Base 15" Mcbook Pro as desktop substitute

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Toltepeceno, Jul 20, 2012.

  1. Toltepeceno Suspended

    Toltepeceno

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    #1
    Hello. I am new to the forum (old guy) and have been doing (and building) pc's since the 80's. I am going over to mac's and and definitely will get a macbook pro (waiting for some money that is coming). I am really considering getting the base 15" mbp and a Thunderbolt 27" display and just using the mbp as laptop and desktop. I know this is by no means even a relatively new idea, jus tcrious of opinions from anyone doing the same thing.

    Maybe a dock like this.

    http://www.amazon.com/Twelve-South-...8&qid=1342819847&sr=8-3&keywords=macbook+dock

    Later on a mac mini.
     
  2. webdevfreak macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2012
    #2
    Similar Setup

    Hi, I have their products to hold my MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and iPad as well. Really good quality. I love them. I use the macbook pro with the Cinema Display Thunderbolt as well and I really like it. Hope this helps.
     
  3. Aodhan macrumors regular

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    Jun 16, 2012
    #3
    I use a 2012 MacBook Pro with that 12 South Book Arc, connected to my 23-inch Dell Monitor, with Apple wireless keyboard and the Magic Mouse. It works great. The MBP stays cool in the BookArc, and has no problem driving the 23-inch 1920x1080 monitor, with its 1GB 650M video card. You will want external speakers, and forget about using the internal mic or camera.

    For my needs, the MBP used this way is just as powerful as a desktop. More powerful than what I had been using, actually. Every few days I take it out of the BookArc and use the battery to about 60-70%, to keep it healthy.

    This is the best of both worlds for me. I have a desktop when I need it, with a big monitor, and a laptop when I need it.
     
  4. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #4
    The mini works too. It depends on your requirements. If you go with the mini, wait for an update. The current configurations suck. With the 15" macbook pro, make sure you cycle the battery down sometimes. Also I've seen the dreaded expanding battery on some of the older ones. I'm still not sure what causes it, but it's a bad thing when it happens.
     
  5. Toltepeceno thread starter Suspended

    Toltepeceno

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    #5
    Yes, this really helps. It sounds better all the time, not to mention it would be like the wife and I also have separate desktops.

    Good reminder, speakers.

    Yes, the mini would come later on and definitely after the update. It would probably mainly be a media server for apple tv.

    Thank all of you so far.

    Thank you for the maintenance tips also.
     
  6. clumeng macrumors member

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    #6
    You didn't mention what kind of things you'll be doing with the MBP it might help us guide. It depends somewhat on your use case and needs (e.g. gaming or work to home)

    For pure performance comparisons make sure to check out these scores http://browser.primatelabs.com/mac-benchmarks

    I had a 2008 iMac that I just replaced with a retina MBP + Thunderbolt Display and am very pleased. I used to have an 11" MBA as my way to get work home - now I just carry the MBP.

    The BIGGEST performance boost you will want is a SSD. This can be built to order when you order the MBP or you could try to install yourself (void the warrantee though). This is part of the argument for the retina - by the time you add in a build to order SSD to the non-retina MBP you are a large chunk of the way to a retina.
     
  7. Toltepeceno thread starter Suspended

    Toltepeceno

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    #7
    I would not be gaming or using it for work. I have already been looking at ssd's and I would do that and a memory upgrade myself. I have actually been using and building pc's (on the side) since the 80's just not mac's. I have also replaced quite a few parts on windows laptops such as lcd's, keypad's, back cover's, new thermal paste on heatsinks, etc. The pos dell I am using now I have had completely apart several times. So I would prefer to do the hd and memory upgrade myself for cheaper. I think I will probably just go with the base 15 and go from there.

    I am retired and most of what I do now is light, I am tired of working on them, my eyes are going, arthritis fingers, so am going mac and not looking back.

    Thank you.
     
  8. RealEyes macrumors regular

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    Jun 23, 2012
    #8
    I wouldn't get the base model, but if I did, I'd throw my own upgrades in there as I could.

    SSD & RAM being the main and maybe only 2 upgrades needed.

    I'm basically replacing my AMD 3.0GHz, 8GB RAM, 1GB Video Card with the 2.6/16 Retina Display MBP. Looking at this same setup with the 12 south dock, TB display, peripherals.

    Looks and feels so fresh and so clean. :cool:
     
  9. Toltepeceno, Jul 20, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2012

    Toltepeceno thread starter Suspended

    Toltepeceno

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    #9
    Yes, memory and ssd done myself. I have no doubt I could change anything in it (that's not soldered in) if I has to change a part down the line.

    I'm just barely trying to stretch it to the 15" base, originally I was looking at the 13". The base would be tops at best. I am not interested in the Retina models though. I have an intel duo t9550 2.66 with 4gb ram that I have had several years. I'm tired of taking it apart and fixing stuff. I no longer game except on my phone, I don't care about the difference in the video card. One reason I am going mac, otherwise I would go sager/clevo.


    Thanks for the reply
     
  10. NMF macrumors 6502a

    NMF

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    #10
    Throw in some new memory and an SSD and you will be blown away by the performance. I did the exact same thing, base 15" with aftermarket SSD and memory. Better battery life than the 2.6 GHz, and the base model still turbos to over 3 GHz so it really doesn't matter. If you need the performance, it'll be there. Incredibly high performing machine in a nice, tight package. Not as tight as the rMBP, of course, but I'm waiting out the "first gen blues" on that one. Plus I want to see if Haswell delivers.

    As for the dock, I recommend the mStand by Rain Design. It lets you use your MacBook as a secondary display if you want, and the design of it looks identical to the Thunderbolt Display. It looks great in clamshell mode too if you were gaming or something. It's awesome.
     
  11. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #11
    I hate to tell you this, but Macs have some of the same issues. I use them in spite of this, but a few persistent ones really annoy me. I've spent much more time using their desktops, specifically the G4, G5, and mac pro (G4 wasn't owned by me). Those served me flawlessly. Every laptop has given me major problems at some point given that I hold onto them longer as they haven't been my primary computers.

    I've had a couple bulging batteries at times. It's supposed to be safe to use the machine plugged in regularly, and it throttles a little on battery alone. Annoyingly the charger is 85W which isn't enough to drive the computer at max load, so they have been known to suck battery power too during peak use. The 85W chargers are used because they're lighter and more portable. Otherwise you'd have a power brick. Thermal paste can be pretty terrible on macs too. Pictures of sloppy paste that exceed the proper area of coverage have been posted on multiple occasions.

    I've had batteries go bad including the dreaded swollen battery problem. All I can say there is if you notice a difference in the trackpad responsiveness, check the battery. It tends to force up on it. I've had chargers die too. I have one right now that has an obvious kink where the cord that connects to the computer comes out. It's really unfortunate that these cords are not detachable. It seems like such a waste given how fragile they are. I do move the laptop around, but no matter how I situate that power cord, it seems to develop long term issues.

    One of the old batteries.
    http://store.apple.com/us/product/MA458LL/A

    Two different charger models
    http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC556LL/B?fnode=59
    http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC461LL/A?fnode=59

    Apple peripherals and accessories suck just like the rest of them, so it can be necessary to take down the line replacements into account, and know what to watch for. You don't have to focus solely on the one star reviews. Interestingly my old Mac Pro (and my G5 before that remarkably given how many problems they had) serves me flawlessly.

    Just remember they're all consumer electronics, which unfortunately means poor construction and design these days. I am hoping the rMBP is a step away from this trend given its integrated nature. It'll be interesting to read comments from long terms users in the second year.
     
  12. natsuo macrumors newbie

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    Jul 19, 2012
    #12
    Macbook Pro is not well-known for DIY upgrade/repairs. The HDD/RAM may be the only two things you can upgrade. Putting in an Optibay to swap DVD writer with another HDD may be another thing you can do. Other than that, most parts are on board (CPU, GPU, Heat sink). You will likely to lose warranty too if Apple find out.

    If you neither mind an apple brand nor iSight camera, Dell Monitor 27" and 30" are a lot cheaper (and more versatile). And HP 30" ZR30w is a much better monitor with greater color gamut. (1.06 billion colors depth vs Apple's 16.7 millions colors). You almost can't use Apple display with non-Apple products. Even if you can, you can't adjust anything because all Apple monitor are configurable under Mac OS X only, no contrast/brightness buttons.
     
  13. Toltepeceno, Jul 20, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2012

    Toltepeceno thread starter Suspended

    Toltepeceno

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    #13
    NMF Thanks for the info and I will definitely check out that stand. What memory and ssd did you use?

    thekev I know mac's are not perfect, like I said I have been using and uilding pc;s since the 80's (on the side). I also have done eectronic work, was an electronic tech in the service. I have no thoughts than any modern electronics are perfect. Thanks for the info.

    Natsuo Yes, I know upgradability is limited.

    " I have no doubt I could change anything in it (that's not soldered in) if I has to change a part down the line."

    The soldered in part was kind of a joke as apple solders in processors and ram on some models.

    I was referring to replacing a bad part such as fan(s), the unchangeable battery that can be changed, main board, etc. DIY repairs depend on who is doing them and I can do the same repairs most repair shops do. Most computer repair people are not electronic tech's. I worked doing electronic tech work and did computer work on the side (retired now). If I am going to be changing out parts, except for regular upgrade items, that means the warranty has expired.

    I have had my current laptop 3 years past the warranty and changed a number of things. I have a netbook (family member's) that I need to tear apart right now to see why the touchpad quit working. Thanks for the reply though and the ideas on monitors, I did not know about the adjustments. I have a dell 22" that I have had, I really do not remember how long, that I will use in the meantime. I will check out the hp. Thanks for the info.

    My current desktop is long in the tooth. I have an inwin full tower I have had since the 90's and just kept upgrading when necessary. I have not upgraded for a few years and I am getting tired of the monster case. I rarely use it anyway. I used to like to overclock, do not care about doing it any more.
     
  14. dagamer34 macrumors 65816

    dagamer34

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    #14
    If you hate fan noise or are on a lot of Flash websites, I'd avoid this method and just get an iMac + MacBook Air.
     
  15. Toltepeceno thread starter Suspended

    Toltepeceno

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  16. Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

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    #16
    I am in your situation as I solely use portables as a desktop replacement, the Base rMBP is more than capable enough :D

    My work dictates that we change country every 2-3 years sometime sooner,i am very much against just packing up a Mac Pro and finding it damaged or worse when we touch down, my solution is to run two MackBook Pro`s presently high end Late 2011 15" MBP 2.4 Sandy Bridge and Mid 2012 2.3, 8. 256 Retina. i have one hooked up to a 24" LED, i was planning on a Thunderbolt display, i may hold off now as almost certainly Apple will release a Retina version in the next 2 - 3 years

    I use a bank of USB drives although a NAS with removable drives is looking more and more realistic these days.
     
  17. Toltepeceno thread starter Suspended

    Toltepeceno

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    #17
    Tnanks Queen, yes nas or time capsule I have been looking at also.

     
  18. gentlefury macrumors 68030

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    #18
    Cool thing with the TBD is that you only have to plug the MBP into it via TB and it will give you everything you need (USB, Firewire, Ethernet)....so you can kind of use it as a dock. Get home, plug in to display and everything else plugs in with it!
     
  19. AirThis macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    Yup, it's really practical. I only wish they had a 22" model as well...
     
  20. gentlefury macrumors 68030

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    #20
    yeah, I'm a little annoyed that they discontinued the smaller sizes. I am waiting on the refresh tho....I want USB3 not USB2.
     
  21. InlawBiker macrumors 6502

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    #21
    I did the same, using a late 2011 base MBP 15" with a Dell 23" monitor, and Apple keyboard and trackpad. Most of the time I keep the computer closed and just use the monitor. I've been building my own systems for a long time too, finally decided to switch to a laptop full time.

    First, it's very nice to have all of your stuff with you in a laptop. Normally I use a netbook for travel and then copy everything back to the desktop when I get home from a trip. That hassle is gone now.

    There are some down sides. I don't like the size of the 15". I'd prefer the 13" MBP or Air but, I wanted the desktop replacement build so in this case you're stuck with the 15". I hope in a few years the Air or 13" is equal in capability to today's 15's.

    This is an expensive route to what is essentially a mobile iMac. An upgraded MBP with external keyboard and trackpad (which I have) plus a 27" display is about twice as expensive as a 27" iMac. This is why I used last year's model Macbook Pro and my old 23" monitor. If money is no object great, but a decent iMac + an iPad is probably a better option for most folks.
     
  22. A Hebrew macrumors 6502a

    A Hebrew

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    #22
    How long would one expect the low-end 15" 2012 MBP to last (before the hardware becomes outdated and/or software is no longer supported) assuming a SSD is put in to replace the HD?

    I am curious because I just might get one if it could last 5 years without feeling far too outdated.
     
  23. Aodhan macrumors regular

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    #23
    If you'll feel outdated anywhere, it'll be with the GPU. My 2009 MBP with the 256MB GPU feels pretty dated when I try to run games, but otherwise is still an excellent computer.
     
  24. Toltepeceno thread starter Suspended

    Toltepeceno

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    #24
    Good point, I did not know this

    Me too. I actually looked for that model, figured they had it.

    Yep, one of the benifits I like, not to mention the wife and I not sharing a desktop.

    Exactly the same here. I would prefer the 13" but figure for desktop replacement 15 is it.

    Funny, I was looking at last years model on B&H, very decent price. Money IS important, I will investigate the imac and ipad route.

    Thanks everyone for the ideas and suggestions, I appreciate it. Great people and info on this board.
     
  25. InlawBiker macrumors 6502

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    #25
    That's the one I bought, from B&H. If you buy from them Parallels is free and the 3 year warranty is only $99. I originally wanted an iMac but after this last trip I'm glad I went with the laptop.
     

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