Rhino for MacBook 16”

I need to use Rhino for coming sessions of architecture at university. I am a loyal Mac user. Any comments on a new MacBook Pro 16" and the spec needs for Rhino? ie. RAM which is not upgradeable post purchase, and the graphics card options beyond the standard? It’s easy to say buy it loaded, and I would love to buy this loaded, but $$. Please help : )

The basic general advice is to purchase the best system you can reasonably afford, and run it as long as you reasonably can.
Clearly, the system a student can afford is likely to be different than one a successful professional can afford.
That said, do not choose one that only has the under powered, inadequate Intel graphics chip. I think most of not all of the 16" MBPs have an additional AMD card and work pretty well. Don’t go with less than 16GB RAM either.

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Absolutely sound advice, John! I’d add to that to go with the best dedicated GPU you can afford. Don’t buy a ridiculously expensive option though!

I think what many people overlook nowadays, is that parts of macOS (since 10.14.?) are heavily GPU-accelerated. The GPU is not a “discrete” component anymore that sits idly until you run something that it’s concerned with (e.g. games).
As an example, I currently have Finder, Firefox, and Rhino running, and my MPB is hooked to an external display (in clam-shell mode). All these processes already take up about 1.2 GB of GPU memory, without doing much really. I’d say that 4 GB is the absolute minimum and 8 GB highly recommended.

As for the CPU, in general I wouldn’t upgrade a higher clock speed with less processor cores to more processor cores with less clock speed. Many applications don’t take enough advantage of multi-threading, Rhino included!

This doesn’t apply if you are going to do CPU rendering, and notice that on Mac, Cycles only run on CPU so the more core the faster your rendering will be.

Also, there has been an recent update to the 16” mbp. It comes with another GPU option, the AMD Radeon Pro 5600 with 8 Gb of HBM2 memory, it is super fast and also quite expensive but the results are impressive.

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3 posts were split to a new topic: GPU rendering on Mac

I am using the MBP16". It is a great machine.
Regarding specs: it really depends on what your workflow looks like. I am using the base model, wanted to do a RAM upgrade to 32GB, but it was too expensive - on the other side, I never encountered Ramperstorffergasse 40, 1050 Wien issues until now. I would go for a GPU upgrade though, since they seem to have really good value for the additional cost… especially if you think about GPU-acceleration becoming better and better implemented, as @p1r4t3b0y mentioned.

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  1. Get a decent GPU. Do not get an Intel-only GPU system. That is death.
  2. Get as much memory as possible.
  3. Get sufficient storage to run the system. How much depends on what other stuff you need to storage.

The place to save money is on the CPU. Unless something has changed, all the macbooks come with a CPU sufficiently powerful for Rhino. A 10% increase in clock speed or a couple of more cores will not produce a noticeable performance increase.

: )
Rhino has a great community of users!
: )
Great response and with such speed and the topic has split to more discussion specific to GPU rendering and I’m getting lost in my unfamiliarity
… but thank you everyone for all the great advice ! : )
So,
The basic 16” MBP includes 16gb ram, 6 core cpu, Raedon 5300 4gb ram & 500gb ssd.
I’m reading that I should get at least the second tier basic that raises to 8 core, Radeon 5500 4gb & 1tb ssd for 500$ more.
But 32gb ram is +450$ either way (Canadian dollars). Upgrading the Raedon to 8gb is +100$. This latter two are debatable.
Context is $2750 basic to $7600 loaded, and why I ask : )
Have an excellent day!
Thank you everyone, you’re great!

I run the higher base model 16" MBP, £2800 GBP, i9 CPU, 16GB RAM, 4GB Radeon Pro GPU, 1TB SSD storage, great machine for medium sized projects, across a range of different softwares, Rhino, Vectorworks, Twinmotion, Affinity Photo & Designer, Video Editing, Apple Motion etc etc.
If I did have a bigger budget I would have upgraded the RAM to 32GB and the GPU to 8GB, its a balance between needs and budget :+1:

: )
Wow, a parallel situation, thank you!!
I too would love the added memory on both the board and gpu, and ram like money, never enough : ) … and why I am annoyed at Apple, a first, with the ram not being upgradeable on this MBP : /
But the MBP 16” is still sweet.
Thank you again.
: )

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If you know anyone with a Costco membership, look into their pre-configured MacBook Pro offerings. They offer the 2.6Ghz i7, but also the 2.3Ghz 8-core i9 dressed up with 16GB RAM, 1Tb SSD, AMD 5500M with 4GB graphics. It’s offered at $2699usd where the (US) Apple Store has it at $200 more. If the card holder has the Executive membership, they get a 2% rebate at the end of the year.

I spent yesterday migrating from the original 2012 retina MacBook Pro into a 2020 16", 2.4Ghz i9, 32GB RAM, 2Tb SSD, AMD 5600M with 8Gb. This setup is possibly a pre-configuration because it was available for pickup at the local Apple store the next morning. A single change to any spec and it’d otherwise be a 2-week wait.

Rhino is a reasonably nimble program that let me get away with using the 2.9Ghz i7 (16GB RAM) for the last seven years and in reality, I could probably have continued to use it for the next several years. The reason I went for the upper tier configuration is for all the other things the old machine has introduced me to: ZBrush, FinalCutPro editing, Keyshot rendering

In the short time I’ve had to really kick the tires on the new rig, the most notable Rhino improvement is navigating around the heaviest scene I’ve modeled so far… 629 block instances, 5 surfaces, 310 poly surfaces & 39 extrusions:


Fast whipping around this scene on the 2012 retina MBP, it roughly feels like it’s being done at 10-12 frames-per-second. On the 2.4Ghz i9? Buttery smooth by comparison… I’m guessing somewhere in the 25-30 fps zone easily.