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Vectorworks - new computer reccomendations

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I am looking at purchasing a new computer to run VectorWorks better.

Just to give some context:

We are in a Mac-only office using VW Spotlight. We use Renderworks only on rare occasions - maybe 2% of the time. Renderworks is not a concern.

Currently I am on a high end Mac Pro Tower but often find myself coming to a near stand-still whenever I am doing any significant 3D work. We do a mixture of 2D and 3D drawing with some elements in 2D and some in 3D utilizing a lot of hybrid symbols.

I am looking at either getting a top of the line 27" 5k iMac or a Mac Pro "capsule".

My questions are:

a) does Vectorworks take advantage of multi-core processing in ordinary hidden line applications?

(not Rendorworks. Found a post from 2011 saying No but not sure if that has changed)

b) Is there anyone that has any thoughts about the 2 machines above?

Appreciate any feedback!

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Others can weigh in with their personal experiences regarding iMac -vs- Mac Pro (2nd Gen 'capsule'), but here's links to two threads (2014 & newer) where this question has been asked. It should help get you started:

Hardware Options, Mac : #207221 - 01/21/15

Mac Pro upgrade : #197935 - 05/06/14

This KB article says that Hidden-line uses the CPU and is multi-core:

Renderworks Hardware Dependencies: Vw KB

Do you know which model is your current Mac Pro tower? That might give some perspective on what performance gains you might see.

For a relative comparison of Mac performance benchmarks, take a look at Mac Benchmarks : Primate Labs to compare your current Mac Pro tower to a new Mac Pro or iMac. Be sure to select the '64-bit multi-core' tab.


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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Currently I am on a high end Mac Pro Tower but often find myself coming to a near stand-still whenever I am doing any significant 3D work.

What is the graphics card your current Mac Pro is using? With that info I give give you a better idea of what improvements you could expect.

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this is what I'm working on now


below is what have for a machine

IF a new Mac Pro came out today i would buy it (the one i have i bought one year ago)

i would not mess with anything else. (some items get slow etc)

the Mac Pro i kept the box it shipped in and would sell it once i got any new Mac Pro up and running. harder to ship iMacs.

i see a lot of offices with old apple computer that are still good but too old to run the fastest stuff.

my suggestion is Mac Pro then upgrade every 1 - 1.5 years (if possible) and sell old one. that way you are always current.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

I'm considering an upgrade as well. Profile is similar to the above though RW is maybe 10-15% of presentations..

Currently on a late '08 mac pro, upgraded with an SSD boot drive and an

ATI Radeon HD 5770 1024 MB

Any of the current 27" iMacs would be an improvement, in overall use as well as rendering. The '08 Mac Pros were REALLY great machines for their time, but a lot has changed in 6 years. The modern R9 graphics cards and the decently specced i5 processors would be a clear improvement. Sadly the 21" iMacs all suffer from an integrated Intel card, which I have had no luck with personally. I've heard the Iris Pro 6200 might stand a chance but haven't yet been able to confirm its performance here.

The current Mac Pro line is very powerful, but unfortunately they're a bit overkill with their dual graphics, since Vectorworks can only take advantage of one at a time.

At the moment, especially if Renderworks isnt the primary concern, the main focus should be the graphics card, especially going forward into future Vectorworks versions.

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