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J. Wallace

Mac Pro vs Laptop for VW 2018

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Hello everyone

My 2012 Macpro is showing signs of needing replacement and I'm taking a look at some of my options. One of the options I'm staying away from the Imac pro as my eyes have a hard time with a glossy screen.  The new Macpro is a bit of a mystery at this point so one idea that has come up is considering a Macbook pro laptop which I could plug a keyboard and monitor into.  My work is a combination of 2d and some 3d with some site model work and rendering. So I guess my question is whether the new Macbook pro is a unit worth considering.

Love to hear opinions from some of your Mac folks...

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I'm running VW 2017 Designer on the two machines in my office: 

 

MacBook Pro Late 2013 (2.6 GHz Intel Core i7, 16G Ram) - I run this on a thunderbolt monitor with pen tablet, etc. 

MacPro (2013, trashcan, 32G ram, 3G vram) that just replaced my aging out 2008 MacPro 3,1

 

My desktop is only one generation later than yours, so I'm not sure of the bounce you'd see. 

 

Both on High Sierra. The latter is much faster in general, and it's not even near the maxed out that the models could have. The newer laptops might be holding their own, but for me, whenever I need to do post production work (Final Cut, ProTools, Nuke, Maya, Mari) it's moving over to the desktop.

 

I can run VW fine on the laptop for drawing/BIM work. It did grind to a halt when I tried to feed in two grid squares of DTM stuff for building an area site model. It'll get it done eventually, but if this is a lot of your work, you might want to see if you can run some tests on the newer hardware before committing.

 

From a purely interaction perspective, a laptop plugged into an external monitor is awesome, and feels very "desktop" like. Biggest benefit is you can take it with you for field work, coffee shops, etc. I have a Thunderbolt Display, which is the glossy finish IIRC, but you can drive many external monitors that cost far less with both the mini display or HDMI out (with the new USB-C MBPs, get a thunder dock from Macsales.com for all your conversion to older cables).

 

With rendering, the processor helps, but the Ram and VRAM make all the difference in dealing with complex texture maps, ray tracing, sub surface scattering, etc. The MacPro 2013 you can take up to 128G RAM and there are some that come with dual 7G video cards. Not as easily expandable as the older silver towers, but you can make it work. You can also look at external graphics cards now via a thunderbolt chasis (I have my Avid HDX card [audio] in a Magma chasis) if you have specific needs.

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Thanks very much, @JohnAthayde for that insightful post. Lots of things to consider.

My gut instinct tells me the Macpro is the place I should stay, saying that I ran a Macbook pro and monitor years ago and quite liked the flexibility.

It ran pretty hot and there's no doubt you sacrifice some performance for the portability.

Thanks again.

 

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So, this is a little bit of a "meta" answer, but its a bad time to buy a non- Pro iMac or a MacBook Pro right now, mainly because they are ripe for a refresh or other update. This is a good simple chart that covers the basics:

https://buyersguide.macrumors.com/#Mac

I'm not saying the current MacBook Pros can't do the job, they can, but if you aren't immediately pressed to get another machine right now, holding off just a bit (few months if I had to guess?) might get you a generation newer tech for similar money.

Edit: Also, WWDC is coming up June 4th, so even waiting less than a month might better inform your choice!

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Thanks very much, @JimW I'm not in a 911 situation and will hold off as long as possible.

I would love to see the new Macpro line before committing as I feel I've received lots of value from my old "Cheese Grater" as @zoomer calls them.

Thanks again.

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I keep seeing posts in MacWorld and the like for external GPU's for MacBooks. I know this is more for gaming but any pickup in speed for graphics would be better is something you have considered?

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Thanks for that link @PatStanford I took a look at it was really geared for Macpro 2009 era firmware upgrade.

Great idea for those with an older Mac.

@rowbear97 I haven't considered the external GPU approach. I think I'll cross my fingers and baby my unit along for a bit, at least until some new release come into being as Jim suggested. Thank you, everyone, for your really helpful feedback.

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If you're really in need of a new machine right now, why not get the iMac Pro? I am currently in the same boat as you with my aging Mac Pro.. but I'll hold out until 2019 when they refresh the model. What's stopping me from the iMac Pro is that I don't need the 5K display and would be paying for it.

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HI @miajani the iMac Pro would be a good option except that I don't like the glossy screens found on the iMacs. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping my trusty Macpro can hand in there until a suitable replacement comes on the market. Thanks for the feedback.

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