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    Default ArcGIS for Mac

    HI ,

    I have a MacBook Air OSX 10.6.8, 1.4 GHzIntel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB Memory . Will I be able to run this software on my computer? I have heard I will have to by Parallels or Partitions, and that it makes it go very slow regardless. Since I am pursuing a career in GIS, Im thinking about buying a new computer. If I do need to buy a new computer, what would you guys recommend?

    Thanks for your support

  2. #2
    Dan Patterson

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    Default Re: ArcGIS for Mac

    What links have you examined on this forum already?
    Geomatics, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
    http://obidangis.blogspot.ca/

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    Default Re: ArcGIS for Mac

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan_Patterson View Post
    What links have you examined on this forum already?

    I checked out some in re: to Mac compatibility with ArcGIS, but the messages were from a few years ago so I was unsure if the info was outdated. Im a GIS student and we have ArcGIS Sixth Edition. It says in the front of the text that the minimum amount of hardware needed are 2.2 GHz and 2 GB memory. Looks like Im good on memory (I have 2 GB), but will buying Parallels or Partition (whatever that is lol) solve what Im lacking in GHz?

    Should I just buy a PC?

    Thanks

  4. #4
    Dan Patterson

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    Default Re: ArcGIS for Mac

    If you are going to stick with GIS world, then a PC would be a wise investment since good machines are relatively cheap. Keep the Mac for other stuff.
    Geomatics, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
    http://obidangis.blogspot.ca/

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    Default Re: ArcGIS for Mac

    OK Thanks. I really appreciate your response, it has been difficult to get any feedback from faculty. Any recommendations on computers?

  6. #6
    Dan Patterson

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    Default Re: ArcGIS for Mac

    Any....None Too much opinion, just make sure that you can get rapid service and not a machine that needs to be sent away for several weeks should the unthinkable happen. I purchase shop-built machines which guarantee 3 day turnaround and mostly same-day service...I have only needed it once in 10 years...and it was worth it.
    Geomatics, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
    http://obidangis.blogspot.ca/

  7. #7
    Curtis Price

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    Default Re: ArcGIS for Mac

    I'm surprised Dan is so negative about Apple since he's so concerned about quality and support. I'm a pretty big fan of Apple hardware, and the AppleCare is pricey but very amazing, award-winning support, better than you normally get from any other PC manufacturer. Even better if you have access to a retail Apple store nearby.

    If ALL you were doing on the machine was ArcGIS and MS Access and need cutting edge performance to do data processing, that's one thing. But if this is your laptop -- you are using it off hours for the rest of your life. It's a no brainer for me, because I love the software like iPhoto for my personal stuff. And supporting a home network -- at home we dropped PCs ten years ago and do not miss looking for printer drivers every six months. The Apple technology though pricey, but it is enough ahead of the curve enough that you don't feel required to replace it every three years. I futz with Windows all day and when I get home it's a joy to sit down in front of my iMac or my wife's Air -- they are a joy to use. Never been able to say that about my IBM or Dell at work.

    Since Apple went with Intel processors, the performance penalty for running Windows on a Mac pretty minimal. If you don't mind rebooting to go back and forth, Apple's Boot Camp works really well and is free. I really like Parallels and it runs ArcGIS quite well -- ***if*** you have enough RAM. You'd want at least 8 GB (MacBooks can go up to 16 GB using third-party chips -- Apple doesn't support it but it works) to make room for both OS's if you are going to run a VM. Note Parallels is not windows "emulation" -- it's the real thing -- but it can require a lot of resources to have two OS's running at once.

    One selling point if you're doing a lot general computing is you can use Darwin (the BSD Unix under the Apple's hood) for lots of unix things. Macs come with Python installed! If you want to go hardcore and get into Linux, well, running Parallels to run Ubuntu will be no slower than using VMWare to run Ubuntu under Windows on a similarly-equipped box.

    On my mid-2007 iMac at home I can run ArcGIS fine, but to get Windows (XP) to run reasonably fast I need to absolutely shut down everything on the Mac side. Since this a six year old Mac (which I'm still happy with for everything else) that can only do 4GB officially, 6 GB maximum, I'm considering boot camp, which let's you take over the whole RAM. But that's a very old apple machine.

    It comes down to your preference and whether you are using your computer for other things. The personal and communication software in the Apple universe is pretty great, but you have to like living in the Apple universe. For example, iPhone, Apple TV, iMac, iTunes are engineered to work together nicely.

    The new Mac Pro is going to be amazing -- and assembled in the USA -- so I am sorely tempted.

    p.s. The MacBook Air is really awesome, but it is built for non-compute-intensive tasks and web browsing. That's why the RAM is not upgradeable and it is soooo light and thin. You don't have enough resources on that thing to run ArcGIS, even under Boot Camp -- I consider 3.2GB the minimum for ArcGIS.
    Last edited by curtvprice; 09-13-2013 at 08:13 PM.

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    Ryan Irwin
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    Default Re: ArcGIS for Mac

    Curtis,

    Thanks for the good info. I am also very interested in this topic as I am trying to move completely into the Applesphere (just tried Android and quickly switched back to iPhone). I just purchased my first Apple computer, a new 15 inch Macbook Pro, maxed out on RAM (16 GB). I am an avid user of ArcGIS for work and personal and it is very important that this program work well for me or I will have to go back to PC.

    I am in the process of comparing Parallels vs VMWare so any insight into that choice would be much appreciated. I like the idea of using Bootcamp to leverage the full power of the system but I dont like the idea of rebooting to use ArcGIS since I am always bouncing in and out of it.

    Am I going to be OK running ArcGIS intensive activities in a virtual machine with this Macbook Pro? What is the best virtual machine (or other) setup to run ArcGIS on my Mac?

    Thanks for any advice!

  9. #9
    Tim Spivey
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    Default Re: ArcGIS for Mac

    "should the unthinkable happen. I purchase shop-built machines which guarantee 3 day turnaround and mostly same-day service"

    Dan, does the guarantee cover damage caused by rogue polar bears? We have a comprehensive alligator clause in ours.

  10. #10
    Dan Patterson

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    Default Re: ArcGIS for Mac

    Only if you buy the appropriate case
    Geomatics, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
    http://obidangis.blogspot.ca/

  11. #11
    Freddie Gibson
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    Default Re: ArcGIS for Mac

    I'll have to agree with Dan on this one. In my opinion, I would say you should only buy the Mac if you're willing to "DEAL" with using Windows on a Mac and have the money to purchase the mac. If you've never used VMWare or Parallels then you probably should try them out on a friends laptop before you invest your own money into something you may not like. In the end the decision is up to how much money you're wanting to spend and how tech saavy you are.

    To give you more insight on my background, I have a 2009 Macbook Pro with 8GB of RAM that I've upgraded to two hard drives (one 500GB SSD and one 1TB SSD/HD Hybrid) and ArcMap runs just fine on VMWare Fusion 6 and Windows 8. I originally bought this computer for school as a GIS and Computer Science double major because I was tired of dealing with PCs. I now also have a Lenovo X1 Carbon and several desktop machines at home.

    Both machines work just fine for me. I tend to do some rather complex analysis in Python and ArcObjects that aren't usually too memory intensive. I'm also very familiar with Virtual Machines so the few extra things you have to do to manage them don't bother me in the slightest (mounting drives or hardware to different machines, dealing with path names, customizing keyboard shortcuts, etc.). Although I'm fine with this I know that most of the programmers on my team can barely use Virtual Machines in a PC environment and it'd drive them nuts using a PC on a Mac.

    In my opinion, if you're going to use Boot Camp you might as well buy a PC. Who would want to have to restart their machine to have to do things. There are tons of apps that I use on mac while I'm waiting on ArcGIS to complete a task and it'd be impossible for me to have my mac and not want to listen to ITunes or play Angry birds while I'm waiting on a process to finish.

    All in all, your decision is going to come down to how deep your pockets are. For my macbook pro I spent $2500 in 2009, $500+ on upgrades, $40 for VMWare Fusion, $30 on an NTFS writer program (macs can't write to NTFS natively because this is Microsoft's intellectual property), and $200 for Windows 8. For my X1 I've only spent $1400. For the most part they perform the same when I'm writing code and unless I'm doing something that's graphics intensive you can't really notice the difference between the two. In your case you could either 1) Buy 2 PCs for the price of one MacBook pro and not have to deal with Virtual Machines or 2) Buy 1 Macbook pro to only have your dreams die when Apple decides to release a series of even better ones about every 2 to 3 years.

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    Bruce Cuthbert
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    Question Re: ArcGIS for Mac

    I am interested in an update on your Mac perspective...

    I have 15" 2.7 GHz Macbook pro with retina and 16 GB memory. I often get spinning beach ball with city engine and with city engine web viewer. It would help if ESRI has specific forum for equipment setup with an area for Macs. I agree that Macs should be great, but, I have not found much help for Macs here yet.

    I was looking to getting retina on Macbook pro, but so far haven't seen much benefit... and in fact, it has slowed me down a lot trying to find workarounds, etc.

    If you can point me to Mac config tips for Mac OS, Parallels, VMWare, Bootcamp that would be great.

    Thanks
    Bruce

    Quote Originally Posted by curtvprice View Post
    I'm surprised Dan is so negative about Apple since he's so concerned about quality and support. I'm a pretty big fan of Apple hardware, and the AppleCare is pricey but very amazing, award-winning support, better than you normally get from any other PC manufacturer. Even better if you have access to a retail Apple store nearby.

    If ALL you were doing on the machine was ArcGIS and MS Access and need cutting edge performance to do data processing, that's one thing. But if this is your laptop -- you are using it off hours for the rest of your life. It's a no brainer for me, because I love the software like iPhoto for my personal stuff. And supporting a home network -- at home we dropped PCs ten years ago and do not miss looking for printer drivers every six months. The Apple technology though pricey, but it is enough ahead of the curve enough that you don't feel required to replace it every three years. I futz with Windows all day and when I get home it's a joy to sit down in front of my iMac or my wife's Air -- they are a joy to use. Never been able to say that about my IBM or Dell at work.

    Since Apple went with Intel processors, the performance penalty for running Windows on a Mac pretty minimal. If you don't mind rebooting to go back and forth, Apple's Boot Camp works really well and is free. I really like Parallels and it runs ArcGIS quite well -- ***if*** you have enough RAM. You'd want at least 8 GB (MacBooks can go up to 16 GB using third-party chips -- Apple doesn't support it but it works) to make room for both OS's if you are going to run a VM. Note Parallels is not windows "emulation" -- it's the real thing -- but it can require a lot of resources to have two OS's running at once.

    One selling point if you're doing a lot general computing is you can use Darwin (the BSD Unix under the Apple's hood) for lots of unix things. Macs come with Python installed! If you want to go hardcore and get into Linux, well, running Parallels to run Ubuntu will be no slower than using VMWare to run Ubuntu under Windows on a similarly-equipped box.

    On my mid-2007 iMac at home I can run ArcGIS fine, but to get Windows (XP) to run reasonably fast I need to absolutely shut down everything on the Mac side. Since this a six year old Mac (which I'm still happy with for everything else) that can only do 4GB officially, 6 GB maximum, I'm considering boot camp, which let's you take over the whole RAM. But that's a very old apple machine.

    It comes down to your preference and whether you are using your computer for other things. The personal and communication software in the Apple universe is pretty great, but you have to like living in the Apple universe. For example, iPhone, Apple TV, iMac, iTunes are engineered to work together nicely.

    The new Mac Pro is going to be amazing -- and assembled in the USA -- so I am sorely tempted.

    p.s. The MacBook Air is really awesome, but it is built for non-compute-intensive tasks and web browsing. That's why the RAM is not upgradeable and it is soooo light and thin. You don't have enough resources on that thing to run ArcGIS, even under Boot Camp -- I consider 3.2GB the minimum for ArcGIS.

  13. #13
    Curtis Price

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    Default Re: ArcGIS for Mac

    Quote Originally Posted by tbcuthbert View Post
    I often get spinning beach ball with city engine and with city engine web viewer.
    We see a lot of discussions when people are spec'ing new hardware for ArcGIS. I believe that a commodity PC (with generous RAM of course), with standard video adapters are fine -- unless you want to do video production or heavy 3-D rendering like City Engine. In that case you probably want to invest in higher-level video adapters. For this reason I'm not so sure the Mac is a good choice for those kind of (more specialized) ArcGIS applications.

    That said, whether you go with VMWare or Parallels, I'd definitely upgrade to the most recent version - as I get the impression this is a major part of their development efforts. These companies usually tout significant improved 3-D performance as a reason to update.

    Here's some information on optimizing 3-D in Parallels.

    http://download.parallels.com/deskto...uide/22986.htm
    http://download.parallels.com/deskto...uide/33325.htm

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