There have been several questions about the hardware requirements for AutoCAD for Mac and they often include variations on a statement like this:
"I have no problem running AutoCAD 2011 in Windows on my MacBook using Parallels, so why can't I run AutoCAD for Mac on the same machine? If the hardware is adequate to run AutoCAD in Parallels, shouldn't it be adequate to run a native Mac version of AutoCAD?"
The issue is that these are two completely different environments.
Parallels interacts with the Mac hardware and file system to virtualize standard PC hardware. A native Mac application, like AutoCAD for Mac, interacts directly with the hardware on the Mac and has dependencies on the graphics subsystem, processor, cache and file system for behavior and performance. Because AutoCAD for Mac was written to work directly with the Mac hardware, the system requirements are more stringent and these requirements largely center around the graphics card that comes with various Macs.
Just as some graphics cards are not supported by AutoCAD on a native PC, some Mac graphics cards are not adequate to support AutoCAD for Mac. For example, a MacBook 4,1 (released in October, 2008) uses an integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator which is just not adequate to support the graphics requirements (speed, shading, rendering, etc.) of AutoCAD for Mac. On the other hand, a MacBook 5,1 (released in the same month and year) uses an NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics card that can work acceptably. This is why the MacBook 5,1 is considered the minimum requirement for MacBooks running AutoCAD for Mac.
Unlike most Windows-based PCs, Macs (with the exception of the Mac Pro models) don't allow you to easily swap out an inadequate graphics card for one that performs better. The AutoCAD for Mac system requirements were chosen to try and establish a minimum environment for acceptable performance on the different models of Macs that are available.
Isn't the point of this kind of comment that if it's possible for people to have a satisfactory experience running autocad under an emulated OS then it should be possible to run it under the actual OS with an equally - or even more - satisfactory experience?
That's my problem with this. If my MacBook runs AutoCAD when emulating another OS, why can't you guys let it do that directly?
I don't understand it, either. If the hardware's not good enough to allow adequate performance when running in native mode, how does adding an extra layer of indirection / emulation magically make it work better? Shouldn't it get worse? OS X fans assure us that it's a lighter and more efficient OS than bloated old Windows, so how can inserting a wedge of big fat pretend Windows under the software make things run sweeter? Doesn't make sense to me, but what do I know?
As far as I found out for myself, there are two types of display acceleration: software and hardware. In the virtualization software AutoCAD works acceptably only when using software acceleration.
In the current version of AutoCAD for MAC software accelerated driver is simply omitted (I do not know the reasons, perhaps for its development should take a lot more time and effort).
In my opinion, hardware acceleration driver that exists in the current version of AutoCAD being designed at once for all types of video cards that exist in the current MAC computers. Apparently an attempt to achieve this "universality" has adversely affected the quality of hardware driver.
Maybe I'm wrong, but I think that if developers include in AutoCAD for MAC the software accelerated driver, it would have given quite satisfactory results to the performance on any computer MAC.