MLA… Mac or PC?

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    Jeff Schneider


    I’ll be starting my masters degree in the fall. I have a 2011 MacBook Pro.

    Considering I’ll be using CAD, PhotoShop, Illustrator, and InDesign, do you recommend I buy a Mac or PC for school? I’m assuming Mac since I’ve always used one in my career as a art director (PhotoShop, Illustrator, InDesign?

    Thank you!


    I am a Mac user at home and also used a Macbook Pro in design school; in design school we were more focused on renderings and Creative Suite type of graphics than we were on CAD drawings. Here’s the thing: The Adobe Creative Suite was originally designed for Mac and, in my opinion, works MUCH better on a Mac. CAD was designed for a windows machine and works MUCH better on a pc. When I started working professionally I was taken aback to find that my office only uses Windows. However, I was shocked to see how much better CAD is in that format. So you have a legitimate question & dilema and here’s what I would advise: if, like myself, you prefer Mac then stick with that platform thru school because you won’t be doing much with CAD except to take the requisite courses for your program. When you start working professionally, the chances are 9-out-of-ten that you will have to learn Windows as it is a superior CAD platform. You can also run Windows on your Mac with “Parallels” or “Boot Camp” or whatever software Apple is using these days for this application. I am now doing side projects from home (on my Mac) and there’s no end to how irritating it is compared to using CAD on Windows at work. Hope that helps…


    You’ll also be using sketchup and possibly other 3d programs such as rhino and 3dsmax depending on the school. I’m not sure how they run on a Mac, but they do need a dedicated graphics card, which I don’t think is offered in the latest Macbooks. I suggest wait till you need to use these programs, you may find that your current 2011 Macbook is perfectly fine.

    Andres Pineda

    Hey Jeff,

    It important to take into account what your interests are apart than just school work. This machine will be an investment on your behalf that will hopefully allow you the flex space to transform into other interests as you grow in the career, studies, and field. Base on your description you already have a great start in this field and various curriculums are heavily invested in presentations and graphic design overall.

    With that said, considering the movement in software and current capabilities of what is possible. CAD, Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign have become your basics for this industry. Look into a machine that will also allow you to handle 3D and an output for renderings with decent times.

    For your projects, you will most likely be developing these for presentation and explanation purposes, and if your able to cut your times because your machine allows it to. It will be towards your benefit.

    All considered the machine will become one more tool to perform your task. Mac or PC, it’s a matter and variable of budget, aesthetics and how much time you would like to wait for the computer to perform.

    Processor: The i7 is ideal for all your single-threaded CAD applications
    Video Card with dedicated memory: GTX 10xx is a great GPU for GPU rendering and workflow (the move CUDA cores the better).

    If we are talking 3d and Renderings – I would sway towards your PC market
    I have just purchased a MSI – gs65 with a GTX1070 as it suits my demands.
    DELL XPS – Good cheap option with a GTX1050

    If we are talking Graphic Design – As you might already know, industry standards are Mac.

    Robert Anderson


    Congratulations on starting a new phase of your professional career! I have been practicing Landscape Architecture for nearly thirty years. My recommendation is a Mac. they are much more durable and all in your software expenses are less than with windows. I’m not sure what “superior” CAD platform Sean is referring to but if you want to use one on your own I would suggest #Vectorworks #Landmark! This software is far superior to anything AutoDesk has and can do everything Rhino and sketchup can do to boot.

    Good Luck!

    Jeff Schneider

    Thank you! Talking to current students and professors, it seems PCs are the standard in the industry. I went with a Surface. So far, I really miss the Mac, but I’m sure I’ll adapt.

    Bridger DeMars

    Did you get a Surface Book or Pro? I cant image having gone through studios with essentially a tablet though it has been a few years since I have owned a Surface. Its too late to give my thoughts but an option down the line for you is to also get a desktop tower and a monitor. Transitioning between PC machines is pretty seamless these days and since you are working on a grad degree I think plenty of your time will be spent working alone and possibly at home. No laptop can beat a desktop for graphics power, so as you are working through your money shots at the end of each semester, a ton of power will be ideal.

    That said you bought a Surface and that couldn’t have been cheap. If you cant afford a desktop that will be more than enough.

    Jeff Schneider

    Surface Book. It’s loaded.

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