M3 Pro chip for Rhino8 and GH use

Hello MCNeel, everyone,

I’m planning to go for a MacBook Pro 16", M3 Pro, 36 GB.

Here is the context:
I surprisingly encountered several issues with Windows machines (i5, i7, i9) while running files including numerous surfaces but “not so difficult” ones. Files are around 1 GB. Issues encountered are: lagging while turning (1-2 frame per sec.) around the object, closing the file suddenly, “Not Responding” Rhino file for any “out of common” operations including copy paste. It looks like it is a problem of how Rhino managing the tasks on windows: only using one core and not dispatching other cores and GPU, but I am really not an expert.
A colleague is working on Mac (M1 Pro) and has no issue for running those files. I am mostly working on design with regular surface and SubDs, including parabolic shapes, on purpose to make CNC files and molds.

So, beyond all the mac universe advantages, I am wondering if moving to MacOS can fit to my needs and avoid those issues as my colleague laptop prove it.
Also, is M3 Max give better performance result than M3 Pro on Rhino8?


This is a contradiction. 1 GB is quite a lot for not-so-difficult surfaces. Apart from this I would always expect a Windows PC to perform better, because the GPU’s on MacBooks are not that good. M3 chips have good characteristics regarding single-core performance, but I still wonder if there is not a different problem. You should post your current system specs here. I personally own a MacBook Pro M1 (No Rhino), but I found it not to be as superior as they tell. The only true benefit is very low power-consumption and silence.

Thanks for your answer. I mean it is heavy in terms of volume, but it is just a repetition of simple shapes like sphere for instance.
My current laptop is a HP Elite Book i5-1240P, 16GB, so we will agree that it is not at all design for that, but it is what was available at my work. I tried to move to a ZBook i7 vpro + NVIDIA T600, the only laptop we have yet that can be adapted for that, but we encountered the same issue. Then my desktop is an HP i9-12900, 32GB + NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070, which is able to run my files properly but I noticed that it still focusing all the task on one core and the NVIDIA is not that much used.

Okay, this is telling us much more. Though technically you can run Rhino on such machines, you are essentially using a small/medium form factor business laptop (I think) to do 3D work. With an i5-1240p and probably an Intel iGPU, that laptop is almost instantly out of the game.

Moving onto your Zbook i7 vPro, the Nvidia T600 in this has a massive… 896 CUDA cores, which is cut down from a GTX 1650(?). If you are doing volume work, it is absolutely no surprise that your mobile solutions are getting slaughtered. You also have 4 GB of VRAM, a bit of which will be always occupied by the system.

If you really want a modern approach, then you could sink all of your money into an M3 Pro; or just buy something with a decent amount of mobile GPU power (4080 at least if you need 12 GB of mobile VRAM).

The problem you will face in M3 Pro vs Windows will likely be the VRAM. I think the Macbook has integrated GPU VRAM sharing, which gives it an advantage for pure storage I seem to recall.

Rhino is mostly a single-threaded workflow, especially as many of its calculations are such.

If you are looking at at least something that isn’t trash, you want a true higher power chip, not the Intel “P”-series nonsense. That is meant for low intensity business usage.

I assume that the cost will be of order $2000 for an M3 Pro, so you’re well into RTX 4080(mobile) territory there.

It’s not a great situation for VRAM on Nvidia mobile, but if you think that you can get away with a RTX 4070 mobile (8 GB VRAM), then you can save yourself a good $500 I reckon.

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Yes as David also said, this is the way it is. Therefore investing in CPU’s with many cores is a waste of money. But if you have a limited choice… Single-Core performance is what usually matters. But this is also true for the Mac. If you have the choice between those two Notebooks only, I would probably slightly prefer the Mac M3, given that you can deal with MacOS and Software specific differences. The reason is battery life and especially noise. If you spend multiple hours a day sitting in front of a laptop, it can be quite annoying to experience noise, which is common due to heating problems of laptops with a dedicated GPU. Other than that, any form of ergonomic gear around your PC is as important as raw performance. Always care about your health and consider this when buying new hardware. It begins with saving money for the gear and ends with minor things like screen size. I know its quite off the topic, but many people forget about this, and develop serious health issues over the years.


can you share your setup? I am curious for new ideas… :smiley:

I can’t tell all the specific products, but here is what I have and what you can spend money on:

First of all, I do work from home in 4/5 days. This is why I do have some freedom what I use. I just partially have to buy it for myself then.

It starts with proper ergonomic chair, I think I spend 600 € on my own home-office chair. In office my chair is around 1000 € (don’t know if its really worth it). In office I do have electrical desk, so that I can work while standing. My desk at home is wooden desk I made myself. Lots of plants, paintings, sitting in my winter-garden with lots of natural light. In winter you can easily get depressed, if you sit at home alone. I do also use day-lighting with a good lamp. The lighting alone can costs you 100-300 €. I do believe in the importance of well designed office (my company does not). I also created multiple spots for working at home, so that I can switch locations.

I use good mechanical keyboard with a good wrist rest.
I use the Cherry MX 3 with custom Keycaps (~120 €) In Germany you can spend more than 400 € on good mechanical keyboards, but this is due to market and the German Iso layout.

I don’t like ergonomic mouses, but I do use a compromise where my hand is at least tilted around 30 degrees using the Logitech MX Master 3s. I do reduce the usage of the mouse as much as possible. I develop software, if you do CAD work, then this is another thing.

I use a big screen as often as possible, so I do have docking station and larger external monitor. I prefer ultra-wide over multiple screens. I believe too much screen is not good either. You need to enjoy your environment.

I do sport and care about my food. I frequently pause my work and have a short walk, I do prevent working over-time and I reduce the time on screen during my free-time. Depending on what you do, you can spend a lot of money on life :wink: .

I do prefer cables, but I use blue-tooth in certain situation. I don’t think that radiation is big problem, but if a headset device is directly located near you head and you do a lot of web conferences, I would definitely care about buying a quality headset with cables, because its no so clear if its 100 % safe on a longer term.

I try to maintain a minimal non-digital work-life as often as possible. Meaning I do sometimes buy and read books instead of googling everything for work. It might be slower, but you get a different picture.
I organise certain meetings within a cafe and frequently meet with colleagues in the city for reviewing work. Any device which helps you working mobile can help. This includes a proper mobile, and software for anything which minimise non-productive overhead.