CS6 (Illustrator, Photoshop) with Macbook Pro 13" i5

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by cjmabry, Aug 29, 2012.

  1. cjmabry macrumors newbie


    Apr 25, 2010
    Hello everyone.

    I'm on the edge, about to buy my first Macbook. I'm a freshman in College and thus, I've settled on the 13". I had debated an the Air, but thought the 13" pro was a good middle ground performance-wise for the price, while still maintaining the portability I need to take it to class everyday.

    Anyways, the main things I will be doing in the future are Photoshop work (Coloring sketches, drawings, doing web and UI stuff) as well as Illustrator for Logo design, among other things. I will also be doing a lot of HTML, CSS, JQuery, and PHP, as I am beginning to do freelance web design work to fund my transfer to a school to pursue Industrial Design, in which I may be doing some CAD work.

    Anywayyyyyyyssss, I was wondering if anyone has experience doing Illustrator and Photoshop work, particularly CS6 (although CS5 will serve as a good benchmark, too) on their 13" i5 Macbook Pro. I would love to have the i7, but the price increase is a little much for the performance gain I'd receive. Anyone with CAD experience, such as SolidWorks or Rhino or AutoCAD, would also be very helpful. I realize this won't be a blazing fast CAD machine due to it's integrated GPU, but I do expect it to keep up as the HD4000 seems pretty capable. Any people have any benchmarks or experience doing CAD on their's?

    Also, I'll be upgrading my RAM myself and adding an SSD in place of the optical drive in the near future.


    TL;DR - Getting a Macbook Pro 13" i5 2012 - will be using Photoshop and Illustrator CS6, some CAD in the future. Obviously not expecting blazing fast speeds in the latter, but will it get the job done, or is the i7 really worth it for $300 more? I do plan on trying to make it last until graduation, or at least being able to sell it and upgrade and not take a huge loss.

    Thanks again.

    ALSO, I will be hooking up to an external monitor for most of my work.
  2. MaxPower72 macrumors 6502


    Aug 15, 2012
    Chicago, Illinois, Crooks County
    with 16 gigs RAM and a ssd you shouldn't have any problems. Although I would get the i7 instead of the i5.
  3. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    upgrade to 16 gb of ram using 3rd party ram (much cheaper) and you should be ok. Down the line, you might get an ssd to put in there, but wait until the prices drop even more.
  4. Orlandoech macrumors 68040


    Jun 2, 2011
    Salt Lake City, UT
    The i5 with 16GB 1600MHz ram and SSD will be plenty, the i7 would be better but I have a work Lenovo Dual Core i5 with 8GB 1333MHz Ram and a slow SSD and it performs just fine.
  5. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    My only concern would be cad, especially if you're dealing with any heavier models. Your framerates may be less than pretty outside of viewing wireframes. There's no way around that other than to go to a 15". If you buy directly from Apple, test it when you get it. Apple's return policy is quite lenient. Third party retailers have their own separate policies. Anyway if you don't already have student versions, solidworks and rhino should have trial options available. Those can be used to test the performance on the machine.
  6. cjmabry thread starter macrumors newbie


    Apr 25, 2010
    Understandable. I wouldn't be doing any viewing other than wireframes, most likely, unless I wanted to render some shots. If so, I could find an external machine or just leave it on a cooling stand and let it do its thang. And I'll definitely test some CAD stuff when I get it just to be sure.

    Also, thanks to everyone else who replied. 16GB of RAM, an SSD, and an i5 should have me future proof for a couple of years when I do the upgrades down the line.
  7. Naimfan Suspended


    Jan 15, 2003
    I'd go for it. Upgrade to 16 GB and you'll be fine, with the CAD caveats you and others noted.

    Since you're replacing both RAM and storage, the i7 doesn't make as much sense - the processing power isn't hugely improved. Faster, yes, $300 faster, I don't think so.

    If you were to leave it stock, I'd suggest the i7, as I think it finally represents a better value - it comes with 8 GB RAM and a 750 GB HD, along with the upgraded processor. Those two bumps can save people from doing it themselves, and for most people the difference from 8 to 16 GB of RAM is nowhere near as big as from 4 to 8.
  8. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    Yep. Photoshop and illustrator have always used scratch disks just because they couldn't address that much ram, and desktops didn't have enough ram to hold everything that way. Now I think it's more responsive just using large amounts of ram and setting them to use a large quantity of it. I wasn't referring to rendering. I meant that navigation in a cad program with shading on would be brutal for something large and mechanical. Requirements don't change that fast for this stuff either. Regarding 16GB, it's under $100 these days. 8GB would still cost around 40-50, and I definitely wouldn't go with less than 8 on a new machine for your uses. All of them recommend 8GB of ram. 16 just gives you a bit of growth room. The HD4000 supports OpenCL 1.1 (not 1.2 unfortunately) and a more recent OpenGL than the 3000. I'd say the ssd is by far the most optional part. i wouldn't spend a fortune on that part. The i7 has a few geekbench points on the i5. I wouldn't personally drop $300 to get that. If I didn't find performance acceptable, I'd jump to a refurb late 2011 15" which is faster than both. It's always possible your requirements will change, but I don't think the 13" i7 is a huge jump for the rise in price. To me none of these seem heavy. I can take my 17" with me:cool:. My next will be a 15", but i don't feel either is problematic to transport. 17" is just annoying on flights, but I don't fly that much anymore.
  9. cjmabry thread starter macrumors newbie


    Apr 25, 2010
    Thanks for all of the info. Bought an i5 13" yesterday and couldn't be happier. I plan to do the 16GB RAM upgrade first. I know I won't need more than 8 but it's kind of pointless getting 8 now, then 16 later. The SSD will come later, also. Along with a 7200RPM drive, but probably not for a year at least.

    And I since I'm in school and will be lugging this thing around everywhere, I was wary to get a 15". But one of the main reasons I bought a Macbook was so I could sell if I ever decided my needs were different and not lose a lot of money.

    Thanks again!

    Also, my battery is reporting no more than like 3 hours and 50 minutes at full charge. I'm currently doing what it says here for Macbook Pros, and I'm at the point where I'm draining the battery to zero. Hopefully this will calibrate it, but is it normal to show that low before doing that?

    EDIT: Definitely a calibration issue. It's approaching a more reasonable hour-age as it drains. Disregard!

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