Help me spec my mbp

haagz

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 14, 2010
8
2
Help!
I’m buying a new MacBook Pro. I’m planning on spending around 3000 USD but I’m a bit torn between the specs.

I’ll mainly be using it for photo and video editing on a hobby basis.

Any tips on what to prioritize? RAM or processor?

I’m currently leaning towards the high-end MBP 15 inch because if you upgrade the low ends graphics card and the storage space, it’s just a 100 dollar difference for a much better processor. So I’m guessing it comes down to 16 or 32 gb RAM. Do I need 32 gb or will I be fine with 16?

Or should I just spend the same amount of money on an iMac?
 

mragarg

macrumors member
Dec 10, 2013
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Atlanta, GA
It depends with what you want to do with the computer but I was thinking about getting 32GB aid RAM but now I think it’ll be overkill. My plan is to get the higher end base model and in a few years see what the market looks for the 16”
 
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haagz

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 14, 2010
8
2
It depends with what you want to do with the computer but I was thinking about getting 32GB aid RAM but now I think it’ll be overkill. My plan is to get the higher end base model and in a few years see what the market looks for the 16”
I’m mainly doing photo and video editing. I tend to use my phone or iPad for general surfing. So far I’ve never owned a computer that can handle 4K video editing, but I’m looking forward to being able to do that. But is 16 gb of RAM enough?
 

maflynn

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May 3, 2009
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I’ll mainly be using it for photo and video editing on a hobby basis.
The base model MBP is more then enough computer to handle those tasks. You also don't need 32gb of ram that's overkill

As for the MBP vs iMac. If you don't need portability then you get more bang for your buck with the iMac
 
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morze

macrumors newbie
Jun 17, 2019
26
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The base model MBP is more then enough computer to handle those tasks. You also don't need 32gb of ram that's overkill

As for the MBP vs iMac. If you don't need portability then you get more bang for your buck with the iMac
32gb of RAM id not overkill for video editing. I use Avid MC and 16gb is the minimum, but 32gb (or more) is recommended. Each update requires a bit more computing power. I'm glad I opted for 16gb at the time I purchased my MBP, otherwise I would've had to upgrade earlier and that's while using a low quality Avid codec. Depends on how long you want to wait prior to upgrading again. Some opt to upgrade and sell their old MBP more frequently, I prefer to stay on the same system for as long as I can.
 
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Stephen.R

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Nov 2, 2018
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As said above, if the portability is not likely to be a big thing (i.e. if you expect to use it on a desk all the time anyway) an iMac would be a better buy, just make sure you upgrade to pure SSD storage.


If you do want the portability, I think it comes down to the usable life you expect. I don't know how much memory the apps you use will consume, but I'd generally assume video and photo editing [/can/] become quite memory hungry with large files, and over time I think a lack of memory is more likely to give the impression of slowness than CPU/GPU.

Also keep in mind: out of CPU, GPU, Memory and Storage - Storage is the only one you can upgrade after purchase and have much expectation of remaining portable. I wouldn't specifically skimp on internal SSD if you can afford to upgrade it too, but I'd definitely prioritise memory, and then probably CPU/GPU. The 256GB the base 15" comes should be more than enough for OS/Apps/Home folder (unless you have a crazy amount of Mail/iCloud Drive data and don't want to use "optimise storage" mode), and what Apple charge to double the SSD to 512GB, e.g. OWC will sell you an extra 512GB. For ~$100 less than what Apple charge to upgrade to 1TB, OWC will sell you an extra 2TB. (https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/owc-envoy-pro-ex-thunderbolt-3). As you mention it's a hobby, you could definitely get away with something cheaper (and slower) than those drives too - there are plenty of USB3.x based SSDs that are plenty fast for workloads that are not time/speed critical.

I would have thought that a modern i7 is more than enough for a hobby/prosumer video/photo editor, but it seems if you want/need Vega graphics that's only an option on the i9 model anyway.
 
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maflynn

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32gb of RAM id not overkill for video editing.
Perhaps but the OP stated he's doing it on a hobby basis.

Definitely the 32GB RAM option. It's more future proof.
That's a marketing term pure and simple, there's nothing coming down the road that would require 32GB of ram for most people. That is, if you need 16GB of ram today and not much as changed with your computing habits then 16GB is all you will need 5 years from now.
 
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Stephen.R

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That's a marketing term pure and simple
It's really not.

there's nothing coming down the road that would require 32GB of ram for most people.
I'm pretty sure as a hobby OP doesn't require anything. But lots of things can benefit from more memory.

FCPX says 8GB is recommended for 4K video. Avid MC "First" (the free version aimed at hobbyists) says 16GB is recommended and 32GB is recommended when working with UHD.

I have no clue what content the OP intends to edit, but that is literally something that is a thing today that might need more than 16GB.

Heck, if OP wants to run Chrome or an Electron app today s/he's probably pushing the limits at 16GB :rolleyes:
 
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haagz

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 14, 2010
8
2
Thanks for all the replies! I think I’ll opt for 32 gb RAM oh the high end 15”. I am an avid photoshopper and sometimes use the .PSB format with lots of layers. I originally wanted the iMac and had been waiting for an upgrade for ages, but I don’t spend much time at home, and when I do, I don’t want to sit on a desk. However, the 5K monitor is very tempting and I’m slightly scared about going back to using a small monitor since I have some nice big monitors at work.

Regarding future proofing: it’s probably not that long until 5K is the new norm, and given that my previous Mac is a mid 2010, it’s probably smart of me to future proof.

Regarding apps: I am mainly using the adobe package. I understand that Final Cut Pro is much better on Mac than premiere pro, so I’ll probably get that as well. I also use chrome, and I rarely close my tabs.

Regarding gender: I am a she :)