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New Apple hardware purchase (March 2020) - please advise?

matjashka
Booster
We're running ArchiCAD 22 on aging iMacs. Need an upgrade asap.

I would like to run 22 (and future versions) on a Mac Mini (16GB,1TB,6-core i5) but I'm concerned with their lack of dedicated GPU - does anybody have actual experience with how this affects ArchiCAD? Does GPU affect rendering at all, or is it all CPU-based?

The other option is one of the 27" iMacs with the "5K" screen. How is your ArchiCAD experience with those? They seem overpriced and I know from experience that they're a major pain to fix when something breaks.
Matt Krol [LinkedIn]
BHMS Architects and Planners, Chicago

AC 10 ... 22/24 USA
1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Solution
Anonymous
Not applicable
The Mac mini is not suitable for day to day use for Archicad, the lack of a dedicated graphics card will lead to slow screen performance which will slow down every interaction and lead to great frustration.
Don’t skimp on the tools you use everyday it is a false economy (you will only save about A$750 between similarity configured iMac and MacMini) which over the life of the computer is less than a cup of coffee a week
Scott

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14 REPLIES 14

DGSketcher
Rockstar
I have not long since acquired a top spec iMac. Whatever you do get the SSD. My only disappointment given the price point was the realisation that for some software e.g. Archicad, they are still finding their way with multicore processing. Cinerender flies. AC itself doesn't seem much faster than my previous late 2013 model despite the i9 chip. I have no experience of the Mac mini but I think there was a similar post that pointed out that by the time you have boosted the GPU etc to a workable level you would be better splashing out on a Mac.
Apple iMac macOS Monterey / AC25UKI (most recent builds)

matjashka
Booster
I saw the post you mentioned, but still can't see anything on why I should have a dedicated GPU if I don't do animation, just plain flat renderings with CineRender. All my machines have SSDs on them.
I'd also love to see how Archicad deals with the high resolution 27" iMac screen. How does the interface scale?
Is there a real benefit in terms of text or line legibility in an ArchiCAD project? Right now, I'm totally comfortable with QHD (2560x1440)
Matt Krol [LinkedIn]
BHMS Architects and Planners, Chicago

AC 10 ... 22/24 USA

DGSketcher
Rockstar
I thought my 2013 screen was stunning, now I have the 5k it looks fuzzy in comparison. I guess you get used to these things.

AC upscales quite nicely, not sure I would go back to a smaller screen for CAD work (there's only me here), not that the 21.5" is unsuitable, but if budgets dictate...
Apple iMac macOS Monterey / AC25UKI (most recent builds)

Solution
Anonymous
Not applicable
The Mac mini is not suitable for day to day use for Archicad, the lack of a dedicated graphics card will lead to slow screen performance which will slow down every interaction and lead to great frustration.
Don’t skimp on the tools you use everyday it is a false economy (you will only save about A$750 between similarity configured iMac and MacMini) which over the life of the computer is less than a cup of coffee a week
Scott

Anonymous
Not applicable
Do NOT buy a Mac mini for archicad.
I will chip in $20.00 Aud (albeit not worth much this day) if your hard up. The Mac mini is a POS. Get anything other than a Mac mini. Just make sure it has a dedicated GPU. And for any who doubt that a GPU doesn't get used in archicad, open up the activity monitor whilst your moving around in archicad (even in plan view).

Archicad doesn't use the GPU for rendering. BUT YOU NEED a GPU for moving pixels around a display, zooming in and out 500 times a day or moving around in model. A secondary purpose of using a GPU is for 3d renders in programs like TWIN MOTION.

matjashka
Booster
Thank you both, mates.
I will avoid the Mini. I never worked on a Mac without dedicated graphics, I didn't realize this would be the bottleneck for ArchiCAD.
It's not really about the money, I was hoping to separate the desktop unit from the monitors, so I can keep the monitors and upgrade the CPU only, but I guess that iMac will be it.

I'm not personally very fond of Apple products. A US$3,000 iMac screen is held by disposable stickers (or blue painter's tape, in some cases that I've dealt with).
I wish ArchiCAD would run on Linux, and I wish Linux had better support for pro graphics hardware. Microsoft needs to get their stuff together with Windows (privacy, bloatware, updates), so our only options are in the iMac camp.
Matt Krol [LinkedIn]
BHMS Architects and Planners, Chicago

AC 10 ... 22/24 USA

Lingwisyer
Rockstar
matjashka wrote:
hoping to separate the desktop unit from the monitors

Buy a Mac Pro, though that is double the price at best...
AC22-23 AUS 7000
Self-taught, bend it till it breaks.

Win10 | E5620 x 2 | 24GB | K2200 RIP PSU
Win10 | R5 2600 | 16GB | GTX1660

Brad Elliott
Contributor
I sympathize with you. I can't believe that Apple is leaving such a gaping hole in their line up between the mini and the pro. I mean it's right there in the names right? I have actually written Apple emails about the hypocrisy of claiming to be an environmental company and then making you throw away the entire computer when either the monitor or motherboard go bad. After my second iMac failure I decided I'd never buy one again. I actually built a couple of Hackintoshes and am using them but that is not a real solution. When my MacBook Pro dies I will probably switch everything over to Windows. That's after 30 years on Macs.
Mac OS10.13.6 AC23 USA Full

Hackintosh 4 GHz i7 32gb ram NVidia1060

matjashka
Booster
Summary:
Me, buying a Mac 10+ years ago: "Wow, this is so cool, can't wait to see how fast Photoshop will run on it!"
Me, shopping for an Apple product in 2020: "OK, let's just get over it."
I'm literally more excited to go buy a box of wood screws in a home improvement store than when I go buy a new Mac.

We're all getting less and less passionate about the disposable tools that we use for computing, but another thing is that we used to "own" our hardware, which is no longer the case. Yes, Apple's planned obsolescence is hypocritical (Apple is not the worst offender but hardly as environmentally responsible as they claim). I fully understand your decision to switch back to Windows.
Matt Krol [LinkedIn]
BHMS Architects and Planners, Chicago

AC 10 ... 22/24 USA

Nader Belal
Mentor
@ matjashka
If you like the iMAC as an OS, Linus Tech Tips on Youtube have a video on how to run a MacOS on Any PC



And if you want to access two OS one PC


PS:
1. Microsoft Windows is adopting Linux, for the time being
A good friend of mine have once told me that I´m so brute that I´m capable of creating a GDL script capable of creating GDLs.

matjashka
Booster
As an architectural firm, we do not have any incentive to take risks of tinkering with hackintoshes, not to mention that Apple EULAs are clear that they want you to run MacOS on metal branded with their own logo.
Matt Krol [LinkedIn]
BHMS Architects and Planners, Chicago

AC 10 ... 22/24 USA

Nader Belal
Mentor
@matjashka

You're position is understandable.
A good friend of mine have once told me that I´m so brute that I´m capable of creating a GDL script capable of creating GDLs.

matjashka
Booster
Lingwisyer wrote:
Buy a Mac Pro, though that is double the price at best...

I just wanted to mention that we will most likely end up with new iMacs, and thank you all for your input.

Before I let this thread die, here's a video I just stumbled upon today. It's a quite brutal review of the new Mac Pro, but nothing they say is unexpected - the computer is only as good as the software it runs.

Matt Krol [LinkedIn]
BHMS Architects and Planners, Chicago

AC 10 ... 22/24 USA

Anonymous
Not applicable
Excellent thread.!!!
vfx studios in Mumbai

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