Interior Design Student - Mac or PC?

This isn’t totally sketch up related but maybe there is a designer out there who can help. I’m in my 2nd year of school for my BID and I have been using both a Mac laptop and PC desktop. I am buying a new laptop that can hopefully support everything so I can be more mobile with all of my courses. I prefer Macs but I feel like a PC is a smarter choice to run all of the programs - Cad, Sketch up, V-ray, Photoshop, Indesign, Adobe Illustrator, Powerpoint, Word, Excel……etc. - that I use on a regular basis. I would greatly any advice in making the right choice. Thank you in advance.

These days, choosing between Mac or PC is just a matter of personal preference because both OSs can run software from the other OS on a virtual machine (like using Bootcamp on Mac to run Excel & Word). There definitely are pros and cons to each OS, but people do amazing stuff on all the major OSs (Windows, Mac, Linux). I’d recommend just getting whatever you prefer using.

The hardware specs are pretty important though. Make sure you understand the difference between SSD & SATA storage, what RAM is for, etc. Choosing different hardware specs could mean the difference between your computer taking 5 minutes to turn on & taking 16 seconds to turn on, influences render times, etc. Oh, and I’d recommend watching some reviews on YouTube before buying anything because often they have some pretty valuable insights.

Personally, I prefer Macs, but I used some PCs in college and they worked fine too. I just like the Mac aesthetics because they’re nice to look at.

That is probably true. As an aside, V-ray needs a Nvidia graphics card to support GPU rendering, so that part only works on a PC.

I have understood that the new non-Intel Macs no longer support Bootcamp.

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Ok, well I’ve decided on a PC just because most of our readings and instructions are for PC’s and it be easier for me for school. Now which one? I have been advised against HP and Windows 10 (to use windows 7 instead). Someone else suggested a gaming computer……
Anyone familiar with Dell?

From a SketchUp point of view, you should know that SketchUp 2021 shows a warning dialog when you open SketchUp on Windows 7 or 8. There is good reason to suspect that future versions of SketchUp will require Windows 10.

2021 does seem to work on Windows 7 and 8, but that’s without the level of testing that we do on Windows 10.

That’s news to me… and actually a really big problem for Mac users.

Go for a windows laptop with a Nvidia graphics card.This not because of Sketchup but because other 3d graphics programs uses Nvidia more. Macs don’t use 3d as well and VR is a none starter.
Personally I use a 3 year old HP Omen which I am happy with. It balances between a games machine and a office based machine.

Nothing wrong with HP but their “mobile workstations” are not meant for people who have to pay for them themselves.

In my experience, Windows 10 is today faster than older ones.

“Gaming computer” is generally a good idea to start looking for. For SketchUp use, look for a CPU that is somewhere at the higher end of single-thread performance benchmarks. Number of CPU cores is not that important.
Computers come today with at least 16 GB of memory. It may suffice, but getting more is not a bad idea.
I prefer Nvidia GPU-s. For SketchUp use almost any is enough, but V-ray likes a RTX card.

Take a look at Lenovo, I personally used HP for 20 years and was never really impressed. I now use BOXX and Lenovo. Lenovo seems to have good prices.
And running Enscape may be another reason to go PC.

My comments:
Mac is an operating system (software) running on the Personal Computer (hardware). To be able to use Mac you will get a PC anyway. The PC can be laptop and desktop.

I guess the right question is: Mac or Windows PC?

PCs - manufactured by Apple - can run Mac OS natively.
Intel (x64) based PCs - manufactured by Apple - can easely run Windows via Bootcamp or other emulation method, without soo much compromise.
M1 (ARM) based PCs - manufactured by Apple - can run Windows via other emulation method with soo much compromise. We can not guess surely yet if the emulation of Windows will be done much better later.

Intel or AMD (x64) based PCs - NOT manufactured by Apple - can nativelly run Windows and can run Mac OS (Hackintosh) via “other” emulation method with soo much compromise.

Usually (currently) PC’s equipeed with Nvidia graphics more preferred to use with SU, at least for personal computers running Windows.
The current Intel based Apple Mac PCs are using AMD graphic. These are reportedly as good as the Intel based PC using Nvidia. Except for rendering task.

I have seen opinions about ARM (M1) based PCs - manufactured by Apple - generally ruming smoother with SU than the previous generation Intel based Macs. Except for rendering task. We don’t know soo much yet about the graphics and the future OpenGL implementation.


My current best suggestion is an Intel, AMD (x64) based PC with dedicated NVidia graphic card using Windows 10 operating system.

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I have a lot of experience with gaming and ‘workstation’ laptops.

Windows (“PC”) seems like the right choice for you. And get windows 10, its totally fine. Macbook Pros are very expensive for the performance they offer. Gaming laptops are perfect for SketchUp and 3d rendering purposes.

Before getting into at brands or models, there are a few more important things to consider:
Price (range…you can pay $300 up to about $7000. $1800 should be adequate)
Size & weight You ride an escooter to school? Maybe look for a lightweight model.Some gaming laptops focus on having huge batteries, or tough robust shells and are packed with hardware plus a heavy power adaptor… so they are heavier than you might think. But you can get lighter ones.
Features Example, for me, i couldnt work efficiently without a proper numpad on the keyboard. Or two USB-C connectors. You may have different needs & wants, and comfort is important.

I honestly think brands dont matter too much if you are considering something in the mid to high end - the internal parts are mostly made in the same factories these days anyway. Read a few professional online reviews before buying since it’s possible for any manufacturer (even apple) to release a crappy model from time to time…

I use an HP (Omen 15T) laptop and it’s very good. The other brands / series to consider are Gigabyte Aorus, Asus ROG, Dell XPS, Alienware (pricey), Acer Predator, Lenovo Legion, and MSI. But, since they are PCs, they have plenty of specs to customise. Unfortunatleuy COVID has meant a lot of models are out of stock or priced very high. So you will probalby have to shop around a bit. Here’s what I’d aim for:

Graphics /GPU (always start with graphics…the entire laptop is designed around this): nvidia 2060, 2070 or 3060 or 3070 (3070 is getting very pricey!)
CPU: most Ryzen 5 (5600), or Intel i5 or i7 will do.
Ram: 16GB (if you get into a lot of vray you may want 32GB)
SSD: 1TB NVME M.2 drive (though, you could upgrade this later).
Display: 15" QHD with IPS is nice (dont need 144hz). If you always plug into an extenral monitor/dock, then a basic FHD coudl be okay.

For college use, i really do recommend a 3-year warranty with accidential damage protection.

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Wow, thank you so much! your response definitely gives me something to work with. Much appreciated!

We use Sketch up 2020 and Vray Next at the moment so that shouldn’t be an issue. I’m not clear why He advised against windows 10 but I’m going to inquire.
Thanks

I would pick PC.

Hello again,

So I went with an Alienware M15 R3 and I’m really happy with my choice. Thank you so much for your input on this topic.
Cheers!
Cara