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Best Spec'd MacBook for Onshape

brucebartlettbrucebartlett Member, OS Professional, Mentor, User Group Leader Posts: 2,058 PRO
I am due for a new MacBook and wondering what the best specs are for Onshape. Prefer the smaller 13" but would go to a 16" if the graphic are massively improved. 

Curious of people's experiences with the new latest versions. 
Engineer ı Product Designer ı Onshape Consulting Partner
Twitter: @onshapetricks  & @babart1977   
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Comments

  • TimRiceTimRice Member, Moderator, Onshape Employees Posts: 283
    Best bet would be to go to your local Apple store and run our performance check on both devices:
    cad.onshape.com/check 
    Tim Rice | User Experience | Support 
    Onshape, Inc.
  • brucebartlettbrucebartlett Member, OS Professional, Mentor, User Group Leader Posts: 2,058 PRO
    edited September 28
    TimRice said:
    Best bet would be to go to your local Apple store and run our performance check on both devices:
    cad.onshape.com/check 
    That would be great but the nearest store is in Melbourne 200km's away which is currently lockdown, so will be ordering online. 

    Also, there are a few different graphic card specs which the shore display version's my not have.  
    Engineer ı Product Designer ı Onshape Consulting Partner
    Twitter: @onshapetricks  & @babart1977   
  • mfalkensteinermfalkensteiner Member, Onshape Employees Posts: 16
    I'm using the latest version of the MacBook Pro 16" giving me great performance. Have a look at my compatibility check results.
  • brucebartlettbrucebartlett Member, OS Professional, Mentor, User Group Leader Posts: 2,058 PRO
    thanks, @mfalkensteiner , that's what I was after. 
    Engineer ı Product Designer ı Onshape Consulting Partner
    Twitter: @onshapetricks  & @babart1977   
  • mfalkensteinermfalkensteiner Member, Onshape Employees Posts: 16
    You´re welcome!
  • billy2billy2 Member, OS Professional, Mentor, Developers, User Group Leader Posts: 1,485 PRO
    Don't forget about the new ipad pro's. The 5G versions will be out soon.

    High speed internet all the time, anywhere, skip wifi.

    The problem with the apple store is that they have the slow cpu's on the floor. When buying a mac, buy the fastest cpu. Double down on the cpu and spend whatever it takes. Even with a GPU, the cpu and clock speed governs everything.


  • alnis_smidchensalnis_smidchens Member Posts: 229 EDU
    @billy2 for Onshape, GPU performance is much more impactful than CPU performance most of the time. My brother recently built a desktop with a Ryzen processor that's very similar in single-core speed to my laptop, but because he has a dedicated graphics card (used GTX 970), he gets much better framerates in Onshape and it's generally more responsive.

    CPU clock speed is only really important for regeneration times in offline CAD programs (like Inventor and Solidworks), while you're only really going to have a problem in Onshape if you have a terrible CPU. Also, while the new iPad Pro's are very fast, it might be difficult to use the full, browser-based version of Onshape because they are tablets first, and mouse/cursor-based computers second (and it's not officially supported).

    @brucebartlett what is your timeframe for a new device? There are often lots of new devices launched in the fall/before holidays, so it might be worthwhile to wait a bit longer if possible. For one, there will be the new 11th generation Intel chips with their massively improved graphics performance (2x over the current generation), so a laptop with a dedicated GPU might not even be needed. There's also supposed to be a new Surface event soon, too, so it might be worth it to wait a little longer to see what crops up on the Microsoft/Windows side of things. Then again, a Surface definitely isn't a MacBook!
    Get in touch: [email protected] | My personal site: https://alnis.dev | My YouTube channel (I make tutorial videos for Onshape & Inventor): https://www.youtube.com/c/AlnisSmidchens
  • Theo_RTheo_R Member Posts: 52 PRO
    I have both Surface Laptop 3 Model 1872 i7 and MacBook Pro 13-inch, 2019, 4 TBT3. Not a direct comparison (pun excluded) but I think at time of purchase pretty close $ wise. I wanted the Macbook to be my favorite, but the Surface laptop is the better computer (heat, fan noise, battery life, where the MacBook is surprisingly disappointing in this regard).

    Performance check on Surface 3
    Overall performance*
    Measured triangles per second
    138.2 million
    Measured lines per second
    61.9 million
  • PeteYodisPeteYodis Moderator, Onshape Employees Posts: 384
    I personally like the Dell XPS laptop line.  13, 15, and now 17 inch sizes.  Very well made, great array of price points and performance options.  Very good bang for the buck on very good hardware.  Windows 10 is pretty darn stable for me at this point, especially considering I attempt to run as much web based software as I can and try not to install much.  Does OS even matter as much if you are mostly using toolsets in the browser?  
  • alnis_smidchensalnis_smidchens Member Posts: 229 EDU
    I've been using a System76 Lemur Pro with Pop!_OS (a GNU/Linux distribution based on Ubuntu) since the spring and it's been a good experience overall. They write their own firmware for their laptops and develop Pop!_OS specifically for their hardware, so the experience is generally well-integrated and very stable. The laptops are branded Clevo models, but they are customized in terms of firmware, display panel, etc. and have good support from the System76 team, so there is a good amount of value-added over the base Clevo models.

    Since they have full control from the firmware through the OS, they manage to squeeze out a lot more performance than you would expect from the specs on paper, and it's always getting better through firmware & OS updates. Since I got it, the max sustained boost clock on all cores for a render has gone from 2.5 GHz at first to 3.15 GHz now just through updates, putting the Blender bmw27 benchmark at 7:31 (XPS 13: 8:50; Spectre x360: 9:34, MacBook Air: 14:51). You can run the benchmark here to get a sense of how your laptop stacks up: https://opendata.blender.org/

    I'd describe it as being close to an Apple-like experience, except the hardware is very user-serviceable (user-upgradeable RAM, wireless card, dual SSDs; user-replaceable cooling system & battery). I went with the i5 model since the i7 one is $200 more for a marginal performance increase, but bumped RAM up to 24 GB, storage up to 512 GB NVMe on the primary drive, and installed a 256 GB NVMe drive I had laying around for Windows myself. They are very repair and upgrade friendly, and opening up the computer to do repairs doesn't just not void the warranty, but is encouraged :) Plus, it's somehow just as thin and much lighter than the latest MacBooks, even with this user-serviceability and magnesium alloy chassis!

    Photo from when I was adding the second SSD:



    However, the biggest problem is that the i5-10210U has UHD series graphics instead of the more powerful Iris series graphics, so framerates in Onshape can suffer on big assemblies (1,000+ parts). In this assembly, it gets about 10 fps zoomed out to have the whole model in view with edges, and 20 fps without edges, which is not fantastic, but still is useable. However, most of the time, it is very snappy (part modeling, smaller assemblies, etc.). Of course, if you want maximum graphics performance, System76 also offers laptops with GTX 20-series graphics cards (albeit ones that are less portable than the Lemur Pro). It also has a 10th generation Intel processor, while newer laptops will have 11th-gen chips, so it is technically a little out of date. Also, I'm not sure what 3D mouse support is like because I don't have one. I'm also not sure how shipping works internationally.

    The all-important performance check (I have to say, I'm surprised at how close the triangles per second are to the MacBook Pro 16's dedicated graphics, seeing as my config was $1,350 + $50 shipping!):


    Sorry for the long post, I just figured I would share my experience with my laptop :)
    Get in touch: [email protected] | My personal site: https://alnis.dev | My YouTube channel (I make tutorial videos for Onshape & Inventor): https://www.youtube.com/c/AlnisSmidchens
  • BogdanBogdan Member Posts: 13 ✭✭
    @brucebartlett
    I was searching for the same information when I was looking to buy a new laptop, unfortunately I could not find the information with the Onshape performance check, so I'm glad to provide a helpful feedback.





  • PeteYodisPeteYodis Moderator, Onshape Employees Posts: 384
    I know @brucebartlett 's data sets.  He will want something north of 500 million triangles per second.  This is for Big Ag equipment, right Bruce?  



  • john_mcclaryjohn_mcclary Member, Developers Posts: 3,020 PRO
  • billy2billy2 Member, OS Professional, Mentor, Developers, User Group Leader Posts: 1,485 PRO
    edited November 11
    @brucebartlett

    I just bought a new macbook air 2.8lbs.

    It's bigger than my 2lbs 12" macbook, the larger size & weight I'm not crazy about, but I need a new computer also.

    I'm still going to buy a 11" ipad pro when they come out. 5G cell connectivity, 1 lbs & smaller than a 12" macbook;  I think this will be the ultimate computer in the future.

    Having carried a computer around for most my adult life, weight is everything for me.


  • brucebartlettbrucebartlett Member, OS Professional, Mentor, User Group Leader Posts: 2,058 PRO
    @billy you weren't tempted to wait for the new MacBook Pro 13" with the M1 chip? The better GPU looks tempting if used for Onshape but I am sure it's not as light as the air. 
    Engineer ı Product Designer ı Onshape Consulting Partner
    Twitter: @onshapetricks  & @babart1977   
  • billy2billy2 Member, OS Professional, Mentor, Developers, User Group Leader Posts: 1,485 PRO
    It's out, but the only difference is a fan. 13" has a fan, air doesn't have a fan. Everything else is the same. .2 lbs difference, big deal.

    I have a 13" from work that I don't use. I prefer my 12".

    Honestly I wanted a gold one and I don't need no fan.

    I'll get it in 2 weeks and will let you know. Ordered it online.


  • Rob_ColatuttoRob_Colatutto Member Posts: 1
    billy2 said:
    It's out, but the only difference is a fan. 13" has a fan, air doesn't have a fan. Everything else is the same. .2 lbs difference, big deal.

    I have a 13" from work that I don't use. I prefer my 12".

    Honestly I wanted a gold one and I don't need no fan.

    I'll get it in 2 weeks and will let you know. Ordered it online.


    When you do get it, I'd love to see the Onshape benchmarks.  I'm on a 2010 iMac which well, needs an upgrade.
  • awkawk Member, Onshape Employees, Developers Posts: 78
    edited November 19
    This is the results of the performance check page on an Apple Silicon MacBook Air with 16GB of RAM (ie. 8 Cores) with Safari 14.0.1 (as ships on Big Sur 11.0)

    Running Chrome (native ARM binary) on the same machine has slightly lower triangles but higher line performance of 607.8 million (triangles per second) and 192.5 million (lines per second) Browser refresh rate was 60.1 (frames/second)

    Definitely a very zippy machine (for small, light, long battery life and no fan :-)!
    Director of API, Appstore, and App Partner Technical Support
  • alnis_smidchensalnis_smidchens Member Posts: 229 EDU
    @awk aaaand now my new laptop feels inadequate. That's some serious firepower for a passively cooled ultrabook! Wow!
    Get in touch: [email protected] | My personal site: https://alnis.dev | My YouTube channel (I make tutorial videos for Onshape & Inventor): https://www.youtube.com/c/AlnisSmidchens
  • 3dcad3dcad Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 2,448 PRO
    For people who also stay at office/home to design I would recommend having two computers (laptop & tower) as with onshape there is zero setup for any file servers / no hassle with checking in/out or worrying about staying on same sw version etc.. 

    My 5 years old pc still stands tall with new high end laptops, built it myself with cost around €1500 (64gb ram is sweet for person who don't close tabs, not to mention fibre connection). Just made the test below with plenty of other stuff running while testing.


    I also have Thinkpad X1 to use on the go and I love it for it's size and feel - but performance just isn't there yet.
    //rami
  • c_17c_17 Member Posts: 10 EDU
    @awk how important are the measured lines for day to day use of Onshape? 
    The results of the M1 are really impressive as it seems to be on paar with bigger machines in regards to triangles. Just lacking behind line count.
  • john_mcclaryjohn_mcclary Member, Developers Posts: 3,020 PRO
    @c_17 If you open one of your models and press ctrl+D  (or command+D probably for mac) then you can see the model statistics.

    lines and triangles are counted here, and you can can size your computer needs according to your average models


  • EvanEvan Onshape Employees Posts: 62
    A note when comparing results from the Onshape /check page: when the "Measured triangles per second" result has a "+" next to it, that indicates your GPU may be able to process yet more triangles in a second.  The check routine works by searching for a workload that taxes the GPU enough to get a meaningful measurement of framerate.  After a certain point, the search is stopped for the sake of time and we give a value to indicate the measured triangles per second for the last, largest workload.
  • Mehul_GalaMehul_Gala Member Posts: 22 PRO

    awk said:

    Definitely a very zippy machine (for small, light, long battery life and no fan :-)!

    No doubt! Thanks for sharing this! Did you have any issues with heat or performance after doing work for a few hours with the Air? 
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