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Macbook Pro hardware recommendations wanted: GPU vs CPU vs Memory & M370X

lars_rengersenlars_rengersen Member Posts: 27 ✭✭
Not using Onshape on a daily basis, but still quite often.
Hope you can think along what my best bet is in terms of Mac hardware.
I had a 2015 Macbook Pro 13" with only 8GB of RAM. Upgraded to a 2015 Macbook Pro 13" with 16 GB RAM.
That one now has a hardware failure so I can only use it with external keyboard and mouse.
It isn't very fast and it only has the Intel Iris 1.5 GB GPU. So my question is, what do I do:
1- Revert back to the 2015 Macbook Pro 13" with only 8GB of RAM and add an external video card (eGPU)
2- Upgrade to the 2015 Macbook Pro 15" with 16GB RAM and dual GPU (Intel Iris Pro + AMD Radeon R9 M370X)
- other....
I'm not really a fan of the newest Macbook Pro's (overpriced, in my view lower build quality, inferior keyboard due to less key travel) so that's why I prefer to continue using the late 2015 models.
I am using parallels to run some Windows applications, so that votes for 16 GB RAM.
So I am currently leaning towards option 2.
Anyone else using Onshape on a 15" Macbook Pro with AMD Radeon R9 M370X?


  • NeilCookeNeilCooke Moderator, Onshape Employees Posts: 2,708
    Until recently, I had a MBP 2015 with your option 2 spec and was happy with it (until it broke) and most of the hardware we use at Onshape is that spec. If you want to stick with Mac, that is probably the best machine (although you should probably get more than one opinion). https://cad.onshape.com/check would show about 85m triangles/s but only about 25m lines/s - still adequate enough for most purposes.
  • lars_rengersenlars_rengersen Member Posts: 27 ✭✭
    Thanks! Sounds good.
    My current MBP2015 (with the broken keyboard) and only the Iris GPU gets:
    Measured triangles per second = 106.3 million
    Measured lines per second = 39.0 million
    So from your message I take that that isn't that bad either.
    Main reason for changing machine also is the broken touchpad/keyboard but it's nice to also see some GPU improvement while doing so.
  • NeilCookeNeilCooke Moderator, Onshape Employees Posts: 2,708
    edited April 2019
    I took those numbers from memory - the IRIS was/should be a lot worse.

    By comparison, my 2018 MBP with AMD Radeon Pro 560X is 29.9 million triangles, 244.3 million lines.

    Can anyone else post results to check?
  • brian_bradybrian_brady Member, Developers Posts: 456 EDU
    Here are my results for a new MacBook Pro 15" using Safari. Specs for this machine are 2.9 GHz Core i9, 16GB DDR4 RAM, and AMD Radeon Pro 555X 4GB.

    Bottom line is 465 million triangles/sec and 250 million lines/sec.

    Your browser is compatible with Onshape

    User agent
    Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_14_4) AppleWebKit/605.1.15 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/12.1 Safari/605.1.15
    Browser Version
    Core WebGL
    Float textures
    Anisotropic texture filtering
    32-bit indices

    High precision fragment shaders

    GL renderer
    AMD Radeon Pro 555X OpenGL Engine
    GL vendor
    ATI Technologies Inc.
    Overall performance*
    Measured triangles per second
    465.6 million
    Measured lines per second
    249.7 million

    *For information on graphics performance, visit: Graphics Performance Recommendations
    WebSocket connection
    Big Rapids, United States
    Onshape server region
    Expected server region
  • lars_rengersenlars_rengersen Member Posts: 27 ✭✭
    Impressive stats for those new ones. I used the mid 2015 from my wife to do the test.
    I am a bit puzzeled by the results:

    Iris GPU active
    Triangles per second = 185 million
    Lines per second = 65 million

    AMD GPU active
    Triangles per second = 20 million
    Lines per second = 106 million

    I had expected both figures to be higher with AMD. Overall performance indicator seems similar. What is the difference between the two measurements?
    And is the AMD situation indeed preferable?
  • EvanEvan Onshape Employees Posts: 52
    We are tracking an issue with Apple's drivers for Radeon chipsets. There appears to be an interaction between these drivers and our ambient occlusion routines that is hindering performance when ambient occlusion is active.  Onshape will automatically drop ambient occlusion if a reduced framerate is observed during interaction.  So for these chipsets, you are likely to see better performance than is advertised by the /check page.  I would recommend continuing to use the AMD GPU.

    We are working to get closer to the root cause of the issue to see that either the driver problem is resolved, or a suitable workaround can be applied.
  • NeilCookeNeilCooke Moderator, Onshape Employees Posts: 2,708
    It would also appear that Safari is not affected which is why it reports good numbers. In practice, all browsers will have similar performance due to the reasons given above. 
  • brucebartlettbrucebartlett Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 1,968 PRO
    I am looking at getting a new MBP as my 13" 2015 is having trouble on the charging port and I am starting to worry about its reliability. I am happy with the 13" especially the smaller size for portability but would be like to have the better graphics card of the 15". I'd be keen to see if anyone has numbers for a new 2019 13" MBP. vs 15" to help me make a decision. 
    Engineer ı Product Designer ı Onshape Consulting Partner
    Twitter: @onshapetricks  & @babart1977   
  • lars_rengersenlars_rengersen Member Posts: 27 ✭✭
    How clean is the charging port? Is is relatively easy to replace. I am also using my Macbook in my workshop where I also do some metalwork. Due to the fact that the chassis is magnetic, sometimes small pieces of metal would pile up on the laptop creating a distance between the contacts. As a result, a small spark is created and burns the contacts of both the chassis and the connector. After replacing both I had a solid and reliable connection again.

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