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New Macbook Pro

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Hi All. I'm looking to purchase a new macbook pro. I'm wondering if anyone here is using the latest computer for running VW, and if there are any problems. In the past I have been plagued with the slow regen time on zoom changes, and I'm wondering if the video card on the new macbooks might suffer the same problems. The machine I'm looking at would have the NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 1GB GDDR5 memory.

Any help appreciated!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just going to skew the thread for a minute if you don't mind. I'm going to get a macbook so that I can do some work while I travel; it won't be a regular workhorse machine. I'm temped by the macbook air, current to july 2013.

Any thoughts about VW landmark 2013 on a macbook air?

Thought I'd try here before starting a new thread.

Thanks all,

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Thanks Tamsin,

A laptop for me is a second computer; it would do only occasional VW, so I'll have to consider what possible performance gap I can live with. But I understand how important graphics regeneration is; I think that much of our sense of speed comes from graphics performance.

Others with current macbook pro's seem fine, so it may be that a MBP is the way to go.

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If you can afford to wait a bit I would. That way you can see what happens with VW 2014 which is due in September. The Macbook Air likely has enough horsepower, problem is VW currently won't use all of it (it will only use a single core at present). Everyone has high hopes for a more efficient VW 2014. Also if you're considering a MBP there's likely new models early in the Fall.

I love my Retina MBP. It's my primary VW machine with an entirely 3D workflow. (Renderworks is super fast because the C4D engine uses all the available cores.)


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Thanks Kevin,

I don't do any 3D, and I have an iMac that does most of the work. I'm looking for an occasional VW tool (and PowerCadd, etc) and specifically, I want to be able to respond to work issues while I'm away; going to Italy for three weeks in Sept, so really, I'm hoping that someone can help me understand the real-world VW performance on a more limited machine. A MBP has a separate graphics processor, whereas the MBA & MBP13" don't. That, unfortunately, seems to be the important difference. Poop.

Otherwise, I'd be surprised if 2014 shows any significant changes; Personally, I don't see any significant refinement since 2011. But that's from a VW amateur, and I complain a lot.

But nice to have a reply from a local.

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Hmmm, I sort of feel the same way; if a 10 year old imac can run VW, I would think that a modern laptop could, though again, even an old iMac would have a separate graphics thingy.

I'll call my Cobble Hill contacts and see if they have any insights.

I just don't want to lug a 15" around if I don't have to.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Seriously, check out the graphic card capabilities. Even in 2D, Vectorworks makes extensive use of the graphics card and dedicated graphics memory. On the MacBook Air, there just isn't enough. I am speaking from experience...

Here's the Nemetschek Knowledgebase article that describes the importance of the graphics card and it's spec.


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I believe you, really I do. I also have seen software work on computers with less than the 'recommended' hardware spec. I'd like to know what your clients are doing with VW when it struggles. Curious mind, and all that.

But no matter. I'll keep snooping and report back either way,

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

They are architects, working on a purely 2D workflow, with little in the way of colour on the plans. Small files (one drawing per file) but they find zooming, panning, scrolling to be painfully slow. No referencing, no modelling, just 2D lines mainly. When in the office, they are using larger Apple displays. Then, the machine REALLY struggles, because it simply cannot cope with VW on the larger number of pixels.

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From the apple store:

The 13" mba can be configured to

1.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz) with 4MB shared L3 cache and 4 or 8 GB of RAM

Intel HD Graphics 5000

Dual display and video mirroring: Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display and up to 2560 by 1600 pixels on an external display, both at millions of colors

Personally I'd feel very comfortable being productive with this setup for what you're describing.

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This is great fun! Seriously, I do appreciate all the contributions, suggestions and cautions.

I've been talking to someone who is using an 11" mba with an external monitor to run PowerCadd, and reports it to be fine. I personally have no idea what the demands of PCadd vs VW are, so it may or may not be a relevant bit of information, but it adds some interest to the discussion.

Tamsin: thanks for the info on the other architects. I wonder why they use, or continue to use, mb airs for their work at all? I'd expect stipples and hatches to place a greater load on graphics than color or number of drawings.

bcd: thanks for your thoughts. I'd get the 1.7 processor if I decide to try this setup.

As Kevin notes, I'm not looking for an everyday VW machine, but a competent, portable tool to do some cad work.

... yes, I appear to be a special case...

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  • 4 months later...

I stumbled upon this thread while looking for something else.

I use a 13" MBA mid-2011 with VW as a secondary machine for when I'm on the road. Performance is fine. I'm not sure how anyone could say it is painfully slow. I've even run renderings on it overnight when I am pressed for time.

I don't do large buildings. Mostly single family residence or restaurants.

I'd let you come over to try my machine out, but I'm all the way in Los Angeles.

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