| || |
|Architosh News Reports|
|Architosh Staff ([email protected])|
Perfect PC for CAD...How about Mac? Part 2
The Architosh article entitled "The Perfect PC for CAD...How about Mac?" provoked quite a bit reader feedback. In fact, the number of hits we received on the piece exceeded our previous best with our article on the AutoCAD 2000 coming to Mac OS X rumor. The article encapsulates reader feedback and criticism and includes new information and responses to reader feedback.
It's the Software Dumbo!
Many readers simply said that sure the Macintosh has great hardware specs and is easy to use and maintain but there simply isn't enough software for it (in the CAD space that is). As some readers put it:
" hi... sure, the Mac has great specs, but there's so few Mac SW packages for CAD! i do electronics design, and the PC choices far outclass the two Mac packages that exist (one of which, i use). this is obviously a big matter in any choice of machine. i am a big Mac supporter, but come on, you have to at least address this in your article." - reader
Without sounding too defensive, software was left out of the equation (and the price) in the previous article not because there are so few choices in the Macintosh market -- because that is not true -- but because the article was really about the machine itself, the hardware. No doubt, what good is a machine, no matter how bitchen fast and cool if the machine can't run those awesome CAD and 3D applications you wish to work in? Our feelings exactly!
Part of the reason for the creation of the Architosh website is to evangelize and inform Macintosh users everywhere that the Macintosh is a viable platform for CAD professionals, especially architects, engineers and construction professionals. That's why we have a software list. But yes, it is true that there are some serious deficits in the software spectrum for both architecture and engineering. Let's try to solve that problem together by continuing to believe in the platform by purchasing more Macs and Macintosh software. With more and more sales growth, unit growth and software developer faith and encouragement in Apple, we can have our cake and eat it too -- someday. But it will take some time. The number one thing to do is to NOT write Apple about it (cc them, of course to [email protected]) but instead write directly to the software company and tell them you want a Macintosh version of their software!
The Perfect Mac "Dream Machine" for CAD
Some the of the comments we received concerned the graphics systems on both the PC and Macintosh system, compared:
"How do two graphics cards help to do anything other than run two monitors? Do they somehow piggyback or connect in series to run one monitor with the two cards giving you twice the video power for the one monitor? I don't get it. Otherwise, that's exactly the system I'm putting together for my new CAD system." - reader
Our mistake. Adding an additional graphics card and adding more graphic RAM do different things. We said adding an additional card, which doesn't really do anything for processing power at all, unless the two cards worked in conjunction somehow. A Formac engineer told us that this is not likely, though it is theoretically possible. In general adding an additional graphics card only allows you a second monitor capacity -- though it is possible to get this capacity with one graphics card in the PC space.
Another reader added this to the comments:
This reader is absolutely right. We asked a Formac engineer at Expo if you could add additional RAM to a card by adding a card and he said not their cards. Such a card would have to be a daughter card on the main graphics card to add additional graphics RAM. We are not sure if such card arrangements even exist. This reader is also correct about the fact that an ATI RAGE 128 bit graphics card is not even in the same league as a Oxygen card from 3DLabs (see our Expo report on Formac's Permedia 3-based card) But he is assuming that this PC Magazine is using such a card. We think this is probably the case too.
On the other hand, what we learned is that the 32 MB ATI RAGE Nexus card is not the fastest card you can add to your Macintosh. Formac, a German company who has been a longtime supporter of Apple and the Macintosh has come out with their latest 128-bit ProFormance 3 graphics card and the claim is that it is up to twice as fast as the ATI RAGE cards (to see comparisons click here). The card is based on a 3DLabs Permedia 3 graphics chipset (which is not as powerful as the Glint chipset used in the 3DLabs' Oxygen cards). However, a Formac engineer told us that the Permedia chipset uses a Glint core in its silicon and has similar performance functionality at some levels. He didn't say that the Formac ProFormance chip is as a fast as a Oxygen card with 96 MB of memory because that isn't probably possible.
After discovering that Formac is basing their Mac graphics cards on 3DLabs' technologies one might wonder if they ever plan on bringing a super-fast, high-memory graphics card to the Macintosh similar to the industrial strength Oxygen cards. They said that the market for such cards is probably too small but things could change. Yes. Things can change and if you are interested in such cards with up to 96 MB of graphics RAM then write to Formac and ATI and ask them about it.
Much of what we said in the first article still stands, with corrections being in order. One other correction is that the DVD video card is a daughter card that plugs into the ATI 128 RAGE card, leaving a PCI slot free. Perhaps we can have the Gigabit Ethernet after all?
Where do we stand on the "ultimate CAD dream machine" for Mac users? In terms of hardware we need multiprocessing G4's, AltiVec-enabled CAD and 3D applications and a company like Formac to create an industrial-strength 60 MB plus graphics card based on the Glint graphics chipset or something better. We also DO need some critical applications that are currently missing in the Macintosh space. With Mac OS X being similar to UNIX, some of these applications may be easier to port over to Mac OS X. If this is your situation, start letting those developers know that you want a Mac OS X version now. Don't wait until OS X comes out.
For more information about the ProFormance 3 card from Formac read our Expo Report: Part - 2. This discussion also talks about the usefulness of more graphics RAM, as we were told by Formac engineers.
|Feedback||Back to Architosh News|
| || |