help deciding

Prozak0820

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 14, 2015
298
161
Tampa, Florida
So my sister is going in her first year of high school. She has a terrible Dell laptop. I wanted to surprise her for the holidays. but I'm not sure which configuration of the 13 inch to go with. And I'm hoping it will last her at least 5-6 years. if anyone could help id appreciate it.
 

Patcell

macrumors 6502
Aug 8, 2016
459
198
Bergen County, NJ
In high school I doubt her use will be very demanding hardware-wise; she would probably be fine with a base configuration of either the TB or nTB version. Although I would advise against the 128GB configuration; I think 256 is more reasonable especially if she will store any media on the laptop (music, movies, photos, & the like).

Is is worth the money to step up to the TB model? That is going to be personal preference... aside from the touch bar, I don't think any of the other included features would be of particular benefit (28 watt CPU, faster RAM, etc).

This will be a hot-button issue, but I seriously doubt she would benefit from 16GB of RAM; 8GB will likely be enough for the foreseeable future. I doubt she will be multi-tasking beyond iTunes, a few Safari tabs, and Office/ iLife suite.

Any idea what she would be using the machine for? I am making a lot of assumptions...
 

Prozak0820

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 14, 2015
298
161
Tampa, Florida
In high school I doubt her use will be very demanding hardware-wise; she would probably be fine with a base configuration of either the TB or nTB version. Although I would advise against the 128GB configuration; I think 256 is more reasonable especially if she will store any media on the laptop (music, movies, photos, & the like).

Is is worth the money to step up to the TB model? That is going to be personal preference... aside from the touch bar, I don't think any of the other included features would be of particular benefit (28 watt CPU, faster RAM, etc).

This will be a hot-button issue, but I seriously doubt she would benefit from 16GB of RAM; 8GB will likely be enough for the foreseeable future. I doubt she will be multi-tasking beyond iTunes, a few Safari tabs, and Office/ iLife suite.

Any idea what she would be using the machine for? I am making a lot of assumptions...
She’d most likely be using it for basic pages and keynote usage. But she also may be taking digital media so photoshop. And she does play a few games like sims or Minecraft.
 

EgGKeith

macrumors member
Oct 6, 2015
37
9
She’d most likely be using it for basic pages and keynote usage. But she also may be taking digital media so photoshop. And she does play a few games like sims or Minecraft.
For any photoshop usage i would suggest 16G Ram for your machine.
Considering between upgrading RAM and SSD
My first pirority will go for upgrading RAM.
In the future u cant do anything to increase your RAM size but u can connect to any other external hard drive for a bigger storage.
 

New_Mac_Smell

macrumors 68000
Oct 17, 2016
1,927
1,540
Shanghai
For any photoshop usage i would suggest 16G Ram for your machine.
Considering between upgrading RAM and SSD
My first pirority will go for upgrading RAM.
In the future u cant do anything to increase your RAM size but u can connect to any other external hard drive for a bigger storage.
*for any large scale Photoshop projects I'd recommend 16GB of RAM. For the kind of work a student is likely to be doing, 8GB is ample. Photoshop only maxes RAM when doing huge wraps or ultra high resolution .psb projects, otherwise it's fine.

I would suggest SSD over RAM, as a student is not going to be familiar with 'best practices' when creating, and is likely to be messy with the file/layer structure. This will take up scratch space and increase file space, which you'd notice a lot quicker than the computer slightly slowing down when trying to apply a gaussian blur to something.

As a note to this. You cannot upgrade the RAM or SSD, you can increase storage space through external drives, but you cannot increase work/scratch/swap space through this method. Which is equally as important.

8GB RAM/256GB SSD will be enough for her needs, don't get sucked into the old notion of what RAM is, at current bus speeds and SSD speeds it's a lot more than you think. If you wanted to upgrade anything from there then you can consider SSD, ideally though you'd want to go to 16GB RAM/512GB SSD.

Only highlighting this because there's a notion going around that RAM is more important than the SSD. And that the SSD is for 'storage'. It's really not, the SSDs in these machines cost a fortune and are high and ultra fast drives. They are meant to have your work files on there so you can work from them in real-time without lag, and transfer files at a fast speed. Not store endless home movies and images, that's what slower external drives are for. The internal SSD is a working drive, so make sure it has enough space on it to actually work from. RAM is just a buffer for the CPU, unless you're doing long complex calculations it can normally crunch through the numbers pretty fast and never fill up.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Patcell

Prozak0820

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 14, 2015
298
161
Tampa, Florida
Thank you everyone for the help. So right now I’m looking at
13 inch MacBook Pro-silver
2.3GHz i5 turbo boost to 3.6GHz
16GB of ram
512GB of storage

What does the touch bar actually help with. And what’s the difference between the 640graphics and 650 and are the extra two thunderbolts ports worth it? And would I need to upgrade it to an i7? I have the money to buy a maxed out one but I don’t want to spend money on the upgrades that she doesn’t need.
 

Patcell

macrumors 6502
Aug 8, 2016
459
198
Bergen County, NJ
Thank you everyone for the help. So right now I’m looking at
13 inch MacBook Pro-silver
2.3GHz i5 turbo boost to 3.6GHz
16GB of ram
512GB of storage

What does the touch bar actually help with. And what’s the difference between the 640graphics and 650 and are the extra two thunderbolts ports worth it? And would I need to upgrade it to an i7? I have the money to buy a maxed out one but I don’t want to spend money on the upgrades that she doesn’t need.
IMO, the configuration you have listed will be an excellent machine for her needs. The touch bar is questionably useful in certain applications... all I really use it for is adjusting volume and display brightness (same as can be done on the physical keys).

The difference between the Iris 640 and 650 is not a huge one... they are essentially the same, but with different TDP (thermal design power). 15 watts for the 640 and 28 watts for the 650 - perhaps the 650 comes out ahead in sustained GPU workloads because it will not throttle as quickly given the higher TDP. If that makes sense...

Some references regarding the GPUs:
https://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-Iris-Plus-Graphics-640.190371.0.html
https://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-Iris-Plus-Graphics-650.190370.0.html

The difference between the 2.3GHz base model and the upgraded I7 will probably be negligible. Again, the I7 may come out a bit ahead in sustained workloads. For Photoshop use this will likely not be noticeable.
 

Yeahyeahyeah123

macrumors member
Jul 30, 2017
49
15
If it's for your sister in high school, you can probably use the education discount to save a little money and get free headphones.

I would suggest AppleCare+ too.
 
Last edited:

Prozak0820

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 14, 2015
298
161
Tampa, Florida
I second the AppleCare+. Not a cheap upfront cost, but the accidental damage protection could potentially be very valuable.
Thank you for the help :) I’ll stick to the model I listed above then.
If it's for your sister in high school, you can probably use the education discount to save a little money and get free headphones.

I would suggest AppleCare+ too.
How do I use that? And I probably should get her Apple care. I regretted not getting it for my Apple Watch and iPhone.
 

New_Mac_Smell

macrumors 68000
Oct 17, 2016
1,927
1,540
Shanghai
Thank you for the help :) I’ll stick to the model I listed above then.

How do I use that? And I probably should get her Apple care. I regretted not getting it for my Apple Watch and iPhone.
You need to sign into the Apple Store using her Student ID, I don't know how it works in Germany, however in the UK you have Unidays, which you sign up for and it verifies the ID, then you can log in from there. University/staff get the biggest discount, but there's still a small discount for college.

Check out the Apple Education Store and follow links/guides on it. If buying from a store just take her with you and show them the ID.
 

Closingracer

macrumors 68040
Jul 13, 2010
3,987
1,569
In high school I doubt her use will be very demanding hardware-wise; she would probably be fine with a base configuration of either the TB or nTB version. Although I would advise against the 128GB configuration; I think 256 is more reasonable especially if she will store any media on the laptop (music, movies, photos, & the like).

Is is worth the money to step up to the TB model? That is going to be personal preference... aside from the touch bar, I don't think any of the other included features would be of particular benefit (28 watt CPU, faster RAM, etc).

This will be a hot-button issue, but I seriously doubt she would benefit from 16GB of RAM; 8GB will likely be enough for the foreseeable future. I doubt she will be multi-tasking beyond iTunes, a few Safari tabs, and Office/ iLife suite.

Any idea what she would be using the machine for? I am making a lot of assumptions...

If you can afford to spend the $$$ the one with the TB has 4 thunder port 3 ports vs 2. With the nTB you basically have 1 for power and the other one free. For me at least the extra $$ is well spent on those 2 extra ports when we are in this price range IMHO.
 

Closingracer

macrumors 68040
Jul 13, 2010
3,987
1,569
You need to sign into the Apple Store using her Student ID, I don't know how it works in Germany, however in the UK you have Unidays, which you sign up for and it verifies the ID, then you can log in from there. University/staff get the biggest discount, but there's still a small discount for college.

Check out the Apple Education Store and follow links/guides on it. If buying from a store just take her with you and show them the ID.


No you don't. At least I don't remember needing to when I bought my Macbook Pro. Just bought my 2017 15 inch Macbook Pro with education pricing and didn't need to use my school's email to get the discount. That being said I have verified with Unidays for the Apple music discount so that may be why?
 

KUKitch

macrumors 6502
Jan 10, 2008
402
240
England
Thank you for the help :) I’ll stick to the model I listed above then.

How do I use that? And I probably should get her Apple care. I regretted not getting it for my Apple Watch and iPhone.
In the past, they've needed an educational email address... but I do recall my brother just saying that he was a student in the store and they gave it to him so that may be all you need... Would your sister be able to get by with a maxed out 12" MB? I guess the only thing that gives me pause is that I'm not sure how it'd handle Photoshop, but apart from that you can configure 16 GB and a decent SSD I think as well
 

New_Mac_Smell

macrumors 68000
Oct 17, 2016
1,927
1,540
Shanghai
No you don't. At least I don't remember needing to when I bought my Macbook Pro. Just bought my 2017 15 inch Macbook Pro with education pricing and didn't need to use my school's email to get the discount. That being said I have verified with Unidays for the Apple music discount so that may be why?
If you're verified with Unidays that's all you need, you don't need to do it each and every time you purchase something from Apple. When you click on the education store it just checks and that's it.
[doublepost=1503277471][/doublepost]
In the past, they've needed an educational email address... but I do recall my brother just saying that he was a student in the store and they gave it to him so that may be all you need... Would your sister be able to get by with a maxed out 12" MB? I guess the only thing that gives me pause is that I'm not sure how it'd handle Photoshop, but apart from that you can configure 16 GB and a decent SSD I think as well
It'd handle light PS pretty easily, PS isn't a particularly intensive application. However if you're working on large files, dozens of layers, or using a lot of filters then it can slow it down (It'd still handle it, just take a little longer).
 

Closingracer

macrumors 68040
Jul 13, 2010
3,987
1,569
If you're verified with Unidays that's all you need, you don't need to do it each and every time you purchase something from Apple. When you click on the education store it just checks and that's it.
[doublepost=1503277471][/doublepost]

It'd handle light PS pretty easily, PS isn't a particularly intensive application. However if you're working on large files, dozens of layers, or using a lot of filters then it can slow it down (It'd still handle it, just take a little longer).

Ah that is why I didn't have to verify when I bought my MacBook Pro. I felt weird that they didn't when I bought my MacBook Pro.
 

Similar threads

  • Leet Apple
13
Replies
13
Views
687
  • kreasonos
4
Replies
4
Views
649
Replies
4
Views
549
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.