Best new Mac to buy?

My beloved 17" MBP finally died. :frowning: Need a few recommendations for a replacement.

My primary horsepower hungry application is Rhino and I will be boot camping into Windows as well. Planning on at least 16 gig of ram (and maybe more?) and an SSD. Need two monitors (currently using a laptop plus an external monitor).

If I recall, Rhino runs heavily (primarily?) off of the video card? If so, is it correct that this is more important than the processing speed of the CPU?

Would prefer a laptop, but am a bit nervous about the new 15" touch bar MBP and the dearth of ports. Could maybe even find a prior model 15" MBP unless people are loving this thing.

Help me here. Got any compelling arguments for choosing a laptop vs. desktop (vis-a-vis price/performance) and recommended models?


most of Rhino runs on CPU… the faster the better… get one of the i7 processors (MBP and imac both have an i7 option then a faster i7 option… i’d say at least go with the slower of the two as opposed to an i5 or i3)

i only have anecdotal evidence regarding GPU but my imac is a lot smoother navigating, particularly in ghosted mode, vs my MBP… both nvidia but the imac has 4GB vRam and the MBP has 2GB… however, this may actually be due to the faster CPU in the imac… 3.5GHz vs 2.5 in the MBP… (?)

to me, the iMacs are really sweet rhino machines and would pick that over anything else… even a mac pro (and probably even a 2016/17 mac pro if that ever comes)… however, if i could only use one computer, it would have to be a laptop and i’d most certainly get one of the 2016 MBPs if my current one bites the dust… idk, they seem to be controversial amongst hardware geeks but personally, i think they’re real nice…
rumor has it, the next version (mid2017) will come out when intel releases a cpu that can use LPDDR4 ram in which case, apple will likely have a 32GB model available… i have a 2013 right now and will probably be holding off til next year to upgrade.

if the ports are bothersome and/or the usb-c peripherals you need aren’t out there yet… or for whatever reason you’re not feeling the 2016 then yeah, get a 2015… you can probably get a refurb at a pretty good price point if comparing to a new 2016.

If you want to retain some portability go for a Mac Mini. I just bought two last month to replace aging Macs. The Mini’s are both i5 with 8GB ram so not high end, but they are more than adequate for my work and expect a good 5yrs service from them with Rhino. A Mini, keyboard, mouse and space mouse all go in a laptop bag. Even run an iPad via duet for extra screen space. Use a monitor on site for work.

   Just my preference.
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Jeff: Thanks for the detailed thoughts. Agreed on the iMac being a Rhino Monster. Curiously, I did some back-to-back comparisons with some heavy Rhino files about 1.5 years ago. I was surprised to find that the 27" 5K retina iMac was both faster and smoother than the more expensive Mac Pro (which wasn’t even running a 5K monitor). Whether I can live with a desktop and without a zippy laptop or not is the question. My guess is the laptop would have to be first, then if Santa brings me a 5 lb box of money I’d also spring for an iMac.

After 4 days, Dan said his new 15" MBP touchbar model was both stable and really fast. The downside was $300 in adaptors; that, and it was a bit weird to get used to no Escape key (correct me if I’m wrong here, or add any additional thoughts @dan).

Bill: Interesting idea that I’d not considered. Will have to chew on this, but fear the i5 processor might not be up to some of the heavy lifting I generally do. Co-signed about Duet on an iPad. Really great client presentation tool when hooked into my laptop. A little bit “laggy”, but great for meetings around a table!

Yeah, that’s about right. I still haven’t done any rigorous testing with the AMD GPU with regard to Rhino…but so far, so good.

It’s not a cheap machine…in any sense of the word “cheap.”

Am I reading this right? Three prior MBP’s are faster than the new MBP?!?!

(higher score is higher performance)

MacBook Pro (15-inch Retina Mid 2015)
Intel Core i7-4980HQ @ 2.8 GHz (4 cores)

MacBook Pro (15-inch Retina Mid 2015)
Intel Core i7-4980HQ @ 2.8 GHz (4 cores)

MacBook Pro (15-inch Retina Mid 2014)
Intel Core i7-4980HQ @ 2.8 GHz (4 cores)

MacBook Pro (15-inch Late 2016)
Intel Core i7-6920HQ @ 2.9 GHz (4 cores)

(sorry, Dan… I meant to post this here, rather than pm you!)

if that’s geekbench then i think they just updated to a newer style test… so if you want to make a comparison this way, make sure all the model’s scores are tested with the same version of geekbench.

(i’m not positive this is the case but i read something like that the other day… i didn’t really look into it however but probably worth varifying if wishing to compare benchmark scores)

Good to know, Jeff. As you may know, if you select the various models you can drill into the individual lists and see the version of test that was run.

Your assessment of the iMac 5K (and my own experience with it compared to the Mac Pro) are pretty clear here. The Mac Pro really only makes sense if dump a bunch of cores into it.

iMac (27-inch Retina Late 2015)
Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.0 GHz (4 cores)

Mac Pro (Late 2013)
Intel Xeon E5-1650 v2 @ 3.5 GHz (6 cores)

regarding the escape key @dan.

does the touch bar escape work reliably but it’s just weird to get used to? or does it not work very good at all?

@dan: Related to the trackbar (willy-wonka-bar?!?!), my understanding is that various functions related to the active program are displayed.

Does Rhino create default items, or can a user add their own? If Rhino defaults, what are the functions?

I’d like to know too :slight_smile:


Is there anything similar to Geektest for benchmarking or comparing of graphic card performance for macs?

While Rhino does not use the GPU for calculations, fluidity in rotating models is highly dependent on the graphics card as I understand it. As Jeff mentioned, especially rotating in Ghosted mode, fluidity is directly related to the GPU.

In particular, does Rhino prefer discrete graphics or integrated graphics?

macOS Sierra provides developer APIs for us to customizes the TouchBar interaction. We have not begun work on this yet. I’ve seen some great ideas posted here. Please share if you have them (in a new thread, not this one). It’s important to realize that it’s really early days for the TouchBar…I’m not even convinced Apple has fully grasped what this could be (if anything). That said, they have authored Human Interface Guidelines for the Touchbar.

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@jeff_hammond The virtual esc key works reliably…it just feels a little weird at first.


@dan: Does Rhino prefer discrete graphics or integrated graphics cards?

Define prefer :wink: We don’t do anything preferential when it comes to the GPU in Rhino 5 for Mac. In general, the discrete graphics cards provided by Apple (be they NVidia or AMD - depending on the wind) have preformed much better than the typical integrated GPUs (normally an Intel variant) in terms of speed. The integrated GPUs on most MacBook models usually designed to be more power-efficient, rather than performant.


The conventional wisdom in my lab is that the latest MBP is a disappointment in cost/performance. I currently own a 2015 i7 15" MBP and there are deals for this machine in various reputable outlets that will be an affordable bridge machine till 2018 when Apple can produce a 32GB machine with suitable battery life. Though Apple is applying the “Pro” label it has forsaken the true professional user with this latest machine, and some pundits believe this trend may continue, so the 2018 machine may be another disappointment.

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I’d go for MPB13 2015 + an older macpro tower and juice it up with geforce.
If just one I’d go for 2015 i7 16GB. It’s solid piece
of hardware. And cost is going down too.
The new MBP with no USB is just not right.
Why do I want like 5 monitors with MBP…

I use MBP 13 2015, but to take it around it’s about large as I want it. Not driving now so less weight is better.

I was hoping the new 13inch to get i7 and 16GB with longer battery life and perhaps a bit lighter…
Not needing to carry around the charger is quite nice.
maybe next year…For now I’ll just get the battery changed…

Agreed that the 2015 i7 MBP 15" is likely the best cost/performance MBP currently. I had some difficulty finding one immediately available that was configured the way I wanted (with a 1T SSD); thus, I ended up purchasing the new 2016 i7 15" MBP with trackbar and graphics upgrade and 1T SSD. The cost difference was a few hundred dollars after all was said and done.

It’s a pretty nice machine (even if overpriced), even though the usb-c connectors/need for adaptors is a drag. I like the trackbar more than I thought I would. It’s really thin and light.

I miss the magnetic power cord from days of yore and the keyboard is REALLY LOUD. I miss the lit apple logo on the back of the screen, too. Ahhh… nostalgia!