Hardware recommendations

[20/11/2023 > updated with latest M3 series models and to follow Graphisoft’s project size defintions]

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

For a workstation hardware cost analysis in AUD of the various options below please refer here and to understand how this compares with PC hardware please look here.


MacMini (mid-range spec)

Spec suitable as a regular CAD workstation for medium sized architectural projects.
Also suitable as ARCHICAD BIMCLOUD server for small office with medium sized projects – choose capacity & ethernet card depending on your specific requirements.

Apple M2 Pro with 10-core CPU, 16-core GPU and 16-core Neural Engine
32GB unified memory **
512GB SSD storage
Gigabit or 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000/10000 using an RJ-45 connector)

 

MacStudio (mid-range to high-end spec)
Spec suitable for a CAD workstation as well as being able to deal better with heavier loads, e.g. rendering software.

Apple M2 Max with 12-core CPU, 30-core GPU and 16-core Neural Engine
32GB unified memory **
512GB SSD storage

 

MacBook Pro 14  (mid-range spec)
Spec suitable as a regular CAD workstation for medium sized architectural projects.
Best used with an external Display and a USB-C Hub (refer below).

Apple M3 with 8-core CPU, 10-core GPU and 16-core Neural Engine
24GB unified memory **
512GB SSD storage
70W USB-C Power Adapter
14-inch Liquid Retina XDR display

 

MacBook Air 15 (entry-level spec)
Spec suitable for a CAD workstation for small architectural projects, i.e. alts and adds or single residential.
Best used with an external Display and a USB-C Hub (refer below).

Apple M2 chip with 8-core CPU, 10-core GPU and 16-core Neural Engine
24GB unified memory **
512GB of SSD storage

 

 

iPad Pro 12.9 inch [6th gen] We now also include the iPad Pro 12.9, which in combination with an iMac is fantastic – for more details read our thoughts here.

12.9-inch iPad Pro
Apple M2 chip
256GB
Wi-Fi
Apple Pencil (2nd gen.)

Instead of the rather heavy and expensive Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad, we recommend the Rebound Magnetic Keyboard Cast from ESR

 

 

Accessories

All new Apple iMacs, MacSutdio & Mac minis 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 14-Port Thunderbolt 3 Dock @ approx. AUD 500

 

Monitors
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:

Apple Studio Display, expensive but currently unmatched built-in camera (12MP & Centre Stage)

DELL 27 4K USB-C Hub Monitor P2723QE, which comes with an integrated USB-C hub, this eliminates all the additional Hubs and cables usually required. An additional nice touch, it also includes all required cables, although the USB-C cable is a bit on the short side. Price may vary, but as a guide it costs around AUD 706 incl. GST and delivery.
AOC U28P2U-BS (28 Inch). This more or less unknown brand budget option sets you back about AUD 650. Similar features to the DELL monitors with 4K resolution and integrated USB 3 hub.

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, Apple no longer offers a pickup based reycling programme (in Australia). Instead they offer a Trade-In option for some of their products.

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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