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architecture student thinking about switching to mac - Qs

hello everyone! this is my first post here.

i have been thinking about getting the 13" macbook pro for some time now. i know that i should wait to get the new model that should be released soon but i was actually thinking about getting a refurbished one (a little tight on cash right now).

so my question is, as i am an architecture students i want to know if the programs i use would work well with the integrated nvidia GPU that the 13" macbook has. (sketchup+idx renditioner, revit, vectorworks, photoshop, illustrator, cinema 4d, etc).
and also if i get the 2.53, 4gb model refurbished, i want to know if that computer will suffice my need for at least three more years.

thanks in advanced for your help Happy

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I'm going to say no

I'm going to say no for a couple of reasons.

1: Integrated graphics, even if it's ATI or nVidia, are pretty much universally crap. So if any of these programs have some kind of GPU offloading capability, it won't be worth much.

2: I highly doubt ANY laptop would be enough to keep up with the needs of an architecture student for three years. And with Mac laptops, there is no upgrading the CPU. They are soldered directly to the logic board.

3: A 13" screen which is just barely over 720p, is likely going to feel very small and restrictive for a lot of what you're going to be doing.

4: I have no idea if any of those programs except the 2 Adobe apps even have a Mac version. If not, then you'd be looking at either dual booting or taking a performance hit using a program like Parallels. Neither of which is a very desirable solution. If you dual boot, you'll spend probably 75% or more of your time in one OS, and unless that's Mac OS X, what exactly was the point in buying a Mac? If you use Parallels, or a similar program, then you take about a 15% performance hit across the board. I'm guessing those programs often seem slow enough when they're running at native speeds, let alone when you have to run them through a layer of emulation that will take a performance toll.

Personally, I wouldn't recommend a laptop to someone like you at all. You want to go desktop or bust, and none of Apple's offerings except the Mac Pro would be anything I could really recommend in good conscience to someone like you. That's the only one that would likely have the requisite combination of power and expandability to keep up with you for 3+ years. Maybe the 27" iMacs with the Core i7 CPUs, but those cost about as much as the entry level Mac Pro, and the Mac Pro is infinitely easier to work on when you need to upgrade later. However, unless you really want a Mac, and all your apps have Mac versions, you could probably get a better deal on a PC. I love the Mac Pro... It is such a beautifully elegant design, and a joy to work on (I do warranty repairs on Macs for a living), but they're expensive.

If you don't absolutely need a Mac, you might want to look at Dell's Studio XPS 8100 systems. For roughly the price of a MacBook Pro, you can get a pretty impressive system with far more raw power than any MacBook Pro.

Whatever you do, I'd recommend getting the extended warranty with the system. Just be sure it's a MANUFACTURER warranty, and not some store warranty like with Best Buy. If you plan on keeping the system for a couple of years, and expect to be a starving student most/all of that time, one hardware failure can more than pay for the cost of the warranty.

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thank you so much for your answer, really helpful Happy

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