New(wish) to Blender, hardware advice needed!

Hi there,

I’ve been using Blender for a couple of months on an old MacBook Pro from 2011.
It was doing OK, I was making quite simple stuff, but was envious of watching tutorials where people could work in render preview mode without it jumping around…

Anyways, the graphics chip on that Mac packed in so now it’s trying to run on integrated graphics which means I can barely spin the default cube around without lag!

I’ve been looking at the MacBook Pro 16" with 32GB RAM and 8GB VRAM and want to know if I’ll see good performance before I shell out good money.

After reading posts on here I am getting a mixed picture - some say it’s no good til there’s support for Metal, others saying it’s great! I’m hoping I’ll see a major improvement over my 9 year old machine but would be great to hear from anyone with the new MacBook Pro 16" to see how it’s working out for you.

This is the sort of stuff I’ve been making which, as you can see isn’t overly complicated: though I hope as I learn more it will tax my machine more.

Thanks in advance, glad to be part of this community!


the radeon pro 5500m should be a plenty powerful gpu for the viewport, no clue how well it would do for cycles rendering since openCL afaik is no more on the mac os(windows through bootcamp should work for gpu rendering though). So for cycles rendering you might want to go with the 8 core cpu.

Thanks. Was going to go for the 8 more processor so reckon I’ll go ahead.
I don’t know too much about rendering, so far only been using Eeevee… Is cycles better?

They are rather different solutions to different needs, each with their own pros and cons. You’ll learn to know them as you use them, but simply put eevee is good for speed but has less precision and physical correctness wrt lighting. Cycles is the opposite.

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This article (updated in January 2020) gives you a good idea of how Blender uses hardware.

From what I understand you won’t get the render boost in Cycles from an openCL card but you will be able to handle large files or high poly models from a higher specification Radeon card.

I am considering this in an eGPU for things like sculpting.

This article provides a number of options on each feature from high spec to budget.

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Thanks - I checked out the article, lots of new info to take in there but I understand a little more now. Seems the MacBook Pro will handle what I want to do pretty well.

If you are set on a MacBook, you don’t have to read this reply. But, because the Radeon Pro 5500m isn’t especially powerful, I thought I would at least bring something to your attention. The new Ryzen 4000 series cpus are rolling out to laptops and will continue to do so for the next few months. Laptops equipped with these cpus can match the performance of, or even outperform, those with i9s. Also, because these laptops are gaming focused, they often have many gigs of ram and also gpus that could easily outrun the 5500m, especially for the same price point as the MacBook. Of course, if you really like the apple ecosystem, the MacBook is a pretty solid choice as well. Have a great day!

Thanks for your replies everyone. I received my new MacBook as specced above and it is amazingly fast compared to my old system.

Been doing some basic modelling in the Render viewport using Eevee and it doesn’t skip a beat.
Haven’t rendered anything out yet but so far I’m extremely happy with the performance.


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