Design student struggling what to get?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Kerstman, Oct 30, 2016.

  1. Kerstman macrumors newbie

    Oct 30, 2016

    I know, I know, a lot of people are having the same problems. Sorry to bother you guys again ;)

    Anyway this is my story: I'm currently a design student doing a lot of creative work, including 3D renders & video renders from time to time. I'm currently in possession of:

    1. Mid 2010 17" MBP (Geekbench: Single core: 1785, Multi core: 2563) <---- Not sure what I'm doing with this (lagg's on 1080p 60fps YouTube videos)
    2. Windows PC - 8GB RAM / i5-2500k CPU @ 3.3 GHz (4 Cores) (Geekbench: Single core: 3523, Multi core: 9722) <---- This is my main workhorse currently

    The Windows PC I'm working with is nice, but I'm in need of a new device. I can't go with another Windows anymore since I need a Mac for Sketch / Principle (Creative programs only running on OSX).

    The setup I wish to get is a main MBP with an external monitor at home which I can connect it to. So I'm probably working 50% on the MBP alone and 50% with the external monitor connected.

    Was looking forward to the new MBP's coming out, but because of the price and all the topics on here I'm in doubt.

    My doubts are as follows:
    Is the 15" screen required as creative designer (used to 17" non retina, 1920 x 1080 pixels) or has the 13" without scaling enough space for UI design projects?

    Yes (13" is good enough): Does the 13" 2016 MBP have enough power? (Geekbench of the base model: Single core: 3716, Multi core: 7100) or do I need the 13" 2016 model with Touch bar?

    And is 8GB RAM enough? Because I'm more or less thinking about 16GB which adds €225,- which makes a 15" MPB 2015 more interesting with a similar price (13" = €1.825 / 13" with Touch bar = €2.105 / 15" 2015 = €2.070)

    No (15" is required/ really preferred): Is the new one worth it? I'm thinking about using it for another 4 years? It has a dGPU, Skylake CPU, Touch bar, and TB3 ports compared to the old 2015 15". Are these upgrades worth €400,-? (15" 2015 = €2.070 / 15" 2016 = €2.480).

    I hope you guys can help me out! I'm quite interested in the upcoming reviews of the Touch bar models and will definitely check those out.
  2. Kerstman thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 30, 2016
  3. Altis macrumors 68030

    Sep 10, 2013
    Hi Kerstman,

    The 15" will give you a much more comfortable working space since you plan on using it as the display 50% of the time. The 15" also gives you a quad-core CPU and 16GB of RAM, which will be much better for what you describe as your usage case. It'll also give it a longer usable life, IMO.

    The last thing you want is to spend a pile of money and not get the right tool for the job. If money is tight, I'd say you're still better off with a refurbished 2015 15" than a 2016 13" for your usage, and it'd probably be the cheapest option of them all.

    As a side note, I have a 2010 17" MBP as you do... Performance is pretty bad in OS X, like you say 1080p 60fps YouTube won't even work properly on it (in Safari especially). But I have put Windows on it and I can have 2 1080p 60fps youTube videos streaming at the same time, scrub through them, and run other applications while not having any hiccups (using Chrome).

    If you want to get more usable life from that machine, I recommend getting Linux or Windows as a secondary boot on it, with an SSD of course. :cool:
  4. cerberusss macrumors 6502a


    Aug 25, 2013
    The Netherlands
    Have you thought about getting a second-hand? Does that make sense with educational discount?

    Assuming that's not the case; As a design student, I'd have a preference for the base 15".

    However perhaps there's another way; often school will have a lot of PCs around. isn't it an option to get one or two monitor cables and just always hook up a monitor when you're working? Because in that case, the 13" could suffice.

    As an aside: insure the machine for damage and theft (assuming you're Dutch, "inboedelverzekering met buitendekking"), and get a good case for it, plus a bag with a laptop compartment.
  5. Skylitfly macrumors 6502a

    May 3, 2014
    Well. I'm a design student and I'm still extremely pleased with my 2012 rMBP. The best computer I've ever had. Still after 4 years it runs as it did in 2012 when I purchased it. I have occasionally used Win10 machines at school and I've been instantly reminded why Macs are superior almost in every way. No going back to Windows for me.

    Will definitely get the new MacBook Pro as soon as I have financial possibility to do so.
  6. Avi92 macrumors member


    Oct 6, 2015
    The Hague, The Netherlands
    13" will do, as will 8GB of RAM. I'd upgrade the RAM to 16GB for a much smoother MacBook as it won't lag when you run different creative application simultaneous. The screen size is a personal preference. A bigger screen is nice for bigger workflows, but less portable.
  7. terminator-jq macrumors regular

    Nov 25, 2012
    The 13" will do. How do I know? I work as a 3D Artist and I just finished doing a 4K resolution architectural visualization rendering on my late 2013, 13" MBP, 8gb Ram. It took 3 hours... and I ended up with a shot that is nearly indistinguishable from a photograph.

    3D rendering is mostly about the CPU, not GPU and the CPU in the 13" model with touchbar should be able to handle it no problem. That being said, the 15" will definitely give you faster results. Also, even though rendering uses the CPU, most of the things you do in the viewport (3D modeling) uses the GPU.

    What it boils down to is, get the 15"'if you want plenty of power, freedom for multitasking, and a bigger screen. The 13" with Touchbar looks like it should pack a pretty good punch and it gives you extra portability over the 15". However, the lack of a real GPU may hold you back on some task. The base 13" W/O Touchbar should be able to handle light scenes and HD renders but the lower class CPU will give you issues if you decide to turn up the settings.

    Personally, I'm going for the 13" with touchbar since it offers a good balance of portability and performance. Hopefully this helps at least a little. Unfortunately, I can't really comment on design programs outside of 3D.
  8. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 68000


    Oct 17, 2016
    3D visualisations are one of the most demanding design tasks you could put these through. And as you've nicely highlighted, they are more than adequate for the job (albeit time consuming, which is why batch rendering exists). GPU does help with viewport rendering, however my old work computer with a Quadro and all the gubbins still lagged on larger models. There's still an act of efficiency you have to go through with your models, you can't just wack up those smoothing iterations on every object any expect it to run smoothly, on any computer. But if you're smart and do it right, again, more than adequate.

    2D design wise they are massively overpowered. The iGPU is enough to handle most useful tasks. The more important aspect in 2D here is the screen, which is gorgeous. I'm upgrading from a 13" to a 15" as I miss the screen real-estate. But for what I do the CPU/GPU is overkill (But it will speed up certain tasks, and likely increase the lifespan so all good).

    Other design work such as games or CAD will largely be a mix of 2D/3D.

    In any case I'd always go for the best you can afford, the 15" will be the preferred machine, but if you're struggling to meet that cost (+400 is worth it), alongside cases/adapters and other necessary things then the 13" will do just fine. You won't notice the difference unless you start to use the other machine in a few years time.

    So if cost is an issue, I'd grab a 13" (TouchBar will be better for you as it uses a higher wattage CPU), and then if you're struggling with screen size you can always grab a new monitor at some point and use it with that while at a desk. So you could grab the 13", then in a year spend that extra €400 on a monitor if you're struggling. Or just get the 15" and know you've got the best you can.

    Hope that helps, :)

Share This Page