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I am considering purchasing a Mac for my godson who will be using it to run Blender 2.8. I know very little about this program. All I can find are requirements for a Mac that will run earlier versions of Blender. Would someone please recommend a list of requirements for a Mac (or a link to a list of requirements) that I could use to find a model that can run 2.8? Thank you in advance for all your help! Sincerely, M. Lap

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    $\begingroup$ I am a Mac user, I like the Mac System but Mac graphic cards are not made for 3D, it takes much more time to calculate, so my advice would be to not buy a Mac... also I'm not sure Eevee will work on Mac (?) $\endgroup$
    – moonboots
    Nov 18, 2018 at 23:42
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for this advice. Do you have a recommendation for a list of requirements for a non-Mac computer? Also, do you have a "favorite" computer that you would suggest for running 2.8? Again, I appreciate all your help! $\endgroup$
    – M. Lap
    Nov 18, 2018 at 23:50
  • $\begingroup$ I'm very bad with hardware, sorry, but I'm sure someone will answer, here or on another forum $\endgroup$
    – moonboots
    Nov 19, 2018 at 0:03
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    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it about hardware recommendations $\endgroup$ Nov 19, 2018 at 0:23
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    $\begingroup$ Dont’ buy a Mac. Not only because it doesn’t have nVidia GPUs, but also OpenGL in Mac is deprecated. Until Blender natively supports Metal, don’t buy a Mac for it. $\endgroup$
    – MetroWind
    Jan 28, 2019 at 21:57

1 Answer 1

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Since hardware questions and computer recommendations are considered off topic here, and this is a frequent topic that often comes up in new questions, here is a somewhat canonical answer that hopefully covers the main points.

The most important component for Blender is a good graphics card. Unfortunately, to get an even remotely decent GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) on a new Mac you'll be looking at $3K+, certainly not worth the money.

Macs these days come equipped with AMD cards which have sup-par support for GPU rendering. Even if you could somehow get an NVIDia card to work on your Mackintosh, Apple decided to deprecate third party toolkits on their platform, thus making CUDA unavailable for GPU acceleration of Cycles renders.

Additionally, given that also Apple decided to deprecate support for third party graphics APIs like OpenCL and OpenGL in favor of their own Metal API you will always be looking at a feature crippled system when compared to competing platforms in terms of GPU rendering and real time drawing performance, which makes MacOS an even less of an advisable ecosystem to invest in if you are seriously looking at open source software.

On the new ARM based M1 Macs Blender runs natively without the need for rosetta, since Blender already supported compiling for the ARM platform on Linux, so only a few adjustments were necessary.

ARM processors are known for their lower power requirements suited for mobile devices, but not their performance. While Blender does run on M1 it is at the time of writing not yet really optimized and crash prone. Even once optimized we are likely looking at systems that will under perform for heavy tasks like rendering or animating heavy scenes with lots of particle systems or animated objects. GPU acceletarion for rendering will likely still be unavailable.

For that reason, I cannot recommend a Mac for Blender.

With a gaming PC, you could buy something with very good specs for about \$1~1.5K. A laptop with specifications like Intel Core i5 for CPU and 8GB RAM would also work just fine, and you can find a laptop with an NVIDIA GTX 970 on Ebay/Craigslist for pretty cheap these days.

For the NVIDIA 10 GPU series cards a GTX 1060 would be a good entry point. NVIDIA will soon release new GPUs for their 20 series. Laptop with a 20-series GPU might be a bit expensive though, but it might be worth-it specially if you were planning to spend ~$3k for a MacBook Pro.

If you absolutely have to buy a Mac then the 15" MacBook Pro is probably the best bet. It's the only laptop in Apple's lineup with a dedicated GPU, the MacBook Air/12"/13" all use integrated graphics which is admittedly insufficient for Blender 2.8 (it's too slow).

Related

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    $\begingroup$ Very good answer. Upvoted. A Mac is much too expensive for not great 3D performance to make it a good option. They work, but not ideal. Oh, and hey, M! Tell ya boi a fellow youngin' Blender user says hi!! - from me 😀 $\endgroup$
    – Linguini
    Nov 19, 2018 at 5:41
  • $\begingroup$ What is your experience with external GPUs, in this regard? $\endgroup$ Sep 14, 2019 at 11:34
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    $\begingroup$ I haven’t looked at them recently but last I checked, the external systems cost almost as much as the gpu itself. The thunderbolt cable becomes a bottleneck so you won’t get the full potential of the gpu. Furthermore, Mac only supports AMD cards. Basically I think external gpus are a waste of money. $\endgroup$
    – mr-matt
    Sep 14, 2019 at 18:24
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    $\begingroup$ wow, over a year later and Apple actually has a decent MacBook Pro that (at the top end at least) competes favorably on price with other 17" laptops from the majors, and yet it's crippled by the fact that AMD GPUs aren't supported by anything outside the Apple ecosystem? WTH?!!! $\endgroup$
    – Michael
    Apr 13, 2020 at 0:28

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