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Mac Silicon OS and VW


Don Seidel

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3 hours ago, neal-2002 said:

So, based on Yesterday’s announcement at Apple - as exciting as the new Apple silicone is - I can’t see how this is going to work with vectorworks over next few years....surely even 3-5x better than intel gpu isn’t much to cheer about compared to amd which we use....

 

also NO egpu supposedly in the new macs - so definitely a no from me even if I was contemplating buying any of their new machines.Apple are Still selling i5, as they’ve only replaced bottom tier cpus so i5 must still be better currently.

no egpu could just mean they have no current drivers for the new chips - but who knows with Apple...

 

what does annoy me is - I can see this seriously crippling Vectorworks development on the Mac in my view for next few updates, we’re still at least a year off any useful new ‘power’ macs- are Nemetchek  really going to waste anytime overhauling a rendering system (prev talk of integrating Redshift which I’m waiting for) into vectorworks knowing that a whole intel/amd Mac system is going to get dumped within a couple of years??

 

as much as it pains me to say it - I’m yet another step closer to jumping to windows10....

 

I need gpu rendering as renderworks is just getting too slow for me as a self employed architect...

a decent Twinmotion sync plugin (on the Mac) would likely do the trick for the next few years though until this all gets sorted....

As I understand it, the M1 beats every x86 chip out there on single core performance in the specint benchmark apart from the very latest as yet unreleased AMD Ryzen? 
 

https://www.anandtech.com/show/16226/apple-silicon-m1-a14-deep-dive/5

Edited by Will
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The M1 chip is looking quite impressive, while at the same time the obvious step in chip development; put everything on 1 chip vs multiple chips. Different chips, the I/O process, and of course cables are all the bane of computing speed. I also have an EGPU on my MacBook Pro, but I'm not worried about that investment, as the gaming world will always be a market for an external box and graphics card.

 

VW would of course have to cozy up to Apple's Metal technology, if they wish to see any substantial gains in rendering speed. We Mac users have been the stepchildren for sometime now. 🙂

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@Don Seidel I think I saw somewhere that they have already or are already switching VGM to metal? But the GPU is the main thing I'm not sure about with these new macs. Although it might be worth getting one of the new mac minis just for updating hidden line sections quickly! It's easily the most frustrating part of the 3D workflow for me, especially as hidden line sections are not multithreaded. My daily machine is a MacBook pro 2014 with 16Gb RAM and a NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M 2 GB. Been thinking about dropping £3k on a new iMac with a 16Gb graphics card, but I wonder how the integrated graphics on these new machines compare. I might put up with my laptop for a while longer and see what happens.

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If you can wait - that’s probably best (talking from experience from ppc days - Apple may support intel for next 5 years - but other apps tend to fall off pretty quick making updating software a no go)

It all depends how much use youre wanting to get out of a intel Mac - if it’s just 2-3 years then current intel may be fine. By which time new Apple silicone may all be settled.(tending to think this isn’t the case if you’re still using 2014 MacBook)

(I use a i7 hackintosh with Vega 56 gpu running Catalina, so it’s days are now numbered- self employed architect only doing small projects - so will think about updating in 2-3 years probably to get as much usage as possible out of a Mac/or I will have moved to windows if they give me no decent choice/upgradability at a reasonable price!.)

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My rule is buy the machine you need now (unless of course you know a new model is 30-45 days). Computers are how we produce. So within practical limits I always get at least 1 machine as badass as I can afford. My 6-core i9 is fine for now.

 

That said, the current M1 chip is limited to 16gb. On-chip ram so no upgrades. Apple will no doubt be developing faster more powerful chips in the next several months for their high end desktops and laptops, which must be able to take 64gb or more of ram.

Edited by Don Seidel
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Stray observations:

  • All 3 Mac's that were updated with the M1 were the only Mac's that didn't have a discreet GPU, so the M1 is a huge upgrade of the integrated GPU at the bottom of the lineup
  • The whole point of Mac SoC is that we shouldn't need an eGPU, so hopefully Apple will deliver on that promise hope
  • As RAM is SoC, and therefore not configurable, hopefully Apple won't price gouge on more powerful machines.
    • Same with GPU
    • So far, the new machines are less expensive (albeit with a few caveats)
  • Will RAM or GPU be modular / serviceable / upgradable in Mac Pro?
    • Presumably not in iMac
    • Is the future of iMac Pro finally dead?
  • All 3 Mac's that were updated with the M1 have a max of 2x TB ports
    • 2x TB ports were removed from the MBP 13" and Mac Mini
  • Apple is obsessed with battery life but our laptops are plugged in 90% of the time.
  • The MBP 13" update reminds me of the late-2008 MBP update that introduced the unibody construction. It was missing at least 1x USBA port (now they all are). Then there was a mid-2009 MBP update six months later that brought all the ports back, and ironed out the wrinkles. I expect we'll see a mid-2021 proper update to the MBP 16" and introducing a 14". But with Tim Crook, who knows... 

My take is that this is round 1 of 3. They started at the bottom, and are working their way up. I don't think these Mac's are meant for us. These are the decoys. Don't take the bait. "These are not the droids we're looking for."

 

That said, benchmarks are starting to pop up, and the updated MBA and MBP 13" are now the fastest single-core Mac's in the lineup by a country mile (absolutely destroying the previous leaders): https://www.macrumors.com/2020/11/11/m1-macbook-air-first-benchmark/

 

So if anyone needs a Mac now, and they won't have buyer's remorse 6 months from now when round 2 machines are released... Plus you can get a MBP without a Touch Bar that's faster than the current MBP 16" (for about half the price).

 

If nothing else, this completely changes my mind about buying the "last best Intel MBP 16". Fingers crossed for an ARM MBP 16" sometime in 2021 before they release macOS 12, so I can run a .3 or later version of Bug Sir. Here comes the Osborne effect... 

 

Edited by Mark Aceto
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8 hours ago, Mark Aceto said:

 

 

That said, benchmarks are starting to pop up, and the updated MBA and MBP 13" are now the fastest single-core Mac's in the lineup by a country mile (absolutely destroying the previous leaders): https://www.macrumors.com/2020/11/11/m1-macbook-air-first-benchmark/

 

 

 

thats looking impressive - so, not seen any benchmarking for the gpu yet - but based on the new gpu being advertised as between 3-5 times faster than last gen intel gpu (so intel iris plus G7) - 3x-5x (so say 4x) that is approx and 5500XT territory - but im assuming it shares memory with the rest of the machine so 16gb for cpu and gpu to share - so, as good as the gpu performance is - the achilles heel of these may be lack of memory for vectorworks.

Edited by neal-2002
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yes, while the M1 is no doubt a true leap forward in chip performance we've been looking for ...oh, the last 12 years I guess...the limit of 16gb memory will definitely have to be tested with a hefty BIM model, and I suspect it will bog down.

 

So if you're not doing big models at the moment, I think the M1 machines will be great (esp models with a fan to keep a hot chip from throttling back).

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Don't like the RAM limit but seems these M1 lapies might suit me well, maybe even the MBA!  I am very rarely tied to a desk and my VW output is 3D print modeling and SFD homes and additions.  Seems like a lot more HP than my current 2018 MBP which I paid a heck of a lot of money for.  Looking forward to Juans updates after they receive their factory machines to test.

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@neal-2002 I think you nailed it. The M1 GPU is capable of 2.6 teraflops. The AMD 5600M is capable of 5.6 teraflops (they'll probably match or beat that in the M1X or M2 or whatever they call the chip they stick in the MBP 16" and/or iMac). However, there will be all manner of optimizations for the M1 GPU, so very excited to see some real world benchmarks!

 

@Don Seidel 100%. That's why I don't think this first round of updates was necessarily mean for us. We're all hanging in there for round two... 

 

For context, if nothing else, I'm very excited about what the near future holds. I'm just as excited about buying a new Mac every 3 years instead of the insane rumor tracking and sporadic buyer's remorse / resale schedule I've been on for the past 7.

 

Edited by Mark Aceto
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This is an interesting development from Maxon - https://www.maxon.net/en/article/maxon-cinema-4d-immediately-available-for-m1-powered-macs?utm_campaign=C4DM1PoweredMacs&utm_source=facebook,linkedin,twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_content=1605216085&fbclid=IwAR2NgbpQeah4R_FpAJRU5rEqIxZpn1x6QOqmhQVyRCwuDKkC9KlUWCawcVE

 

Cinema 4D is already updated to run on the M1. I learned this from a Facebook ad so they're already marketing this. It certainly bodes well for VW rendering.

 

Kevin

 

Edited by Kevin McAllister
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TESTING 2021 OS 11 (Big Sur) on intel Macs looking very good!  Running on lesser Macs for Testing :

- 2014 Mac mini 8gb ram

- 2015 iMac 3.2ghz quad i5, 32GB ram, 2GB AMD radeon gpu

 

No bugs or glitches so far. Speed looks normal. Same boot times, panning and zooming so far normal.

Edited by Don Seidel
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Hi all,

 

Could you please advise me a good Mac I could buy within the next month?  Should get the iMac 2020 27 inch, or wait for the silicon iMac? MacBook Pro is not an option for me because of the tiny screen.

 

I currently use a 2017 21.5" iMac (not a very good Mac).  it is disappointing me with Vectorworks taking 5 minutes to start.  Everytime the computer is turned on it takes about 10-15 minutes to start property. Once it gets going, it is still okay, but I occasionally see the coloured spinning wheel.  I'm a sole practitioner architect, so need a fast and a reliable machine for multi-tasking.  I do 3D modelling, but no rendering.  Your help will be appreciated.  Thank you. 

Edited by Learning Vectorworks
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4 minutes ago, Learning Vectorworks said:

Hi all,

 

Could you please advise me a good Mac I could buy within the next month?  Should get the iMac 2020 27 inch, or wait for the silicon iMac? MacBook Pro is not an option for me because of the tiny screen.

 

I currently use a 2017 21.5" iMac (not a very good Mac).  it is disappointing me with Vectorworks taking 5 minutes to start.  Everytime the computer is turned on it takes about 10-15 minutes to start property. Once it gets going, it is still okay, but I occasionally see the coloured spinning wheel.  I'm a sole practitioner architect, so need a fast and a reliable machine for multi-tasking.  I do 3D modelling, but no rendering.  Your help will be appreciated.  Thank you. 

I wrestled with this same choice, although I do a bit of rendering as well.  I went with a 2020 iMac and maxed out the spec's in terms of processing and graphics.  Intel support isn't going away for atleast 5 years (likely many more because Apple will still be selling intel machines in two years).  While I anticipate apple silicon machines will be wonderful in the future, there are current limitations to the platform (memory, displays) and generally apple is starting from the bottom of their lineup and working their way towards the top.  

 

I've had the 2020 iMac, i9 10 core, 64 GB Ram, with 5700XT, for 3 months and it's been a joy to use with Vectorworks! 

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9 minutes ago, Learning Vectorworks said:

@designedAF does the machine take time to start after you power it on?  And is the starting time of Vectorworks be better than my current 2017 21.5 inch iMac?  If I go with a 2020 I would max out the specs.  I think I made a mistake buying a cheaper one in 2017.  Thank you for your response as a first-hand user.  it really helps.

About 30 seconds to power on.  Takes Vectorworks 2021 about 25 seconds to launch and files open almost instantly although that can depend on file size of course.  All together it's very very fast.  If you got an iMac 2017 with no solid state hard drive, then I would expect you would see a marked increase in response time with ANY computer that has a solid state hard drive.  The old hard drives are a speed bottle neck for machines so maybe thats what you're running into with your machine.  

 

I'm sure others may have feed back on this as well but I'm very happy with my set up.  

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Just to add to designedAF's comment, your slow start up time sounds like a spinning hard drive that has a fault? HD's don't always fail all of a sudden, they can die a slow death. If this is the case, you may be able to get a second lease of life out of your current machine, by just getting its HD replaced with an SSD.   

Edited by M5d
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Do you like troubleshooting unknown computer problems? Or do you want a computer that will allow you to get work done?

 

If you like playing with the computer and what is under the hood, then go with Apple Silicon. If you would rather get work done, then buy now and go with Intel. There are far less unknowns.

 

A reasonably equipped iMac (27", i9, 64Gig memory, 1 TB SSD, high end graphics card) will run about $4400.  Amortized over a two year working life of 4000 hours, this is $1.10/hour. A faster machine does not have to improve your productivity very much to make it worth the money to upgrade relatively often.

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