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synapse_gh

Hardware requirements if I will never, ever use rendering?

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Hi folks,

 

I currently split my work flow between my desktop machine (i5-6600, 32GB RAM, GTX 970) and my Macbook Pro Retina 2012 (i7-3820, 16 GB RAM, G650M), but I'd really like to move to a smaller laptop.

 

Everything I've read about Vectorworks hardware requirements suggests that you'd be a fool to attempt Vectorworks with any less than a 1GB video card, but I'm wondering how much of this is due to rendering?

 

I use Spotlight to draw lighting plots and site layouts, and I'll simply never, ever use the Vectorworks rendering engine.

 

Heading into a long summer tour, I'm looking at ultrabooks like the XPS 9370 or the Yoga 920 (both are i7-8550u, 16GB RAM, Intel 620 graphics) and obviously this would be considerably less capable for rendering, but I'm wondering what kind of experience I'd see if I simply never, ever leave wireframe or Plan view?

 

Any advice appreciated.

 

Thanks!

 

 

 

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Almost none of the graphics card requirements are for rendering in Renderworks. The graphics card/GPU handles top/plan, zoomin and panning, wireframe 3d and openGL at the moment and more and more things will continue to be moved on to it as versions progress (like sheet layers, SL viewports, selection highlighting) so the GPU will only become more important as time passes especially for non-rendering tasks.

For rendering, the CPU is what is most important.

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6 hours ago, JimW said:

Almost none of the graphics card requirements are for rendering in Renderworks. The graphics card/GPU handles top/plan, zoomin and panning, wireframe 3d and openGL at the moment and more and more things will continue to be moved on to it as versions progress (like sheet layers, SL viewports, selection highlighting) so the GPU will only become more important as time passes especially for non-rendering tasks.

For rendering, the CPU is what is most important.

 

 

Hope they do this change fairly quickly as the GPU's today have loads of power that can be used to increase the speeds of rendering and the "quality life" working with vectorworks and if they manage to make them both work together to do rendering (not open gl stuff) now that would be a dream!

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Thanks Jim - if I understand correctly, my best results in Plan / Wireframe views will come from a laptop with the most capable graphics card possible?

 

If so, this suggests my best move in the 13" laptop space would be away from the PC options (with stronger CPUs and weaker graphics) towards a Macbook Pro (with only a dual-core processor, but more capable onboard graphics), and potentially add an eGPU with a full-strength gaming video card, when working at my desk.

 

Am I in the right ballpark here?

 

Thanks!

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4 hours ago, synapse_gh said:

Thanks Jim - if I understand correctly, my best results in Plan / Wireframe views will come from a laptop with the most capable graphics card possible?

I'm not Jim but the answer is yes, but only up to a certain extent. At some point if the drawing gets heavy or complex enough it will slow down anyway and then it comes down to the difference between the most powerful card and what you have now. If that is a medium range card then the difference will not be that big, GPU memory used to be the limiting factor in that case. But Jim should be able to give a more detailed answer.

 

4 hours ago, synapse_gh said:

If so, this suggests my best move in the 13" laptop space would be away from the PC options (with stronger CPUs and weaker graphics) towards a Macbook Pro (with only a dual-core processor, but more capable onboard graphics), and potentially add an eGPU with a full-strength gaming video card, when working at my desk.

Do you really need a 13" laptop? (i.e. is is just about size, or about weight) There are windows laptops with very good gpu options all the way up to a nVidia 1080 with 8GB or GPU RAM but those are custom built ones or gaming laptops and are usually 15.6 inch or bigger, although there are some 14 inch options available. Apart from that, imho 13" is not really ergonomical for VW, I would not go below 15.6" myself unless there really is no choice to do so.

 

For the cost of a Macbook Pro you can get a very well specced windows gaming laptop that should get the job done as well and probably less chance of OS updates breaking VW as can happen on MacOS and if you get a GPU with plenty memory you may not need an external GPU (assuming that 13 inch is not an absolute mandatory requirement).

Edited by Art V

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7 minutes ago, Art V said:

Do you really need a 13" laptop? There are windows laptops with very good gpu options all the way up to a nVidia 1080 with 8GB or GPU RAM but those are custom built ones or gaming laptops and are usually 15.6 inch or bigger, although there are some 14 inch options available.

 

For the cost of a Macbook Pro you can get a very well specced windows gaming laptop that should get the job done as well and probably less chance of OS updates breaking VW as can happen on MacOS (assuming that 13 inch is not an absolute mandatory requirement).

 

Yes, I do, but it's a fair question.

 

...at this point I'm spending >5-10 hours a week on an airplane, and in an airline seat I can't even open a 15" laptop to get work done. Plus, shedding another 2 pounds from my fly pack would be a real bonus.

 

I'm still doing most of my heavy-lifting VW work on a custom-built desktop with a high-spec video card. I don't do a lot of VW work once I'm on site, and there's nothing else about my laptop use that requires a high-spec computer, but it doesn't help me any if I buy an ultrabook that solves all my other issues, but can't even open my VW drawings.

 

Thanks Art!

 

 

Edited by synapse_gh

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3 minutes ago, synapse_gh said:

.at this point I'm spending >5-10 hours a week on an airplane, and in an airline seat I can't even open a 15" laptop to get work done. Plus, shedding another 2 pounds from my fly pack would be a real bonus.

Yes, then a 13" laptop does make sense in that case, and since you are already using a Macbook  you might as well get a better specced Macbook Pro, though I would still take a look at a 14" windows machine as an option if that might still fit your size needs as it should not be that much wider than a 13" even if only for some better screen size experience and because a higher clocked CPU is in the longer run more important at this moment.


An option could be this 14" laptop: https://www.msi.com/Laptop/GS43VR-7RE-Phantom-Pro.html

A 1060 with 3 or 6GB GPU RAM should be sufficient for your purposes, and a higher clock speed CPU will be better anyway right now for CAD purposes other than rendering.

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I've looked at basically all the laptops that exist, in the last few weeks. The Phantom Pro would have the same problem as my existing 5-year-old MBP, namely that it's too tall to open on an airplane, and here in Canada it costs about $200 less than the Macbook Pro.

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In that case, since the price difference is that small and if 14" is still too large then I'd simply go for the 13" Macbook Pro if the hardware meets your requirements.

 

I just looked it up and it seems the 2018 Macbook Pro 13" does NOT have a dedicated graphics card unlike the 15" version. So I'd wait for @JimW to let you know if this on-cpu graphics on the 13" Macbook Pro would be powerful enough for your purposes as most on-cpu graphics are not sufficient for VW (i.e. have too slow performance)

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1 minute ago, Art V said:

In that case, since the price difference is that small and if 14" is still too large then I'd simply go for the 13" Macbook Pro if the hardware meets your requirements.

 

I just looked it up and it seems the 2018 Macbook Pro 13" does NOT have a dedicated graphics card unlike the 15" version. So I'd wait for @JimW to let you know if this on-cpu graphics on the 13" Macbook Pro would be powerful enough for your purposes as most on-cpu graphics are not sufficient for VW (i.e. have too slow performance)

 

It doesn't have a dedicated GPU, but the Iris 650 is twice the power of the Intel 620 in all of the other laptops in this space (Dell XPS, Yoga 920), so it's a compelling factor for sure.

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On-CPU graphics certainly improved in the past few years, but I'm no fan of them unless it is only for simple/light 2D work. The Macbook having twice the graphics power would definitely make it preferable over the others in this case, even for me and even if the CPU offerings would be a bit weaker than the rest can offer.

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Well, the benchmarks for the on-chip graphics on the new 13" Macbook Pro come out a bit ahead of the dedicated GPU in my existing 15" MBP, which gets along all right for anything up to a 10-truck arena show...

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I'm using Landmark and rarely get under 1 square kilometer area and often above 10 square kilometers with lots of items so that does affect my perception a bit on the use of on-CPU graphics. Given your experience on performance of your existing MB Pro and comparison with the 13" new version getting a bit head of the existing 15" MBP I'd just get the new 13" MBP in your usage case.

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Before you commit to Macbook pro, I suggest you look into the issues of EGPUs working with Mac hardware.

 

It's still not plug and play, with the exception of a small selection of AMD graphics cards (on a good day).  No Nvidia cards work without fairly major workarounds.

 

I know you've said you looked at most existing laptops, but my Razer 14" is very similar in size to my wife's 13" macbook, and has vastly more power.  And I've used it on an airplane.

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I'd be fine picking up a Radeon card for this purpose, it would certainly be useful for that and other applications, and I've seen enough test-cases of eGPUs working out-of-the-box with a MBP to feel comfortable.

 

I looked at the Razer, and I really like it, but I've also seen a ton of reports of reliability issues that have so far been enough to warn me off...

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2 minutes ago, synapse_gh said:

I'd be fine picking up a Radeon card for this purpose, it would certainly be useful for that and other applications, and I've seen enough test-cases of eGPUs working out-of-the-box with a MBP to feel comfortable.

 

I looked at the Razer, and I really like it, but I've also seen a ton of reports of reliability issues that have so far been enough to warn me off...

 

Just don't buy refurbished from them.  I have one that's going on a year and a half and it's been great.  The first refurbed machine they sent me was effed though.  It took them a little while to get me a replacement, but that's been rock solid.

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And, somewhat surprisingly, I really love the touch screen.  Makes a big difference to me day to day, and every once in a while I use my wife's MBP and want to throw it out the window for not having a touch screen.

 

4K resolution is a little silly on a screen that small though.

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Hi. New arrival in Vectorworks 2018 spotlight but long time experienced  (I started before miniCad4) in lighting simulation. 

I will have to do a lot of import export, with dwg, skp, etc... I am thinking on investing a new powerful Mac for that, and I'd like to know your opinion. Mac Pro 2013 8cores is enough, or iMac pro 8cores? The first import I have done today is 500Mb, a lot of 3D object. 

Thanks

This computer will have also to do some lighting virtualisation, like capture, vision... 

Thank you

 

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