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Macbook AIR

ares997
Participant
Our team is looking at having the more senior members convert to Macbook Air's instead of their IMacs...Does anyone have experience running Archicad with a MacBook Air? What are your thoughts, concerns, comments about that sort of hardware selection?
Archicad 25 (5005), Windows 11, AMD RYZEN 7 3900 (64 GB RAM)
7 REPLIES 7

Karl Ottenstein
Moderator
The Air does not have a dedicated graphics card, so that might be an issue. Hopefully someone here has an Air and tried AC on it to let you know.

I set up an Air for someone this summer and was blown away by performance for ordinary stuff, including Parallels Desktop running Windows apps, as well as the light weight. But, didn't want to mess up her machine by testing AC, tempted as I was. 😉
One of the forum moderators   •   AC 25 USA and earlier   •   MacOS 11.6.5, iMac Pro

ares997
Participant
Thanks Karl for the response.

Is there a way that I may perform some benchmark testing to see the differences? What would be some good incremental tests?
Archicad 25 (5005), Windows 11, AMD RYZEN 7 3900 (64 GB RAM)

Karl Ottenstein
Moderator
For your most complex project, see if the Air can even generate the 3D views and give smooth navigation. If that's possible, then perhaps overall speed would be the only concern (over a Macbook Pro) - force a rebuild of a complex section and time on each machine, time to generate 3D. Would the senior members do any rendering? I would expect the Air's performance to be pretty bad, but time a render on a decent machine vs the Air, too...

Would be very interested in what others post and/or what you find out. It's a sweet ultraportable, with the SSD providing much of the performance benefit. 😉
One of the forum moderators   •   AC 25 USA and earlier   •   MacOS 11.6.5, iMac Pro

Anonymous
Not applicable
The MacBook Air is not suitable for anything but the most casual of ArchiCAD use, really only useful for opening and viewing simple projects.
The screen is too small; once info box, navigator and basic toolbars are open you only have a tiny window for work and will spend an inordinate amout of time scrolling and zooming.
No graphics card; the built in graphics is too slow for smooth working in the 3D window and the graphics will throttle back very quickly to reduce heat generated also reducing speed of processor which will result in much frustration to the users.
The most senior staff probably also have the highest billing rates of your office, they should also be the most productive. I would consider nothing less than the MacBook Pro 15 with Geforce 750M if portability is required, if portability not required I would go with the top spec iMac 27inch or a mid level MacPro.

Regards,
Scott

Anonymous
Not applicable
I was wondering to get myself a MBA 11".
This story could be a mind changer.

And this testimonial is also sound promising:
owen wrote:
I highly recommend the Macbook Airs .. should be perfectly capable of running medium sized projects, even large. I use an Air either docked in Target Disk mode to a MacPro or iMac when I need to run multiple sessions of ArchiCAD and other apps (e.g Revit via Parallels) however also use the Air 'normally' attached to a Cinema display and it is very snappy indeed.

The only real limit you may find will be the number of applications you can run simultaneously due to the 8GB RAM (machines i dock to have 16-32GB). This downside is somewhat reduced by the super fast application starts due to the SSDs … closing an app to start another doesn't involve much waiting 😉

os

P.S I run a 3.5GB 50,000m2 Teamwork project on my Air quite regularly and never had any performance issues. Actually i find it faster for most things than my other (non-SSD) machines except for activities helped by multi-core processors (e.g section rebuilds)
Does anyone had a chance to get in hand with MacBook Air (11-inch, Mid 2013) and AC17?

Anonymous
Not applicable
I have some comments as I have been using a 13" MBA. It is a 1.7 GHz i5 (duo) with 4 GB 1333 MHz DDR3, Intel HD 3000 384 Mb video running OS X (10.9.1) and ACv17 (5005). This is a mid 2011 model, basic kit, old stuff!

It does work! I noticed a speed improvement migrating from ACv16 to v17 as it stalled less frequently on my large models - those 70 Mb and above. General modeling and field work rarely gives me a problem now but it can struggle on refresh/loading tasks. It has been a pleasant surprise as it is an old machine and not a waste of time.

With this in mind, should it work? The question for me is how well. I thought I would be using it to give presentations but find the iPad/BIMx more useful for that process. My go-to system is a quad-core 27" iMac that holds down a desk that I can't take with me as I travel frequently. For me, the MBA looks awesome but is light on production.

Anonymous
Not applicable
RivaRivo wrote:
I was wondering to get myself a MBA 11".
This story could be a mind changer.

And this testimonial is also sound promising:
owen wrote:
I highly recommend the Macbook Airs .. should be perfectly capable of running medium sized projects, even large. I use an Air either docked in Target Disk mode to a MacPro or iMac when I need to run multiple sessions of ArchiCAD and other apps (e.g Revit via Parallels) however also use the Air 'normally' attached to a Cinema display and it is very snappy indeed.

The only real limit you may find will be the number of applications you can run simultaneously due to the 8GB RAM (machines i dock to have 16-32GB). This downside is somewhat reduced by the super fast application starts due to the SSDs … closing an app to start another doesn't involve much waiting 😉

os

P.S I run a 3.5GB 50,000m2 Teamwork project on my Air quite regularly and never had any performance issues. Actually i find it faster for most things than my other (non-SSD) machines except for activities helped by multi-core processors (e.g section rebuilds)
Does anyone had a chance to get in hand with MacBook Air (11-inch, Mid 2013) and AC17?
Glad someone found that article

I did another piece to compare to my MBP - the MBA has 2 issues, resolution and (sometimes, for some apps) performance.

The resolution on the 11" is sometimes less than needed by the UI - so it can happen that something you need is off-screen.

The perf for interactive work and for loading/saving is excellent - thanks to the latest SSD storage.

The perf for heavy apps - my heaviest is Adobe After Effects - is usable but less productive than my main machine.

The integrated graphics, well, so far I have found only one bug due to the integrated graphics in the apps that I use. It's annoying, but I know it's there and work around it… more or less.

The result, when on the road this MBA does 99.9% of everything I need while on the road. The only pain points are when I really need to do some emergency "heavy-lifting" - the MBA can do it - just not as proficiently nor as fast.

If that helps… ?

Here is the follow up article - I am new here, so maybe the link won't be allowed… 😉

http://www.cadplace.co.uk/Industry-Topics/CAD-Hardware/Comparing-the-performance-of-the-2013-Macbook...

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