14 Replies Latest reply: Aug 19, 2005 4:44 PM by Bommer
Aldo Mannino Level 4 Level 4
I have a friend who is going to study architecture, and she was asking me what kind of computer she should get. What would the best solution be, she doesnt have that much money to spend. a used dual 2.0 g5, a pentium, or an amd system?

which one would you recommend.

Thanks
Aldo
  • Justin Paul Reese Level 5 Level 5
    First, obviously, a G5. It will outperform all other processors currently on the home and small business market.

    Secondly, as far as architecture is concerned, the more power you can afford, the better. Faster response equals more accomplished.

    Buy as much as you can afford, but a Dual 2.0GHz is definitely enough.
  • Aldo Mannino Level 4 Level 4
    well, the reason i was asking is the software selection. I havent really heard of anyone using macs for architecture. What CAD software would be best?
  • Arizona Kid Level 2 Level 2
    This is one area where the Mac is not a good choice. The software is way to limiting on the Mac platform. I work for a construction company and we use Autodesk's AutoCad for basic plans.

    However, the plans are always sent off to our engineers, and I am not sure what specific software they use.

    In all the places I have been, I haven't seen Macs used for architectual/engineering planning. AutoCad just seems to be in to many places; however, I don't believe they have a version for the Mac.

    If heavy processing is needed, AMD 64 FX and now AMD X2 Dual Core will hands down outperform a G5. I am a practical Mac fan, and MacRumors, ThinkSecret, and MacNN have posted numerous links to showdowns where the AMD 64 smoked the G5.

    Additionally, MacRumors and Think Secret have ran stories of OS X sizzling on the Pentium 4 3.6Ghz machines. Just go to their website and you can find the links. I don't want to post them here, because Apple will sensor my post.
  • ds store Level 7 Level 7
    There are quite a few very good CAD programs on the Mac that are easy to use, files are interchangable with industry standard software.

    There is this problem, AutoCAD is the industry standard, but they are not on the Mac yet as they don't see us as a big enough market share. Problem is we won't get to be a large market share if nobody buys Apple hardware to use for CAD.

    Actually CAD on Mac has increased substancially in the last few years with the PowerMac G5. People are getting the job done without AutoCAD very well in fact.

    If she needs a reliable computer, doesn't want to spend a fortune, doesn't need a whole lot of speed (not that Mac's are slow mind you), doesn't want to spend a fortune for AutoCAD (which will be taught to her when she gets a job or uses the classrooms machines) and wants to use the computer for other things without being bogged down with malware.

    Your talking she doesn't want to part with a fortune for a AMD box or a Dual 2.7. So a Dual 2.3 would be a wise longterm choice as it can do a lot and all computers are going dual processor/ dual core anyway in very short order.

    So get a Mac, eventually when the MacTels come out, it might run AutoCad natively or they will just decide it's too easy to pass up. Because the MacTels will have the same processors as a PC, so porting will be a breeze.

    Right now the MacTels are not available, not until 2006 sometime, but by the time she is ready to upgrade, she'll have the best OS, on the most used processors and be able to run AutoCAD as well.

    Why bother with Windows? She needs the computer to learn, not to battle malware. Plus with a Mac you won't be getting all the 911 calls.

    http://www.architosh.com/
  • Curnsie Level 3 Level 3
    Aldo

    Tell her to go with a Mac. Don't worry about having to use AutoCad. Its a engineers CAD package that architects have to 'make do' with. A far superior package is ArchiCad which is a purpose built architctural CAD package for Mac and PC, and it is also AutoCad compatible. There is a student version available, at a greatly reduced price.

    Try: www.graphisoft.com/products/archicad/

    I used to be an Architect, so I used both. Thats how I know.

    Andrew
  • Spunkemeyer Level 2 Level 2
    I'm a registered architect, and I use VectorWorks and SketchUp on my G5 PowerMac. AutoCAD (the most popular CAD application) is not available for the Mac and does not work reliably within Virtual PC. I also have a Dell laptop which I use for AutoCAD on projects that require it.

    Given the rate at which computers become obsolete, it is unlikely that the computer your friend uses now will be the one they are using when they're working after school.

    A lot of architecture programs focus on design, not CAD drafting/detailing. A Mac and SketchUp are probably the best bang-for-the buck choices your friend can make. 3D visualization capabilities will serve them best in their studies.
  • d.gray Level 1 Level 1
    You dont mention what her course recommends!!!

    The hardware question is irrelevant if she is using mainstream industrial programs that are not available for the mac.

    Developers are trying hard on the mac, i think Vectorworks is currently the best. But the list is not particularly fully featured or long!

    I would only reccomend a PC. i was in the same position for my degree course, and went for the mac. It was a wrong decision. It is a great computer (g5) but there is little point in getting something flashy when its benefits are of little use. - It can be very fast but she'll probably only appreciate it when ripping music...

    Not sure what flavor of Architecture she will be doing, but if there is any structural analysis then the mac will be way out of its depth.

    Of course this will be different when you can duel boot, and get the best of both worlds. At the moment i would suggest that running a mac on her course would require more commitment and flexibility on her part. (eg using the uni labs more!)
  • John Russell4 Level 1 Level 1
    I second the use of Vectorworks as a CAD program. It is cross platform and an extremely powerful and user friendly program.
    I should tell you a story about PC v Mac. I recently took a training course at the HQ of Vectorworks in Maryland. I'm a Mac user and asked if they had Macs to train on, they said no. I then decided to take my G5 Dual 1.8 with 20" display wwith me to use at the course. As part of the course we were doing some rendering which is very taxing on CPU's. Well it was nice to see my screen render way faster than all the others. You can actually see how the dual processors work by the 2 different screen lines being drawn.
    Take care,

    John
  • Nick Z Level 1 Level 1
    Hey Arizona Kid,

    "If heavy processing is needed, AMD 64 FX and now AMD X2 Dual Core will hands down outperform a G5. I am a practical Mac fan, and MacRumors, ThinkSecret, and MacNN have posted numerous links to showdowns where the AMD 64 smoked the G5.

    Additionally, MacRumors and Think Secret have ran stories of OS X sizzling on the Pentium 4 3.6Ghz machines. Just go to their website and you can find the links. I don't want to post them here, because Apple will sensor my post."

    The P4 3.6Ghz was BLOWN AWAY by the G5 in xbench scores. And which Amd are you talking about, 64FX or dual core, if its dual core thats about to change because IBM announce dual core 2.5 PowerPC.

    -Nick
  • Arizona Kid Level 2 Level 2
    Nick,
    I did not say that the P4 was a faster chip than the G5. There is no real way to mention benchmarks scores since all Macs on Pentiums are in developer's hands, bound by secrecy.

    I was merely making a point that certain developers were shocked...saying the P4 just felt faster. Feel means a lot. Also, when they do bench mark scores, its typically windows vs os x. Who's to say a streamlined OS can't SCREAM on a X86 platform. As far as the AMD X2 Dual Core...well enough said. Ok...enough processor debate. My point was I think the G5 chip is not enough of a advantage...to discount the serious disadvatage of not have AutoCad as an option.

    *Back to the orignal recommendation. This is quickly turing into a Mac vs PC type debate, and one of the post made a key comment "AutoCad" is the industrial standard. This doesn't mean it's the best, but standards mean a lot in various industries. That may also be a big deal when learning a program.

    I hate having to justify that I prefer Macs, but I always seem to have to when I mention the PC as being a better platform in a certain area.

    Well, this is one of them!
  • Justin Paul Reese Level 5 Level 5
    The best reason that I know of why Macs constantly outperform PCs is because of the rule applied to the architecture since the beginning. Apple makes the software and the hardware (or if indirectly, the software and hardware comply to Apple's standards.) With the Windows side, this rule can't really apply, because everyone is conforming to software, and there are too many hardware architecture types to try to conform to, and that also explains why Windows programmes don't exactly work 100%.

    At least, this is my understanding.
  • Chris748 Level 2 Level 2
    I use AutoCAD 13 and 2000i on my Macintosh running it in Virtual PC, it works great. In fact regen times on the Mac are almost identical to the times on my Windows XP machine with an AMD 2.10Ghz chip. Believe it or not AutoCAD is not that processor intensive, thus AutoCAD running in Virtual PC is pretty good speed wise. I would strongly suggest buying the Macintosh due to that fact you can easily run the best of the Windows software and the best of the Mac software to get the job done.

    Side note I also output Gcode from a LISP program within AutoCAD that I then send to our high-speed routers and our laser cutters for precision cutting of plastics and metal.
  • Chris748 Level 2 Level 2
    Spunkemeyer says:

    "AutoCAD (the most popular CAD application) is not available for the Mac and does not work reliably within Virtual PC."

    Spunkemeyer is right the last version of AutoCad built for the Macintosh was AutoCAD 12. But we have had 100% good reliably running AutoCAD in VPC both with AutoCAD 13 and with 2000i.
  • Bommer Level 1 Level 1
    Having gone to architecture school (six years), and worked in the computer lab my recommendation would be to find out what the school's recommendation is. Do they support only one platform? Only one manufacturer? Or will they support anything, or nothing?

    Second, what software does the school use for studios, CAD and other classes?

    I think that will answer your question.

    The previous poster is right, the computer she begins school with will probably need to be replaced by the time she graduates.