Which Workstation for Architecture? (MacBook Pro, Dell Precision, HP ZBook or Lenovo P Series)

Sep 5, 2017
3
0
510
0
Hi,
I’ve been using my old Dell XPS1640 for almost 8 years. It’s time for an upgrade. I’m tired of waiting on Cinema 4D Renderings to finish, AutoCAD crashing/freezing due to large files (80MB+), Illustrator running out of memory (8GB), etc… I would also like to have the capabilities to run Rhino with Grasshopper, 3DS Max, and V-Ray reliably in the future when I learn to use these programs better.

My Current Dell XPS1640
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo T9600 (6MB cache/2.8GHz/1066Mhz FSB)
OS: Windows 10 Pro
RAM: 8.00 GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1067Mhz (2Dims, maxed out)
LCD: 16” RGB LED (1920x1080) (Beautiful Screen ^_^)
GPU: ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4670 – 1GB
SSD: Samsung Evo 850 – 1 TB (self-installed)
Size: 0.95″-1.34″ x 15.15″ x 10.02″
Weight: 6.53 Pounds
CD-Drive: 4X Slot Load Blu-ray Disc (BD) Burner (Writes to DVD/CD/BD)

My New Laptop Wish List
Budget, 2,000 – 4,000€
Size Preference, I would prefer a 15”-16” size over a larger 17” model (weight is tolerable)
Screen Resolution, Minimum 15.4” (1920x1080), w/ wide color gamut range & high accuracy
Portability, Laptop can still fit easily in backpack for travel/flying like current laptop
Power, I could sacrifice some portability for a more powerful model
Battery Life, 2 hours seems to be fine
Games, not needed for any games whatsoever (I do watch TV shows/movies though)
Tasks/Programs, AutoCAD, Revit, Sketch-UP, Cinema 4D, Adobe CC, Rhino, Grasshopper, 3DS Max, V-Ray, 3D Rendering, Web/Graphic Design
Storage, 1TB is probably ideal, could transfer my current Samsung Evo 850 to a new laptop

Current Interests,
1. [urlExt=https://www.apple.com/shop/buy-mac/macbook-pro?product=MPTT2LL/A&step=config#]Apple MacBook Pro 2017, 15” w/Touchbar[/urlExt] (I use my XPS16 Touchbar quite a bit and really like it)
Example Build for MacBook Pro 15.4"
Operating System, Mac OS (would have to install Win. 10 with Parallels)
Display, 15.4" Retina (2880x1800), 500 nits, Wide P3 Color
Processor, IntelCore i7-7920HQ, 3.1Ghz, Turboboost 4.1Ghz, 8 MB Shared L3 Cache,
w/Intel HD Graphics 630
Storage, 1 TB PCIe-Based SSP (soldered to motherboard, can't upgrade)
Memory, 16 GB 2133Mhz LPDDR3 (soldered to motherboard, can't upgrade)
Graphics, Radeon Pro 560, 4 GB GDDR5 (will this help with CAD programs/rendering?)
Ports, 4 Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) 40Gb/s ports, 3.5mm Jack (Thunderbolt is the future)
Keyboard, Backlit, Full Size Butterfly with OLED Touchbar w/Touch ID where F-Keys would go
Wifi/Bluetooth, 802.11ac WLAN, Bluetooth 4.2
Misc., 720p FaceTime HD Camera, 3 Microphones, Stereo Speakers,
76 WHr Lithium Polym. Battery (10 Hours)
Size/Weight, 0.61" (H) x 13.75" (W) x 9.48" (D) [4.02 Pounds]
Price, $3,399 US Dollars (1 Year Apple Warranty)

2. [urlExt=http://www.dell.com/en-us/work/shop/sfc/sf/precision-laptops?~ck=mn]Dell Precision 7520 (15”) or Dell Precision 7720 (17”)[/urlExt]
Example Build for Dell Precision 7520 15.6"
Operating System, Windows 10 Pro
Display, 15.6" Ultra Sharp UHD IGZO (3840x2160)AG LED-backlit (100% Adobe Color)
Processor, IntelCore i7-7920HQ, 2.1Ghz, Turboboost 4.1Ghz, 8 MB Shared L3 Cache
Storage, 1 TB M.2 PCIe Sold State Drive Class 40 (has room up to 3 TB)
Memory, 32GB (2x16GB) 2400MHz DDR4 Non-ECC SDRAM (2 more slots avail. up to 64 GB)
Graphics, NVIDIA Quadro M2200 w/4GB GDDR5 (Should have CUDA for CAD programs)
Ports, 1 Thunderbolt 3, 4 USB-C with Powershare, 3.5 mm Jack, Ethernet, 1 Memory Card
Reader, HDMI port, 1 Power Adapter Port, 1 mini display port connector
Keyboard, Backlit, Full Size with Number Pad and F-Keys (no Touchbar)
Wifi/Bluetooth, Intel Wifi Link 8520 w/Bluetooth 4.1 (not 4.2, better for power)
Misc., Front camera w/mic., Stereo Speakers, 91WHr Lithium Ion Battery w/Express Charge
Size/Weight, 1.3" (H), 14.88" (W) x 10.30" (D) [6.16lbs.]
Price, [strike]$5,495.86[/strike], after savings $3,834 US Dollars (3 Year Dell Warranty)

3. [urlExt=http://store.hp.com/us/en/mdp/business-solutions/zbook-15-mobile-workstation-243552--1?jumpid=cp_r11260_us/en/psg/vr_backpack/crosssell/zbook-17-buynow]HP ZBook 15 G4 (15”) or HP ZBook 17 G4 (17”)[/urlExt]
Example Build for HP ZBook G4 Mobile Workstation 15.6"
Operating System, Windows 10 Pro
Display, 15.6" B-LED UHD UWVA DreamColor Anti-Glare (3840x2160)
Processor, Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6, 3.0Ghz, Turboboost 4.0Ghz, 8 MB Cache, 4 Core,
Intel HD Graphics P630
Storage, 1 TB SATA-3 TLC SSD (has room up to 3TB)
Memory, 32 GB (2x 16 GB) DDR4 2400 ECC (can upgrade to 64 GB)
Graphics, Nvidia Quadro M2200 4 GB GDDR5 (Should have CUDA for CAD programs)
Ports, 2 Thunderbolt 3 Ports, 3 USB 3.0 Ports, HDMI and VGA outputs,
Ethernet Port, SD Card Slot,
Keyboard, Backlit, Full Size with Number Pad and F-Keys (no touchbar)
Wifi/Bluetooth, Intel 8265 ac 2x2 +Bluetooth 4.2
Misc., Front Camera with microphone, Stereo Speakers, 9-Cell 90WHr Battery,
Fingerprint Reader
Size/Weight, 1" (H) x 15.2" (W) x 10.4" (D) [Starts at 5.7lbs.]
Price, [strike]$4,546.00[/strike], after savings $3,364 US Dollars (3 Year HP Warranty)

4. [urlExt=http://www3.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/thinkpad/thinkpad-p/c/thinkpadp?menu-id=Thinkpad_Workstations]Lenovo P51 (15”) or Lenovo P71 (17”)[/urlExt]
Example Build for Lenovo P51 Mobile Workstation 15.6"
Operating System, Windows 10 Pro
Display, 15.6" 4K (3840x2160), anti-glare, IPS (Color Sensor included)
Processor, Intel Xeon E3-1535M v6, 4 Cores, 8MG Cache, up to 4.20Ghz
Storage, 1 TB SSD PCIe TLC OPAL2 (has room up to 2 TB)
Memory, 64GB (16x4) DDR4 2400MHz ECC SoDIMM (64GB max)
Graphics, Nvidia Quadro M2200 4GB GDDR5
Ports, 1 Express Card 34mm, 3 USB 3.0, 1 USB 3.1, 1 Thunderbolt, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, 1
Docing Station Port, 3.5 mm Jack, 1 Card Reader
Keyboard, Backlit, Full Size with Number Pad and F-Keys (no touchbar)
Wifi/Bluetooth, Intel Dual Band Wireless AC(2x2) 8265, Bluetooth Version 4.1, vPro
Misc., 720p HD Camera with Microphone, Stereo Speakers, Smart Card Reader,
6 Cell Li-Polymer Battery 90Wh, dTPM2.0 Security Chip enabled, fingerprint reader
Size/Weight, 1.16" (H), x 14.86" (W) x 9.93" (D) [5.81lbs.]
Estimated Price, [strike]$3,579[/strike], after savings $3,221.10 US Dollars (1 Year Warranty)

Longevity, It should last for at least 4 years, my current laptop (w/upgrades) is going on 8 years
Optical Drive, Would be nice for watching DVD/Blu-Ray movies, but not necessary
Brand Preference, I love Dell and Apple products already but would consider HP or Lenovo. I want to stay away from Acer, Asus, Samsung and Sony.
Country, I currently live in Germany but could be moving back to the USA within a year

Honestly I’m leaning toward trying out a Mac for once or staying with Dell. My current Dell has had a few issues with drivers over the years when upgrading the OS from Vista to 7 to 10. The Bluetooth and internet have also given me a few issues over the years. I’ve used Bluetooth headphones since 2005 and couldn’t live without them. In addition, the computer seems to normally run lukewarm to hot with the noisy fans running most of the time. In its defense, Dell seems to almost always deliver the best bang for the buck in my opinion. They are always running sales, providing extra discounts etc… The ability to customize is also superb.

As for Apple, I’m already the happy owner of an iPhone and now Bluetooth AirPods, both of which have worked reliably and flawlessly since day one of purchase. This consistency and reliability have really won me over and I have always wondered if I would like a Mac or not. When I bought my Dell XPS16, Apple was the other choice but I was too worried about program compatibility at the time. With the advancements in Paralles and the ability to run Windows 10 programs within the Mac OS, I’m once again tempted to try a MacBook Pro out, but I worry if running two OS’s at once would bog down the new laptop too much and defeat the purpose of having a mac in the first place. In addition, I use AutoCAD quite a bit and so having the 'Esc' key on the touchbar with no haptic feedback worries me a bit. In the future I hope to use mostly Revit and less of AutoCAD and Sketch-UP. Since there seems to be no native Revit for Mac, I would probably be running this through parallels. I am also worried about being able to use CAD Programs to their full potential and being able to do much faster renderings in Revit, Cinema 4D and V-Ray (in the future) with the help of Nvidia CUDA or AMD OpenCL technology, which I now know about. Would the Mac’s Radeon Pro 560 GPU be used in this way?

I’m open to other suggestions and opinions besides my favorites, Dell and Apple, at the moment and would be open to one of the other workstation models from HP and Lenovo if someone has a case for why they would be better.
 
Sep 5, 2017
3
0
510
0
MERGED QUESTION
Question from joshuaerikjorgensen : "Which Workstation for Architecture? (MacBook Pro, Dell Precision, HP ZBook or Lenovo P Series)"

Hi,
I’ve been using my old Dell XPS1640 for almost 8 years. It’s time for an upgrade. I’m tired of waiting on Cinema 4D Renderings to finish, AutoCAD crashing/freezing due to large files (80MB+), Illustrator running out of memory (8GB), etc… I would also like to have the capabilities to run Rhino with Grasshopper, 3DS Max, and V-Ray reliably in the future when I learn to use these programs better.

My Current Dell XPS1640
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo T9600 (6MB cache/2.8GHz/1066Mhz FSB)
OS: Windows 10 Pro
RAM: 8.00 GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1067Mhz (2Dims, maxed out)
LCD: 16” RGB LED (1920x1080) (Beautiful Screen ^_^)
GPU: ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4670 – 1GB
SSD: Samsung Evo 850 – 1 TB (self-installed)
Size: 0.95″-1.34″ x 15.15″ x 10.02″
Weight: 6.53 Pounds
CD-Drive: 4X Slot Load Blu-ray Disc (BD) Burner (Writes to DVD/CD/BD)

My New Laptop Wish List
Budget, 2,000 – 4,000€
Size Preference, I would prefer a 15”-16” size over a larger 17” model (weight is tolerable)
Screen Resolution, Minimum 15.4” (1920x1080), w/ wide color gamut range & high accuracy
Portability, Laptop can still fit easily in backpack for travel/flying like current laptop
Power, I could sacrifice some portability for a more powerful model
Battery Life, 2 hours seems to be fine
Games, not needed for any games whatsoever (I do watch TV shows/movies though)
Tasks/Programs, AutoCAD, Revit, Sketch-UP, Cinema 4D, Adobe CC, Rhino, Grasshopper, 3DS Max, V-Ray, 3D Rendering, Web/Graphic Design
Storage, 1TB is probably ideal, could transfer my current Samsung Evo 850 to a new laptop

Current Interests,
1. [urlExt=https://www.apple.com/shop/buy-mac/macbook-pro?product=MPTT2LL/A&step=config#]Apple MacBook Pro 2017, 15” w/Touchbar[/urlExt] (I use my XPS16 Touchbar quite a bit and really like it)
Example Build for MacBook Pro 15.4"
Operating System, Mac OS (would have to install Win. 10 with Parallels)
Display, 15.4" Retina (2880x1800), 500 nits, Wide P3 Color
Processor, IntelCore i7-7920HQ, 3.1Ghz, Turboboost 4.1Ghz, 8 MB Shared L3 Cache,
w/Intel HD Graphics 630
Storage, 1 TB PCIe-Based SSP (soldered to motherboard, can't upgrade)
Memory, 16 GB 2133Mhz LPDDR3 (soldered to motherboard, can't upgrade)
Graphics, Radeon Pro 560, 4 GB GDDR5 (will this help with CAD programs/rendering?)
Ports, 4 Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) 40Gb/s ports, 3.5mm Jack (Thunderbolt is the future)
Keyboard, Backlit, Full Size Butterfly with OLED Touchbar w/Touch ID where F-Keys would go
Wifi/Bluetooth, 802.11ac WLAN, Bluetooth 4.2
Misc., 720p FaceTime HD Camera, 3 Microphones, Stereo Speakers,
76 WHr Lithium Polym. Battery (10 Hours)
Size/Weight, 0.61" (H) x 13.75" (W) x 9.48" (D) [4.02 Pounds]
Price, $3,399 US Dollars (1 Year Apple Warranty)

2. [urlExt=http://www.dell.com/en-us/work/shop/sfc/sf/precision-laptops?~ck=mn]Dell Precision 7520 (15”) or Dell Precision 7720 (17”)[/urlExt]
Example Build for Dell Precision 7520 15.6"
Operating System, Windows 10 Pro
Display, 15.6" Ultra Sharp UHD IGZO (3840x2160)AG LED-backlit (100% Adobe Color)
Processor, IntelCore i7-7920HQ, 2.1Ghz, Turboboost 4.1Ghz, 8 MB Shared L3 Cache
Storage, 1 TB M.2 PCIe Sold State Drive Class 40 (has room up to 3 TB)
Memory, 32GB (2x16GB) 2400MHz DDR4 Non-ECC SDRAM (2 more slots avail. up to 64 GB)
Graphics, NVIDIA Quadro M2200 w/4GB GDDR5 (Should have CUDA for CAD programs)
Ports, 1 Thunderbolt 3, 4 USB-C with Powershare, 3.5 mm Jack, Ethernet, 1 Memory Card
Reader, HDMI port, 1 Power Adapter Port, 1 mini display port connector
Keyboard, Backlit, Full Size with Number Pad and F-Keys (no Touchbar)
Wifi/Bluetooth, Intel Wifi Link 8520 w/Bluetooth 4.1 (not 4.2, better for power)
Misc., Front camera w/mic., Stereo Speakers, 91WHr Lithium Ion Battery w/Express Charge
Size/Weight, 1.3" (H), 14.88" (W) x 10.30" (D) [6.16lbs.]
Price, [strike]$5,495.86[/strike], after savings $3,834 US Dollars (3 Year Dell Warranty)

3. [urlExt=http://store.hp.com/us/en/mdp/business-solutions/zbook-15-mobile-workstation-243552--1?jumpid=cp_r11260_us/en/psg/vr_backpack/crosssell/zbook-17-buynow]HP ZBook 15 G4 (15”) or HP ZBook 17 G4 (17”)[/urlExt]
Example Build for HP ZBook G4 Mobile Workstation 15.6"
Operating System, Windows 10 Pro
Display, 15.6" B-LED UHD UWVA DreamColor Anti-Glare (3840x2160)
Processor, Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6, 3.0Ghz, Turboboost 4.0Ghz, 8 MB Cache, 4 Core,
Intel HD Graphics P630
Storage, 1 TB SATA-3 TLC SSD (has room up to 3TB)
Memory, 32 GB (2x 16 GB) DDR4 2400 ECC (can upgrade to 64 GB)
Graphics, Nvidia Quadro M2200 4 GB GDDR5 (Should have CUDA for CAD programs)
Ports, 2 Thunderbolt 3 Ports, 3 USB 3.0 Ports, HDMI and VGA outputs,
Ethernet Port, SD Card Slot,
Keyboard, Backlit, Full Size with Number Pad and F-Keys (no touchbar)
Wifi/Bluetooth, Intel 8265 ac 2x2 +Bluetooth 4.2
Misc., Front Camera with microphone, Stereo Speakers, 9-Cell 90WHr Battery,
Fingerprint Reader
Size/Weight, 1" (H) x 15.2" (W) x 10.4" (D) [Starts at 5.7lbs.]
Price, [strike]$4,546.00[/strike], after savings $3,364 US Dollars (3 Year HP Warranty)

4. [urlExt=http://www3.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/thinkpad/thinkpad-p/c/thinkpadp?menu-id=Thinkpad_Workstations]Lenovo P51 (15”) or Lenovo P71 (17”)[/urlExt]
Example Build for Lenovo P51 Mobile Workstation 15.6"
Operating System, Windows 10 Pro
Display, 15.6" 4K (3840x2160), anti-glare, IPS (Color Sensor included)
Processor, Intel Xeon E3-1535M v6, 4 Cores, 8MG Cache, up to 4.20Ghz
Storage, 1 TB SSD PCIe TLC OPAL2 (has room up to 2 TB)
Memory, 64GB (16x4) DDR4 2400MHz ECC SoDIMM (64GB max)
Graphics, Nvidia Quadro M2200 4GB GDDR5
Ports, 1 Express Card 34mm, 3 USB 3.0, 1 USB 3.1, 1 Thunderbolt, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, 1
Docing Station Port, 3.5 mm Jack, 1 Card Reader
Keyboard, Backlit, Full Size with Number Pad and F-Keys (no touchbar)
Wifi/Bluetooth, Intel Dual Band Wireless AC(2x2) 8265, Bluetooth Version 4.1, vPro
Misc., 720p HD Camera with Microphone, Stereo Speakers, Smart Card Reader,
6 Cell Li-Polymer Battery 90Wh, dTPM2.0 Security Chip enabled, fingerprint reader
Size/Weight, 1.16" (H), x 14.86" (W) x 9.93" (D) [5.81lbs.]
Estimated Price, [strike]$3,579[/strike], after savings $3,221.10 US Dollars (1 Year Warranty)

Longevity, It should last for at least 4 years, my current laptop (w/upgrades) is going on 8 years
Optical Drive, Would be nice for watching DVD/Blu-Ray movies, but not necessary
Brand Preference, I love Dell and Apple products already but would consider HP or Lenovo. I want to stay away from Acer, Asus, Samsung and Sony.
Country, I currently live in Germany but could be moving back to the USA within a year

Honestly I’m leaning toward trying out a Mac for once or staying with Dell. My current Dell has had a few issues with drivers over the years when upgrading the OS from Vista to 7 to 10. The Bluetooth and internet have also given me a few issues over the years. I’ve used Bluetooth headphones since 2005 and couldn’t live without them. In addition, the computer seems to normally run lukewarm to hot with the noisy fans running most of the time. In its defense, Dell seems to almost always deliver the best bang for the buck in my opinion. They are always running sales, providing extra discounts etc… The ability to customize is also superb.

As for Apple, I’m already the happy owner of an iPhone and now Bluetooth AirPods, both of which have worked reliably and flawlessly since day one of purchase. This consistency and reliability have really won me over and I have always wondered if I would like a Mac or not. When I bought my Dell XPS16, Apple was the other choice but I was too worried about program compatibility at the time. With the advancements in Paralles and the ability to run Windows 10 programs within the Mac OS, I’m once again tempted to try a MacBook Pro out, but I worry if running two OS’s at once would bog down the new laptop too much and defeat the purpose of having a mac in the first place. In addition, I use AutoCAD quite a bit and so having the 'Esc' key on the touchbar with no haptic feedback worries me a bit. In the future I hope to use mostly Revit and less of AutoCAD and Sketch-UP. Since there seems to be no native Revit for Mac, I would probably be running this through parallels. I am also worried about being able to use CAD Programs to their full potential and being able to do much faster renderings in Revit, Cinema 4D and V-Ray (in the future) with the help of Nvidia CUDA or AMD OpenCL technology, which I now know about. Would the Mac’s Radeon Pro 560 GPU be used in this way?

I’m open to other suggestions and opinions besides my favorites, Dell and Apple, at the moment and would be open to one of the other workstation models from HP and Lenovo if someone has a case for why they would be better.
 

Vignesh90

Commendable
Feb 26, 2016
2
0
1,510
0
Did you end up buying one of the workstations? I have the same dilemma and the use is similar; primarily for engineering 3D CAD softwares and adobe photoshop. If you have bought one, please post how you find it so far. Thanks!
 
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