Friday, September 28, 2007

Revit on the Mac

This is often a hot topic on the Revit AUGI forums and it some times gets very heated! Whats better, Mac or PC? Well, I've been a long term Mac user as well as a Windows PC user. My first computer was a Macintosh LCII, if anybody can remember one of those? I've worked for companies which have used both platforms. I personally love the Mac environment, but I have learned to get on with PC's and the Windows platform. These days I don’t got too bothered about the platform wars, because to me its just an interface to your hardware, Revit as a BIM platform excites me more.

I meet a lot of architects and designers in my role and I have lost count how many have asked whether Revit runs on the Mac. A lot of architects still use Mac's, its just one of those design things. I live near Winchester, Hampshire,UK and this is a strong hold for architectural firms. I'd go as far as to say that over half of these are Mac users running Vectorworks. I'd love to see Autodesk port Revit to the Mac, but commercially I don’t think its viable, well that’s what Autodesk insiders have told me in the past.

However, the landscape has now changed and it all comes down to the fact that all current Apple hardware are based on Intel processors rather than the aging PowerPC. If anybody attended AU last year they will have noticed that Phil Read of Autodesk Consulting fame presented his Advanced Revit session on a Macbook Pro using Bootcamp, which allows him to boot between Mac OS X and Windows, so that he can run Revit on his Macbook.

Also, a company called Parallels Inc introduced virtualization software last year which allows you to run Mac OS X and Windows side by side. What is interesting is that the latest version of Parrallels has DirectX and OpenGL support, even going as far as saying on their website that Revit Architecture 2008 has been tested and works. I haven’t tried it myself, but I know a number of architects as well as Engineers who are working with Parrallels on a Mac and are more than happy with the performance.

http://www.parallels.com/en/products/desktop/features/3d/

If you need to know more, its worth reading this article on Aecbytes from Scott Onstott as he has recently migrated from Windows to using Parrallels on a Mac Book Pro.

http://www.aecbytes.com/tipsandtricks/2007/issue22-WinonMac.html

So in summary, Revit will work on a Mac!! With that in mind, I know my next laptop will be a Macbook Pro. :-)

22 comments:

iandidesign said...

If Autodesk really thinks a Mac version of Revit won't fly I think their dead wrong. Users on the Revit forums are reporting better performance on Macs under virtualization than native in Windows. Macs handle multiple monitors and application windows better. The Exposé feature alone would justify the move. And people love the ability to isolate vulnerable Windows from the their primary OS.

What's more, I think that the effort to bring Revit to Mac would pay dividends in what it could potential bring to the overly mechanical Revit interface.

Mārcis Lukšēvics said...

Hi! But what about the speed? What is the recommended mac configuration for running Revit? Isn't the parallels desktop eating a lot of memory?

Mārcis Lukšēvics said...

Then i should test Revit on friend's Intel Mac and save money for macbook pro ;)
I was asking because a year ago i had Powerbook G4 with 1.5Ghz powerpc and 1.5GB of ram - it was nightmare to use any of windows programs (even autocad was unusable).

Uri said...

don't forget to also check out vmware's fusion.

marcis, parallels (and fusion) does eat up memory - i would suggest getting a Mac with 4GB RAM. Speed is very fast since Windows is running natively on the Intel CPU.

Uri said...

don't forget to also check out vmware's fusion.

marcis, parallels (and fusion) does eat up memory - i would suggest getting a Mac with 4GB RAM. Speed is very fast since Windows is running natively on the Intel CPU.

Cai said...

I have a Mac PowerBook Pro with 2GB RAM and runs on Intel Core 2 Duo. However Parallels is still a nightmare, especially when running AutoCAD and 3ds Max because it's very slow, the mouse cursor is like jumping all over the screen, very hard to get to the point/place you want.
But when running CAD and Max on BootCamp, they are very fast. but the down side is that I'd have to restart the system to use Mac softwares.

Revit in Mac version will be awsome!

Wesley Benn said...

I am running Revit in VMWare (competitor to Parallels) on a Macbook Pro (Core2Duo 2.4GHz) with 4 Gb RAM and it is very fast indeed. Note: I am speeking in several sessions at AU, and will be using the Mac to run those sessions...

AEC Communications said...

Our office is an all Mac office. We provide CAD and BIM support for multiple clients. Revit, AutoCAD and Vectorworks are currently our tools of choice. Revit running in VMware Fusion works nicely, even on a Macbook Core 2 Duo (not pro) with 2GB ram.

I doubt that AutoDesk will ever port AutoCAD or Revit to a Mac (or Linux). I suspect that they rely on MS libraries too much to do so.

Martinelli68 said...

I am 5 year Revit user, I did run on parallels, on fusion, right now I run on vista which is installed on Mac pro with Intel and I have to tell Autodesk people - stop this monopoly, Macs are sold in tremendous amount each month and the number is growing, you keep ignoring people which is bad strategy, from my experience no parallels, no fusion just clean os x would do, real mac users agree with me 100%, if someone will try to defend parallels or fusion means is not a mac guy, by the way Vista sucks, so one more time to autodesk- respect people vote and shift some people to os x development department and you will be fine, I did try different things and right now waiting for better version of archicad, if archicad will be introduced with similar power to revit ( AC 12 is far from that as for now) I am switching and kiss my a....ss autodesk because I don't like the fact that I am ignored.

Martin Stefanek

Robert said...

I am moving to an iMac after many years of using Windows machines. Do anyone know if AutoCAD 2008, Revit Architecture 2008 and SketchUp 7 will work on that computer, which uses a 64-bit processor? I intend to use Parallels 4, at least to try and learn to work with the iMac. The intended configuration is: 20" screen, 2.66Ghz processor, 4Mb L2 cache, 4 Gb memory, 320 Gb HD and a 500 Gb external HD. Thanks for any help.

David Light said...

Robert - the imac spec you've highlighted will run Revit just fine. Although you need to watch Revit running on Parallels 4. Its not that it won't work, it will work well. I've purchased myself a new aluminium macbook and Parallels 4 and Revit run well. However, if you have a very large project you may want to consider bootcamp as you will want to max the resources of the machine. I suppose it really depends on the size of your projects. I've set my macbook to run bootcamp and Parallels 4, this gives me the best of both worlds. Full windows on the mac, or windows running on OS X.Not sure if that helps? but the machine spec you've highlighted will be fine.

Robert said...

Well, thanks a lot. Tomorrow morning (Rio de Janeiro time) I shall purchase my iMac, and I will have to wait TWO DAYS !!!! to get it. Afterwards, I'll install Parallels 4 (I will download it as soon as I purchase the machine) and the Windows Vista Home Premium 32 bits. I will follow your advices, and I probably will have to use bootcamp, since my final designs are quite heavy - I specialize in shopping centers or such. Anyway, I have a long learning curve, after so many years with pure Windows...

Robert said...

Dear David,
Thanks a lot for your answer. You took a load off my back. Tomorrow at the earliest time the stores open I shall be at the door of one of the Mac dealers in Rio de Janeiro to purchase my iMac. Afterwards, I will buy a new Windows Vista Home Premium (maybe Business) licence and download the Parallels 4. And then I shall face a steep learning curve, since I worked for such a long time with pure Windows... I shall follow your advices. The bad new is that I shall have to wait from 2 to 3 working days to get my new machine...
Best regards, Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

Robert said...

Dear David,
I configured Parallels to read the BootCamp partition, in order not to have to install twice the same program(s). However, I am experiencing a quite difficult problem with the authorization codes for AutoCAD. If I am at BootCamp and type (or paste) the activation code, the AutoCAD read by the virtual machine won't work, and vice-versa. More, to my surprise, this morning, when I connected my computer neither AutoCAD's (BootCamp and Paralleles virtual machine) ran. Both displayed request codes (different ones) and so I have to ask AutoCAD new activation codes. By the way, AutoDesk is really willing to help, even not officially supporting their products on a Mac computer. Do you have any idea what I could do?
Thanks a lot, and have a Happy New Year!

brmilton said...

David -

Hope you catch this! Any advice on VMWare Fusion vs parallels?

I'm looking at a new Mac Pro Quad 2.66. I've been on Macs (and Windows) since Day one, but run only macs at home.

And will Vista home work as well as Vista Pro?

Brett said...

Hey David,

I'm hoping to do some basic Revit tutorials on an older Powerbook (power pc G4 with 1.67ghz, 1.5GB Ram and running OS 10.4.11). Can you tell me if this is possible? And if so, what software i might need beyond the basic revit installation?

Thank you very much, for any advice you can give here.

Brett

James said...

Hi David,

I'm a new Revit user and am just finding out the wonders Revit can perform.

I have a 14 month old 13" Mac Book and am wondering will it run Revit. If not what exact spec of a Mac Book will run Revit effectively? Will an "off the shelf" 17" Mac Book Pro be sufficient??

Also,

Are you familiar with Synchro BIM 5D?? Will this run on the Mac??


Appreciate you letting me know.

Regards



Jim

Cara's COMM 385 Blog said...

Could anyone tell me how the battery life is when running revit. Looking to switch to a macbook but spend most of my time drawing without power using batteries.

K-Jens said...

I'm not formiliar with revit but i am a little bit with Mac, Windows and Parrallels. they should realy convert Revit for Mac, Parrallels is nog working, eating to much memory, battery, destroying your fans of your MBPro..

please.. convert it! :)

todd said...

Help!!! I am using Revit 2012. I am in the process of either purchasing a Dell Precision Laptop with a i7 Duo Core, 2,700 mghz processor with 8 gigs of ram, with a an AMD Fire Pro video card with 1 gig of memory GDDR5, or a Macbook Pro, i7 Quad Core 2,200 mghz processor with 4 gigs of ram. My intention is to run Windows 7 on the computer. Will Revit run as well or better on the Mac in Windows 7 or am I better off purchasing the Dell laptop? The price is about the same.

David Light said...

Hi Todd, not an easy one, depends on what you are doing. The mac will give you more bang for your bucks & if its going be a multi purpose machine it would be ideal. But 4 gigs of ram is a bit light. The dell on the other hand will ultimately have the better graphics card, more ram & faster processor for most revit tasks. But If I was thinking ahead, I would go for the mac & buy more ram when you have more money. But you should also rememebr you will need to invest in a copy of windows if you will run revit under bootcamp.

m a r v i n s o l a n o said...

David im sorry to ask but how exactly does mac give you more "bang for your bucks", mac's are clearly overpriced, plus customization on apple is very poor nowadays.