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SHIPARCH 06-25-2011 01:37 AM

Architecture Student - Buying MacBook Pro! Questions
Hello everyone, this is my first post here and I'm starting with a new thread. O:)

I'm an architecture student and will be starting grad. school on August. My old VAIO FZ340 died about a month ago and the obvious solution is getting a Mac. The quality and attention to detail of Apple products and my sister's MacBook Pro sold it. I will be ordering mid August so I guess the computer will be shipped with OS X Lion.

I intend on running the latest versions of AutoCad, Photoshop, and Revit simultaneously along with programs like Google Earth and the internet. Revit requires Windows so I will be running Parallels as well. I will also use Maya and Final Cut to a lesser extent. I want the computer to be as fast as possible when loading documents and transferring files, good rendering times would also be a plus. I don't plan on doing any gaming but might watch Netflix every now and then.

I would like the computer being future proof though I know that's almost impossible but want it to last 6+ years. I'm no computer geek and will not be doing surgical procedures on my Mac so whatever I get now stays put. I configured the computer on the apple website and with student discounts they go from $2500 - $3000.

Here is my best possible configuration:

MacBook Pro 15-Inch:
-Processor: 2.3GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7
-Memory: 8GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x4GB
-Hard Drive: 256GB Solid State Drive
-Display: MacBook Pro 15-Inch Hi-Res Glossy Widescreen Display

Here are my questions. Will I need a 2.3GHz processor or will the 2.2GHz do fine? Cache 8MB or 6MB? Remember I need speed.

Is the Solid State Drive proven? I'm trying to justify the extra cost, I will be installing my programs on this internal drive along with a semester's worth of work. I know Lion will have a feature called TRIM but will the drive lose performance over time? I intend on doing a clean OS install every semester or so. Would getting the 7200rpm 500GB Hard Drive be better? I like the SSD having no moving parts and that it generates less heat, my old computer's video card was fried due to the heat, I also live in a very hot place.

I would appreciate any help or info you guys can give me.



chas_m 06-25-2011 05:36 AM

In my own personal opinion (which is still evolving!), SSD drives are great BUT they just don't justify the price in my mind. I would say a 7200rpm 500GB (or higher, you can get up to a 750GB drive that will fit) is the better option at this particular moment in time. When the price comes down on SSDs I will change my tune like a jukebox hit by Fonzie.

TRIM technology (or whatever Apple decides to do that is like that) solves the issue of drive slowdown over time on SSDs, so that is not really a concern.

Processor: the difference between 2.3 and 2.2 is too small to even consider IMO.
Cache: more is of course better, particularly if you do a lot of repetitive tasks.

Six years is really pushing it (not because of the machine, but because of the rapid pace of major change in technology). To be blunt, I don't think that's realistic. I used to keep my computers on average 5 years, these days I can't go four years without feeling like I'm overdue for a change.

bobtomay 06-25-2011 06:03 AM

Computers can and do last that long, but "expecting" a computer to last 6+ years is quite an unrealistic thought at the time of purchase. Particularly when you're talking about the need for high end software (translate high $) such as you will be using. My guess - a 60 minute render/encode on the 2.2 would save you 2-4 minutes max on the 2.3.

Everyone here that has put an SSD in their Macs pretty much love them. I'm with chas and am still waiting for the price to drop and putting my money into 7200RPM 500-750GB drives for my notebook.

If an SSD size will not be large enough to store all your data and you'll be using a USB or FW external drive for additional storage space, then you've just slowed down your read/write times vs an internal 7200 drive by a considerable margin.

Gapmd 07-05-2011 11:36 PM

Running Revit on Parallels 6.0
My son is also an Architecture student and we purchased a MBP 15" for him and I loaded it up with Revit Architecture Suite 2011 running on Parallels 6.0
and Win7.

I am getting ready to revert back to removing the Parallels 6 and partitioning the drive with Bootcamp and put the Win7 directly on that partition due to the lack of processing speed using Parallels 6.

I now have a cracked glossy screen which I am in the process of doing research to see if I can replace it with an anti-glare screen, as I know how much better that is using AutoCAD on anti-glare screens, so if anyone can provide me with any feedback on how much of a task that is going to be, that would be greatly appreciated.

Good luck with your Mac purchase.


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