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Apple MacBook (2015) - Good for Vectorworks?

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

This post is in response to a number of inquiries I have gotten both from users as well as other coworkers looking to upgrade hardware in different departments here. What follows is a recommendation from my personal experience.

Apple discontinued the MacBook line near the end of 2011. Sadly, this got rid of the cheapest Mac laptop options that could run Vectorworks acceptably at the time, as there were options for dedicated graphics cards from Nvidia. I had one of the last aluminum unibody MacBooks from around 2008/2009 and loved it to death.

Unfortunately, Apple has refreshed the MacBook name, but not the functionality. The entire 2015 MacBook line only comes with Intel integrated graphics options, which are far too weak for me to recommend for normal use. Even worse, the CPUs are a very weak Core M option from Intel that only include 2 cores, with a maximum clock of 1.3GHz which puts it far below recommended minimums.

This laptop is more along the lines of the light-duty MacBook Air than the MacBook line it is marketed as replacing. Its perfectly fine or text work, HD media or basic web service access, but not for any heavy lifting. Couple the extremely low performance, low stock drive space (even though its is a VERY fast SSD) with the already tiny screen with the biggest drawback, a lack of ports for connecting USB devices, displays and even power and its a recipe for disaster for complex applications like Vectorworks

Unfortunately, the 2015 MacBooks come in far too low on benchmark tests and in features for me to recommend it as a reasonable option for users. Leaving the highest end MacBook Pro (With dedicated Nvidia graphics) the only reasonable mobile/notebook recommendation for moderate to heavy daily use.

If there are any questions as to why I reached this conclusion or if there is something you'd like explained more clearly, please let me know.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Yup, haven't gotten my hands on one yet. The Intel graphics closest to the regular non-Pro Iris were in the latest Mac Mini, and they performed very poorly:


But we still want to give an Iris Pro a good going-over, rather than assume from the Iris results alone.

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  • 2 months later...


Just wondering if there have been any further updates on this subject.

We use VW2015 on 15" Macbook Pros Retina with NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M 2048 MB.

Seems to be fine for our purposes with no major issues.

For day-to-day use we connect to a Dell U2414H monitor.

We are looking for a smaller 11" or 13" laptop e.g. Macbook air or Macbook and wondering if there have been any reports from other users?

(Apologies if this is covered in detail elsewhere in the forums. I am not a regular user and don't know my way round too well)

Thanks in advance

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In connection with the post above, I meant to add:

Most of our drawings are simple line drawings, no intensive 3-d work.

We could always use a Macbook Pro if needed for more intensive work.

We do envisage connecting the smaller laptop to another DELL monitor

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