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Upgrade 7.x to 8.1 Mac OS...Is it worth it?

Anonymous
Not applicable
I realize these types of questions can get a little tiresome, but I always want to be spending my money wisely...

We've been using AC 7.x on Macs happily since we bought in a couple of years ago. We put off upgrading because we are kind of small, weren't sure about 8, didn't have great cash flow, etc.

But we've landed a pretty big project, and am now wondering if I should step up to 8.1.

I've been at this game (CAD, software purchases, architecture) awhile, and have definitely reached the point where I need to be convinced that genuine productivity gains, as opposed to new "features" offering different ways to waste time, are to be had to warrant any investment.

I am intrigued by the advertised improvements and rethinking in the new Plotmaker, though I'm not exactly clear on what they are. Getting new employees up to speed on the Plotmaker component of our workflow is definitely one of my more depressing tasks (ratio of words-to-content-related-to-architecture is appalling).

Thanks all.
10 REPLIES 10

Anonymous
Not applicable
IMHO Make sure you have decent hardware to run ArchiCAD 8.1, You really want to be using a mac that is much less than 1 year old.

Navigating in the 3D window using openGL is great, but you need a decent graphics card. The navigator takes a bit of getting used too, but is a benefit, as is the new plotmaker, or rather the method of getting the AC data into plotmaker.

Have a look at the movies on GS web site to see what you are missing out on

Now that the bugs are mostly squashed and addons are all converted. It is proving to be a worthy upgrade, now all we need is further GS optimisation particularly for the 64 Bit G5. Roll on 8.2

Djordje
Ace
RobertNichols wrote:
But we've landed a pretty big project, and am now wondering if I should step up to 8.1.

I've been at this game (CAD, software purchases, architecture) awhile, and have definitely reached the point where I need to be convinced that genuine productivity gains, as opposed to new "features" offering different ways to waste time, are to be had to warrant any investment.
The vicious circle - and the eternal question - whether to upgrade when you do not have a lot of work (and money) and use the less load times for training and transfer, or to wait for a big job and cash flowing in, but with less time and more frustration?

IMHO you missed the opportuinity of the first scenario - transferring when the deadlines are not hung on top of your head. While we understand what upgrade means, the clients and principals usually don't.
I am intrigued by the advertised improvements and rethinking in the new Plotmaker, though I'm not exactly clear on what they are. Getting new employees up to speed on the Plotmaker component of our workflow is definitely one of my more depressing tasks (ratio of words-to-content-related-to-architecture is appalling).
Appropriate info is available at the Graphisoft Web site, with movies explaining what is new and showing how it works. You now have two things to consider:

1. Hardware/OS:

8.1 works best on new 1GHz plus Macs with 1Gig plus RAM and dedicated OpenGL video systems with 64MB VRAM minimum. OSX3 (Panther) also proved beneficial

2. Training:

By all means get somebody already familiar with the 8.x workflow (somewhat different with the 7 one) to help you in the transition; it will save you lots of time and frustration. It is not merely training the people in using what is there, it is rethinking the strategy and redesigning the workflow.

Whatever you decide, good luck! 8.1 cannot hurt if you are ready!
Djordje



ArchiCAD since 4.55 ... 1995
HP Omen

Durval
Booster
And what is your opinion about upgrading one of two licenses in my office from 7 to 8.1 (Mac)? I can't afford buying new hardware at the moment, and I have only one Mac (G4 1GH 1GB) capable of running v8.
The workflow should be planned in order to make conceptual modelling and renderings with v8.1, and then save as v7 for construction drawings and 2d detailing. Or vice-versa, create the model whit v7 and then detail it with 8.1?
I understand I could take advantage of the new PlotMaker features even with '.pmk' files created with v7; is that correct?
And I suppose I would have to load v7 libraries instead of v8.1, even when working with the newer version, so that I'm able to downgrade the project file later.
Would it work?
Would it be worth?
--- www.dtabach.com.br ---
AC 24 BR – MacBook Pro 2,9 GHz Intel Core i7 16GB RAM Mac OS 10.14

Anonymous
Not applicable
Durval,

You don't say what your other computer is. I know a consulting architect who is using AC8.1 with OSX 10.3 (Panther) on a G3 PowerBook (400-500 MHz, I don't recall for sure) and he is quite satisfied with the performance. It is not a 3D powerhouse but certainly adequate for detailing and production work. My primary client is also using a variety of G4 machines from a 450MHz Cube to a dual 1.42GHz PowerMac with no trouble. We have just allocated the machines according to need. The person working the most in 3D gets the fast machine, the person newest to ArchiCAD is starting out on 2D detailing with the cube. So it is quite likely that your lesser machine will serve quite well.

On the other hand, I don't recommend a mixed upgrade. It has always been best to upgrade all copies at once and this is particularly true with the change from 7.0 to 8.1. There are many new features in 8.1 that will be lost when saving backwards and the library issues are also quite significant. I think that the mixed operation would prove to be a heavy price to pay for partial access to the new features (which are tremendous). The only mixed use workflow that seems viable would be to model and do preliminary designs on the AC7.0 machine and then move it into the other one for completion in AC8.1. I would hate to work the other way around and have to remember all the things I shouldn't do in 8.1 to maintain the backward compatibilty with 7.

If your other machine is any kind of G4 or even a reasonably fast G3 I strongly recommend a full upgrade to 8.1. You should be able to get good production from both machines and the improvements to your productivity using AC8.1 & PM3.1 will help you get a dual G5 2+ GHZ that much sooner.

TDabney
Booster
Here's my 2 cents - I've got 8.1 and run it on 10.3 on a 1GHZ Powerbook w/1GB (max) RAM.

As far as hardware goes, I would not recommend running 8.1 on anything less than what I'm using for sure. I do large residential and small commercial projects - modeled fairly completely - and I'm constantly wishing for more power. I feel like I can get by w/what I've got, but if I had the extra $$$ lying around (who does?), I'd buy the fastest machine that I could.

As far as 8.1 goes, it's a great upgrade. The new Plotmaker and the workflow from AC is really a great improvement IMHO. The Navigator in AC is great. OpenGL in the 3D window is also great. There a a bunch of smaller improvements as well. I really notice all the great new stuff when I have to work on an old project back in 7.0. Just as someone else said in a previous post, I would not recommend mixing 7.0 and 8.x.

All this is only my opinion of course! I'm sure others will differ!

Tom
TND Architects P.L.L.C.
macOS 12.7
2021 16" MacBook Pro
Apple M1 Max
ArchiCAD 26/27

Anonymous
Not applicable
Tom,

It sounds like you are in sole practice and I understand not recommending less than 1GHz as a sole machine. Durval has a 1GHz machine to use as a primary computer with another to use for detailing and other tasks which don't require the horse power. I am using a 1GHz 1GB G4 machine myself and am satisfied with the performance. I would like more but I need a laptop (maybe in a few months...).

I believe that the advantages of 8.1 outweigh the performance differences (this was not true of 8.0) especially in Panther which is noticeably faster than Jaguar.

I agree that it is best to get the most powerful computer (within limits) that one can afford, but if the revenues aren't there to support it one has to make do.

Dave Jochum
Enthusiast
I'll throw in another 2 cents-- I agree with Matthew that big horsepower, while preferable (who ever prefers slower?) is definitely not mandatory as long as you're not talking very large, highly detailed models. Until a few months ago I was using a stock 500 MHz Sawtooth, and it was perfectly adequate for what I was doing. For $436 I installed a 1.4 GHz processor (see http://www.graphisoft.com/community/archicad-talk/viewtopic.php?t=876&highlight=) and I am plenty happy with the performance. No matter what processor, more RAM will also speed things up for you. Upgrading to Panther is a no-brainer.

My only gripe now is my graphics card for 3D work, but again, I'm thinking conservative. I'm waiting for the Radeon 9000 Pro card (about $150) to come off backorder. This is going to do me fine until the dual G5 300+ MHz machines are available (and AC is optimized for dual processors.)

I'm relatively new to AC, but I agree there are very significant benefits to working in 8.1 over 7--well worth the upgrade $ IMHO.
Dave Jochum
J o c h u m A R C H I T E C T S http://www.jochumarchitects.com
MBP 16" (M1 Max) 64 GB•OS 13.5.2•AC 26 Silicon (latest build)

Anonymous
Not applicable
Matthew wrote:
Tom,

It sounds like you are in sole practice and I understand not recommending less than 1GHz as a sole machine. Durval has a 1GHz machine to use as a primary computer with another to use for detailing and other tasks which don't require the horse power. I am using a 1GHz 1GB G4 machine myself and am satisfied with the performance. I would like more but I need a laptop (maybe in a few months...).
The best advise for anyone looking for a Mac laptop is to wait until April 04. I would suspect Apples latest Powerbook Buy-back program (or more appropriately termed marketing scam), which ends March 27, is the finale of the G4 PB.

Personally I wouldn't recommend the buy-back for a number of reasons. The main reason being that all of these machines are approximately a year old and were the $2999.00 models. Apple will give you $700.00 for a machine in pristine condition in trade for a 15" or 17" PB and nothing for Applecare or upgrades currently on the machine. If you "put the pencil to it" this is how it works.

$2999.99 For original G4 PB. (no upgrades)
$ 349.99 For Apple care (IMO a must )
$2999.99 For "new" G4 PB (no upgrades)
$ 349.99 Applecare
-$ 700.00 Apple "buy back" offer

In short You would of had the privilege of using a PB for a mere $2649.98 for about a year. AFAIK depreciation of such equipment is still taken over a five year period So you'd actually make out better giving your machine to charity and lower your taxes by $900±.

To look at it another way the total investment to have a "New" obsolete (and still underpowered by todays standards) machine would be $5999.96 What-A-Bargain!

Anyone interested in purchasing a G4 would be advised to check out what the "Powerbook Guy" has to offer.
http://powerbookguy.com/index.html

Dave Jochum
Enthusiast
Did I miss a post in here somewhere? I'm not sure what your post regarding the buyback program is refering to, Jeffrey. The discussion centered around the fact that a new computer wasn't in the budget.

Anyway, I'm curious why you suggested waiting until after April to buy a PB. From everything I've read, the next "big thing" will be the G5 PB which isn't expected until fall '04 or more likely, spring '05.
Dave Jochum
J o c h u m A R C H I T E C T S http://www.jochumarchitects.com
MBP 16" (M1 Max) 64 GB•OS 13.5.2•AC 26 Silicon (latest build)

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