by Dušan Cvetković
Dušan Cvetković
Published February 2, 2021

Rhino is one of the most popular 3D modeling tools used by architects and designers. It offers powerful NURBS modeling capabilities along with integrated plugins like Grasshopper for parametric modeling.

Rhino is available for both Mac and Windows platforms, which often leaves users wondering - should I use Rhino Mac or Rhino Windows? What are the key differences and which one is better suited for architecture and design workflows?

In this detailed comparison, we will look at the pros and cons of Rhino Mac vs Rhino Windows to help you decide which version works best for your needs as an architect or designer.

Rhino Mac vs Rhino Windows: Interface and Design

The most visible difference between the two versions is the user interface. Rhino Mac has been designed specifically for Mac with controls and icons that follow Apple's design language. This results in a sleeker and more modern looking interface.

Rhino Windows on the other hand uses an interface that hasn't changed much over the years. The icons and overall look is quite dated when compared to contemporary Windows applications.

So if visual design is important to you, Rhino Mac certainly has an edge over the Windows version.

Rhino Mac interface

Performance and Hardware Considerations

Both Rhino Mac and Rhino Windows are priced the same at $995. However, when it comes to performance - the hardware you use makes a big difference.

Rhino Mac vs Rhino Windows performance and hardware

Apple computers like iMac and MacBook Pro tend to cost a lot more compared to Windows PCs with equivalent hardware. You can easily get a Windows laptop with far better CPU, GPU, RAM, and storage compared to a Mac device at the same price point.

This means Rhino Windows has the potential to deliver much better performance especially when working with complex 3D models and renderings.

So if you're looking for the best performance/price ratio, Windows is the clear winner here.

Software and Plugin Compatibility

This is where the differences between the two versions become much more apparent.
Several major features and plugins work only with Rhino Windows or have limited support on Mac.

For example:

  • Rhino Render - one of the most popular rendering plugins works only on Windows.
  • Bongo - video animation plugin is Windows only.
  • VisualARQ - Architectural BIM plugin for Rhino is also Windows exclusive.
  • Rhino Inside for Revit - doesn't work on the Mac.
  • Popular visualization tools like Lumion and Enscape have no support for Rhino Mac.

On the other hand, Rhino Mac excels at collaboration with other Mac software like the iOS app for viewing Rhino models on mobile.

But when it comes to third-party integrations, Rhino Windows has a clear advantage over the Mac version today. This gap in plugin support can severely limit your workflow if you rely on any of these tools.

Verdict: Rhino for Windows is Better for Architects Overall

To summarize, Rhino for Windows easily beats the Mac version when we look at the overall value proposition:

  • More affordable hardware options compared to expensive Macs
  • Significantly better performance
  • Much wider plugin and software compatibility

The only real advantage for Rhino Mac is its modern UI design. But if you rely on a smooth architecture workflow, Rhino Windows is definitely the winner here.

Of course, the final decision also depends on what other software you need to use. For example, if you rely on Sketchup or Vectorworks then sticking with a Mac might make sense.

But for most architects and especially those using Grasshopper, Blender or other Rhino plugins - Rhino for Windows is simply the better choice in 2023.

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About the Author

Dušan Cvetković is a professional architect from Serbia and official Authorized Rhino Trainer with international experience in the industry. Collaborated with numerous clients all around the world in the field of architecture design, 3D modeling and software education. He's been teaching Rhinoceros3D to thousands of architects through How to Rhino community and various social media channels.