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Hardware and Operating Systems | Rhino for Mac

Hardware Requirements for Rhino for Mac

Please note that these requirements are different from those listed by McNeel. Our suggestions represent practical recommendations for professional users and are based on new Apple hardware specifications available at the time of writing.

The best specification for running Rhino 8 for Mac ultimately depends on what you are using Rhino for. What follows are some pointers on the various facets that can influence performance.

Please note that as well as operating hardware, the way in which Rhino models are built, and large files referenced, can make a huge difference on the speed and efficiency of working with Rhino and its associated plug-ins.

Modelling efficiency and file referencing are covered extensively in our Rhino Level 2 Intermediate/Advanced course and our Rhino Core AEC Training Programme, plus we also offer Bespoke Rhino training on-site. All classes are available online.


Recommendations - Rhino 8 for Mac

Apple Hardware Guidelines

With the advent of version 8, Rhino for Mac no longer lags behind its Windows counterpart in terms of performance.  Rhino 8 runs natively on Apple Silicon (M1, M2, M3 etc.) processors and utilises Apple’s ‘Metal’ display pipeline for the hardware acceleration of graphics intensive operations such as in-viewport manipulation and Raytrace rendering. We’ve tested the performance increase of the Rhino 8 for Mac against Rhino 7, and the results are detailed in our PDF document and the accompanying Rhino 8 Speed Improvements and Interface video.

Firstly, regarding ‘new’ machines, Rhino 8 will run on all of the machines in the current Apple Mac line-up; however, the lower specification machines will only support light use with small models, and we wouldn’t recommend these for serious use. For professional users we would suggest opting for at least the ‘Pro’ versions of the M2 and M3 processor and updating the Unified Memory to 32GB. It is important to note that apart from the hyper-expensive MacPro machine, the Unified Memory and SSD storage cannot be upgraded after purchase and therefore choosing the correct specification is critical. As navigating the various options available in the current range is not entirely straightforward, we’ve listed our recommendations on this chart:

Product Processor CPU Cores GPU Cores Reccomendations Rhino Suitability
           
MacBook Air 13" Apple M2 8 8 Increase Unified Memory to 16 or 24GB Limited
MacBook Air 13" Apple M2 8 10 Increase Unified Memory to 16 or 24GB Limited
MacBook Air 13" Apple M3 8 8 Increase Unified Memory to 16 or 24GB Limited
MacBook Air 13" Apple M3 8 10 Increase Unified Memory to 16 or 24GB Limited
MacBook Air 13" Apple M3 8 10 Increase Unified Memory to 24GB Limited
MacBook Air 15" Apple M3 8 10 Increase Unified Memory to 16 or 24GB Limited
MacBook Air 15" Apple M3 8 10 Increase Unified Memory to 16 or 24GB Limited
MacBook Air 15" Apple M3 8 10 Increase Unified Memory to 24GB Limited
MacBook Pro 14" Apple M3 8 10 Increase Unified Memory to 16 or 24GB Limited
MacBook Pro 14" Apple M3 Pro 11 14 Increase Unified Memory to 32GB Yes
MacBook Pro 14" Apple M3 Pro  12 18 Increase Unified Memory to 32GB  Yes
MacBook Pro 14" Apple M3 Max  14 30   Yes
MacBook Pro 16" Apple M3 Pro 12 18 Increase Unified Memory to 32GB Yes
MacBook Pro 16" Apple M3 Pro 12 18   Yes
MacBook Pro 16" Apple M3 Max 14 30   Yes
MacBook Pro 16" Apple M3 Max 16 40   Yes
iMac Apple M3 8 8 Increase Unified Memory to 16 or 24GB Limited
iMac Apple M3 8 10 Increase Unified Memory to 16 or 24GB Limited
Mac Mini Apple M2 8 10 Increase Unified Memory to 16 or 24GB Limited
Mac Mini Apple M2 8 16 Increase Unified Memory to 32GB Yes
Mac Mini Apple M2 Pro 12 19 Increase Unified Memory to 32GB Yes
Mac Studio Apple M2 Max 12 30   Yes
Mac Studio Apple M2 Max 24 60   Yes
Mac Pro Apple M2 Ultra 24 60   Yes
Mac Pro Apple M2 Ultra 24 76   Yes

If you have an existing Apple Silicon based machine, then you will see a big step-up in performance with Rhino 8 compared to earlier versions.

If you have an older high spec Intel based Mac with a dedicated GPU, you should still see a speed increase as long as your machine meets the requirements below:

  • Apple Silicon Processor
  • Intel Processor + Dedicated GPU
  • Support for Metal API (see Apple’s list of compatible machines)
  • 16 GB RAM
  • macOS 14 (Sonoma)
  • macOS 13 (Ventura)
  • macOS 12.4 (Monterey)

Rhino 8 for Mac Speed Improvements and Interface Video

Rhino 8 Speed Test Results Document

If you require further help, or advice, please contact us. We're happy to help answer any questions related to suitable hardware for Rhino v8, for either Windows or Mac. Some customers email us their Hardware specification/quotation so we may help advise them before they make a final purchase decision, please feel free to do this.


Looking for information regarding older Mac Hardware? Then look back at our archive of advice for Hardware & Systems for Rhino for Mac.

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