Hello There,

Probably a question constantly being asked but since the options on the market are getting bigger and better all the time…
I need a laptop which can run Solid Works, Photoshop, Freehand and Illustrator (Footwear design).
Can anyone recommend on a laptop which can deal with them all (and maybe with some more in the future…).

Thanks in advance,

Look at AlienWare PCs, although MACS will soon run Solid Works and 3D rendering packages

Mac’s already do. I have a Macbook Pro with an XP partition. I boot into XP when I want to use SolidWorks 2007 which is the only reason I have it. I have been told XP and PC apps runs more effeciently on a Mac than on a PC due to the hardware.

I use CS3 of course, along with Pages (Apples version of Word) and Keynote (Apples version of Powerpoint). Pages and Keynote are much more easier to use, hassle free and I can export to PDF’s, Word and Powerpoint files if necessary.

once you go mac, you never go back. with the new intel chipsets that run pc apps, you should have no prob on a new macbook pro.

use of interface, less crashing, etc. all the standard reasons to run a mac. (plus they are nice lookin).

also suggest to ask you question in the software/hardware forum where you might get more response.


and now that parallels run 3D gams/apps you don’t even need to dual boot…

Mac book pro.

Since I’ve never worked on a Mac, how hard would it be to get used to it (if at all with the new interface) and which software commonly used on a PC can’t be used on a Mac (if at all).

And another question, regardless to the laptop issue, what other software do you commonly use that helps you in the design process? (Just trying to learn if I work in the easiest way and the most efficient one with the Illustrator-Photoshop-Freehand combination).

And by the way, I did post the same question on the software/hardware forum on the same day I did here and never got an answer…


I’m not going to lie, I’m a PC user and always have been and I’m a bit sceptical about this whole ‘dual operating system’ thing MAC has going on…

Who has some experience with BOTH PC and MAC and can honestly say that the speed of 3d programs and whatever is just as good on a dual-platform MAC as opposed to a PC? I’m interested to know.

Althought MacBooks are great computers, they’re not equipped with the kind of video cards that allow RealView (a really beautiful way to work with your parts) in SolidWorks. You need a FireGL (ATI) or Quadro (nVidia); the T60P (Lenovo/ IBM) mobile Precision series (Dell) or nw8440 or 9440 (HP) are all designed specifically for Solidworks.

Im currently in school and we are required to have a computer that can run Alias/Solidworks and everything else. Most of us have the Dell Precisions, but more kids are getting the macbooks every year. The Macbooks really do run the 3d apps just as well as windows and they run cs2 (not sure about 3 but I’m sure its the same deal) even better. That along with the more stable os and MUCH more compact dimensions and weight make the macbook very desirable.

The pro for the Dell’s is really in their warrenty, for well under $200 dollars you get guaranteed replacement of all parts basically no questions asked (a kid threw up on his computer and they replaced the whole thing in less than a week. Because I always have my computer with me and am constantly lugging it from studio to my apartment it has been broken many times to the point where I am on a first name basis with the Dell repair man, Mike. That being said the computers really are kinda shit quality, which is probably a big reason they break so often, but the dell service is courtious and very quick. So it really isnt that big of a hassle.

Either way any of the above mentioned computers will work, and its more how you treat/run them.


More on above topic in this thread:

That’s totally true. I’ve had the same Vaio for four years now (running CS3), never had any problems at all, took it all over the world, but I do look after it.

I think it depends what you are going to use your notebook for, I prefer a p.c. coz I have to do all kinds of officey stuff, I use Excel as much as I use Illustrator. There are pros and cons.

Make a list of your requirements, any hardware or software you want to use, do some research online to see if it’s compatible. Then make your decision based on that. What suits one person may not suit another.

I access the internet completely wirelessly, I just found out that the latest 3g internet datacards will not work on macs - this is the kind of thing you could do with knowing in advance.

Finally are you going to be travelling with it? Then check the weight, a heavy notebook can really grate after you’ve schlepped it halfway round China.

Ok, I’m p.c. biased unlike most designers, but I’ve also noticed mac owners run into problems when they are working abroad. A client ended up having to borrow my notebook in order to do a presentation when we were at her conference in Italy, because the hotel had no MAC compatible equipment. If you are working in Europe you’ll find macs are far less common than in the US (probably because they cost about double the price!), so like my client don’t assume that every place you work or stay wll have compatible cables, etc, bring them.

Chinese factories will probably not have any MAC compatible equipment either. I always make a point of taking back up c.d.s with me to China incase anything happens to my notebook, in the event of a problem, I could just carry on working on a p.c. in the factory. So long as you are aware of this and make a plan of what you require before you travel, using a mac shouldn’t be a problem.

shoenista: i would love for you to tell me what equipment wasn’t working on a mac… if you’re thinking about a projector, well w/ buying a new mac you get a DVI to VGA adapter that works with any projector…

as far as software goes, you can run all office apps natively on os x or if you enjoy working w/ them under xp/vista use parallels or dual boot.

the price of mac and pc laptops (w/ comparable specs) is actually not that far apart, not the 2x price you mentioned. i agree though the apple protection plan is more expensive though…

the way i see it, you are buying a mac that can run both OSes w/out any difficulties, menaing mac and pc programs are available… whereas the other way around is not the case… and again the price difference is negligible…

yup, really there is no such thing as “non-mac compatible equipment” when you are talking about the usual peripherals you would need for business or school. I’ve had a mac in my travels to china, taiwan and everywhere throughout europe and if anything connections are usually easier than on a pc laptop (also had a pc from work).

wireless networks pretty much connect with no fiddling around, as does projectors, usb thumbdrives etc.

one thing for sure, the mac will be a lot more stable and you will need IT support less frequently for crashing, bugs, and configuration errors.

i know i sound like a mac-fanboy, but as mentioned have been working on pcs at work and macs at home for the last 6 years. now i have my own business im only running mac and couldnt be happier. i swear i can be almost twice as effiecient not having to reboot 3 times a day as i did on my pc (ibm) and am much happier.


I do.

In the first week I had the Mac another designer and I bechmarked our computers at a Solidworks render/3d display while using other memory and video intensive applications. We pretty much set up the same assembly ,with teh same parameters and opened every other huge application that we could and rendered away.

My Mac was faster and allowed me to do other things in the backround in Photshop CS3 and swap back and forth. His locked up, but was slightly faster when not using as many other applications. Plus I had the advantage of actually making adjustments outside of the Windows environment, while Solidowrks rendered happily in the Windows environment in the backround.

It is worth noting that while my collegue did not have the “highest” Nvidia video card, it was still comprable to mine, and had he installed a higher one he would have (maybe) done better, but then again he also spent $500 less than my Mac, and he was able to tweak his render for it to go faster, becasue he runs Solidworks constantly.

We both agreed that the Mac was just as good if not better, but that if you are used to a PC you wouldn’t really need the Mac and if you did know what you are doing on a PC (basic maintennce, file management etc) you’re better of with a PC.

Now if you are someone like me who has been dual platform for some time, and only bought the PC to play games, use Solidworks and Rhino, while doing everything else on the Mac, (OK yes I’m weird like that) get the Mac.

plus it looks better

Ooh I rattled the cage of the mac hugging brigade didn’t I?

If you are in the UK, macs are much more expensive than they are in the USA. That’s why you don’t see so many. I’m not saying you can’t get compatible projectors, of course you can, but I was just pointing out that if you are travelling outside of the United States and needed to borrow one in a hotel (like my client did), they may not have all the correct leads, so you need to ensure bring your own.

How much is a Mac book pro in the USA, out of interest? Edited to add, just looked it up - 30% more expensive in the UK, if you compare USA and UK Apple store prices.

As for hardware that doesn’t work with a MAC, I was asked if I had a mac when I got my new 3g datacard, because at the time it was incompatible.
I don’t know if the situation has changed, but I think the OP should still check everything and assume nothing.

There are often problems with new software and hardware on any machine (vista is a nightmare, CS3 caused all sorts of problems for MAC users when it first came out), so don’t we think it’s worth checking stuff out properly before making such a big purchase?

CS3 worked flawlessly from day 1 on my Mac.

The CS3 problems depended on the kind of MAC you have, whether you would have any problems, just to reiterate, whatever new hardware you buy it is always worth checking out if there are any issues that might affect you.

as shoenista mentioned (not quite) 26% upcharge from US to UK

US: ~ $2500
UK: ~ £1600 = ~ $3150

what wasn’t mentioned is the 17.5% VAT incl in the UK price… and higher duty tax in the UK.

macs are more expensive… you are paying for a superior os (proven more stable and runs xp better than a pc)

my experience is if you are going to buy a tower you will want to go with a PC generally because you can build/swap/upgrade parts way more easily than a mac. as for a laptop, i’d lean towards a mac for because of the stable os, the ability to run all win apps and to be honest, i haven’t seen a pc come close to a design as minimal and sleek as the mac…

ok i’m done tooting apple’s horn. cheers!

true macs are a bit more than pcs. but you get what you pay for i believe. Dont forget in the conversions above that a pc cost would also be higher than the US as the taxes and duties also apply.

that being said, especially with laptops, you get a lot for the money. built in webcams on the new macbooks, all the firewire and usb ports you need and apps like DVDplayer for playing movies that surprisngly still dont come standard with most pcs out of the box.