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Old Feb 7, 2013, 01:12 PM   #1
ProMod
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2010 MBP 17" + 2012 mini or just rMBP 15"?

I need some buying advice for my one-man graphic design business. I work mostly with InDesign to lay out a monthly magazine, and use Photoshop and Lightroom for photo editing along with some occasional Illustrator. I need more RAM (16GB) mainly, and quad core processing power would be very welcome.

I currently have a 2010 17" MacBook Pro. It's a dual core 2.6Ghz i7 with 8GB of 1067 Mhz RAM. I've swapped out the SuperDrive for a 120GB OCZ Agility 3 SSD, and it also still has the stock 500GB 7200 RPM drive. Running 10.8.2. So it's a decent machine, by no means slow for most tasks. I run it plugged in on my desk 95% of the time, connected to 23" Cinema Display, external drives, keyboard, mouse, speakers, etc.

I'd like to get a new machine. My dilemma is whether to grab a refurb quad core 2012 mini for $679 and install my own SSD and 16GB of RAM, and use that as my main work machine and keep my 2010 MBP as a backup/travel machine, or sell my MBP and invest in a 15" Retina MBP.

I think when it comes down to it, just shelling out for a mini vs. selling my current machine and putting that money toward the purchase of a rMBP will work out to be around the same amount of cash outlay.

I've always used the "laptop as a desktop" solution, mainly so I can just unplug and go at a moment's notice and not have to worry about keeping two machines updated, in sync, etc. I'm not sure if that's an ideal solution or if I'd be better off with two machines.

Just wondering if anyone else has been down this road, or what your advice would be in this situation. Thanks!
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Old Feb 8, 2013, 09:54 AM   #2
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400 views and no input? Looking for some feedback, my friends!
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Old Feb 8, 2013, 11:16 PM   #3
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I personally have a 2.6 quad mini, and that computer slows down for no man whatever the cause. It's an awesome machine. Buy I'm also looking at used MacBooks, simply because I need a laptop on the go. BUT. If it's going to cost you the same, the Retina MacBook Pro may be a good idea. I say this becaus it has a better graphics card than the mini. I'm not too terribly expirienced with those programs of yours, but you may want the graphics performance. But then again; you can't get inside of an rMBP very easily... It's a tough call. Would you want the graphics card, or the access to the internals? I guess this doesn't help much, but I hope you'll at least get a bump out of it.
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Old Feb 8, 2013, 11:51 PM   #4
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15" is small for layout work, especially once you allocate space for the ui. This one is just a matter of preference. You're unlikely to see a significant performance difference either way.
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Old Feb 9, 2013, 09:24 AM   #5
utekineir
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After upgrading ram and ssd on the i7 mini the main difference between the two is that the rmbp has dedicated gfx.

What value does that have for you?

The rmbp has a setting for 1900x1200 equivalent that gives a fair bit of real estate for a laptop when you arent plugged into an external monitor.
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 07:57 AM   #6
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Thanks for the input, everyone! I'm not concerned about getting inside the rMBP; I'd order it as I needed it. I would be upgrading the mini myself.

The main performance difference is the dedicated gfx card as stated. The only application I use that uses the gfx card is Photoshop. I don't think InDesign or Illustrator rely on the card at all. I could be wrong. For working on large InDesign files, RAM is my primary concern and processor speed would be second.

I guess the true deciding factor will be if I want to have two machines or one. Is having two a nice luxury, or does it just create extra hassle when it comes to keeping two machines in sync?
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 09:15 AM   #7
Nate392
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It could be a huge hassle, unless you have an external drive, then Gould only have sync them back and forth. Here's something else to think about: the 15" rMBP can be upgraded to a CPU with 8 MB of cache. If that makes any difference to you.
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 11:33 AM   #8
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Personally i would have two machines, is a good backup strategy for a start. If you are taking you laptop away from the desk then there is the risk of it getting stolen,lost or damaged, i find it reassuring to know that if the worst happened i can carry on as normal when i get home and although insured who knows how long before that gets sorted out and thats if they do not find a way out.
This is by no means my only form of backup, i have many others but to be without a machine would be a real PITA.
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 04:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by righteye View Post
Personally i would have two machines, is a good backup strategy for a start. If you are taking you laptop away from the desk then there is the risk of it getting stolen,lost or damaged, i find it reassuring to know that if the worst happened i can carry on as normal when i get home and although insured who knows how long before that gets sorted out and thats if they do not find a way out.
This is by no means my only form of backup, i have many others but to be without a machine would be a real PITA.
Very good point. I've always had a mini as my backup, but recently sold the backup for some additional cash toward the purchase of a new machine. The only time I used it was when my main machine crashed one time. It sat on my desk unused for four years. I have several redundant backups that run automatically each day, so I'm covered there. I think my plan now would be to go to the nearest Best Buy or Apple Store and grab a mini off the shelf and boot from my external clone as an emergency backup (if I go with the rMBP).
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 02:26 PM   #10
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Very good point. I've always had a mini as my backup, but recently sold the backup for some additional cash toward the purchase of a new machine. The only time I used it was when my main machine crashed one time. It sat on my desk unused for four years. I have several redundant backups that run automatically each day, so I'm covered there. I think my plan now would be to go to the nearest Best Buy or Apple Store and grab a mini off the shelf and boot from my external clone as an emergency backup (if I go with the rMBP).
I have the same Laptop as yourself and that was used as as a desktop with an Eizo monitor, i then bought a refurb Mac Pro last December thinking that knowing my luck it would be updated early 2012 ( well we know that did not pan out) I have pimped the Pro with lots of OWC goodies and i find for my LR/PS/DXo/OnOne Perfect suit 7 and Nik software it is a great machine.
The Laptop is used as a Laptop now and its still powerful enough to do some PS/LR on the go if needs be. I wish i could afford the rMBP as the 17'' is a lump to carry around (although when tethered for a shoot iam glad of the larger screen) and means using a larger backpack than i would like to carry it in.
Good luck with your choice
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 06:58 PM   #11
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I would propose another option, the classic MBP. I'm in the same line of work as you and I use a MBP rather than a desktop for the same reasons you mentioned. But I can't get used to the idea of not being able to save money up front with the option of self upgrades later, so the Retina MBP is not for me. I've kept the superdrive for now, but there's always the option of replacing it if I need more onboard capacity later. Food for thought.
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