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Mac multi-core vs PC multi-core

David Collins
Enthusiast
Does anyone know if there is there a fundamental difference in the way a Mac computer uses multiple cores, as opposed to Intel PC, which will dramatically affect processing times? My computer guy seems to think so and is keen to have me make the switch, but I'm wondering if the extra zero at the end of his upgrade proposal for the Mac might not have something to do with it...
David Collins
Win10 64bit Intel i7 6700 3.40 Ghz 32 Gb RAM
AC 24.0 (3022 INT FULL)
14 REPLIES 14

TomWaltz
Newcomer
Considering that they are both using Intel processors now, I would think any difference would be on the Operating System end.

I can't say that I've heard of any differences, but if anyone out there has, my money on is Karl O.
Tom Waltz

Ben Cohen
Contributor
Hi David

I can't answer the question with the technical know-how of Karl, but I have done some testing of ArchiCAD on my new 8-Core MacPro, and the results are very interesting.
I also run Windows on the Mac in two different modes - Bootcamp: which is basically running the Mac as a PC and requires a restart, and Parallels: which runs Windows inside the Mac OS (emulation/Virtual Machine). Because of this you would expect Parallels to run ArchiCAD slower than bootcamp because the computer has to load the Mac OS before it loads windows...........not so in my test.
OK the test..
File is a 100 meg monster. I opened the slowest section contained in the file (file saved as a PLA).
Computer : MacPro 8 core 2.8Ghz Xeons, 4 gig of ram - 1TB of HD, 512 Graphics card. OS 10.5.4 Leopard and XP PRO 32bit

V11 - In Bootcamp (native XP) - 1.09 Mins
v11 - In Parallels (emulator inside the Mac) - .33 Min!!

Interestingly opening the file in the MacOS ArchiCAD - 1.08 secs... marginally faster than with native - XP but still slower than Parallels!!. This may have something to do with the fact that the file was saved on a PC?? (also re-opening the Section after making some changes - 2 secs!)

My only guess is that being a virtual machine - a lot of the system over-head is handled by Parallels. In any case I think it's a positive for the power of the MacOS.

Incidentally - The same file on my everyday Laptop.. HP 2.4Ghz, 3 gig of ram, 256 Video and Vista - 4.53 mins !!! Please don't get me started on Vista......and sorry for all the !!!!
Ben Cohen

Mac and PC

Archicad (Latest Version) aus

www.4DLibrary.com.au

Ralph Wessel
Mentor
David wrote:
Does anyone know if there is there a fundamental difference in the way a Mac computer uses multiple cores, as opposed to Intel PC, which will dramatically affect processing times?
Apple is using the same processors as other hardware manufacturers. This is evident by the fact that is possible to hack the Mac OS to make it run on any PC, and also that Windows can be installed on Macs.

There are differences in the way the OS leverages the processor power, but making comparisons is a minefield. Vista seems to be a relatively poor performer in some respects, but both are quite capable of harnessing multi-core processors. Apple has also stated that its primary goal for the next major OS release is to optimise performance (including threading), not to add new features. Not exciting, but essential housekeeping that MS seem to have avoided for a very long time.

There should not be a big price difference between a Mac and alternative PCs. It is not uncommon for macs to be cheaper than comparable alternatives. It is possible to buy a cheaper PC, but usually only because the hardware spec is lower or the product support is awful (or both), i.e. you get what you pay for.
Ralph Wessel BArch

Anonymous
Not applicable
Mac Pro: $2949 2.8GHz dual-quad core (Harpertown) 2GB RAM, 320GB HD, Nvidia 512MB GeForce 8800GT

Dell Precision Worstation T7400: $3998* same as above except; Nvidia 256MB Quadro FX570†

*This is the price after the "Instant Savings" which always seems to be knocked off the price. The equivalent HP is about the same as the Dell before the instant savings.

†The GeForce is not available on the Dell and adding $2700 to the Mac and $2500 to the Dell for matching Quadro FX5600 cards seems a bit distorting.

The Dell also does not (AFAIK) include Firewire, and certainly doesn't have anywhere near as cool a case.

I assume that performance is comparable running Windows on both machines. I have read that the Mac has a slight edge but only really visible in benchmarks, hardly enough to notice in ordinary use. The Mac OS seems clearly the better performer on my machine, and as Ralph points out this is due to get even better with Snow Leopard.

David Collins
Enthusiast
Thanks for the input, gentlemen.

I suspect the grain of truth behind my computer guy's pitch has to due with minor differences in the way the operating systems address the cores. But looking also at the low RAM ceiling in Windows systems, it does seem to me that the Apple is much more dedicated to the serious professional use of computers, as opposed to Windows which seems more and more to be optimized for, well, .... idiots.

As for the comparative costs, we're not starting from scratch here. It's one thing to wheel in just a new PC CPU and plug it into the existing system, and another thing altogether to completely switch over to a new Mac.

And geez, how could I ever give up the Windows Messenger service?
David Collins
Win10 64bit Intel i7 6700 3.40 Ghz 32 Gb RAM
AC 24.0 (3022 INT FULL)

Ben Cohen
Contributor
Microsoft have a windows messenger client for mac... Now there is no excuse
Ben Cohen

Mac and PC

Archicad (Latest Version) aus

www.4DLibrary.com.au

henrypootel
Graphisoft Partner
Graphisoft Partner
I don't want to jump into the old Mac vs. PC thing here, but if your IT guy is suggesting that you make a platform jump(which is a very big deal) on the basis of a theoretical, unproven, tiny(if it even exists) performance difference, then I think you really need to start shopping around for a new computer guy, not a new computer.
Josh Osborne - Central Innovation

HP Zbook Studio G4 - Windows 10 Pro, Intel i7 7820HQ, 32Gb RAM, Quadro M1200

Eduardo Rolon
Moderator
David wrote:
…As for the comparative costs, we're not starting from scratch here. It's one thing to wheel in just a new PC CPU and plug it into the existing system, and another thing altogether to completely switch over to a new Mac
Actually it should not be that different, IME it is almost easier to add a new Mac than to reconfigure or add a new WinPc into an exiting system.
eduardo rolón AIA NCARB
Another of the forum moderators.
Macbook Pro M1 Max 64GB ram
OS X 10.XX latest
AC25 US/INT -> AC08

Vectorworks 2022

Ralph Wessel
Mentor
henrypootel wrote:
I don't want to jump into the old Mac vs. PC thing here, but if your IT guy is suggesting that you make a platform jump(which is a very big deal)
The jump can be as big or little as you like. You could, for example, take the Windows license from the old PC and migrate it to the Mac (with all your existing software). I'd suggest using something like Parallels or VMware Fusion so you can run both simultaneously. You will then have a new machine that does everything the old one did (but quicker). Then, as fast or slow as you please, begin to migrate your workflow into the Mac OS. You'll eventually get to the point where you never want to start Windows.
Ralph Wessel BArch

Eduardo Rolon
Moderator
Or you can use VirtualBox which is free

http://www.virtualbox.org/
eduardo rolón AIA NCARB
Another of the forum moderators.
Macbook Pro M1 Max 64GB ram
OS X 10.XX latest
AC25 US/INT -> AC08

Vectorworks 2022

KeesW
Enthusiast
It is hard not to drift into performance comparisons. When I had our PCs built 12 months ago, it ran ArchiCad 40% faster than the then fastest Mac which had two dual core processors. Our PC cost as much as the Mac. I think that Mac's are stylistically fabulous but suspect that speed between the platforms depends on the components used (I think that explained it with our computers). If you custom build a computer (as we did), one can choose to combine better components than are found in off the shelf PC's or Macs.
Cornelis (Kees) Wegman

cornelis wegman architects

AC 5 - 25 Dell XPS 8940 Win 10 1TB SSD 2TB HD RTX 3070 GPU
Desktop: Archicad 5.5 - 25, Win10 64, Core i7 , 16 GB RAM, NVidia GTX560 Ti, 1.5TB HD, 500GB SSD

Laptop: Archicad 16 - 24, Win10 64 Core i7, 8GB RAM, 2GB NVidia GT 540M

Anonymous
Not applicable
KeesW wrote:
If you custom build a computer (as we did), one can choose to combine better components than are found in off the shelf PC's or Macs.
I don't know how true this is. I suppose a lot depends on the abilities, knowledge and resources of the custom builder. One thing I have noticed is the the custom shops often don't have access to the latest stuff since the first lots are often bought up by the big guys.

When I got my Mac Pro a friend of mine had a similar spec Windows machine built, but with the previous generation processors. I don't know if it was because they were unavailable or just prohibitively expensive in small lots. In any case I got a faster, better designed machine for about the same money. He did get a much fancier video card (Quadro instead of Geforce) but it doesn't seem to make that much difference.

henrypootel
Graphisoft Partner
Graphisoft Partner
He did get a much fancier video card (Quadro instead of Geforce) but it doesn't seem to make that much difference.
Doesn't make much difference in ArchiCAD, no. In 3Ds Max or the like it would though. The reason I would always go qith a Quadro is that they are fully supported by nVidia for use on business platforms. The geForce cards are not. They probably won't have problems, but if they do, tough biscuits.

Oh, and BTW, i use AC12 in Virtualbox on my home computer(running Ubuntu Hardy) and it works great!
Josh Osborne - Central Innovation

HP Zbook Studio G4 - Windows 10 Pro, Intel i7 7820HQ, 32Gb RAM, Quadro M1200

Anonymous
Not applicable
henrypootel wrote:
Oh, and BTW, i use AC12 in Virtualbox on my home computer(running Ubuntu Hardy) and it works great!
It does? 3D window as well?
Sorry, off topic I know...
Shall we move this to: Archicad for Linux area?
Could you share your experience with us?

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