Hardware recommendations

[31/08/2022 > updated with 27inch iMac alternatives & DELL 4K USB-C monitor]

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.

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

Apple M1 Max with 10-core CPU, 24-core GPU and 16-core Neural Engine
32GB unified memory **
512GB SSD storage


MacBook Pro 14  (with M1 Pro)
Suitable as regular CAD workstation in conjunction with an external Display and a USB-C Hub (refer below).

Apple M1 Pro with 8-core CPU, 14-core GPU and 16-core Neural Engine
32GB unified memory **
512GB SSD storage
67W USB-C Power Adapter
14-inch Liquid Retina XDR display


MacBook Air
Only suitable for admin staff that do not require or have only minimal interaction with CAD software.

Apple M1 chip with 8‑core CPU, 7‑core GPU and 16‑core Neural Engine
16GB unified memory **
256GB of SSD storage


Mac mini
Spec suitable as ARCHICAD BIMCLOUD server for small office with medium sized projects – choose capacity & ethernet card depending on your specific requirements.

Apple M1 chip with 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU and 16-core Neural Engine
16GB of unified memory **
512GB of SSD storage
Gigabit or 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000/10000 using an RJ-45 connector)


iPad Pro 12.9 inch [5th gen] We now also include the iPad Pro 12.9 in combination with an iMac is a fantastic  – for more details read our thoughts here.

12.9-inch iPad Pro
Apple Pencil (2nd gen.)



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 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:

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.
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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