.

For the difference in price, I can buy 2 new/faster Mini's in the future ( as "upgrade")

Am I overlooking any important considerations ?

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The MacMini is a very capable machine (and QUIET!). If you need bigger hard drives, they can be added externally, or a server can be employed. The only hardware concern I have is the video RAM is borrowed from system RAM. You would get better performance from a Mac with a video card, but you said you are only doing 2D drafting, so that shouldn't be a problem. However, because video RAM is shared, 1 GB may not be enough. Add more.

Raymond

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i have a Macbook 1.83GHz which i think would be similar to the ma mini. It uses shared video ram, but for the past week I have been using it with a 17? external monitor. It is working really well. The only time I have trouble is when VectorWorks under parallel systems at the same time as InDesign. Then it struggles.

I rendered a short movie on my Macbook and it took 6 mins to complete. I did the same thing on my dual 1.8GHz G5 with 3GB RAM and it took 9 mins. So I?m happy with my macbook. Of course now the macbook is even faster with the Core Duo 2 chip.

Put in 2GB RAM, that?s what I did with my macbook. Makes a big difference

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Have to agree, i use a Macbook with 2GB of ram for Vectorworks 12.5 to take work home, presentation and working mobile. It's a very capable machine. Even handles Radiosty rendering as fast as i ever need it. The Mini is much the same machine. As always buy when you need, but if the MacBook has gone Core 2 Duo then the Mini should jump as well soon.

Have you considered using iMacs then use your current screens so you have dual screen set ups?

That way you get better Video Processor with dedicated ram, sure it's a bit more than the Mini's but not as much as the Mac Pro's. You also get the Core 2 Duo chips now.

Either way there is really no reason to stick with just Mac Pro's you can mix and match the full range of machine to suit the use.

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Have you considered using iMacs then use your current screens so you have dual screen set ups?

I thought iMacs couldn't do double monitors (we only have Apple Cinema Displays).

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Straight from the Apple web site

"Support for external display in extended desktop

* Digital resolutions up to 1920 x 1200

* Analogue resolutions up to 2048 x 1536"

But don't do it, because once you've worked with a dual monitor set up you'll never want to go back to just one ;~)

Alan

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Yep every Mac but the mini can do dual monitors these days.

Oh also found out recently if you buy it bulk you can get a really good discount, the magic number changes, and discount may come in the form of free applecare or memory upgrade. But worth asking your dealer what they can do, 4 or 5 iMacs should put you into negotiation range.

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We have been running VW12 on MacMini's for several months, and since the 12.5 update we are very happy with the machines & VW12.5 . The only drawback is the Mini does not support a second monitor. Not a big issue with a large screen, but having worked in a client's office for two weeks with iMacs with additional screens, I do admit to some envy

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