PC vs. MAC for Industrial Designers

Which of the two systems do most industrial designers/firms use, PC or MAC?

I have noticed some 3D modeling software can’t be used on a MAC. The maker will not warrenty the software either if its ran on “Virtual PC for MAC”, nor can you access the help option for assistance. This leads me to believe PC is the prefered system.

Any opinion is welcome. Thanks!

Pick your software. Buy a computer that can run it. In most cases, that’s gonna be a PC.

In my case, I use Rhino. I’ve been thinking about getting a Pure rendercard… this won’t work on a Mac.

I know someone in architecture that’s forced to use Vectorworks and FormZ because their shop is Mac. He likes Sketchbook, but you can get that for PC also. I have another friend who just bought an iBook for $3000. It won’t run the free AutoStitch program that I used to do the panoramics for him… automatically and in 30 secs.

If you do 2D graphic design, Mac might be the way to go. But for just about everything else, PC is cat’s meow.


For design you should go the PC route. It can run virtually every program and it’s much easier to design and customize your own system. I doesn’t take a genious to go into a computer store and see the tiny mac department vs. several thousand square feet of PC hardware, software, and accessories.

The only group out there that still seems to use the mac for everything is people who do music production. Graphic designers tend to use Mac for photoshop and illustrator but the PC versions are identical. The only real claim to fame is that the gamma curve on Macs are supposedly more correct than those used on PCs. But if you are that concerned about color matching between the screen and the printer you can get a spider that mounts to your screen and calibrates everything for you.


Tell me more about the “gamma curve” + “spider” for color matching. I don’t know what these are.

Heres the info, its basically a calculation of how bright things are on screen. The calculation that Macs use is considered more “true” compared to a pc. You can correct this on a pc by using a spider. Its a device that you attach to the screen and plug into the computer via USB, through sofware the device will take a reading of your monitor levels and correct it according to various color system standards. It’s really useful if you are a graphic designer and need your screen and prints to look identical.

Here’s a photo:


  1. Gamma is the curve that describes how the middle tones of images appear on a computer. Gamma is sometimes confused with brightness and/or contrast. Changing the value of the gamma affects the mid-tones while leaving the whites and blacks unaltered. Gamma adjustment is often used to compensate for the differences between Mac and Window video cards and displays. (Apple Computer Inc. (2001), Final Cut Pro 2 User’s Manual, pg. 1371.)
  2. Images are brighter on a Macintosh computer than on a Windows machine. … As a consequence, you need to view your images (productions) on both a Mac and Windows computer, or at least on a Mac with gamma correction On (Mac standard) and Off (Windows standard), and adjust your images brightness so it doesn’t look horrible on either. (Apple Computer Inc. (2002), QuickTime for the Web, pg. 252-253.)
  3. Gamma controls how the intensity of the displayed images increases with higher values. A gamma curve describes how graphics hardware interprets luminance values to display brightness. Gamma issues occur when you’re trading image files among platforms with different gammas. Looking at the same image on Mac and PC side by side, RGB=0 and Y=0 look equally black, RGB=255 and Y=255 look equally white, but at Y=127 the PC looks darker. The difference is the gamma. On most PC’s, gamma is that of the CRT, and can be between 2.0 and 2.5 on different machines (with 2.2 or 2.5 considered the default in different circumstances). On Macs, the default is 1.8, although the Mac OS ColorSync control lets you change this. Mac gamma gives you a lot more detail in the whites at the expense of the blacks. This is better for print projects, but less ideal for video.(Ben Waggoner. (2002), Compression for Great Digital Video, pg. 38-39.)


Thanks for the description. I found it to be very helpful. I am going to look into the spider.

Best regards!

But I thought it was entertaining to find the hakced mac OS runs faster on PC than on mac computers … killing the debate about whether the mac’s motorola chip is faster than the intel/clones. It comes down to software availability and price, and PC’s have mac blown away on both catagories. Mac’s are cooler looking, however, for whatever thats worth.

I prefer the Mac OS. I use my G5 for Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign and video work – basically, anything except 3D. I do modelling and renderings on a PC, then send it to the Mac for photoshop work and producing presentation boards. It’s simply easier to work with (and I truly don’t get as many errors and lock-ups on the Mac as on the PCs, even as stripped-down as they are).

I need to buy my own PC to use the main 3D programs (Studio Tools and Solidworks in my case); however, a tool is a tool is a tool. I’ll always be partial to macs, but if I have to use some other system to get my work done, I’ll embrace it.

I’d say get a PC laptop and take off as much extraneous crap as you can to make it run more smoothly, then stick with that.

[edit] By the way, don’t call it a MAC. Mac is an abbreviation for Macintosh, not an acronym. :stuck_out_tongue:

Although I just joined this forum, I feel I have a good perspective on this topic. I myself use An HP 23 Inch Monitor which has multiple inputs and I have it connected to both a Mac and a PC and I switch back and forth from a button on the monitor. I’ve had both for a long time and for myself I find just like Arclight, that the Mac is my favorite and I lean toward it for internet and email and all applications that work on both platforms like MS Office, Photoshop, Acrobat, ArchiCAD, FormZ. etc etc. Mac OS X is Unix based and a superb OS that is solid as a rock, plus it is designed by Apple and needs to work on only one brand of computer and is not controlled by Microsoft. Many applications include both platforms on the same disk. On the other hand, I have the PC there for PC-only engineering and other hi-tech type apps. With a little work and no extra expense, the Mac and PC can be networked fairly well, and I have a couple of 180 Gig drives attached to my PC which are totally availible to the Mac. Many times I like Arclight, send the files generated on the PC to my Mac for further action using Photoshop, Acrobat etc. emailing. Also using the Mac for connection to the internet and email I have less fears about viruses and such. With the price of PC’s and Macs skyrocketing down recently must people should look into the economy of this arrrangement and stop taking sides like a form of racism. Don’t most of you own or have access to more than one vehicle and use the one that suits the purpose at hand.


I’m with Arclight too. I’ve only owned macs for the past 8 yrs but no 3-d ability. So I’m building a PC strictly for 3-d with a switcher box to use the same keys+monitor and jump between mac + pc seamlessly. A guy from work does the exact same thing, it’s an extremely good setup. Also modifying the pc so it’s interface is like a mac, then you can use mac “control” based key commands, etc. Lets you get the best of both worlds, just need space under your table for another box.

JKA: That sounds like a nice set-up.

It’s always been a price/performance issue for me as I cannot afford a dual set-up at home. Your solution is not yet for me, especially since my fave app is Rhino. Worse is that IT dept at work won’t spec Macs. Neither is the graphics department demanding it as they run Corel to drive a number of digital outputs like engravers, plotters and screen film printers. This is something that Mr. Jobs needs to address… Macs, OSX and their apps are not designed for non-print commercial workflow. Great fun for the graphic designer, but not the guy who has to output the designs… a real gap for any business that thinks about the end-use.

You make a good point about internet security and even though I read in the news that OSX just had it first major hole and patch it is still very valid.
I know of one good way to secure your home network… get a router. The good ones have a built-in firewall and the ption for hiding the PCs connected to them. I have one from Linksys. That is an affordable option for anybody.

Skinny: I’ve been thinking that it might be nice to get a PowerBook, but after reading that OSX runs better on an Intel box, I might just wait for someone to figure out a dual-boot option.


Couldn’t have said it better myself. Use the platform that’s best for the job, and quit trying to decide which one is “superior”.

If you can only buy one system, get the PC, simply because the only modern 3D program that runs on the Mac OS is Maya (which isn’t really suited to ID). I sort of pity you for photoshop/illustrator and the internet, though. :slight_smile:

This may become moot when “Mactel” (Macintosh computers using Intel processors) hit the streets next year.

Personally, I’m using a PowerBook for most of my work, and have an AMD for anything I can’t do on the 'Book (basically, CAD, although there are acceptable alternatives for the Apple platform).

I’m holding out for a good revision of the Intel-driven PowerBook and will use it as a dual-boot system. You have to hack ‘OSX for Intel’ to work on a non-Apple Intel machine, but Apple’s not stopping you from running Win2K, XP, or Vista on it.


Thanks for the information. I would love to hold out for the Intel PowerBook! Unfortunately I have to make a decision here soon.

Just get a PC. Its cheaper and does more than a mac. all the mac users who’ve posted so far have said, I used a mac, but i don’t do 3D or i use a mac and then I have a PC for using 3D, etc…the point is, a mac is nicer looking. but who cares, PC’s cost much less and are more versatile if you want to eventually get into 3D which probably will.

even mac designers use pc’s…macs cannot run alias (or proE, or rhino, or solidowrks)

somwehat ironic, but the truth is to stay away from macs…because even mac’s were designed on a pc.

thats something I am wondering, does anyone actually know exactly what apple ID use for thier cad and 3d work ? could they be using inhouse developed software? or an inhouse modified version of something?

I am also one currently facing a dillema - i currently own a mac but it won’t run solidworks, rhino etcc… so what i am doing is buying a PC, keeping my mac and running them through a switch so that i can run them both off the same monitor, mouse and keyboard and when the day comes that i can get software on mac that is solidworks or equivilent then, bam goodbye windows piece of shit.

This is what I do now and I know others that do it also, works fine for me. I will always use my mac as my main base, the pc is only for what won’t run on a mac. Windows are unnecessarily complicated to manage and are too vulnerable to viruses.
Both are tools that do what they do well, but the pc tool is just always getting rusty and needing screws retightened.
My mac is my Maxima, looks good runs good, not the fastest in performance or most options but does my day to day good and reliable.
My pc is my Porsche. Looks good and runs good…when it’s running (and not always in the shop). Very prone to getting keyed by passerbys and jealously dinged on the road, so it’s constantly needing repair and patches. More of a hassle so I only use that for very specific occasions, otherwise it stays in the garage.

I think Apple uses Alias and UG running on Unix.

You want irony, try Intel having Macs inhouse. Now Thats funny.

this is the best quote yet…

“the truth is to stay away from macs…because even mac’s were designed on a pc.

End of discussion