2017 Macbook Pro 13.3in Without TouchBar powerful enough?

CatherineVeraGat

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Original poster
May 6, 2017
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Hey Graphic Designers,

I'm thinking of buying the 2017 entry-level Macbook Pro 13.3in Without TouchBar (256GB). I don't know if I should upgrade things like the processor, memory, and storage when I order it online.

On the Macbook Pro I will be doing some
- Light to Heavy web browsing
- Photoshop
- Illustrator
- Light 2D/3D rendering (CAD rendering)
- Light architecture programs (Floor plans, or designing houses.)

Which processor do I need?
- 2.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
- 2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i7

How much storage would you recommend?
- 256GB SSD
- 512GB SSD
- 1TB SSD

How much memory would you recommend?
- 8GB 2133MHz LPDDR3
- 16GB 2133MHz LPDDR3

Is this powerful enough for graphics?
- Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640

My budget is $1,499 but I can go up to $2,000 if it meet all my needs. Will the 2017 entry-level Macbook Pro 13.3in Without TouchBar (256GB) work for me?
 
Last edited:

keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
9,471
24,220
A lot of CAD/architecture applications are Windows only so you need to consider this before your purchase. If you're looking to use Windows, will you be using it as a VM or in BootCamp?

Even if you're going to BootCamp or even if your applications are macOS native, I'd personally suggest paying the extra to get a 15" MBP. These have 16GB RAM standard so you won't need to BTO. You will also benefit vastly from the additional screen space, discreet graphics, and quad-core processor. It's a whole different animal.

I appreciate the 15" 2017s are a little over your budget but the previous generation 2016 15" can certainly be found for within that price range from resellers looking to shift older stock, or even on the used/refurb market. When you consider longevity and how intense these applications are on the hardware, it's absolutely the better choice IMO.
 
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kiwipeso1

Suspended
Sep 17, 2001
646
166
Wellington, New Zealand
Hey Graphic Designers,

I'm thinking of buying the 2017 entry-level Macbook Pro 13.3in Without TouchBar (256GB). I don't know if I should upgrade things like the processor, memory, and storage when I order it online.

On the Macbook Pro I will be doing some
- Light to Heavy web browsing
- Photoshop
- Illustrator
- Light 2D/3D rendering (CAD rendering)
- Light architecture programs (Floor plans, or designing houses.)

Which processor do I need?
- 2.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
- 2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i7

How much storage would you recommend?
- 256GB SSD
- 512GB SSD
- 1TB SSD

How much memory would you recommend?
- 8GB 2133MHz LPDDR3
- 16GB 2133MHz LPDDR3

Is this powerful enough for graphics?
- Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640

My budget is $1,499 but I can go up to $2,000 if it meet all my needs. Will the 2017 entry-level Macbook Pro 13.3in Without TouchBar (256GB) work for me?
Get the i7, 1TB is required with 16GB ram.
Don't get photoshop or illustrator unless you get a 15" MBP, as it is just too inefficient on a dual core i7.
Instead get Affinity or Pixelmator on the mac app store.
Also 3D strata is available on the mac app store.
 
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DevNull0

macrumors 68020
Jan 6, 2015
2,255
4,338
Get the i7, 1TB is required with 16GB ram.
Don't get photoshop or illustrator unless you get a 15" MBP, as it is just too inefficient on a dual core i7.
Instead get Affinity or Pixelmator on the mac app store.
Also 3D strata is available on the mac app store.
$2600 after those upgrades...for a $1300 computer.

If you're going to pay that much on upgrades, the Razer Blade at a lower price point looks like a much better machine for the Apps the OP wants to run.
 
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fig

macrumors 6502a
Jun 13, 2012
916
70
Austin, TX
Get the i7, 1TB is required with 16GB ram.
Don't get photoshop or illustrator unless you get a 15" MBP, as it is just too inefficient on a dual core i7.
Instead get Affinity or Pixelmator on the mac app store.
Also 3D strata is available on the mac app store.
I ran Photoshop and Illustrator for years on an Aluminum MacBook and it was fine, you'll get bogged down if you go into giant files but for everyday work the 13" is fine. Photoshop and Illustrator performance isn't any kind of concern on any of the new MBP's. And I didn't even know they made Strata anymore :)

To the OP, you want at least 16gb of RAM on whatever machine you get, the hard drive size is up to you but it would be much more cost efficient to get a smaller SSD on the laptop (256gb or so) then have an external drive for storing big CAD and other files.


CAD/3D work is where you're really going to use the CPU and GPU and where the onboard graphics of the 13" will be a bit of a shortcoming. You'll be able to do work on it, but depending how complex your work is you may be overloading that machine at some point and it'll get to navigate around your scenes.

If you can manage $2000, I'd do some looking in the refurb section of the Apple Store and get a slightly older 15" that has a Radeon Pro. There's a few listed now for $1949, even have the TouchBar :)

Hope that helps!
 
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gregohb

macrumors newbie
Aug 5, 2013
24
5
Los Angeles, CA, USA
I just upgraded from 2015 MacBook Air with 8 gb ram. .... to 15" 2017 MacBook Pro with Touchbar and 16 gb ram, and I find very little improvement. The new MacBook Pro seems to lag frequently. So don't believe all the hype.
 

MacGizmo

macrumors 65816
Apr 27, 2003
1,406
771
Arizona
Skip the i7, the speed increase won't be seen by 90% of what you do, and it uses more battery power. Spend the money getting the 16GB or RAM and larger SSD and enjoy the longer battery time.

But I agree completely with keysofanxiety above... save some more money and get the 15" MBP. It's worth it.
 

MacGizmo

macrumors 65816
Apr 27, 2003
1,406
771
Arizona
Windows is not the answer for graphics design work.
You have a narrow view of the business of design. The computer is just a tool. Graphic design can be accomplished using a variety of tools.

Adobe Creative Suite is exactly the same on Windows as it is on macOS. Fonts are the same. Photos are the same. Vector art is the same. PDFs are the same. It's really a question of which OS you prefer to do everything else with your computer other than graphic design.
 
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kiwipeso1

Suspended
Sep 17, 2001
646
166
Wellington, New Zealand
You have a narrow view of the business of design. The computer is just a tool. Graphic design can be accomplished using a variety of tools.

Adobe Creative Suite is exactly the same on Windows as it is on macOS. Fonts are the same. Photos are the same. Vector art is the same. PDFs are the same. It's really a question of which OS you prefer to do everything else with your computer other than graphic design.
No, it is the windows computers which have poor graphics display which is the problem.
You will soon find out when you try a high resolution laptop with windows that the OS itself doesn't handle hi res displays with the required finesse that a design professional expects.
 

CatherineVeraGat

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Original poster
May 6, 2017
154
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I ran Photoshop and Illustrator for years on an Aluminum MacBook and it was fine, you'll get bogged down if you go into giant files but for everyday work the 13" is fine. Photoshop and Illustrator performance isn't any kind of concern on any of the new MBP's. And I didn't even know they made Strata anymore :)

To the OP, you want at least 16gb of RAM on whatever machine you get, the hard drive size is up to you but it would be much more cost efficient to get a smaller SSD on the laptop (256gb or so) then have an external drive for storing big CAD and other files.


CAD/3D work is where you're really going to use the CPU and GPU and where the onboard graphics of the 13" will be a bit of a shortcoming. You'll be able to do work on it, but depending how complex your work is you may be overloading that machine at some point and it'll get to navigate around your scenes.

If you can manage $2000, I'd do some looking in the refurb section of the Apple Store and get a slightly older 15" that has a Radeon Pro. There's a few listed now for $1949, even have the TouchBar :)

Hope that helps!
Thank you!!! There was a lot of information that I didn't know about.
 
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MacGizmo

macrumors 65816
Apr 27, 2003
1,406
771
Arizona
I used Windows on a relatively low-end machine with a $200 LCD screen. Yeah, it wasn't retina quality, nor was it super high-res. But my projects came out exactly as I expected. It's not like you can't do the work... it's just not stunningly beautiful the way it is on the Mac.