Mac and Archicad: A Perfect Match

Graphisoft's long-term relationship with Apple is bearing fruit, with a major boost in Archicad's operational efficiencies for the new M3-powered MacBook Pro.

The consumer electronics industry is abuzz about Apple's new MacBook Pro. Powered by the industry's first 3-nanometer computing processor, the M3 chip, users enjoy faster browsing, word processing, photo editing, and the like.

But the news is even more exciting in AEC circles as operating efficiencies with Graphisoft's Archicad software are performing in a different stratosphere on the MacBook Pro with a huge 150% jump in speed.

Whereas previous Mac upgrades have yielded a 15% or a 20% increase in Archicad's operating rate, the MacBook Pro M3 opens files 2.5x faster, and complex functions such as Section generation are 3x faster. And for section generation, documentation layout updates, and display, the speed is up to 3 times faster, which is truly a game changer (see Figure 4 towards the end of this article).

"For every bit of performance that we can put back in our users' hands, that's dollars back in their pockets, that's time with their family, and that's the ability to pursue more ambitious projects," states Miles Smith, Solutions Manager, Graphisoft North America.

While these statistics may be astonishing to some, Graphisoft isn't too surprised. That's because the leading Building Information Modeling (BIM) provider and Apple have a long-standing relationship. As the first native BIM software solution for Mac, fully optimized on the Mac from its inception, Archicad performance on the new MacBook Pro was primed and ready to take off.

In fact, Apple chose to showcase BIM renderings of cox graae + spack architects’ design for Washington, DC's Duke Ellington School of the Arts in their ad launching the new MacBook Pro this past fall (Figures 1 and 2).

The history of the relationship between the two companies offers some insight into better appreciating Archicad's impressive speed and performance capabilities on the MacBook Pro.

Apple Meets Graphisoft

The story begins in 1984 at a tech conference in Hanover, Germany, when Graphisoft founder and chairman Gabor Bojar decided to approach Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

Jobs was well known for only listening to brief elevator pitches, but his interest was sparked when Bojar started talking about digital 3D geometry matched with 2D graphics.

"Steve Jobs was very much convinced about the technology, and he offered financial and marketing support for the company," says Graphisoft Product Marketing Senior Manager Tibor Szolnoki.

Apple's support was key as the young Hungarian company struggled to grow behind the Iron Curtain, which was only lifted in 1989. With funding and the ability to tap into Apple's distribution network, Graphisoft was granted the means to continue developing its very promising software.

Over the years, Graphisoft was granted privileged access to alpha and beta products as the Mac operating system continued to develop and improve (Figure 3). "Graphisoft and Apple have always shared the same philosophy around providing the best user experience," explains Szolnoki. "It was and continues to be a perfect match." The two companies are so in sync that it only took Graphisoft's programmers two working days to get Archicad's BIMx up and running on the new Apple Vision Pro.

Paying tribute to the late Steve Jobs, a nearly 7-foot-tall statue of the Apple visionary in his turtleneck, jeans, sneakers, and rounded glasses welcomes visitors to the company's Budapest headquarters in Graphisoft Park.

Meeting Industry Needs

The jump in operating speed on the MacBook Pro is significant as building projects continue to grow in complexity and the demands on designers and contractors keep increasing. These two variables have combined to make higher BIM operating abilities not just a benefit but a necessity.

While Archicad's OPEN BIM approach also supports strong performance on PCs, its origin as a native Apple application enables it to shine within a Mac framework. Further, not all BIM software is available for Macs.

Another noteworthy improvement with the M3 chip in the MacBook Pro is battery power. "The M3 is amazing. With my old laptop, I couldn't go long on-site in Archicad with the computer unplugged. With my M3, I can go for hours," relates Architect Jared Banks, AIA.

Putting the MacBook Pro to the Test

To quantify the Archicad 27 operating efficiencies captured by the new MacBook Pro, Banks recently hosted a webinar where Graphisoft revealed the findings of Archicad on Mac performance tests.

In addition to the significantly increased operating speed, as noted above and shown in Figure 4, the MacBook Pro provides users with advanced abilities to easily access interactive models using BIMx on iOS devices, utilize real-time team messaging using Teamwork, and connect via secured remote access to project files using BIMcloud.

For more information and to watch an on-demand webinar, visit

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in AECbytes sponsored articles are those of the sponsor and do not represent or reflect the views of AECbytes.

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