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Hi guys i am just looking for some advice as to what laptop to choose and what suits me best i was hoping you may have some advice. Basicially i am a product design student so will be running software such as Solidworks, Photoshop, illustrator, 3d studio max and other CAD and rendering programmes.


In my university i am surrounded by Mac's and am wondering is it a good decision to purchase the 15" what ive been told to go for (not sure what spec yet) is it the right laptop to go for taking into account what i have stated above? what laptops are you using espicially if running similar programmes i would be very gratefull to find out. Just incase you don't no these 15" range from around £1500-1800 .


Thanks in advance, all help appreciated!!!!

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Hi Cmcdaid,


I just got my posting rights back after lengthy spell away and thought I'd answer question as I have a bit of direct experience here:


I studied PD in Brighton and for my final two years had a macbook pro.


First off, yes Macs of any kind are beautifully designed, an absolute pleasure to use and will make all your colleagues very jealous. However they lack a very important thing for studying product design at university in the UK, native support for Solidworks, Rhino and other programs commonly used at universities.


You can run http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1461 Bootcamp on your mac, which on the whole will run perfectly any Windows native CAD software. Although this is great, consider the following:



+ You can have the beautifully considered user experience of the Mac OS to do your general bits an pieces on (native run of adobe CS and MS Office for Mac) and then a pure CAD workstation on your Windows partition.

+ Mac will give you unparalleled longevity over all other PC and laptops. I've had my MB Pro for almost 7 years and it's still as if new. It's been dropped down stairs and left out in the rain in that time. My partners HP Laptop is two years old and has a dead battery, is scuffed scratched and falling apart and just looks dated.

+ Running windows on a mac seems to make much better usage of the RAM available

  • A 4GB Mac will run OS with 4GB but run (notoriously so) slower than you'd expect.
  • Your windows OS partition will only visibly make use of 3GB of the RAM (don't know why) but it just seems to do so much better with it.+


- Although Macs all come with bootcamp and online support, you'll have to buy a copy of the Windows OS (XP, 7, 8 etc.) to install on it. I think this would be up to an extra £180 ish on top of the mac cost.

- Although switching between OS X and Win on Bootcamp is easy, it does become a faff when you realise you can't freely swap files between the two, and when you load up Win does an.. oh.. crap I forgot to put that particular file on my flash drive and you have to load up OS X again then boot up Windows to do some work. (I upgraded to a nice big iMac recently and do this contantly - maybe a lack of focus).

- For Product Design you will be using graphics software, MS Office products and most importantly CAD. All of these are very resource hungry (RAM and CPU) with a Windows Laptop/Desktop you will get so so much more for your money. I don't have any examples but I know when I was shopping for my iMac (I went with Apple because I'm an addict) I looked at a customer build Dell desktop with Dual 27" monitor, 16GB RAM, 3.4GHz 6-Core CPU which was the same price as my 1x27" monitor 4GB RAM 3.2GHz quad-core iMac.

My bottom line is working on a Mac honestly makes it worth getting out of bed but PC will be much better value for money when you need the power you'll be needing for complex assemblies and rendering etc.




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Yeah the 15" is probably a good bet- but as mentioned before you might get more performance from a PC which tend to have better graphics cards updates-which can sometimes be a pain. If you had the cash I might get a Macbook Air and a custom built desktop with the requisite horsepower.

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