How Productive is the Macbook?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by where is it, Apr 27, 2016.

  1. where is it macrumors 6502

    where is it

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    Jun 19, 2012
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    England
    #1
    How productive are you on the Macbook in general?

    Forget about specs. How much work do you get done on the Macbook without thinking to yourself "I should be doing this on something else".

    Also, over a prolonged amount of time, do you cramp up from hunching or have any neck ache at all from craning over the screen?

    And finally, do you suffer from eye strain or headaches from the smaller screen?
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #2
    Whenever I have to do research with multiple tabs and windows open, I feel a bit cramped when using my MacBook, but then again I have two 23" 1080p displays connected to my workstation, so I'm sure I would have that feeling on a 15" MBP as well. But in the end I bought the MacBook for use when not at home and I'm more than happy that I made the choice since I appreciate portability more than screen estate as no laptop can give the experience my workstation does.

    I haven't had the chance to use the MacBook for longer periods of time yet, but my 13" MBA never gave me any neck ache. It's possible for sure, but again it's not really related to the MB but laptops in general if used in an unergonomic way. As for eye strain, OS X has great built-in scaling, so you can set the scaling to your liking and make sure text isn't too small.
     
  3. David58117 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2013
    #3
    I have the 1.2 2015 rMB.

    I bought it to complement my 15" rMBP, and as something I could stick in my backpack (which is already stuffed with supplies I need) and take to work.

    My hobby is audio recording, so as a test I installed Logic Pro X and over 200GB of VSTs.

    To my surprise - I could actually work on Logic Pro X projects on this. Most of my music is < 10 tracks at once (small orchestral, usually), but it actually handles it well. I was also able to play though the Helena Beat demo song logic includes. But if I had lots of processing/effects/many instruments - I would probably switch to my 15".

    I'm a beginning computer science student as well, and have Sublime Text and Xcode installed. I'm not working on anything too complicated yet, but Sublime Text/compiling is very smooth. Xcode can have slight UI lag, but it works.

    I also have Virtual Box running with Windows 10. Parallels handles much, much better (Virtual Box has some UI lag, on BOTH my 15" and 12", its about equal).

    I had a 11" MBA for awhile, - with that I would get eye strain after long periods of time. But not on the 12". The retina screen and aspect ratio are much better. As far as typing strain - I think that depends on how you're sitting, but that's for any keyboard.
     
  4. PsychicRutabaga macrumors member

    PsychicRutabaga

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2015
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #4
    Mine is phenomenal for productivity. Mind you, this is for personal productivity. For work I'm stuck with a Lenovo (yuck).
    For personal use however I use it to manage loads of family things including finances, research, numerous e-mail accounts in two different clients, browsing with an average of seven tabs open, doing things in Word and Excel, personal programming (Python and some Ruby), running OpenSUSE in VirtualBox for additional programming work, and occasional gaming (StarCraft2). Most of the time I'm running almost all of those applications simultaneously across five or six virtual desktops, and three finger sliding across them with the trackpad is as smooth as butter. Performance is beautiful.

    The only time I shut down and minimize what I'm running is when playing StarCraft2. Then I try to leave as much CPU for the game and also stay plugged in to AC power rather than run on battery. That allows me to run with medium graphics settings. But I rarely game on this system, I have consoles for most of my gaming needs.

    Edit: My system is a 2015 rMB 1.2gh system.
     
  5. where is it thread starter macrumors 6502

    where is it

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    England
    #5

    Great to hear about the comparison to the 11" MBA.

    I also have the 11" MBA and that was the main downside.
    It can do everything I want but the screen after a while would give me a headache.
    Which is the primary concern of the MB.

    I've tried the MB in the Apple Store but nothing beats peoples experience.
     
  6. t.portis macrumors member

    t.portis

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    Annapolis, MD
    #6
    I alternate between a 13" rMBP which stays on my desk at work and the rMB. I carry the rMB around with me for presentations and teaching, and then I use it as home as my only computer. No issues in productivity for me and I can't say that I see a difference in performance between the two machines or notice much difference in screen size.

    I have chronic shoulder and neck issues because of carrying around 10 pound laptops in a shoulder bag in the late 90's. I have to be careful with changing positions, occasionally connecting to large screens, regular breaks, etc. This is no matter what laptop I am using.
     
  7. Ovedius macrumors 6502

    Ovedius

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    Aug 2, 2012
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    Norway
    #7
    I realise that this is not exactly on topic and I apologise, I'll try to keep it brief.

    How is the performance in Starcraft 2 on your MacBook?
    You say medium graphics, but what is the screen resolution? Full screen or windowed?
    Is there a difference between single player and multiplayer?
    Bootcamp or OS X?
     
  8. DougFNJ macrumors 6502a

    DougFNJ

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    Jan 22, 2008
    Location:
    NJ
    #8
    Mine replaced my 13" retina MacBook Pro for a 9.7" iPad Pro and the MacBook. Not that the 13" was big and heavy, but I wanted my computing to be as portable as possible, and these 2 devices have been giving me precisely what I wanted.

    I haven't felt my MacBook lacking at all. This is my primary computer. I do not feel any eyestrain at all. The display is beautiful. When I need extra screen space, I connect to my monitor, spreadsheet on the MacBook screen, 2 Word Documents on my monitor. It handles multitasking with no problem. I regularly surf the internet, email, browse through photos, occasional edits, I have Final Cut Pro X on this machine, and for short video edits I do not suffer from any slowdown.

    My work gave me a Lenovo, I asked if it was ok to use my own Macbook which was not a problem. It is lighter, the battery life is great, it handles my everyday tasks with no problem whatsoever. I am just as productive on this MacBook as I am on any computer.

    I also haven't suffered with the 1 port. I keep a USB-c to USB port in my bag, and the multiport to USB-c adapter at home. I use both as I need them. It's a terrific computer.
     
  9. Wowereit macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 1, 2016
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    Germany
    #9
    If you are fine with the single port and small screensize, you should be good to go as long as you don't perform CPU- or GPU-intensive tasks for a longer period of time.
     
  10. mattopotamus macrumors G4

    mattopotamus

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2012
    #10
    I dock when I get to work and use it for training too. Either way works, and I actually prefer using it as a laptop. I have the new magic keyboard, but I still like the even lower profile of the macbook keyboard. Plus the screen on the macbook is amazing.
     
  11. Retops macrumors regular

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    Feb 10, 2008
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    #11
    I just got mine to replace an old Macbook Air that I have used for years for college teaching, consulting, writing, and the usual family stuff. I don't do video or play any games other than free cell, so power is never a problem and there is no lag. I got the M5 512gb 2016 model and love it. The screen makes my old computer screen look washed out.

    I am a heavy user of word processors, spreadsheets, and presentations. Do lots of writing and research, so have multiple tabs, outline program, word processor, devonthink, and evernote all open at once. No problem also playing ITunes while I work. Great little machine.

    Since I work in various places, I just slip the laptop in a slim leather case and I am good to go. I did buy a hub that was recommended here that is just what I need if the single port is not enough.

    I opted to do a clean install this time rather than migrate from the old machine. It went very quickly.
     
  12. Boston007 macrumors 6502

    Boston007

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    Apr 9, 2010
    #12
    Which hub?
     
  13. PsychicRutabaga macrumors member

    PsychicRutabaga

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    Apr 19, 2015
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    Minnesota
    #13
    I play fullscreen with the OS X native version. I'm still working through the single player campaign, so I haven't tried multiplayer yet.
     
  14. Ovedius macrumors 6502

    Ovedius

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    Aug 2, 2012
    Location:
    Norway
    #14
    Thanks!
    So how's the performance?
    Nice and stable, no apparent lag from throttling?
     
  15. ZEVIN, Apr 29, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2016

    ZEVIN macrumors newbie

    ZEVIN

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2016
    Location:
    Boston
    #15
    I got my 2015 base model macbook two weeks ago. In these two weeks I used it to browse websites with 4 or 5 tabs, watch youtube (4K is fine), read pdf files, and write my papers by Latex. I will not say it runs very fast. Actually I am not that sensitive to the speed. But I am sure it works fine.

    I know that I am a light user. I don't edit music or photos or videos, and I don't play games. My experience may not be a good evidence about the productivity of macbook. But I can say if you are also a light user like me, you don't need to worry about getting a macbook.
     
  16. kis macrumors 65816

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    Aug 10, 2007
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #16
    It's definitely not the fastest machine and yes, the screen is on the smaller side. It's made for the go - it's a compromise. Light, silent, great screen, but definitely not a desktop replacement. I can get work done on it, no question, like MS Office stuff, although even in MS Word the underpowered processor can be clearly felt. It's way slower than my SP4, which I use much more often because of that.
     
  17. happyslayer macrumors 6502a

    happyslayer

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    Feb 3, 2008
    Location:
    Glendale, AZ
    #17
    Hmm, I'm a computer consultant and wannabe sic-fi writer and I use mine every day for things like... Word 2016, Excel 2016, Scrivener, MS Remote Desktop Connection App, LogMeIn-Rescue, Safari, Chrome, Mail, Parallels 11 with Windows 10 pro 64bit VM, iTunes for Music and video as well as a couple WiFi testing Apps. I have not noticed any real slow downs as Kis stated and I came from a rMBP 13" before getting my first MacBook 1.2/512 last year and now the m7/256. I have certainly used Surface pro 3's and a couple 4's when setting up customer's devices and I really didn't notice any big difference (besides the annoying aspects of Windows 10 ;) though I only used them for short periods of time when getting them updated and setup.

    I know I'm probably not a power user on this near perfect laptop--I don't do any coding, or video or audio editing or play games on it, nor do I use things like CAD. But it absolutely handles everything I throw at it with ease. Also, I truly freaking LOVE the keyboard. I have written on it for 5 hours straight with no issues. In fact, I can barely stand to type on other keyboards anymore because of it.

    As to back or neck pain, that is pretty much a possibility with any laptop depending on your desk setup and height, the chair you sit in and your posture, how you hold it or type on it. Too many factors, I think, to blame on one specific laptop. It is easier to use in the lap compared to the average Windows based 2-in-1 like the Surface devices but I think that's the case with any laptop that has a solid, connected to the chassis keyboard.
     
  18. Retops macrumors regular

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    Feb 10, 2008
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    Oklahoma
    #18
  19. PsychicRutabaga macrumors member

    PsychicRutabaga

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    Apr 19, 2015
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    Minnesota
    #19
    It's very stable for me, but I don't tend to obsess over frame rate. On a few occasions I've noticed brief hiccups in some of the cutscene animation sequences, but that was mostly when my cat insisted in being on my lap and therefore functioned as a fuzzy laptop stand. He enjoyed the fact that the MacBook was nice and warm at the time, but obviously heat dissipation was less efficient with all that fur, lol. So I clearly experienced some throttling. The game also turned down to a lower graphics setting during that session where the unit character portraits on the bottom of the screen turned to still pictures instead of fully animated characters. Otherwise it starts at medium settings by default, and I use that because I like seeing the animated character portraits. All in all I find StarCraft2 very playable on this system when connected to AC power and good airflow around the case (IE no cat). I've seen laptop cooling pads with fans at MicroCenter for about $20 that would help draw and disperse the heat from the bottom of the MacBook if I really wanted to push it.

    I never notice the MacBook getting very warm with other applications by the way. Just CPU intensive things like games. When running bunches of other apps like MS Office, mail, browsing and even running a VM that use only bursts of CPU activity, it usually never gets more than lukewarm on the bottom. It is very well engineered system. Games certainly do push it beyond that mode, but for the few I play (StarCraft2 and Morrowind under Wine), it does the job just fine.
     
  20. Ovedius macrumors 6502

    Ovedius

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    Aug 2, 2012
    Location:
    Norway
    #20
    The New Retina MacBook, your cat will love it!
    There's your slogan, Apple, get Marketing on it, stat!

    Thanks for the update!
    I find this little machine quite impressive.
    The thing is, I don't expect it to be able to do anything.
    So when it does actually run games or other intensive tasks I get really impressed.
    Lovely little machine.

    Finally a machine that really can benefit from a cooling mat, right?
    Sadly I loathe cooling mats and fan noise, the biggest selling point for me is the fact that the MacBook is absolutely dead silent.
    -I'm kind of sensitive to noise.

    But I guess cooling mats could really help with throttling on the MacBook.

    Another Morrowind fan!
    I...I like you :):oops:


    Might have to get me one of these machines.
    I don't need the power of a quad core, hate fan noise and only play dusty old games from time to time.
    It's going to be hard for me to resist getting a MacBook :confused:

    -I really should stop capitalizing the B in Macbook, it makes typing "Macbook" a total pain in the ass.
     
  21. Mollan macrumors member

    Mollan

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    Jul 29, 2013
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    The Netherlands/Italy
    #21
    I got the m3 last Sunday.

    It works really well, but I'll probably return it to Apple since I think that the next 1 or 2 OS update will definitely kill it.

    It behave really good with multiple heavy Excel files, GraphPad Prism, Parallels with W10, Safari with Multiple tabs, Keynote, PowerPoint and several PDF open.

    The problem is, the CPU in these conditions is always between 40 and 60%, which drains the battery (5 to 6 hours) and makes me worry about future OS updates. In addition, Cloud syncing (through Box Sync) is taking 40% of CPU, so if you are working on the cloud with frequent saving, this won't be pleasant.

    As a comparison, a 15" i7 MBPr Late 2014 in the same conditions (+external monitor) has CPU usage around 4-15%.
     
  22. TigerMSTR macrumors regular

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    Sep 30, 2014
    #22
    Don't doubt on that. OS X hasn't gotten any more taxing on my computer since Snow Leopard. That's a 7 year old operating system.
     
  23. Mollan macrumors member

    Mollan

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    The Netherlands/Italy
    #23
    I found El Capitan worse than Yosemite in terms of resources, especially battery usage. And Yosemite was, in my opinion, a huge step back compared to Mavericks. It was not enough to kill my Mac, but I could feel the performance drop.
     
  24. TigerMSTR macrumors regular

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    Sep 30, 2014
    #24
    What Mac do you use and how much ram?

    I have 2011 MacBook Pro with 8 GB ram, a laptop quite a bit slower than the MacBook, and haven't noticed any slowdown over the years
     
  25. Mollan macrumors member

    Mollan

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    #25
    Now a MBPr 15 Mid 2014, 16 Gb RAM. Earlier it was a MB Late 2008 with 8 Gb and SSD+HDD.
     

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