Hardware recommendations

[12/08/2020 > updated to reflect latest Apple Hardware releases]

We’re often asked which Apple Hardware we recommend for Architects – so here is our shortlist:

iMac 27 inch (low spec)
Spec suitable for a CAD workstation.

Retina 5K display
3.1GHz Processor
256GB Storage (check against your existing storage usage, and upgrade if required)

3.1GHz 6-core 10th-generation Intel Core i5 processor
Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz
32GB of 2666MHz DDR4 memory, configurable up to 128GB *
256GB SSD Drive
Radeon Pro 5300 with 4GB of GDDR6 video memory
Two Thunderbolt 3 ports
5120-by-2880 P3 Retina 5K display with True Tone
Magic Mouse 2
Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad – English

iMac 27 inch (high spec)

Spec suitable for a CAD workstation as well as being able to deal better with heavier loads, e.g. rendering software.

Retina 5K display
Custom Built

3.6GHz 8-core 10th-generation Intel Core i9 processor with Turbo Boost up to 5.0GHz
32GB of 2666MHz DDR4 memory, configurable up to 128GB *
512GB SSD Storage
Radeon Pro 5500 XT with 8GB of GDDR6 video memory
Magic Mouse 2
Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad – English

* Add non-Apple high quality OWC RAM upgrades at approximately $95 per 8GB, minimum of 32GB total is recommended. Please contact us.


iPad Pro 12.9 inch [4th gen] We now also include the iPad Pro 12.9 in combination with an iMac is a veritable alternative to a MacBook Pro based setup – for more details read our thoughts here.

12.9-inch iPad Pro


MacBook Pro 16 inch
Spec suitable for a mobile CAD workstation – we recommend to use an additional 27 inch Monitor for extended CAD usage (see below for specs).

2.6GHz 6-core ninth‑generation Intel Core i7 processor with Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz
32GB of 2666MHz DDR4 memory
AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 8GB of GDDR6 memory
512GB of SSD storage
16-inch Retina display with True Tone
Four Thunderbolt 3 ports
Touch Bar and Touch ID

Mac mini
Spec suitable as ARCHICAD BIMCLOUD server – choose capacity & ethernet card depending on office size.

3.2GHz 6‑core eighth-generation Intel Core i7 processor (Turbo Boost up to 4.6GHz)
32GB of 2666MHz DDR4 memory, configurable up to 64GB **
Intel UHD Graphics 630
512GB of SSD storage
Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet using an RJ-45 connector)

** For Mac mini only, we recommend to use the Apple based RAM – upgrades with 3rd party RAM is possible but technically challenging.



All new Apple iMacs still come with USB 3 ports – however all Apple MBPro’s only have USB-C / Thunderbolt 3 ports. In order to connect any USB based external devices (backup harddrives, USB Sticks, etc.) we recommend the MacAlly USB-C to USB-A adapters at approx. AUD 30
If you also plan to use an additional Monitor with your MBPro, we recommend either a Satechi Slim Aluminum Type-C Multi-Port Adapter @ approx. 85 AUD or for a more powerful alternative a OWC USB-C Dock with Mini DisplayPort @ approx. AUD 210

You may want a separate monitor at home or in the office for your laptop.
As Apple’s Thunderbolt Display is out of production, below are some alternatives:
DELL UltraSharp 27 4K Monitor U2718Q, which comes with an integrated USB 3 hub. Prices vary, but as a guide budget around AUD 850.
AOC U2777PQU (27 Inch). The unknown brand budget option at about AUD 650. Similar features to the DELL monitors with 4K resolution and integrated USB 3 hub.
Note that some Apple computers have limited resolutions they can display: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT206587.
All the above screens have a matte screen finish.

In with the new, Out with old

If you have one or even a few old machines sitting around gathering dust and are wondering what to do with them, you can arrange to have them picked up and recycled through Apple’s website: https://www.apple.com/au/recycling/.

Before doing this always check there is no sensitive or essential data stored on the computer’s hard disk(s)!
You can use software like Carbon Copy Cloner to back up to another hard disk, if the hard disk is still working. If the hard disk is, but the rest of the computer isn’t, you may still be able to start it in target disk mode and copy data across.
Once you made sure you have all your data copied, it is a good idea to wipe the hard disk via Applications / Utilities / Disk Utility > Erase (and choose the most secure option. Note this may take quite a while…).

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