Help me decide whether I should buy a MacBook Pro.

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by LMR80, Oct 14, 2018.

  1. LMR80 macrumors member

    Jul 1, 2016
    I've never owned a laptop in my life. My first Mac was a PowerMac G5, which I later upgraded to the machine I use now which is a 2009 Mac Pro, that I upgraded the firmware on to 5.1, added 16gb of RAM to it and also swapped the processor out for a six core. So I essentially have the 2012 six core model.

    It still performs well. My reason for buying it was for use with Logic Pro X for composing film music. For those that don't know, orchestral sampling is very hardware resource heavy. Some of the packs I use take up 3gb of RAM just to play back a passage in real time. Then add Violas, Cellos, Bases etc and you can see how it eats up a systems specs. I can currently get about 6 or 7 instances of Kontact (the sampler) running one of these sample packs each before the computer starts to choke a bit. I then remedy this by converting the tracks to audio so they're not using the sampler in real time.

    Recently, though, I've been toying with the idea of getting new laptop. I'm at university now, so a laptop would understandably come in handy for my degree (unrelated to music or requiring any kind of heavy hardware, but still) and it would be great to be able to write my music using logic and do my uni work on the go.
    Also, My Mac has now double up as my computer for everything else because I don't have another one. What was solely for music and clutter-less has now become a lot slower because of all its other daily uses.
    The laptop wouldn't be to replace my Mac but to supplement it. (unless the laptop's processor is considerably more powerful than my Mac Pro. I'm not up on the latest intel chips and how they compare)

    I'm looking for some advice as to a.) whether I should actually get a laptop and b.) what model MacBook I should go with.
    To address the former; a windows laptop is out of the question because I can't run Logic, so if I'm to get one, I'm going to have to go with nothing less than a MacBook Pro.
    I've never made a purchase this large, however. My Mac Pro was only £500; the upgrades later only costing me about £300 extra. Here we're talking over 1k even for the base model.
    I'm very concerned about spending all this money (Because presumably for my needs I'd need get one better than the base model) and then in a couple years or so the system become quite outdated.

    Following on from this, I understand that you can't upgrade any of the systems components (unless its possible to solder a new stick? Presumably not). So to "future-proof" to any measurable extent I'd have to buy the absolute top of the line model for RAM at least, as there's no way I'd be able to fork out another 2k for a new machine in a couple of years.
    I must admit, I'm out of touch with how fast these machines date, having not tried to keep up with the latest computers for years. So maybe soldered components aren't too horrific if the system holds up years to come?

    I know there are a lot of questions here and I'm pretty out of my depth. I know a Mac Book Pro would benefit me, it's just whether spending all that money will be worth it. I guess I can only answer that fully after I've bought one, but hopefully you guys can help me out with some of the things I'm unclear on. I know a re-fresh is apparently scheduled for 2019 as well, so I don't know whether to wait until then or not.

    I've got student discount, so prices start at £1124 for the 13" duel core model. I have no idea about how any of these will compare to my 2012 Mac Pro. I haven't decided on budget yet.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated - Thanks!
  2. Howard2k macrumors 68020


    Mar 10, 2016
    If you’re working with large audio files then storage is another issue to consider too. That 2TB upgrade is crazy expensive and you should consider storage and backup strategies too.

    Large internal storage? External drives? NAS?

    Sounds like the 13” is a good fit. I’d avoid the non-Touchbar version right now since there is likely a new 13” coming soon. The current quad core is a fresh update and I’d certainly consider it.
  3. LMR80 thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 1, 2016
    Yeah, storage is certainly an important issue. A sample pack can be 60+gb, which is no problem for my mechanical drives in my Mac Pro but certainly an issue with this. If I have to start using big external drives then that kind of makes the form factor a little pointless. If I have to lug around a load of external storage the convenience of having a laptop seems less appealing. Even 512GB on the top spec 13" isn't exactly huge considering the files I'm working with. Maybe USB memory sticks would be a good bet.

    How do you think the current quad core 13" CPU would stack up against my Six core W3680 chip in my Mac Pro?

    Thanks for the reply
  4. buran-energia macrumors regular

    Oct 9, 2017
    Stay away from the 2016+ models without the touch bar for now. Not only they have dual cores, their cpus and gpus are weaker AND the cooling solution inferior (1 fan vs 2), meaning your machine will be warmer and noisier under load (especially with 4k monitor).
  5. Howard2k macrumors 68020


    Mar 10, 2016
    And slower wifi, so if you were to take the NAS option you’re taking a further hit on access speeds too.
  6. givemeanapple macrumors Demi-God


    Oct 2, 2016
    I don't know if I recommend a laptop especially a MacBook Pro for orchestral audio composing. If you're using a lot of Samplers and VST's even with a high buffer size it's going to take your whole CPU cores with a few instances only including getting HOT.
    Captura de ecrã 2018-10-14, às 17.28.08.jpg

    MacBook Pro 2018 i7 2.6ghz, 1024 Samples (213 ms) of buffer size, 59 Tracks in total 17 Plugins. Looks pretty high for a project which in my iMac i7 barely goes high in the cores. Get an iMac instead, laptop CPU's will never reach the full desktop CPU power.
  7. Pangalactic macrumors 6502


    Nov 28, 2016
    Future proofing is an absolutely ridiculous idea, trust me. I've tried doing that with top-of-the-line PC with a gtx 980. Guess what, next year a gtx 1080 comes out which absolutely destroys it. Same goes for laptops.

    Anyway, back to the laptops: don't buy the top of the line model, buy the best performance for the money. 32GB instead of 16GB is a lot more expensive but doesn't really do that much, for example. Same goes for SSD.

    13'' dual core - nope, it's a complete ripoff.
    13'' quad core (base model with 16GB RAM) - probably the best out of the line. If you need a better GPU you can just buy an eGPU later on - but for the most part Logic is not such a heavy app and the baseline MBP runs it just fine. The touchbar...well, let's just say you'll have to get used to it.
    15'' base model - another option, decent GPU and CPU and a bigger screen. Quite a bit more expensive though, I don't think it's worth it if money is important.
    15'' top of the line model - nope, again a complete ripoff, Apple charges insane prices for every minor upgrade.

    Regarding the reliability of the whole current lineup - well, it's meh. Tons of problems out of nowhere, so make sure to buy AppleCare so that you wouldn't have to cough up $400 when a key gets stuck.

    Regarding the 2019 update - first, it will probably happen June/July 2019 the earliest, so almost a year of waiting. Second, we have no idea what insanity will creep into Timmy's head this time to make it thinner.

    Overall - get the base 13"" MBP with AppleCare and 16GB RAM
  8. iPhonagain macrumors member


    Dec 28, 2009
    I’d go with the 13”, 16GB, 512SSD and get an external drive for your files. External drives are pretty affordable these days and plenty fast as long as their SSD.
  9. Ngamtns706 macrumors regular

    Sep 21, 2015
    Not to thread jack, but I just ordered a 13 with 16gb I7 512. Is there something wrong with the i7? My first MacBook. Says 18-22 delivery With rush. Ordered it Friday still in “order in progress”.
  10. baypharm macrumors 68000


    Nov 15, 2007
    I have to agree with you. For the heck of it, I decided to build to order a maxed out 2018 with the i9 processor. Apple accepts trade-ins up to $1000 in value. So I put in my serial number and guess what? They said it had no value to them at all. It's a 2016 15" maxed out with 2TB SSD. I purchased it new. So you hit the nail on the head - these laptops are expendable left and right and there is no future proofing in any sense.
  11. Hater macrumors 6502a


    Sep 20, 2017
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    I wouldn't go anywhere near a laptop for this kind of work. Your "2012" machine will most likely outperform a brand new laptop for that kind of workload, and if not at the moment, with a newer GPU and a RAM bump it most certainly will.
  12. simonsi macrumors 601


    Jan 3, 2014
    The aim of future-proofing is to be able to run your current workload for longer into the future without needing (note not wanting) to upgrade, that is perfectly possible. Of course faster hardware will come out in the interim but to expect your hardware to remain the biggest/fastest available is obviously not possible, whether it is big/fast enough is the criteria.
  13. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009

    Have you taken a really careful look at the 27" iMac...?
  14. jaduff46 macrumors 6502


    Mar 3, 2010
    Second star on the right....
    That would be the perfect machine for the use case. l think portability would be the issue given school vacations, etc. So get through school with an MBP and figure out the next step once you’re out and settled somewhere, by which time technology will have gotten better and cheaper.

    Just a thought.
  15. Pangalactic macrumors 6502


    Nov 28, 2016
    It still doesn't make sense. In this case, you can use Logic on a 2016 MBP just as well as on a 2018 MBP. And they will last approximately for the same amount of time. And there's no future proofing with either.

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