15" MBP - Suitable to replace 27" iMac?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by matt_on_a_mtn, Apr 4, 2016.

  1. matt_on_a_mtn Suspended

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    Mar 25, 2016
    #1
    Currently I have a 27" iMac - a 2013 base model, as well as an 11" MacBook Air (maxed 2013 model).

    I work full time in the design field, and rely heavily on Photoshop, Rapidweaver, Pixelmator, and Xcode, in addition to things like Safari, Mail, and Messages on the less intensive side.

    I've used the current combo I have for a couple years with mixed success. More than once I've kicked myself for not keeping the two machines in sync to each other, and missing a project on one or the other. Both have served my needs - although the Air just barely with the screen being both small and low res. Mobility is only occasionally important, but when it is it's a fairly big deal.

    I'm currently considering moving to a current model 15" MacBook Pro, and selling both the iMac and Air. Can any others with similar needs chime in on whether or not it's a good option? In the long run I know it will actually be cheaper for a machine that's significantly more powerful than the iMac, but I'm worried that the lack of the large screen will be hard to adjust to.

    Is it a smart move, or should I stick with my current setup? Any advice would be appreciated!
     
  2. shoehornhands macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2014
    #2
    I'm guessing a 15" MacBook Pro will be a bit faster than the 2013" base iMac for most tasks. I believe the 2013 iMac has an i5 processor, 8GB of memory, and I'm not even sure the base model had an SSD. The 15" MacBook Pro has an i7 (which has 8 threads, vs 4 threads in the i5), twice as much memory, and if your iMac does in fact have a spinner, the SSD in the MacBook Pro will make a world of difference.

    My recommendation would be to get a 2014 15" MacBook Pro (as opposed to the newest model). You can still get a brand new 2014 15" MBP with the dedicated GPU, 512GB SSD and 2.5GHz i7 process for under $2000.

    Given that Apple refuses to actually upgrade the MacBook Pro line (seriously, the 2014 15" MBP uses the EXACT same processor as the latest version), it's awfully difficult to justify the latest model (unless you have some specific need for the M370X, and even then, you're still paying a $500+ premium for it).

    Anyway, here's one reputable place to purchase the 2014 model:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1072689-REG/apple_mgxc2ll_a_15_4_macbook_pro_notebook.html

    If you search around a bit, you can sometimes find them in the $1700 - $1800 range, but even at $2000, it's still a better option than the current 15" (given that it's not only faster than the latest low end 15" but it also has the 512GB SSD, as well as the additional dedicated GPU).

    You can then purchase an external monitor to use with it, and have the best of both worlds (e.g. I'm currently using a 34" Dell U3415W with a 2014 15" MacBook Pro for web development, and it works great).
     
  3. doitdada macrumors 6502a

    doitdada

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2013
    #3
    Beware of the rMBP 2015 with AMD graphics. The fans will spin up when connected to an external display. The main reason I sent it back.
     
  4. matt_on_a_mtn thread starter Suspended

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    Mar 25, 2016
    #4
    Yep - my iMac has a 3.2GHz i5, 8GB RAM, and a 1TB HDD. The SSD option is a big draw to the MBP. Pretty much any currently available option on the Macbook Pro 15" will outperform it by a decent bit.

    I'm looking at refurbished models, so the latest and last year's models are only about $40 different in price. Is the extra $40 worth it to get the m370X and Force Touch on the trackpad, or is the m370X really that problematic?

    EDIT: Though I guess the option via B&H is new, and a solid $120 cheaper than the current model refurbished, so the better question is whether last year's model brand new is the better option over this year's model refurbished for $120 more.
     
  5. shoehornhands, Apr 4, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016

    shoehornhands macrumors regular

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    Oct 9, 2014
    #5
    As I mentioned, last year's MacBook Pro uses EXACTLY the same processor as the current MacBook Pro (which means they both have the EXACT same integrated graphics as well). That makes last year's higher end 15" MBP pretty much a no-brainer over the current base / $1999 model.

    When comparing last year's higher end model to this years higher end / $2499 model, the only notable difference is the dedicated GPU (M370X in the current model vs the NVIDIA GT 750M in last year's model). The only practical application of the M370X that I can think of (aside from perhaps slightly better gaming performance), is that the M370X can support up to a 5K external monitor. The GT 750M supports 4K external monitors, but I don't believe it officially supports 5K displays. Anyway, if you don't have a specific need for the M370X, I'd go with the 2014 model (as the performance will be pretty much identical, and I also prefer brand new over refurbished, but some of that is from an isolated bad experience I had with a refurb).

    I've never used a force touch trackpad, but I'm pretty happy with the 2014 trackpad, so I never gave it much thought.

    Anyway, I was in a similar position as you, and went with last year's higher end model, given that I don't game, and don't anticipate wanting / needing a 5K display anytime soon. I'm using it with a Dell 34" U3415W and it works great.
     
  6. matt_on_a_mtn thread starter Suspended

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2016
    #6
    Shoehornhands, I greatly appreciate the advice. I've narrowed it down to either the 2014 or 2015 boosted spec model (2.5GHz i7, 16GB RAM, 512HDD, dGPU). If it were between the new 2014 or a new 2015 at $500 more, it would be a no-brainer. Since there's a refurb available for just about $100 more it makes it a tad more difficult. I've always had good luck with refurbs, so I'm not super wary, but even so I do like the idea of having a brand new MBP for a change.

    I'll sleep on it and put an order in tomorrow. There are some minor things that I like more about the new model, but I just need to decide if they're worth going refurbished over brand new for.

    Thanks again!
     
  7. mountain macrumors 6502

    mountain

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2007
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    #7
    Definitely get an external monitor if you're going to get a MBP.
     
  8. shoehornhands macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2014
    #8
    Yeah, if you don't have any qualms about them, I haven't heard too many complaints regarding Apple refurbs. I believe they have the same 1-year warranty as well, so if they're around the same price, I don't think you can go wrong either way.
     
  9. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #9
    I sense that if you go to the MBPro only, you're going to find things somewhat "constrained", insofar as screen space is concerned.

    You're almost certainly going to want a good external display.

    Something around 27", 4k ...?
     
  10. matt_on_a_mtn thread starter Suspended

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2016
    #10
    Well, just when I was ready to pull the trigger on the upgraded 2015 refurb, I came across a deal on a brand new 2015 base model for $400 off.

    For my needs - Photoshop/Pixelmator, web design, Xcode, occasional Garageband/audio recording, and light gaming (Minecraft, Terraria, World of Warcraft) - will the base model be good enough, or is it worth the extra $500 to get the slight processor bump, extra 256GB, and m370x? I'll generally be using the MBP on its own, but may eventually add a display to the mix - either a Thunderbolt display if I can find a great deal on it, or an updated version if/when Apple releases it.
     
  11. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #11
    Going from a 27" display to a 15" will certainly make it feel more constrained. I'd look to get an external monitor in addition to the 15" MBP.

    Personally, I went the other way, I found the 5k iMac to be a better option for my home office needs and I have a Surface Pro for my mobile needs. I'd stick with a similar setup, i.e., what you already have, iMac and MBA.
     
  12. Mike in Kansas macrumors 6502a

    Mike in Kansas

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    Location:
    Metro Kansas City
    #12
    Not all displays apparently. I have a 2015 15" MBP connected to a Dell P2715Q 4K display and it is as quiet as anything. The only time I hear the fans is when I am ingesting a lot of photos in Photos and it's generating previews/thumbnails. Other than that, I hear my Apple Time Capsule's HDD way more than my 15" MBP.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 7, 2016 ---
    The curent MBP also has a much faster SSD than the 2014 model. Another thing to consider.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 7, 2016 ---
    Unless you are OK with always being tethered to an external HDD, with your line of work I would be concerned that the 256GB SSD would fill up quickly. I'd seriously consider the 512GB models.
     
  13. doitdada macrumors 6502a

    doitdada

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    Oct 14, 2013
    #13
    Yes, but my Time Capsule is another section of the house. Mine was connected to a Dell U3011 with 2560x1600. Compared to a iGPU rMBP it was noisy.
     
  14. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #14
    OP wrote:
    "may eventually add a display to the mix - either a Thunderbolt display if I can find a great deal on it, or an updated version if/when Apple releases it."

    My advice:
    Avoid the thunderbolt display.
    The current model is far, far outdated (still has only USB2).

    I don't see any new displays coming from Apple in the future.

    For a new display, check this list:
    http://www.pchardwarehelp.com/guides/s-ips-lcd-list.php
     
  15. Mike in Kansas macrumors 6502a

    Mike in Kansas

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    Sep 2, 2008
    Location:
    Metro Kansas City
    #15
    Fair comment. My point is that it would behoove the OP to get a better idea of the "noisy fan" issue and maybe ask a broader audience as there are differences in experience in just how loud they may be.
     
  16. RevToTheRedline macrumors 6502a

    RevToTheRedline

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2007
    #16
    Odd mine does not exhibit this behavior. display port or hdmi. I mean yes obviously by nature the fans will start to common when I'm starting to push the system with intensive work or gaming, but not simply from doing mundane tasks does having a display connected cause instant fan spin up.
     
  17. matt_on_a_mtn thread starter Suspended

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2016
    #17
    I ended up going for the 2015 2.5ghz/16GB RAM/512GB SSD/Iris Pro+m370x model. So far so good! Loading up my files now, and it's handling everything I've thrown at it amazingly so far. Running in scaled mode on the screen for close to the same work space as my iMac, and it's seeming like a solid choice to have made the move.

    I may still add a monitor down the line, but for now I'm going to see how the totally mobile workspace holds up for me. Thanks to everyone for the advice!
     
  18. RevToTheRedline macrumors 6502a

    RevToTheRedline

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2007
    #18
    Congrats, i hope you love yours as much as I love mine. If you want even more crazy screen space, there are many apps that let you use it at its native 2880x1800 resolution if you have really good eyes, crazy detail and tons of space but of course makes stuff tiny. SwitchResX is one app.. I played around with it but 1920x1200 is about my go to which is the highest resolution you can set default.
     
  19. tyzjames macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2015
    #19
    Yes that was my reason for sending it back too. I settled for the one without the dGPU in the end
     
  20. RevToTheRedline macrumors 6502a

    RevToTheRedline

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2007
    #20
    Must have been something they fixed in 10.11, like I said above no situation can cause plugging in a monitor by any port on it to make the fans spin. I've had my 2015 AMD MBP since they were announced but didn't use any external till El Capitan.
     

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