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New Mac Laptop $2k M1 or $3k i7?

Not applicable
Given that I’m now working both at home and the office, it makes sense to have a mobile computer. (I have screens in both locations).

Here’s Macinteract’s recommendations for minimum spec:
MacBook Pro 16 inch
Spec suitable for a mobile CAD workstation – we recommend to use an additional 27 inch Monitor for extended CAD usage (see below for specs).

2.6GHz 6-core ninth‑generation Intel Core i7 processor with Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz
32GB of 2666MHz DDR4 memory
AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 8GB of GDDR6 memory
512GB of SSD storage
16-inch Retina display with True Tone
Four Thunderbolt 3 ports
Touch Bar and Touch ID

I’d like to purchase a similar computer quickly.

B&H has a machine in stock for ~$3k,

But Graphisoft points out that even the slow M1 machines perform as well as the i7 machines.

The new M1 is substantially less expensive, under $2k.

Will the cheaper newer computer perform adequately?
If you are working on large projects, I would consider waiting for models with a high RAM capacity... If you run into RAM bottlenecks with the M1, there is nothing you can do as the DIMMs are soldered in...


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Marc H
I can’t speak to the M1, except I have read the generic CPU bench tests are very good for the cost. And, I have read they run cooler.

If helpful, I run my models, small to large, on a 2019 16” MBP. (Note: I’ve disabled the integrated GPU to force the work to the dedicated GPU and that greatly improves performance.) I’ve found the MBP performs very well on native Archicad small to mid-size building models. It slows on large Revit conversions/imports as they bring in high poly counts. I also notice slowness if there are quite a few morphs in a large project. (I should note, though, I run full schematic graphics when modeling.)

I have run AC solely on the 16” screen - it is very resolute and quite comfortable. But for the best working environment, I suggest at least one 30” 4K screen with the MBP if working on larger buildings or sites. It’s also nice to have the Favorites panel open large alongside. The MBP performance also holds up well with a second AC session running on a second 4K screen when needed.
“The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.” - Abraham Lincoln

AC27 USA on 16” 2019 MBP (2.4GHz i9 8-Core, 32GB DDR4, AMD Radeon Pro 5500M 8G GDDR5, 500GB SSD, T3s, Trackpad use) running Sonoma OS + extended w/ (2) 32" ASUS ProArt PAU32C (4K) Monitors
Laszlo Nagy
Community Admin
Community Admin
There are rumors that the next-generation of Apple Mac chips is coming soon, maybe during the summer:

If those rumors are true, that chip will probably be strong enough, with enough RAM and GPU memory to support working on large projects in Archicad.
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2x28" (2560x1440), WIN10 PRO ENG, Ac20-Ac27
Loving Archicad since 1995
LaszloNagy wrote:
There are rumors that the next-generation of Apple Mac chips is coming soon, maybe during the summer

I don't envy users who urgently need a new Mac.
= v i s t a s p =
bT Square Peg
| AC 9-27 INT | Win11 | Ryzen 5700 | 32 GB | RTX 3050 |
I don't envy users who urgently need a new Mac.
My aging 15" model cries more and more every day if I work with models, even small ones. Using the default resolution helps somewhat, but not really convenient. Luckily I can wait, but I can imagine how frustrating that would be having to pull the trigger on a machine that will instantly worth a fraction of what an Apple device usually "should".
with enough RAM and GPU memory to support working on large projects in Archicad
Latest leaks suggest the unified memory to be configured up to 64GB. I don't know how that translates to traditional RAM + GPU memory, but sounds plenty. Hopefully working with large pointclouds won't hurt that much when working mobile.

My only concern is the lack of Windows support (no Bootcamp) - many engineering software are not available on macOS, running them doesn't sound possible right now... | actively using: AC25-27 INT | Rhino6-8 | macOS @ apple silicon / win10 x64

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