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GoodwinLtg

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. 

 

Workflow:

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.

 

TL;DR

Looking for a new computer.

Requirements:

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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The current (2013) MacPro will dramatically improve just about everything you mentioned compared to an iMac.

 

The SSD in the MacPro's are fast.  So the loading of large files is way faster.   The graphics card are much better and you will get fluid open GL on large files.  For rendering speed improvements it depends.  If you get a 4 core Mac Pro, it won't be much different that an iMac.   There are differences in each CPU but the current MacPro's CPU is over 3 years old and the current iMacs is newer than that. When you jump to an 8 core or 12 core MacPro, there is no comparison.  The MacPro will crush any iMac in dramatic fashion.  If you have a lot of textures, you also need RAM to feed those cores.  So get at least 32GB.

 

I am also looking at upgrading my MacPro and was really upset yesterday that there were no updates, again!   I cooled off a little when I read on a rumour site that they received info from a reliable source that it wasn't quite ready but will be released no later than the end of November.  If you can hold off a month, I think it will be worth the wait.  Since its been 3 years, the improvements will be dramatic.  The CPU's are 2 generations behind and Graphics Cards are 3 generations behind.  They did not reduce the price to reflect their neglect so I would not recommend buying a current MacPro.   Just to give you a comparison.  I priced out a DELL machine yesterday and for the same price I can get  12 core E5v2 MacPro, I could buy a 36 core E5v4 Dell.   To be fair, the Dell was missing a lot of the goodies found in a MacPro but the important parts of the DELL, CPU and GPU, would totally kill the Current MacPro.   As usual, you have to expect to pay the Apple Tax so I don't think they will offer a 36 core for what you will pay for 12 today, but I'm expecting some dramatic improvements.

 

Hope that helps answer some of your questions.

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Thanks Altivec!

 

That definitely helps and answers some of our more pressing questions.

 

Looks like we might try to hold off a bit longer and cross our fingers that the Apple landscape starts to look a bit better soon.

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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.

 

http://www.macworld.co.uk/news/mac/new-mac-pro-release-date-rumours-uk-mac-pro-2016-tech-specs-new-features-march-3536364/

 

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.

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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.

 

http://www.macworld.co.uk/news/mac/new-mac-pro-release-date-rumours-uk-mac-pro-2016-tech-specs-new-features-march-3536364/

 

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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Thanks Matt.  I thought the same thing over a year and half ago.  Then someone said wait until Oct 2015.  Then I was told to wait  to Jan 2106,  Then March of 2016,  For sure at WWDC, Then Oct Mac Event,  For sure no later than the end of November.  Now we're talking March 2017.   At that time it will be getting close to almost 4 years since the current MacPro was last updated.  Intel has updated the Xeon E5, 2 times in that span, maybe it will even be 3 times by then.  Graphics cards have been updated several times.  Their is absolutely no excuse for Apple not to update the MacPro other than they are not interested

 

 As much as I heart wants to hang on, my brain is telling me "boy are you dumb".   Its really time for me to cut the cord.

 

Anyone that is not pushing the limits of Vectorworks will be fine on a Mac but if you are serious about doing renderings or heavy duty modeling, the future does not look bright in Mac land.  I'm sure there will be a new MacPro out one day but I think that will be the last one.  I've seen so many Pro's leave due to Apple's neglect that I can only imagine the sales of these new MacPro's will be minimal at best.   The less they sell, the less chance of another one down the road.   iMacs should be around for a while so if that is working for you now, there is not too much to worry about.

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