View Full Version : Can I run 3D Studio Max on a 13" MacBook Pro with Retina Display?


I have found a point in my life where I need to start using 3D rendering programs, and the preferred one for my business is 3D Studio Max, or Autocad, or something like that. I love Macs so I could never imagine buying a Windows computer so I know I'll have to be running an emulator. I assume Parallels would work just fine.

I was recently at the Apple store discussing this and a guy there said that yes, a 13" MacBook Pro would work for my needs but make my computer very slow. The graphics card is sufficient but running such a big program and two operating systems would be a little hard on a 13". He recommended a 15", which is quite expensive.

Does anyone have experience in this or know whether running 3D Studio Max on a Windows emulator on a 13" MacBook Pro would be detrimental to the speed or just usability to the computer?

I'm going to post the system requirements of 3D Studio Max in terms of a graphics card and other things below (as a link, it'd be a lot to copy and paste and I'd imagine it to be quite annoying to scroll through). If anyone could check it out I'd greatly appreciate it because I don't want to spend the money on a computer that won't work for my needs.

Graphics card requirement

The 13" MacBook Pro with Retina Display has "Intel Iris Graphics". I don't know what that is exactly but there you go.

I really don't know how these things work so please help haha.

Will it run? I am 99% sure it will run.

Will it run as well on a Mac with just "integrated graphics" (which is what Intel Iris Graphics is) as it will on a Mac with a "dedicated graphics card" (which will be the case with the higher end 15" rMBP…i.e. the one that cost $2499)? Nope…it will run slower on a computer that does not have a "dedicated graphics card" like the high end 15" rMBP.

Generally Parallels will suffer some performance lose compared to running Windows "native" (i.e. in Bootcamp), but it is not that bad in many cases. I personally run Parallels with Windows 7 for my structural engineering software. I also use Autodesk's TrueView viewer for viewing AutoCAD files. That is about as graphically intense as my uses get. At some point, I might actually run AutoCAD, but I don't really do CAD right now (we have dedicated CAD people for that). In my use, Windows in Parallels runs fine. I don't specifically notice any speed or usability issues, but then I have not specifically compared it to using Windows in Bootcamp to get "native" speeds as using Windows in Parallels serves my purposes.

It will really come down to how you use it and whether it will be OK for it to be slower. If you are using it for business purposes on a regular basis and you want the best performance to get projects done quicker (i.e. "time is money"), then it likely will be worth the extra money to go to the upper end 15" rMBP…or bite the bullet and get a Windows laptop with a dedicated graphics card, which will likely cost you less money. As much as I prefer using Macs, I am generally of the attitude to buy the best tool for the task, which sometimes is an actually Windows machine. If I end up starting to use AutoCAD on a regular basis, then I just might look to get a Windows laptop (probably a Lenovo W540).

Hope that helps.

I really think that I'm going to get a Lenovo W540 if I really need to be using those programs. I have to talk to my teacher about it (I'm designing sets for school plays, which are pretty intense where I am)