Windows-based CAD on a Macintosh

It's not hard to get Windows and Windows-based programs, including CAD, on a new Macintosh computer. November 23, 2008

Anyone here running AutoCAD on the new Macs? I am just starting to learn the program (I am paying a teacher to train me), and I need a new computer. Since the new Macs all have Windows already installed, I figured I could stay with the Mac computer, and be able to finally run AutoCAD on it. I just didn't know if there were any problems doing so. I think I will need a mouse with the two buttons and wheel, after watching the teacher, but other than that, is there anything I need to know running it on a Mac? I prefer staying with a Mac since that is all I have owned for 10 plus years, and I don't plan to change if I don't have to.

Forum Responses
(CAD Forum)
From contributor S:
I think you have to switch to PC if you plan on using AutoCAD. My daughter has a Mac with Windows and AutoCAD installed and she is not very happy with how acad is running on it. It is slow. Personally I never used Mac, so I can not make any comments on how it runs Windows applications, except acad, but I know a few people who had to switch from Mac to PC and they did not regret it. Try.

From contributor N:
You don't have to buy a new PC. There is a program for Mac that allows you to run
Windows inside Macintosh. I knew a guy that had AutoCAD on his Mac but when running it he would switch to Windows desktop on the Mac machine because, as contributor S said, it doesn't run like it should on with the Mac OS.

From contributor J:
I use a 24" imac with Parallels to run Microvellum/AutoCAD and love it. Haven't had any troubles, it just works.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for the replies. Contributor S, is she using a new Mac with Windows already installed, or an older slower machine with a virtual pc type program? I know on the older machines, running a virtual pc type program really slowed down Windows based apps. Contributor N, thanks, I realize there are programs, but my machine is older, and the screen is too small to do drawings, so I plan to upgrade anyway. Contributor J, is this the newer imac, with the Windows already installed, or did you add the Parallels on an older machine?

From contributor S:
Her Mac is a few months old, but I don't know how Windows works on it. She was telling me that when she wants to use CAD, she needs to load Windows first, which takes a while, and then AutoCAD loads for several minutes, and then she said that even simple commands like line and trim are performing very slow. I'm not a Mac user, so I have no idea how Windows is incorporated into Mac. Is it a separate operating system, that you have to choose when you booting a computer, or is it something that runs on top of the Mac operating system?

From contributor R:
The new Macs run Vista or XP faster than most PCs, which is why some power PC users have switched to Macs. I use a PC at work and a Mac at home and have loaded all my PC work software on my Mac and there have been no issues.

From contributor S:
Is XP just installed as an independent operating system on a Mac? So you are saying I can buy Mac, reinstall the operating system from Mac to XP or Vista, and use it as PC? If this is true, then Mac is just a mechanical device, and with XP it is not Mac anymore, it is PC. Am I mistaken? Can I install Mac OS on my PC computer?

From contributor R:
The new Macs come with OS X Leopard operating system. If you want to run XP or Vista you will have to install that separately. You will also have to install a program like Parallels. This program would allow you to run OS, Vista, and Linux simultaneously if you wanted to.

From contributor C:
Okay, facts are getting a little skewed here. There are several ways to run Windows on a new (Intel) Mac. I'll list the ones I know in a moment.

Fact. Not all new Macs come with Windows pre-installed. They are available, though. I think is one vender that does put together packages.

Here are some common ways in no particular order:
Intel Macs with Mac OS 10.4 can download Bootcamp, a program that will create a drive partition that Windows can be installed on. When you start the computer you can choose which system to start from, Mac or Windows.

Intel Macs with Mac OS 10.5+ have Bootcamp and work same as above.

Macs can be configured without the Mac OS and run just Windows. (No idea why one would want to do this.)

Intel Macs running Mac OS can also run Windows inside of a "Virtual Machine" with aftermarket software like Parallels and VMs Fusion (not the fastest way to run Windows but way better than the old emulators).

And a combo of above which is the way I do it.

Intel Mac running Mac OS 10.5.1, install Bootcamp, set up a 60GB partition, install Windows (I prefer XP Pro), then install Parallels. Windows can be chosen at startup with Bootcamp when I need full speed. Or, it can be run in "Coherence" mode with Parallels with only a little speed loss. When using some software, in my case CabinetVision, a Dongal is required. I had to wait till I could get a USB Dongal, as this Mac does not have a parallel port that was needed for the old CV key. Bottom line, Intel Mac is the best choice with more versatility and historically better hardware in my opinion.