Graphic Designer looking to move from an iMac to a laptop. A few questions...


macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 28, 2012
Right now I'm using a maxed out and upgraded 2012 iMac and its days are numbered.

I'm primarily print-based. InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, some light video work in either Final Cut or Premiere, Lightroom, Logic, Cinema 4D...mostly still images or light animation, and some light web design. I use the machine for both freelance work and as my daily machine at home. I'm looking to replace it with the laptop to do all of that.

I'm looking at the 2018 15" i7 MBP with 32gigs and a 1TB drive. The part I'm struggling with is the 560x or the Vega 20. All the benchmarks and reviews show heavy video work and animation results and I don't really do a whole lot of that. So as far as graphic design goes, will I see any real benefit with the Vega?

Other than the video card, anything else I should be considering? My iMac did very well for me (and I definitely got my money's worth from it) so I don't want to make any rookie mistakes with this one.

I really appreciate any feedback and advice. Thanks.


macrumors 68000
May 8, 2008
Hilo, Hawai'i
No offense -- because clearly you're taking this move seriously -- but have you taken any of your projects for a ride on a 15" screen?

I spend a lot of time with InDesign on a 5k iMac screen but sometimes I have to work on a few InDesign projects on a 15" MBP. I'm never on the MBP long enough to really settle in, and that might make a difference, but the workspace feels so cramped that I can hardly do what I need to.
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macrumors 6502a
Jan 4, 2015
Key West FL
The big question is why move to a notebook?

Notebook vs Desktop:
  • Portablility
  • more expensive for matching performance
  • small cramped screen
  • horrid keyboard
The last two Cons can be dealt with by adding an external monitor, keyboard, mouse, and possibly a docking station, but that makes the first Con even greater. For me, the only way I could move my graphic work (Ps, Lr, Id, Ai, Word, Excel, ... for my full time day job) to a notebook without it impeeding my work would be to add a docking station, dual external monitors, external keyboard & mouse. Even given that, a full blown MBP would likely be a step down in performance from my similarily spec'd iMac due to thermal throttling under my usual heavy load.


macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 28, 2012
Good questions, and something I've thought about a lot. I'd definitely be using an external monitor for a lot of the work. But I like having the option of taking a laptop to meetings and having my own software with me if I use it for work. The way I see it, whatever I end up with is going to be much more powerful than my close-to-7-year-old machine so it'll definitely give me a boost in performance.

Honestly, I've been waiting for an iMac refresh for months now and I'm at a point that I need to do something. The iMac is shutting down randomly every few days and is just showing its age. An iMac Pro is overkill for what I need and I'm not going to buy a current iMac with outdated tech. I've even thought about jumping ship but I need a few Mac-only apps (Logic & FCP). Plus, I know my way around 'em and can fix most problems myself.

I still love Apple but I just wish they still cared about their pro base a lot more than they seem to do.
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macrumors regular
Jan 2, 2017
New York
I recently purchased the exact configuration you are considering (2018 15", i7, 32gb RAM and 1TB SSD). I use it for Ableton, Photoshop and sometimes illustrator and light Final Cut work. I opted to not drop the extra money on the Vega, as I was coming from a 2013 15 inch similarly equipped which handled everything just fine. Everything has been buttery smooth for me as far as I'm concerned. The keyboard and touch bar are my least favorite parts of the laptop, but 75% of my work during the day is done connected to dual external monitors in my home studio set up.

Seems we're dealing with similar applications and require the same amount of power from a computer, so I'd have to say you'll be more than fine with the machine / configuration you're considering. Just get ready for a drastic change with your keyboard (btw, having a laptop for this kind of work is extremely nice in case I want to make changes on the fly or in the morning while having some coffee and browsing the web)

Good luck!
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