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Bhel

Realistic hardware spec for OS X

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Hey guys,

 

New to Vectorworks. My freelance employers want me to know this software to start sending me drafting work for their EDM festivals and tours. So I’m buying a MacBook Pro in order to run this well. I need a laptop. 

 

I’ve been reading tons of forums on here about hardware questions and it’s still somewhat unclear what specs are just right and what’s overkill. Budget is tight so if I don’t ever need it I don’t want it. However, I need to be able to handle arena sized vectorworks files and draw in them and make renderings of the stage. In addition I also need to be able to handle using Vision in the future. I understand I need a 15” and probably more than standard specs. Here are my main thoughts...

 

Do I need to get a 2018? Adorama has a great sale right now on 2017 ones with a 560 and 3.1ghz quad core with 16gb. Even though the 2017 quad core and older graphics isn’t as good, will it be so much worse that I should pass up 30% off...

 

Do I need more than 16gb of ram? I don’t think I need to be running lots of files at the same time. I don’t know when that’s required. But I also want this to handle Vision. 

 

Do I need to upgrade to the Vega 20? Anyone know if this is a worthwhile upgrade from the 560x? I could always get an eGPU set up going later on unless the Vega 20 is just a stellar option for the long term... 

 

Does the very tiny speed difference between 2.6 and 2.9 matter to have the newer i9 vs the i7? Does the i9 have other benefits that make it worthwhile? 

 

If I should be spending the $4250 to get everything then I’ll do it. But I don’t want to blow money on having a MacBook with a bigger numbers because I don’t have the need to compensate for anything. Thanks!!

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It must be a laptop, but does it need to be a Mac? Apple laptops are much pricier and hard to get the best value for money from, and for Vision the Windows side offers far more GPUs that will do the job at a reasonable price. 

 

16GB of RAM should normally be fine as long as you aren't running multiple files as you mentioned, or multiple other heavy applications at the same time. 

 

The AMD 560 series and up in the Mac line should do very well, the Vega models are not mandatory, no.

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Hi Bhel,

Echoing what Jim said. Just because many Vectorworks users are Mac users, it doesn't mean you have to adopt a new and unfamiliar operating system. If you prefer Windows, go get a high-spec (for business, not necessarily for gaming) Win laptop. All the work you do will transfer just fine to a Mac, because the VWX file is binary-identical.

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I still have a 2013 MacBook Pro, which maxes out at 16MB of RAM.  It has no problem with Vectorworks and rendering, so minimum specs of anything new are going to be fine.  That said, I would get as fast and as much RAM as you can afford.  Also, check the configuration of the RAM for each model you're looking at — if you're not maxing out, you can upgrade the RAM later, but if you have 1 slot of 16, that's more cost effective to upgrade than 2 slots of 8, etc.

 

The one thing I wish I had more of is storage — 500MB fills up pretty quickly.

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I agree with Josh, but if you look at the benchmark scores, the 2018 is substantially faster.

 

2018 2.6 i7 vs 2017 2.8 i7 is 16% faters in single core and 46% faster in multicore operations.

 

If you are only doing 2D drawings and models, the 2017 is probably fine. If you are going to be rendering then the 46% difference is probably worth considering as it can save you a lot of time.

 

The adage is always buy the most you can afford. Spending a little more now and not having to replace the machine for an extra year is probably worth it.

 

Checkout the Apple Refurbished page. Apple.com scroll all the way to the bottom of the page. I think it is in the second column of links.

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Thanks for the thoughts guys. I understand that macs are the pricer option. I’ve been a long time Mac user so I do prefer to stick with it. I might decide to switch to a windows for this to get more out of my money but for right now I’m wanting to figure out exactly which Mac I need if I stick with them. 

 

So what I gather from your replies is...

I don’t need to upgrade to the Vega 20. 560/560x performs great. 

 

16gb of ram is adequate. More the merrier but 32 is overkill unless I not closing other operations. 

 

I should get the best CPU I can afford. Which means the 2018 i9 2.9. 

 

Does anyone know how much better a Vega 20 is than a 560? @Jim Wilson I have read you talk about how future vectorworks versions will rely on the GPU more. And I underhand Vision is heavier on the GPU. Even though the Vega 20 is still only 4gb of vram, is the upgrade better for the long term use of the software? Or would it still do me better to get an eGPU in the future when I need more power than a 560 and save the money. I know the ram is faster and the thermals are improved. 

 

Adorama has a sale on a 2017. Specs: i7 3.1ghz quad core, 16gb, 2TB ssd, amd 560 4gb vram. It’s 30% off. Should I pass this up in favor of the new processor? 

 

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9 hours ago, Pat Stanford said:

I agree with Josh, but if you look at the benchmark scores, the 2018 is substantially faster.

 

2018 2.6 i7 vs 2017 2.8 i7 is 16% faters in single core and 46% faster in multicore operations.

 

Checkout the Apple Refurbished page. Apple.com scroll all the way to the bottom of the page. I think it is in the second column of links.

I have looked at the refurbished page and found some good stuff! They have a current model with an i9, 32gb, 560x and at the discount and I think it looks like it would run vcx and even Vision really well. 

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On 1/4/2019 at 4:35 PM, Bhel said:

Does anyone know how much better a Vega 20 is than a 560? @Jim Wilson I have read you talk about how future vectorworks versions will rely on the GPU more. And I underhand Vision is heavier on the GPU. Even though the Vega 20 is still only 4gb of vram, is the upgrade better for the long term use of the software? Or would it still do me better to get an eGPU in the future when I need more power than a 560 and save the money. I know the ram is faster and the thermals are improved. 

 


The Vega 20 seems to benchmark around 20-30% higher than the 560, so yes it could buy the system another year or two of usefulness. I haven't seen the pricing on it but if its anywhere around 250$ or less I'd take that deal.

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I have a 2014 MBP and a 2018. The 2018 is very noticeably faster; probably faster than my stupid expensive Mac trash can. What I have noticed is that the 2018 really throttles down when you put a heavy load on it. For instance, if I am rendering a single viewport on a sheet layer, it rocks along quite a bit faster then my 2014 and possibly faster than the tower. However, if I opt to render several viewports at the same time, it hardly works at all while the 2014 unit chugs through it eventually. I’ve not done any actual testing, but that was my observed perspective. 

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Thanks everyone! And @Jim Wilson the vega 20 option is $350 i believe...

 

Anyways I did get myself a 2018 MBP refurbished. It's the maxed out specs on everything besides GPU. A 580x. I decided rhe refurb model was a good cost saver and I can use an eGPU in the future to get more power. 

 

Working awesome so far! I was surprised that VWX uses almost 8gb of ram at times. Crazy. Glad I have 32 lol. 

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