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ArcGIS on a Mac?
September 21, 2007 2:10 PM   Subscribe

GISFilter: Will ArcGIS run smoothly on a bootcamped MacBook?

I'm a geography student with a brand new student version of ArcView 9.2. I'm in the market for a laptop. I'm also a Mac nut.

As it turns out, ArcGIS is XP-only. Will I regret buying a MacBook, setting up BootCamp and running the software on the partition? Or am I genuinely better off with a PC for GIS work? What should I be looking for in a laptop?

Budget is around the $1500 mark. Portability takes precedence over screen size. Thanks!
posted by betafilter to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I got the Arc products running on a Macbook with Parallels and XP. Not sure about Bootcamp, though.
posted by luriete at 2:30 PM on September 21, 2007


There shouldn't be a problem running it on Bootcamp at all. With bootcamp, you ARE running Win XP
posted by bigmusic at 2:37 PM on September 21, 2007


Second bigmusic. When you are talking about BootCamp, you are talking about literally booting your MacBook with Windows XP. At that point it's any other comparably-equipped PC laptop, since the processor, RAM, drives and devices are all controlled by native Windows software. There's no Mac left.
posted by rokusan at 3:02 PM on September 21, 2007


Here's a good article on the subject (and incidentally, the first when you Google "arcgis mac")
posted by desjardins at 3:04 PM on September 21, 2007


Depending on what you're going to be working on, ArcView can be hard to get running smoothly on anything.

But whether or not you're using Windows through BootCamp or a regular ol' PC has little to do with it.

ArcMap likes delicious RAM. Like for using any of the Adobe Suite, you want a relatively good computer to run it, although you can get by without. I've run it on everything from an 800Mhz ultraportable laptop with 512 Mb of RAM to a 2.*Ghz PC with 2 gigs of RAM. I can find sets of layers and labels that will make it choke every time.

To really make your computer cry, load up a layer of every parcel in a city, and then label them conditionally based on data joined in from a separate database. Zoom out to the full extent.
posted by that girl at 3:32 PM on September 21, 2007


bigmusic is right. Furthermore, the best PC laptop out there is a Macbook. I know people who have bought Macbooks with the intention of running nothing but XP on them.
posted by dmd at 3:37 PM on September 21, 2007


I'm in an Urban Planning Masters program and the public computers in my department are bootcamped iMacs. They have no problem running ArcMAP. It's as good as any PC. It's true that RAM is key, so if you can afford it I'd go for a MacBook Pro.
posted by jk252b at 3:55 PM on September 21, 2007


To really make your computer cry, load up a layer of every parcel in a city, and then label them conditionally based on data joined in from a separate database. Zoom out to the full extent.

bwahahaha... Yeah, this will do it. Make sure to schedule a root canal while you're waiting for the view to draw, it will be less time-consuming and painful.
posted by desjardins at 10:18 AM on September 22, 2007


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