Macbook Pro 16" M2, CPU and RAM recommendations?

Hello friends,

I am planning to buy my girlfriend a new laptop for her birthday to replace her relatively old computer (a ~4 years old Lenovo Legion Y540 15").

Now that Sketchup, Enscape, AutoCad are all Apple silicon compatible, I was thinking of getting her a 16" Macbook Pro.
I’m just unsure whether I should get it with a M2 Pro or Max CPU and with 32GB or 64GB RAM.

She usually has Sketchup, AutoCad and Enscape running at the same time along with the web browser, and a photo viewing/editing app.
In the future, she will probably also work with Revit (that so far does not support Macos, so it will need to run under virtualization using Parallel Desktop).

With these apps usage in mind, do you think she will get any added value by getting the M2 Max CPU over the Pro, and will 64GB RAM give her any benefits over the 32GB RAM variant?

I’m hoping other users in the forum have similar work loads and can comment based on their current experience.
Thank you :pray:

The Max the will perform significantly better than the Pro for Enscape.

And just to throw an extra spanner in the works, a Windows PC with an Nvidia GPU of a similar price with perform even better and not be hamstrung by Apple’s GPUs.


Thank you very much, @Elmtec-Adam, for sharing your experience :slight_smile: :pray:

When you wrote that a Windows PC with an Nvidia GPU will perform better than an equivalent Mac, do you mean a full size desktop computer with a discrete GPU such as an Nvidia GeForce RTX 30 or 40 series GPU?
Because my girlfriend’s current laptop has an integrated Nvidia 16 series GPU and it’s running quite slow when 3d rendering are concerned.

Laptops too!

Specifically for 3D rendering such as enscape or v-ray , Nvidia RTX cards have dedicated hardware that accelerates the rendering process.
No other manufacturers have done this type of thing yet and/or don’t have the same level of support.

The 3060/ 4060 RTX are good entry points to look at - the 3050 : 4050 or the card you had previously are lower end.

It’s going to depend on her needs I suppose , the Macs are hard to beat if you intend to run on battery , as they are very power efficient so are great away from a desk (as long as you aren’t rendering!)

1 Like

I have a 16” M1 max MacBook Pro with 64 gigs of ram, I love that machine, the battery is amazing and the performance is unbelievable, for cad, 3D modeling, image manipulation and video edition it’s one of the best on the market. I haven’t used enscape on it but generally for rendering a windows laptop or desktop with an RTX gpu will perform better, if rendering is important for her, a windows machine with Nvidia gpu is a better option, I’ve used my MacBook for rendering with blender and Twinmotion l, but my windows desktop machine with Nvidia gpu takes less than half of the time doing the same render. I’ve heard that apple will release soon machines with gpu’s with ray tracing capabilities, that could be a game changer and will boost the rendering times, but for now Nvidia has the lead.


Many thanks for sharing your experience :pray::pray:

Be warned that AutoCAD for Mac is NOT the same as AutoCAD for PC. Yes, there is a Mac version but with this she will lose all of the vertical toolsets (Autocad Architecture, MEP, etc…) as well as Revit not working as well under a VM. I would NOT switch her from PC to Mac if these are the things that she does for a living.
As Elmter-Adam said a PC with nvidia will outperform the Mac in these applications.

1 Like

Thank you so much for sharing all your tips and personal experiences :pray::pray:

Even though I personally really like the stability of MacOS and the technological achievements Apple is reaching with its new Mac computers, the points you all raise are convincing me that my own personal preferences will not be to my girlfriend’s benefit.

I’m hoping that in the future these professional apps will gain full support on the Mac platform (similar to their Windows counterparts), but it seems, that is still not the case at the moment.

As this is the case, can anyone recommend a good Windows based PC that is in the same class and price point of a M2 Max Macbook Pro 16"?

1 Like

Perhaps take a look at one of the Dell XPS models
Opt for a 13th Gen Intel i9 and a 4060 or higher

1 Like

Macs are great machines, for me the only “problem” right now is the gpu performance for rendering compared to Nvidia, once apple releases gpu’s with ray tracing the panorama will be different. For me the perfect combination right now is a a MacBook for working on the go and a pc desktop for rendering.

1 Like

Thank you for explaining your usage status further :pray:

I think your current message summarizes the issue perfectly.

For the time being, using a Mac will require to sacrifice on 3D rendering performance and apps features.

Your case illustrates that the downgrade in performance and features was important enough to convince you to purchase and maintain two different computers — one desktop pc for your office and one Mac laptop for the go.

My girlfriend’s situation is different, because for the time being, she can only have access to one high performance device, which will necessarily be a laptop computer.

As such, reason tells me this one device should give her access to the best rendering performance and the most apps features her profession requires.
And based on the info all you guys kindly shared and have been repeating, the platform that, as of now, will give the best performance and apps features availability is a windows based laptop with a dedicated Nvidia gpu.

it also requires learning to use a different OS, a different work environment, and many little things here and there.

switching from one to another is like going from a left hand manual drive car to a right hand drive automatic one. Sure, it’s still a car, but expect some stalling and taking roundabouts the wrong way.
(and once you’ve mastered both, you’ll switch from one to another without thinking)

exactly. Especially if she’s going to use revit later. it’s a nobrain choice.

3d performance are similar. rendering performances are similar unless you start paying a high end nvidia RTX card, battery is better on a mac but let’s be honest, who is rendering on battery?
But yeah, Revit. Archicad could have been on both, Revit just decides for you.

1 Like

Just keep in mind that if rendering is going to be one of the main uses of the machine, it’s better a gaming gpu than a professional A series gpu.

1 Like

The wording of “integrated” usually is used for intel or AMD GPU which is physically integrated into the CPU socket. For Nvidia GPUs which are really a separated HW elements, the wording is used as dedicated Nvidia GPU. :innocent:

1 Like

Thank you for the clarification. I edited my earlier message with your correction, in case someone else finds use in this topic :slight_smile:

1 Like

Can you please share a recommendation for a good 15-16" gaming laptop that fits your description?

For a good PC laptop, start here…

$1,349.99 - 12th gen i7 - 12700H, RTX 3060, 32 gb ram, 1 tb m.2 PCIe and 16" 3K screen

There are higher performers but this is a good bang for your buck model.

1 Like

I like the Razer Blade laptops, they don’t have a lot of RGB and the thickness is ok for a machine with that power. Other gaming laptops have a lot of colors and lights and the thickness makes them lose the portability.

1 Like

Thank you for all the recommendations. They help :pray:

1 Like

I’m finally looking at Apple Silicon machines and have much the same questions.

To what extent does more RAM help SketchUp especially with large models? My current machine has 16 GB of RAM and when I load a ~200 MB SU file, it uses about ~7.5 GB. Would it help at all to have 32 or 64 GB?

With a 200 MB file:

@francisquitof, with 64 GB, I wonder what you see for RAM usage. Will it assign more if there’s more to assign?