Switching to Mac (Is it worth it?)

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums TECHNOLOGY Switching to Mac (Is it worth it?)

Viewing 13 posts - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)
  • Author
  • #157039
    Kyle Regeling

    Hey all,

    I am still a student and am considering buying a macbook pro as my next computer. I mostly use CAD, sketchup and adobe programs. Has anyone had difficulty switching to CAD on a mac when formerly using a PC? or any sketchup issues?

    Also because I am a student I will be doing group projects and working on school pc’s. Does this cause any issues when sharing files and seamlessly working on projects with others?

    Any other input would be great!


    go read the questions and responses about mac and autocad and other cad software: http://www.cadtutor.net/forum/forum.php

    Blair LeJeune

    i use both os systems, i use my Mac for all of the design suite and some sketchup and my desktop pc for modeling and CAD. but when it comes to CAD for Mac the interface is somewhat confusing and uncomfortable to use. some things dont seem to work as well as the pc version. it is nice though being able to switch between both platforms and knowing somewhat of whats going on. but overall just playing around on the computer type stuff, i always choose my mac, much more user friendly imho.

    Robert Anderson


    Not sure if you have taken the plunge yet or not but I wanted to respond. To your question if there are compatibility issues between platforms with sketch up and “CAD”. As for sketch up I personally use mac as part of my consulting business and it seems to work better on mac than windows. The days of cross platform compatibility are long in the past.

    As for “CAD”. When using that term are you using it to refer to AutoCAD or are you asking about CAD in the generic sense. For AutoCAD you have no hope of doing anything other than 2d at this time, unless you run parallels and windows os on your mac. I for one don’t see the merit in running parallel and windows. There are numerous other CAD platforms out there with Vectorworks being on of the best (in my humble opinion).

    One other last thing. I have noticed that you might pay more for the hardware on a mac but, again in my opinion, it seems that the other software packages that are available for graphics, cad and others are less expensive and just as powerful. Even to the point where I think you end up spending less long term on the mac than a windows machine.

    Good luck with your classes!


    Are you considering buying the new $2000+ Macbook with Retina? The one where you can’t remove the battery or service it if something goes wrong? A $500 pc can do Sketchup, Autocad, and Adobe programs just fine… I’m not saying that Macs are bad, I like Macs, just saying something that a $2000 machine is overkill for the kind of programs you want to use.

    Kyle Regeling

    I am still looking around…. if I go for a mac it would be non-retina 15″ 2.6 ghz. probably. With student discount about $2000. I really like the ease and good quality of a mac but still a little bit scared of the price and the limitation with a few common LA programs. From my research it seems mac is not quite there as a widely accepted OS in the LA industry. I just don’t want to cause any unnecessary headaches for myself by switching to a mac.

    It seems there are benefits from both sides. Mac’s are better computers, in general, and are great for adobe programs, on par with some others, sketchup…. While PC, in general, has more virus/computer problems but all programs are designed to work on them, AutoCAD specifically.   

    Does that sum it up? Or am I off the mark ( I know some of it is personal preference too)

    Thanks for the input!


    Yeah I’d stay away from the Retina for now. To replace the battery will cost you 200 bucks!


    You can never go wrong with a Mac, but don’t rule out the pc just because you hear horror stories of crashes and viruses. Those problem were common with XP, but Windows 7 is very stable, and the upcoming 8 will probably be even better. People get viruses by downloading a file from a spam email or they go to a questionable website… it happens to Mac users too.


    Have you been to the Microsoft Store? Try comparing, and if you decide to buy a PC, definitely get a Signature PC from them, they remove all the crapware and they provide great service like an Apple Store. 

    Justin R. Bell

    Here is a bit of a twist with Kyle’s question, if not a MacBook Pro, then what PC laptop would meet or exceed the requirements?  I too am a Student and on my final year and would love to get a PC laptop that will last me 4-5 yrs plus.  but here is the kicker, desktop replacements are too heavy and battery life sucks so what are the professionals using to meet the software needs and remaining portable?

    Jason T. Radice

    If you have deeper pockets (not mac deep, though) you can look for what they are calling Ultrabooks. They are very thin and powerful laptops, similar to a Macbook Air, but with more functionality. I know Dell, Lenovo and Samsung make them, and I’m sure most other PC makers are or will make them. Prices on them shoudl be falling about now for back-to-school, the best time to buy a PC or laptop. These models have greater battery life and better portability than a typical desktop replacement laptop. Standard features are an LED backlit screen and SSD (solid state drive) hard drive, both sip power for better battery life. They also have special BIOS software and chipsets that adjust the power consumption of the processors to further save power. You can get up to 8 hours of battery life out of the newer models with the newer battery tech. Processors and memory are more than adequate to run all but the most intensive 3D rendering, but for CAD work and standard 3d modeling, they are more than powerful enough. Considering how my older desktop replacement laptop performs and the battery life with what equates to a car battery in it (12 cell), these new models are a HUGE improvement.


    I rarely work when I’m out of the office (work is for work and home is for rest dammit), so I think Ultrabooks are great for the light-duty jobs and for business travel. I have a powerful desktop at home and at the office to do the hardcore stuff, so I don’t have any need for anything better than what a sub $1000 Ultrabook or a $500 laptop can provide.


    Once you’re out of school and you get a full-time job, your 2 grand fancy laptop that you just bought will become an overpowered email checker.

    Jim Allen

    I’ve had far fewer problems with Macs than with PCs. I’m the CAD manager for a multi-disciplinary office with 70 machines.

    Macs aren’t a panacea. They are undisputedly more expensive, and they do go wrong. Software compatibility is largely a thing of the past.

    However, they are better made than almost any PC (definitely than any PC that is cheaper) and their customer satisfaction and support are better than virtually anyone else’s. These aren’t idle boasts, they are are statistics you can research yourself.

    You pay for quality. You always have someone who will claim that macs aren’t worth the money, but strangely you never hear the same thing when people debate Hyundai vs Audi for example. This is the way you should think of your computer. Windows 7 is a good OS now, and Windows 8 is more modern looking than OS X. You still need to worry about viruses and malware though. You can’t ignore these things on the mac any more, it’s just not nearly as much of an issue though.

    The retina MBP is fabulous, but horrendously expensive. However it will last you for years, and you won’t get the dreaded slowdown over the years that you get with PCs.

    Don’t buy an Ultrabook. The MacBook Air is superior in almost every respect, and for equivalent specifications are usually actually cheaper. They are fast machines now. If you can live with a 13″ screen, or if you are happy to use an external monitor when you aren’t mobile, you may find it perfectly adequate for your needs. It also has the added bonus of fabulous battery life and wonderful portability.

    If you want a desktop replacement machine for CAD and 3D, you may appreciate the power of the new retina MBP, but the price is eye-watering. Maybe better to get a discounted example of the model that has just been superseded. You don’t really need the retina display. You can even get them on eBay still eligible for an Applecare warranty.

    Tonie C.

    I use a Mac mini for everything but AutoCAD.  Like Henry C (above) I use Parallels to run the PC version of CAD.  For me it was more about what I was used to, but a lot of people don’t like the MAC version.  

    The PC to MAC conversion is not as painless as I had hoped but it’s doable.  The basic tools that annoy me most are the calendar and mail functions, they’re just too stripped down.   

    James Melnick

    As a grad student with a mac running bootcamp for the same programs as you, I highly recommend sticking with Mac.  Everyone in my class has had limited problems and there are multiple work arounds to share files if a problem does arise.  The only issue is what your budget is, as a comprable pc laptop will cost you much less but in my opinion has a myriad of issues.


    Go for the mac and if you really don’ like it you can try bootcamp on it. My bootcamp/windows partition works better than must of my peers true pc’s do.


Viewing 13 posts - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Lost Password