It’s official, with the latest Mac laptops I have caught the Mac hardware envy bug. The only problem is I have a PC for now and no personal extra hardware budget available currently or I would be posting this via Apple hardware. So with the deck stacked against my getting Apple hardware in the near future, I can only admire from afar, test one occasionally, and work with teams using Macs within Autodesk. I have also asked Santa for a Mac, but no official response from him or any elves. So Mac fans, I see what you have been buzzing about. I would really like to be a multi-OS user with the benefit of multiple platforms and running all on a stylish cutting edge designed hardware.
One common question on this blog, emails, and in person is “Will AutoCAD run on a Mac". The short answer is Yes.
Currently at Autodesk we have tested AutoCAD 2007, 2008, and 2009 on the Mac in Apple Bootcamp and virtualized solutions VMWare Fusion, and Parallels Desktop. AutoCAD is not officially supported on the Mac, but works just fine as have other Autodesk Windows based products like Revit and 3ds max. We have found a software activation issue but in all cases we have researched it is related to an external hard drive causing a conflict with the licensing. If you are having issues locking your activations, and are running an external hard drive, try booting up with the drive off or unplugged then add it back later and see if that resolves the issue.
We showed AutoCAD 2009 running on a Mac using VMWare Fusion last week at Autodesk University 2008 in the General Design booth. It caused a bit of a stir from people passing by as they are not used to seeing AutoCAD and a Mac in the same sentence although Autodesk does develop several popular native Mac based applications like Autodesk Maya, Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, and others.
Apple Bootcamp runs AutoCAD much faster but there is a downside in that you have to boot to it. Parallels Desktop and VMWare Fusion can run AutoCAD on the OSX desktop in a window.
I spotted fellow Autodesk employees “deskers” like Tom Stoeckel using a Mac at Autodesk University 2008 a little over a week ago.
As for a official Autodesk support of virtualized AutoCAD or a native Mac based AutoCAD, only time will tell and ever journey begins with a small step forward. There has been a great deal of research and discussions about the Mac and AutoCAD, but it is no simple change or effort. Virtualized solutions offer about the same benefits with a lot less effort.
So yes, you can run AutoCAD on the Mac and get about the same or better performance depending on your stylish Apple hardware.
Update 12/17/08 The VMware Fusion Team noticed this blog post, and liked it.
Autodesk Loves VMware Fusion: AutoCAD on the Mac. I found their post the same way they found my blog post “Run AutoCAD on a Mac” using the Google Alerts feature.