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Buying New Laptop...Need Recommendations


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I consider myself to be a software geek, but when it comes to hardware...I am a complete novice. I am in the market for a new laptop and I need recommendations.


I have been a Macbook Pro guy for years and am currently squeaking by with my mid-2010 model. Honestly it has been a great machine, but it's time has finally come.


My quandry is that the new Macbook Pro's just don't seem to offer as much bang for the buck as the earlier models...especially when compared to the rise of other competitors. Apple doesn't seem to care as much about this line as they once did and I am not very impressed with the current lineup. I feel like I have been waiting for years for "the one" to be released and for Apple to get back on the ball, but I'm not sure if that day has come.


That said, I have invested into the Apple ecosystem for years, and I don't know if the sacrifice in power, quality, etc. is completely worth entertaining a new PC.


My usage is varied. I would love to support Vectorworks as efficiently as possible, but I also do a lot with the Adobe Suite, video editing, and audio editing.


If I go Apple, what are the problems with Vectorworks and the Catalina OS release?


Curious if anyone has any recommendations/suggestions? I would love to hear.

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Outside of Vw & Catalina issues — you might already be aware of this, but since you mentioned using ‘Adobe Suite’, know that the Adobe Creative Suite does not work on MacOS Catalina. You’ll have to upgrade to Adobe Creative Cloud (subscription only) if you want to use MacOS Catalina.

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1 hour ago, Jonathan Pickup said:

are you going to be rendering?


Most definitely, either directly through VW or others. We’re using Lumion in the office which I know won’t work on the Mac, so maybe Twinmotion or another competitive product.

How does the Mac Radeon graphics card offering stack up against the NVidia options on PCs?


4 minutes ago, rDesign said:

You’ll have to upgrade to Adobe Creative Cloud (subscription only) if you want to use MacOS Catalina.

Thanks for letting me know. I have a subscription so I should be good then?


My current machine has performed so well that I am hoping to get another 8-year turnaround in my investment. I’m afraid that’s wishful thinking though?

Edited by ericjhberg
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14 hours ago, ericjhberg said:

the new Macbook Pro's just don't seem to offer as much bang for the buck

Although I've not seen it first hand, from what I hear repeatedly, the Intel i9 inside the macbook pro does not have a good enough cooling solution. When under pressure, the i9 gets far too hot and throttles back very severely, meaning it performs worse than the i7 version. It's ok for short sharp bursts, but anything lengthy like rendering (video or 3d) will overheat it.

I took the leap from mac to pc about 10 years ago, and I have to admit I now feel I get a lot more bang for my buck.


With regard to the Nvidia vs Radeon  Intel vs AMD.... keep an eye out for up coming Radeons and AMD processors, they're about to go insane with core counts and value for money.



Maybe wait 6 months and see what happens to the market. I've always been Nvidia+Intel, but I think that's all about to change....

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6 hours ago, RussU said:

Maybe wait 6 months and see what happens to the market. I've always been Nvidia+Intel, but I think that's all about to change....


Thanks @RussU. This confirmed my fear about going Mac, but I will do some more research. My problem is that I already feel like I have been waiting for so long for the next best thing from Mac and I'm running out of time to wait. Part of me thinks that if they haven't devoted the resources to make these machines compete like they used to...they probably aren't going to start again soon. How long is too long to wait?


Do you have any PC recommendations since you have made the switch?

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1 minute ago, ericjhberg said:

Do you have any PC recommendations

That's down to personal need. I think my workflow will likely be different to yours. I upgraded my laptop earlier this year, and my desk top about 12 months ago. Things have already moved on since then.

You can't really beat a custom build to be honest, and that's the best thing about PCs, the amount of configurations you can make. It really does depend on your budget, but I got an MSI, which wasn't cheap but I expect to get 5 to 6 years out of it.


I upgraded to 64gb of ram, but the bit that really impresses me is having 2x ssd on Raid 0. That's a real time saver.

I hope this helps.

Just remember, specifically for VW, more cores isn't faster. I think I read somewhere that VW currently has a 3x CPU core limit at the moment.


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Guest Alex Sagatov

Just thought I would throw in my two cents. This is my personal experience/preference, not an “Official Vectorworks” answer.


Similar to @RussU, I would recommend custom building when possible. So many options and a lot of fun if you get into it! That being said, there are times when going with a specific brand of prebuilt desktops or laptops are the way to go.


I built a number of custom desktops, but a few years ago, I was at a point where I wasn’t in one specific spot on a regular basis. As a result, I started reluctantly looking into “gaming” laptops for the first time. I hate LED covered, “gaming” branded stuff. This was one of the areas that made laptop shopping so hard for me. Everything that had the hardware I wanted was ugly to me.


After months of research and talking myself in and out of different options, I decided to go with a Razer Blade 14”. The 14” line isn’t around anymore, but they now have 13”, 15”, and 17” options.

I can honestly say that I don't regret my purchase at all. It’s been four or so years now, and the laptop still looks almost new (Granted, I take very close care of it). The hardware is still pretty great (intel i7 4720HQ, 16GB RAM, Nvidia 970M 3GB, and a 4K display). I am personally a huge fan of the keyboard, trackpad, and my unexpected love for the touch screen. It handles my games without a problem. It handles the professional/CAD work I’ve put on it without issues as well. The metal casing and basic look is exactly what I wanted. The thin and light weight of it is always great when I am carrying it around.

The laptop definitely gets toasty and when the fans crank on, it is pretty loud. Definitely a laptop I wouldn’t want to use on my lap; however, I’ve also never used a cooling pad or anything with it. It handles the heat properly. I've had day long gaming sessions without problems, but its toasty to the touch in certain locations. The fan noise is definitely my biggest pet peeve, but I normally have headphones in, so I rarely notice. Also, fan noise is pretty common complaint for high end hardware laptops. My model also only has green backlighting… new models offer full RGB, so you can go with a solid white/gray backlight which is what I would really want. My model also doesn’t include an ethernet port.


Every machine comes with its pros and cons. If I were in the market for a new laptop, I would look at the Razer Blade line again. Definitely search around for reviews.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...
On 12/10/2019 at 12:04 PM, ericjhberg said:

I had almost made up my mind to go PC until they came out with the 16" MBP specs a few weeks ago...and without the gigantic price increase I was expecting.

Just out of curiosity the post seemed to die after you decided. 

How has that 16” MacBook worked out for you? I do a fair bit of rendering inside VW and my razer blade 15 can’t hang. I’ve been considering the 16” MacBook and I hear it’s great for x but not for x, but in no particular order. 

Hows it held up under the old while rendering? Do you need to put it in the refrigerator?

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Our office uses Macs. I work in 3D and render complicated files all day. I also work with Adobe Creative Cloud. I am required to choose from available computers with a preferred vendor, so my options are limited. Though my files tend to be around 50-60 Megs – once or twice a week vwx crashes.


Here are the 2 computer options I have to choose from. Which one is better? (Essentially, the choice is between processing power and ram)


16" MacBook Pro

2.3GHz 8‑core 9th‑generation Intel Core i9 processor

16GB DDR4 memory

AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 4GB memory

1TB SSD storage




'Older' model 15.4" 

2.9GHz 6‑core 8th‑generation Intel Core i9 processor

32GB DDR4 memory

AMD Radeon Pro 560 X with 4GB memory

2TB SSD storage




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the first !


The 2.3 i9 is good, no need for the bigger i9.

The 5500M is much faster.

(especially their 8 GB version would be nice for GPU Rendering)

For Apple priced SSDs I would also go 1TB only.

Coolers are better.

Keyboard is better.


But 32 GB would be better for the future.

Edited by zoomer
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  • 1 month later...

Hi I'm new here!

It was nice to read your discussion 😉

I'm wondering if you could help me with my choice for Vectorworks 2020 mobile station. I don't want to spend a fortune but about $1,2-1,5k.

What would you recommend:

1. New:

Lenovo ThinkPad P52s

i7-8550 (4x4.0Ghz)

16GB DDR4 2400MHz

15,6" IPS FHD (touch mat)


SSD - 512GB M.2 PCie NVMe


2. Refurbished:

Dell Precision 5510

Xeon® E3-1505M v5 2,80GHz, (4x3,7GHz)


15,6" FHD IPS

NVIDIA Quadro M1000M 2 GB GDDR5



3. Refurbished:

Dell Precision m6800

i7-4810MQ  (4x3,8GHz)


17,3" FHD (1920x1080)

NVIDIA Quadro K5100M 8GB GDDR5

SSD - 256GB 2,5" SATA

Which one should I choose and why?



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@Piotr Karczewski 

After reading through this forum and doing research myself for my own new computer purchase- I would go with option 2- It looks like it has a slightly better video card than option 1 and has slightly larger hard drive storage. The 32gb ram is a good choice for future upgrades and if you're going to be using vectorworks heavily. The 15" is not too big for a portable unit (17" PCs always look like monsters to me). Of course I haven't looked up each computer individually- they might have good reviews for each on how the general computer runs (positives and negatives) and sometimes its overall function will be my final deciding factor (ie how the trackpad works, keyboard style, type of ports, etc)

As for me, I haven't upgraded to a good, working computer in a while and miss some of the other software you can only get on a Mac so my current choice is:

MacBook Pro 16" w/ 2.6Ghz 9th gen-i7 processor

32gb ram

AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 4GB of GDDR6 memory

512GB SSD storage


Its a little more powerful than what I need at the moment but it will allow me to get back into higher rendering options, video and audio editing, etc. But of course- if anyone has any recommendations regarding these specs let me know as well! I haven't purchased it, but will in the next week.

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