How much improvement would a new MacBook Pro give me?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by MacMandy, Feb 14, 2015.

  1. MacMandy macrumors 6502


    Nov 13, 2006
    Manchester, UK
    I currently have a late 2011 21.5" iMac base model 2.5Ghz i5 that I've increased the RAM to 8GB. I am passing it on to my 13 year old son and want to get a new MacBook Pro (15" most likely) and a 24" external monitor. I do a small amount of video editing, quite a lot of iPhoto and I use Handbrake to encode videos, probably several each week. I've tried to look at benchmarks of my current iMac comparing it to the new MacBook pros, but I can't seem to decipher it for my usage. I'd like the most bang for my buck and I'd consider a 13" if the much lower price didn't cost too much in performance.

    This machine is to last me about 3 years, and then will be passed on to my son again (lucky boy!). I'd really appreciate any advice and help anyone can pass on. I also have an iPhone 6+ and an iPad Air 2, but I really need a replacement for my iMac (perhaps a new iMac?) to be the main computer of the house.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Asher133 macrumors member

    Feb 9, 2015
    I wouldn't even consider getting a 13" MacBook pro coming from a desk top I would say you would need the MacBook pro 15" if you we're looking for a desktop replacement and yes you will see a major performance change its well worth the upgrade aslong as you get the top of the line 15" model
  3. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Well the 13 inch will probably match the iMac, until you want to use 4k video, although it will feel really fast due to ssd it is only dual core. I would say for you that the 15 inch is probably the one for you of the laptops. But if you don't need any portability a new iMac will always be a bit better with its desktop class processors, although the 15 inch does run it close, and better gpu's.
  4. MacMandy thread starter macrumors 6502


    Nov 13, 2006
    Manchester, UK
    Thanks for your responses. I'll not be taking it out of the house much, only when going on holiday, but I'd like to move around the house which I can't do with the iMac, hence the idea of an external monitor where my current iMac is. I can see that even though my current i5 processor (Sandy Bridge?) is 4 years old now, it's still quad core, and I may be better with the i7 of the 15" MacBook Pro.

    So, I feel like I'm almost there, and just need to choose which 15" model and a decent 24" monitor. I think 512gb ssd storage would be useful, but I'm not sure the discrete graphics is necessary for me, so maybe coping with 256gb and saving money with the base 15" would be best.

    Any more thoughts anyone?
  5. ixxx69 macrumors 65816

    Jul 31, 2009
    United States
    After using the retina 15" MBP screen, many users are not satisfied with a "low-res" external display... the retina screen spoils them (I've seen this happen first hand a couple of times now). You might look into the option of using a 4K display, such as the new 24" Dell P2415Q, or at least hold off on purchasing an external display until you're sure what you want.

    We'll assume you have a large external HDD for storing photos/videos/music. 256GB won't be enough for a decent sized collection of media.

    HandBrake will use as much CPU as you can throw at it, but you have to decide whether it's worth it to spend a lot of money to cut down on encode times a little bit. Same with apps like iMovie.

    Enjoy the new computer!
  6. Woochoo macrumors 6502

    Oct 12, 2014
    Your iMac, if I'm not wrong, scores 8718 points in Geekbench, actual 15" MBP's (2013-2014) score from 13000 points to almost 15000 points (depending of the year and basic or high-end), so in terms of raw power you'd see a huge increase. BUT, benchmakrs results doesn't usually translate to user usage (even being a profesional one). Anyway, in terms of your daily usage I bet you'd see a better improvement due to CPU+SSD PCIe memories (vs your HDD) if you use your main drive, or you could also buy an external SSD in a USB 3.0 case, to keep your photos and work with them ("normal" SSD's are not really expensive nowadays) instead of a HDD. Just my 2 cents.
  7. MacMandy thread starter macrumors 6502


    Nov 13, 2006
    Manchester, UK
    At the moment, I'm trying out my husbands laptop as its bang in the middle of the 13" and 15" macbook pros in size and weight. Its 1.7kg, 14" screen, and I like the size. Just getting used to using something similar around the house is a good idea, as you can't really get a good feel at the Apple Store.

    I understand what you mean about the lower resolution external monitor. Thankfully, my son has a 24" monitor, so I could try it to see how it is. There's no rush. It was only if I felt going down from a 21.5" screen was a problem, and that's far more likely with a 13" macbook pro which looks unlikely now due to the processor and ram.

    One thing I've noticed is that using a laptop, the screen is generally closer to my eyes than when I use the imac, and the 14" feels ok.

    I seem to have been on my ipad air far more than my imac because of the freedom of surfing and emailing anywhere.

    I just have to wait for the updates to the macbook pros now which I understand could be anytime between April and July, probably just a processor update to Broadwell chips.

    I'll keep you updated with my decision and if anyone has anything to add, it would be most welcome.

    Thanks :)
  8. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    FYI, benchmarks such as Geekbench artificially test raw computing power with a few different algorithms. Basically, they try a few different math functions, and measure the time it takes for the computer to finish. The faster it finishes, the more powerful the machine is.

    While it does give a general idea of raw computing power, those numbers don't necessarily translate to real life performance. CPU power is just one part of the equation.

    For things such as your photo editing, a faster processor will make applying effect, layers and whatnot much faster. In handbrake, which is programmed to use every processor core to the max, the more powerful processor will make ripping or converting video a lot faster (and the difference will be on the same order of magnitude as the difference you'd see in benchmarks).

    Hope that helped you.
  9. duervo macrumors 68020


    Feb 5, 2011
    I will second that (or third, or whatever ... I haven't read every reply yet) ... The extra cores in the 15" will come in very handy for your Handbrake work.

    I would go with the 512GB. Mainly because I have enough clutter around my desk as it is. I'd like to put off adding more to that for as long as possible and just get the 512GB option (or even 1TB, but that wasn't an option you gave). Keeps the need to clutter my desk with an external drive away for that much longer.
  10. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    Considering that you use Handbrake, I'm going to suggest a high-end 15" rMBP (2.5/16/512/750M). The quad core i7 will greatly speed it up and is twice as powerful as the quad core i5 in your Sandy Bridge iMac.

    Whether or not you need 2.8GHz, that's your call, but personally, I wouldn't bother with that upgrade.

    The 750M can come in useful for CUDA-accelerated software.

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9 February 14, 2015