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Setup & License forum

PC or Mac

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My office is about to buy new computers. I am looking for input as to which computers to buy. Is it worth buying a new G5 or should we buy new PC's? Is the 32 bit hype worth the money? Does Archicad run better on PC or Mac?


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Oh good! I've never actually been able to enter into a Mac vs PC battle at the very start before - thanks for the opportunity Rob

Points which are always worth considering;
- how is the office network set up?
- what other programs will you need to run on these machines?
- what are the current users accustomed to?
- archicad currently runs better on PCs, but people generally run better on a Mac
- PC's will probably give you more bang for your buck overall
- hype is never worth money. 32 bit software is probably not going to mature significantly over the next 18 months (?)
- will clients be seeing the machines?
- what printers do you have?
- what software do you have?

... Stuart

- we use PC's 'coz there's more to life than Archicad -

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I work in a mac office and have found the mac easy to set up networks and solve related problems.

I recently upgraded to AC8 at home and purchased a PC to run it, but also have a mac that was used to run AC7.

At work we just purchased a 1.8 GHZ G5 and I would say my PC 2.8 P4 at home at this stage seems a bit faster, but I haven't compared the same projects.

I haven't had to do anything with networks on a PC so I don't know how easy or hard that set up is.

For my budget at the time a PC was the best option for me, however I do wish it was a Dual G5, but sometimes you can't have everything.

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StuartJames wrote:
- will clients be seeing the machines?
good point here !


do you have any kind of in-house IT support?

mac users will generally be able to solve problems that arise on their own, whereas you may find (depending on company size, and, as stuart says, what the users are used to) that the PC's will require some additional support resources . . .

archiCAD 8 is slower on a mac, and with all of the problems that came up using the very fragile earlier versions of 8.0, we were debating whether to gradually change from a mac based office to PCs. support and maintenance was the biggest issue after cost that put us off.

and thankfully 8.0v3 and 8.1 came along . . .

b e n f r o s t
b f [a t ] p l a n b a r c h i t e c t u r e [d o t] n z
archicad | sketchup! | coffeecup

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Macs are consistly less expensive to own and maintain. There have been numerous studies which confirm this and my own experience as a consultant bears it out. I have been working with both platforms since Windows NT (the first version of Windows that was worth anything) and my clients have been split about 50/50 over the years.

The firms using Windows typically spend more time and require more outside support than the Mac using companies and the Mac users are typically more productive on a wider variety of software. There are, of course, many Windows users (particularly in this forum, myself included) who are very productive in a broad array of tasks and a wide variety of software software, but most firms have only one or two such people (if they are lucky, some have none, or they come and go leaving a variety of standards in their wake).

I have especially seen a difference in the principals. In the Windows based firms I have known, they typically use their computer for e-mail, maybe some word processing, and the occasional spreadsheet. In the Mac based companies I have worked with the principals are generally much more conversant with and more productive on their computers (many even using ArchiCAD occasionally).

The diffference was much less pronounced when the comparison was between Windows 2000 and Mac OS9. I found much to like in both and often preferred to use Win2K for its relative stabilty (and the greater speed of my ThinkPad). Mac OS X is so dramatically improved over OS9 that this is no longer true. (I find Windows XP to be only a minor upgrade to 2000.) Now that the G5s have largely erased the performance gap, I think anyone who has the choice should go for the Mac. In actual practice they typically do more and cost less.

This is just my experience and not a statistical study, but it has been consistent for almost 10 years.

PS: I've been using ArchiCAD 8.1 on Mac OS 10.3 and it is FAST. Libraries load quickly and we are even considering using teamwork on ALL projects for added consistency and security since the delays are have but vanished. Send and Receive, Sign In/Out, etc. are as fast as Save which now happens so fast you have to pay attention or you'll miss it (network or local).

Matthew wrote:
Macs are consistly less expensive to own and maintain... The firms using Windows typically spend more time and require more outside support than the Mac using companies...
Couldn't agree more Matthew When I was an Architect/IT bod for a firm with 12 Win 95 PCs and a Win NT server I spent around 50% of my time fixing the machines (running AutoCAD). Now I am in an office with up to 27 Macs and 2 of us spend only a fraction of our time maintaing the system and machines. I've read that once you get to 25 PCs you need a full time IT Manager - this is simply not the case with Macs, although I guess the Win systems have improved greatly since Win 95/NT.
V19 (fully patched), Mac OS 10.11.4, iMac 2015

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KenMcN wrote:
...I've read that once you get to 25 PCs you need a full time IT Manager...
This is why IT people generally prefer PCs. Using Macs would reduce their staff and budget.

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If you are contemplating buying a mac.
You are a lucky man, Apple have hust introduced a dual 1.8Ghz G5 and reduced the price of the single 1.6Ghz versions. At the moment I dont think that AC takes advantage of multiple processors, so maybe the Dualies would only be better if you do a lot of background renderings.

I wonder if anyone at GS could let us know whether or not they are making AC9 multi processor aware, that way we can make more informed buying descisions.

Anyone with insider info?

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If there are no budget problem with initial investment, go for Mac: you'll save money on future hardware maintenance. Beside that, you will have a better GUI experience: Mac OS X make the use of ArchiCAD becomes an experience of pure pleasure. It is like driving an Aston Martin: it transforms the work of the user into a sin of graphical luxury.

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Everbody rather drifted off from the orginal question - does ArchiCAD 8 work better on the Mac or the PC.

I use both, a 2.3GHZ HP Vectra at work and a 1GHZ G4 Mac at home. Archicad environment is much better on the PC, with the toolbar & desktop surface features that the Mac version doesn't have. The number of times I've looked for the Intersect button on the Mac is in the 1000's, about the same number of times I've accidently clicked out of AC because of accidently clicking on some desktop object. The selected box highlights much better on the PC version, too.

Speed is another matter, the Mac beats the pants off the PC in 3D redraw, even more so after switching to the Panther OS. The Vectra has a 32MB NVidia graphics card vs the 64MB NVidia on the Mac - probably affects the comparison some, but is typical of quality - all componenets on the Mac are always the best available at the time.

The Mac wins hands down plotting and connecting peripherals (scanners, trackball, network). The Mac has been smooth sailing, but the HP is a nightmare with each piece of hardware added.

As for other day to day use, they are about the same. MSOffice works the same, although OfficeX for the Mac jumped past the PC version. Web browsing is dead even, and our Dreamweaver MX web software works better on the Mac.

So, I guess if you can afford the price difference, I'd say the Mac would be my current selection. In the late 1990's, it would have been the PC. I think Apple putting a Mac GUI over a UNIX kernel was a brilliant idea, and we've only seen the beginning. We've also noticed that since 1981, we replace our PC's every 3 years, yet the Mac's (counting the Apple II) run about 5 years between replacement.

Now, if Graphisoft will just fix the Mac version of AC....

RJ Dial
Pleasanton, CA
1GIG G4, OS10.3.1
2.3 HP Vectra 2000Pro

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Thank You for the input!

We have chosen Mac over PC. From the response it was an overwhelming Mac vote. Is it worth buying the dual processor or not? I know that AC does not take advantage of the dual processor but I will use Artlantis and my new found love, SketchUp a lot as well. We have 4 work staions. Should I get 1 of them with a dual or all of them? Or...None of them?

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If you can afford it, I recommend dualies for all four. It does actually help ArchiCAD performance because you are never running just one program (the Finder and various System processes are always running), and you will often find yourself running ArchiCAD along with any or all of PlotMaker, BGArchiCAD, Photoshop, Mail, Word, Excel, Artlantis, etc., etc.

Now that dual processing is become fairly standardized on both platforms we can hope that Graphisoft will start supporting them directly (particularly for 3D hatching in hidden line and elevations).

If you get into serious high end rendering with Cinema 4D you will love the dual processors. It's fun to watch the rendering start at the top and middle as C4D makes full use of both processors to complete the rendering in half the time.

Finally, the better the machines you get now the longer it will be before you need to upgrade and the more value they will have on e-bay when the time comes.

Oh, one other thing, if you can afford it you should definitely get 23" Cinema Displays. I use one with my G4 PowerBook and IMHO it contributes more to my productivity than a faster computer (I was using a dual 1.42GHz G4 which I passed along to someone more in need when I got my 17"PB). Also remember that you will use a monitor typically about 2 to 3 times longer than a computer. I have had only three primary CAD monitors since 1990: a Mirror 20" XGA which cost $3000 in 1990, a Hitachi 19" multisync which seemed cheap (and a little small) at under $1000 in 1997, and the Apple 23" Cinema display last year which seems a bargain to me at $2000. Compare this to the eight computers I have used for CAD in the same period and you will see why I consider the monitor s important.

Some prefer two displays which can provide a bit more display area for a little less money, but I have found that working with two displays is annoying and takes up too much desk space. I generally keep my PowerBook closed when I am at my desk since the Cinema display is so large. It's kind of strange to me since the "spare" 17" display in the PowerBook is something I would have dreamed to have as my primary screen just a few years ago.

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I have a G-5, dual 2 GHz. With panther and 8.1 i find archicad very fast. also i use av works for rendering. Speed is not an issue any more for me. Also, th whole setup is stable as a rock. I really can't remember the last time i had a crash.

donald mac donald

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