Base model MBP sufficient for digital photography?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by bagend12, Jan 5, 2014.

  1. bagend12, Jan 5, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2014

    bagend12 macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2014
    The other night I picked up the base model, late 2013 MBP (2.0 ghz i7, 256 gb ssdhd, 8 gb ram).

    I am coming from a mid 2010 MBP (2.53 mghz i5) that still had some life, but really was not up to what I was asking it to do with the large raw files from my D800E. The late 2013 is like a speed demon in comparison!

    However, I have a few questions:

    While the size of the hard drive sucks compared to what I had, (750 gb), I can get around that by using external drives and the cloud.

    Of more concern, is this. I was leaning towards the next model up with the discrete GPU and 16 gb of RAM, but was not really willing to part with the $$$$ to get those features. All I really will be using this for is light photoediting using Aperture, Capture1, and photoshop. Will this machine be sufficient for those tasks?
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I use a 2012 rMBP which has a dual GPU setup, but when its on battery, it defaults to the iGPU. That being said, I found the performance to be fine running Aperture and photoshop.
  3. bagend12 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2014

    And as far as RAM is concerned 8 gb is enough for photoshop/aperture, etc/??
  4. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    I would be more concerned about the SSD size. After boot/OS/apps and a little data, there will not be room left for significant photo libraries on board. Of course you can move large libraries (photos, music, documents) to an external drive. Just have a plan for storage needs that exceed the SSD.
  5. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    I'd go with 16gb personally. 8gb might be enough at the moment, but will it be in 2 years time? You can always increase your HD with an external at a later date if you need to (or even open it up and replace if you feel confident).
    In LR 5 my iMac flies (specs below) with 16gb. But DXO Optics 9 hangs for a bit. It will depend on what software you will be using and how much it bothers you waiting for the processing.
  6. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    8's fine but as noted we don't know what the future will hold, though I think if you plan on keeping it 3 to 4 years the 8gb will be adequate.

    My 256GB SSD currently has a 91GB music folder and 45GB Aperture library. This does not include the space being consumed by photoshop, office and my other data. I have over 30GB free at this point.

    I'd say after OS and apps, there is plenty of space for photo libraries.

    One huge advantage Aperture has for me, is the use of libraries. What I do is create my libraries by year so, my 2013 library went to my DAS which I access when I'm home, but when I'm traveling I have a 2014 library on the laptop. Since we flipped the calendar over, my new library which I haven't created yet will be rather small.

    I realize with new DSLR, and other digital cameras the RAW file sizes are increasing but even so, 256GB should be enough for many people.
  7. Wahlstrm macrumors 6502a


    Dec 4, 2013
    16GB is minimum

    Since you cant upgrade it later its foolish to not spend a few extra coins to ensure that your computer is usable for another 2-3 years (given that everything else still works).

    As a frequent user of photoshop I would say that anything below 16GB on a modern Mac is horrible.. When I got my 2011 MBP 8 was maximum available to buy so I went with that and it sucked, alot..

    Frequently running out of ram when using photoshop. This was back when OSX 10.6 needed only about 500MB to run. Today 10.9 is taking about 2,5-3GB of my ram to just to run. Add a few browser tabs, some apps and a few layers in photoshop and you computer turns in to a beach ball paradise..

    16GB of ram solved 95% of these problems for me.
  8. doitdada macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2013
    95% of your problems?

    I work with 40MB files from my Leica M9, but for me to see any advantage to upgrading to 16gb from 8gb, i must at least tenfold that image size, as photoshops starts to take advantage of 16gb when the image size hits 500mb (benchmarked). It means futureproofing for a camera in the future which has 500mb RAW files is a far fetch. Its better to just buy a computer for the current times and wait for the future to see whats fit. Alot of stuff happens in a year, and we may edit our pictures of 12" ipads later this year.

    Regarding the 256GB and upgrading, I would rather use my money on cloud storage and a better broadband service. I need Internet more than I need offline storage. No harddrives to breakdown or drop. Carefree is better.
  9. bagend12, Jan 5, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2014

    bagend12 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2014
    Thanks for all the replies.

    After spending pretty much all day playing around with photos and having different apps open at the same time and really pushing this machine more than it would get used in my normal, day to day activities, I think 8 GB will be fine. I've never kept a laptop more than 3 years anyway, so "future proofing" is just dropping more money into it needlessly, and honestly, after spending over 2k with taxes for this computer, I am really not in any hurry to drop more $$ into it. It's easy to say "but it's "only" another $200.00 when it is not your money..

    Coming from a 750 gb harddrive, going to 256 gb is a tough pill to swallow, but considering that "only" a little over 500 gb of that were being used, and of that 500 almost half were things that I either no longer needed or were things that could be archived, I think I will get along ok with 256 using a combination of external drives, network storage, and doing a better job of managing what programs and files I'll be saving. I'll also need to start thinking more about cloud based storage I guess...
  10. sergiobaschi macrumors regular

    Nov 30, 2012
    Gothenburg, Sweden
    Just connect an external hdd to your router. I have a 4 TB drive connected to my Time Capsule - the external drive holds all my media data, the TC makes Time Machine back-ups.

    I get speeds of about 15-30 MB/s which is more than enough.

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