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MAC Pro upgrade

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Hi, I was going to start a new topic, but this one seems to be exactly what I am looking for (though a few years too old as we are now running VW 2017) so I thought I'd keep everything together for the sake of clarity if other people come looking for similar answers. I was wondering if, considering changes to how the software runs, the recommendations here are still valid?


Here's what I was about to post as a new thread:


We’re looking at upgrading one computer in our office to be a Vectorworks workhorse. Currently the iMac we are using is just meeting the very minimum spec for VRAM as we are currently making the switch from an all 2D workflow to a 3D BIM workflow. It is also powering a second 27” Cinema Display and is usually simultaneously running Illustrator, InDesign, or the like (which I realize is really not helping).


We are looking at upgrading to a Mac Pro as it looks like we can harness the extra processing cores for rendering, and the extra VRAM will greatly help with OpenGL modelling (likely looking at either the Dual AMD FirePro D500 with 3GB VRAM or the Dual AMD FirePro D700 with 6GB upgrade) .


I was wondering if anyone could weigh in as to what tier or custom build of Mac Pro might be best to run with Vectorworks 2017 Architect (or if we are off the mark and should just be investing in a better iMac build). We are willing to pay for the functionality, but we also don’t want to pay, for example, for 6 or 8-core over a 4-core if that upgrade isn’t really going to help us. 



Most of the modelling is drawn in OpenGL 

We use LOTS of Renderworks textures in our models

We can easily have over 100 Sheet Layers with interior elevation viewports using either OpenGL, Hidden Line, or Shaded Polygon (we haven’t decided which is best for us yet), with another sheet set holding our Renderings


Note: We are a fully Apple based office, so a windows machine is not an option.



Looking for a new computer.


Mac OS

High performance when modelling large and complex projects in OpenGL

High rendering performance

Will run 2 27” monitors (either a 27” iMac plus 27” Cinema Display, or 2 27” Cinema Displays)

At this point we are probably looking at getting a Mac Pro



Any insights are appreciated. Thanks!

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  • 4 weeks later...
53 minutes ago, Altivec said:

I just wanted to update what I said in this thread just in case anyone is making purchasing decisions based on it.   The rumour site that mentioned MacPro updates no later than the end of November has now recanted.  They've now changed it to March which tells me, they have no idea whats going on.




I've been following this perpetually moving upgrade target for over a year and half now and I think I'm at my limit with Apple.  Although I prefer their OS by far, I need a new machine and I can't fathom paying 10K for a 3 year old 12 core MacPro with outdated GPU when for the same money I can get a 36core HP or Dell with a GTX 1080 graphics card.   The difference in specs is just too great to ignore.  I guess I'll see if there will be any black Friday deals on workstations.  After 30+ years on the Mac, I may be a new PC user by next week.  We'll see how it goes.


When iMac and Mac Pro's were the core of Apple's business they were regulars at Macworld every January with machine either on sale then or in a couple of weeks.

The industry as whole seems geared up for desktops December/January so to me that is the time to expect desktops. So sometime in the first few months would seem to fit.

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