I'm a professional and i'm using seriously outdated tech! Tme to upgrade?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by clarkjamesdigit, Jul 16, 2012.

  1. clarkjamesdigit macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2012
    Hi, I'm currently running a super old macbook pro 2.4ghz core2duo, 4gb, 3,1 2007 pre unibody I think, running leopard

    I am a professional photographer, freelance, not salaried which means I have zero cash for upgrades- damm you rich people who have the latest laptop just to read facebook in starbucks!

    I'm using photoshop cs5 and lightroom every single day, my computer runs hot, all day- I do some video work (final cut), some 3d work (cinema 4d), some audio production (ableton live) and lots of graphics work in indesign and regularly use other resource intensive software, when i'm not using the machine it's still in use as a server/media streaming/downloading
    I have seen the core temp rise to 95 degrees C before when I was rendering animations for 24 hours straight...

    so i'm getting on ok with my computer still, but I had my first real busy patch the other week and it was clear my computer was starting to slow down my workflow dramatically, and rendering a seriously huge panorama that ended up being 9gb as a 16bit TIFF pretty much killed my computer, so I think it's time to look for a replacement

    I also have a pretty well specced PC (for the time- core 2 duo 2.4ghz clocked at 3.6) which never sees action anymore as I just don't use windows and have none of my software for it, I had hacked it to run leopard but had so many kernal panics it just wasn't worth the bother, I might have another go and build a beastly rig, maybe even try windows again- or may sell it to fund purchase, easily got enough collateral to raise about £1500

    on my laptop the optical drive doesn't work, battery lasts 10 minutes (600 cycles), the logic board failed once and was replaced, the casing is pretty trashed (although considering the age and usage it's remarkably clean) and it was dog slow until I put in a 500gb 7200rpm momentus XT and ran it with 100gb free space. I think there's a lot of clutter in my system (my system is like 6 years old) because it runs considerably faster when I made a new user account- would re-installing leopard speed things up? or upgrading to snow leopard?

    I have an esata express card adaptor I run with a spare drive as my photoshop scratch disk and final cut/cinema 4d render file dump
    I maxed out the ram to 4gb, but still have monster page outs so 8, or even 16gb would be a massive help, benchmarking in geekbench comes in at around 3200

    In terms of upgrading this machine: a new battery would be nice, upgrading to snow leaopard for 64bit, SSD, and I did hear that OWC make 4gb modules for this model, but you can only access 6gb if you use 2 (and with it being niche parts it's very expensive)
    not sure if all that's worth the money though

    after looking at prices, I think the rMBP really is a great buy, only £400 more than the MBP, and with twice the ram, twice the GPU ram and SSD, a great buy. Wish I could get a base spec retina and max it out down the line, can't really stretch to the 16gb, large ssd model. When i'm not on the road I use an external montitor (hazro- exceptional color accuracy, full coverage of aRGB color space, but only 1920x1200 in a 26" panel so quite low res)

    because I use an external display I would be happy with a 13" MBP, and it would be handy for portability, but even though i'm sure it's a huge boost over my current model, I feel I should go quad core, especially as i'm likely only going to get busier (hopefully)
    I would be interested to read the benchmarks between the 2.9ghz 13" and the 2.3" quad core 15" (for photoshop, final cut, and other pro software- I don't care about games, I have a ps3 for that)

    I could be interested in an imac, but the screens are only sRGB, which could be a problem- I'd probably keep my current display to use for printing proofs
    i'm interested to know how the 2.7ghz i5 compares to the 15" macbook pro's
    If I got an imac i'd likely keep my current laptop, as I really need a computer for use on the road, and I like to shoot tethered to my laptop so clients can see what i'm shooting

    my student card hasn't expired yet so I could still get student discount, and i'm happy to buy refurb, or 2nd hand- so I have approx 1.5k to spend, where do you think it should go (Although I could put in a few 100 more if the difference was really apparant, or to go retina :D)
    basically I just want the highest performance for a sensible price
  2. mexico macrumors member

    Aug 6, 2011
    I was in your shoes exactly two months ago. My machine was almost Identical (late 2007 2.33 Ghz Macbook Pro) I was recently hired by a university which allows me to afford the new Retina Book. It is seriously amazing for work. because of the SSD it actually runs CS5 better than my Mac Pro at work. The biggest downside is that these apps are not updated to take advantage of the new resolution. So stuff looks blurry unless you use scaling. But it is one powerful machine.

    The very cheapest option for you would be to add an SSD to your current MAcbook. The main problem with those old machines though is that there logic boards only accept 3 Gb's of Ram. So even with a slick drive in there, your not gonna go full blast with this stuff. If you don't mind being tethered to a desk I would suggest taking a stab at building a hackintosh. This website http://nofilmschool.com/build-a-hackintosh/ is a great resource and gives a great step by step for that purpose.

    But if you can swing it, I highly highly recommend the Retina Book.
  3. surjavarman macrumors 6502a

    Nov 24, 2007
    Wow people are still using computers from 2007?

    Props to you guys. I wish I could do that. I would save a lot of money if I didn't upgrade my gear every 1 or 2 years
  4. Marilynfan macrumors member


    Jun 19, 2007
    Glad I wasn't the only one still making due with my late 2007 2.4 Ghz Macbook Pro running Leopard. Like the OP my optical drive was toast and it hadn't held a charge in a long time. I imagine I'd still be using it if it didn't die back in March. I just couldn't justify spending any additional money on it as it is so outdated now.

    So I took the plunge with a Retina and wow it is a whole different world. I'm still trying to get used to the trackpad :) Anyway, I have no complaints except I find the screen too glossy compared to my old anti-glare screen.

    I plan to keep this one until it dies as well. I can't justify buying a new computer every couple of years.

    So I would say if you can swing the retina go for it. It is the best value right now as a non-retina MBP configured the same is going to cost you more.

    BTW, can you guys believe what we paid for these 2007 machines at the time??? I came across my receipt the other day and let's just say it was considerably more than a base retina.
  5. heyimandy macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2012
    Toronto, ON
    I was in the same boat a month ago. Had pretty much the exact same machine and finished my final project on it before purchasing the Macbook Pro Retina. It was just time for me to upgrade to speed up workflow and adapt to new and better technology. Not going to lie my last project I did was a music video I directed and edited in HD to air for broadcast on a music station here in Canada.
  6. ericrwalker macrumors 68030


    Oct 8, 2008
    Albany, NY
    I wish I could update more often, my wife and I have 2 laptops. Both dells (xps m1220 bought in 2007 and xps m1330 bought in 2008). I have been drooling over MBP's for a while.

    I personally want the rMBP, mainly for the form factor. Though the screen is awesome too.

    I say if you have the money, it's time to upgrade.
  7. Urban Spaceman macrumors member

    Jul 16, 2012
    This use of the term "professional" as a job-title in itself is very strange. It sounds like you're claiming to be a prostitute. Makes me wonder what type of "outdated tech" you're using :eek:

    Re-installation (or upgrade to SL) is deferentially worth a shot, and an SSD would undoubtedly provide a small speed bump, but due to the age of your MBP you will not benefit from the full speed of the SSD.

    If the Geekbench scores are to be believed, the 2.6GHz quad-core 15" is about 50% faster than the 2.9Ghz 13".

    Your best bet would be to sell your redundant PC (and also your old MBP) to fund a new MBP. If you wish to be extra frugal (or spread the cost over a greater time), go for the cMBP (HiRes by preference) rather than the rMBP and upgrade the RAM and the HDD (to SDD) in a year or so when prices have fallen further.
  8. ctyhntr macrumors 6502


    Jul 21, 2010
    I believe the 13" has 2 processors, whereas the 15" has 4 (quad-core).

  9. Rajpdx macrumors regular

    Jun 16, 2012
    Is that "props to you poor people I don't know how you manage to cope with so little?"

    Very classy.
  10. InuNacho macrumors 65816


    Apr 24, 2008
    In that one place
    Unless you wanna shell out an additional $200 for a Thunderbolt to eSata adaptor you might want to just grab a refurb 17 inch.
  11. Rajpdx macrumors regular

    Jun 16, 2012
    I'm using the Retina machine for Gigapixel panos off a Hasselblad. It's very very good indeed. The resolution means I can really zoom into details and manipulate the whole image. Rendering is pretty fast too. It's a really excellent machine and I think you could use it for photography on its own.

    Alternatively, a properly specd mac pro - even an older one - will outrun a Macbook Pro - so you should consider your workflow carefully before committing to a notebook.

    As your machine is getting long in the tooth, you might see what sort of trade-in you can get for it - Best Buy used to have a pretty good trade-in system and will match Apple student prices.

    Alternatively, a refurb 2011 or even one second hand will be a decent step from what you have, especially if you consider replacing the HDD with an SSD or running with an SSD and HDD in place of the optical.

    If you come up with a max budget could perhaps advise better.

    PS - Snow Leopard definitely much faster than Leopard.
  12. Urban Spaceman macrumors member

    Jul 16, 2012
    <sarcasm>Really? I had completely missed that</sarcasm>
    You are aware that not all software is highly-parralel in nature? And therefore a doubling of cores does not translate into a real-world doubling of performance?
  13. Slivortal macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2012
    Of course he does, or he would've said that there was at least an 80% increase (2.6/2.9*4/2=1.8) as opposed to a 50% one. :D

    And the OP said he needed to use photo-editing software like Photoshop CS5 and Lightroom, Final Cut/Cinema 4D, which I'm pretty sure are at least somewhat optimized for multi-threading or would be unreasonably slow to use. So, I'm not really sure how parallelism is an argument in this thread...

    As for OP, while an MBPR may be faster and/or more efficient, it will probably not make your MBP cooler. MBPs in generally use their chassies as natural heat sinks.
  14. Urban Spaceman macrumors member

    Jul 16, 2012
    GB score for 2.9GHz 13" MBP: 7846
    GB score for 2.6GHz 15" cMBP: 11885
    (11885-7846)/7846 = 0.515
    That there is ~50%. A much more realistic figure for everyday use (including CS5) than 80%.
  15. Slivortal macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2012
    It IS a more realistic figure. That was my point. If he truly thought that X cores increased power in a X/Y% manner to Y cores, he would've said 80%, because that's the correct math.

    However, thanks to parallelism, it IS 50%, like he said in his post. So he obviously knew the non-optimal effects of multiple core parallelism.

    EDIT: Oh, you said that, not him. I didn't see the text was a quote-within-a-quote. Nevermind.
  16. themumu macrumors 6502a


    Feb 13, 2011
    I'm on an early 2008 MBP and if I was earning my living using that computer, I would have upgraded years ago. Do you charge your clients per hour or per project? The less time you have to wait for your computer to process and render and what not, the more time you can spend on other aspects of your work, finding clients, and just plain old enjoying your life with friends and family. Put your old laptop on eBay or Craigslist to offset the cost a little bit (wipe the HDD first!) and don't look back.

    As for which one to pick - I think retina is a very good choice for photography. Go to a local store that carries both retina and classic armed with a USB stick with some of your work and see how you like the difference.
  17. children macrumors regular

    Dec 22, 2008
    you're losing money still using that computer..
  18. stevelam macrumors 65816

    Nov 4, 2010
    Sorry but if it's your livelihood using photoshop and you're on the go a lot, getting the RMBP sounds like a horrible idea until adobe updates for retina display which isn't going to happen for at least 6 months if we're lucky.
  19. terrymaz macrumors regular

    Aug 3, 2010
    SF Bay Area and Chicago Area
    I believe in updating your apple hardware. Compared to the PC world, you get a decent resale value for it.
  20. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    the wife and I are photographers. We are ordering two maxed out rMBPs. The SSD space means no more carrying about a stack of USB drives in the field. YEA!!! The 756GB SSD means having space for at least a 2 week shoot. YEA!!! They will cost a small fortune!!!! boooo

    When we come home, the files got into LR with the library being on a RAID 1 stack. We will not keep data on the rMBPs other than calendars, email, bookmarks. Time Machine backs up the entire system.
  21. Aodhan macrumors regular

    Jun 16, 2012
    I almost always recommend the non-Retina MacBook Pro over the Retina, because of its repairability/upgradeability, but there are some people for whom the Retina is the perfect tool. Among those people, I would count photographers. The Retina screen is just so amazing for photography. Yes, there is a lot of software out there that hasn't yet been updated, but that is coming. And this is going to be a long term investment for you, I mean you're still using a 2007 computer. So you have to consider the long game here. The Retina may be the right computer for you.
  22. Rajpdx macrumors regular

    Jun 16, 2012
    I've been using Photoshop 5 on 50 megapixel single images and gigapixel panoramas on the retina MBP.

    I've found it to be fantastic - especially for zooming in and moving around the image, and the image quality has been superb. The menus etc are a bit fuzzy but they don't get in the way of the workflow.

    So from my experience at least, I would happily recommend the machine for heavy Photoshop work.
  23. Soccer5se macrumors member


    Oct 21, 2011
    South Korea
    Hey, I'm still using my White Macbook from 2006. I bought it for grad school and now I've finally ordered a new one (rMBP) for my PhD.

    It took a lot of saving and pleading to the wife to swing a new macbook.

  24. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    You're off on your ram figures. I think the late 2008s went to 8. The early ones were 4 or 6, but yeah ssd helps as it quickens scratch disk work.

    Years ago is a little excessive considering post 2008, the first reasonable upgrade was 2010, and 2011 was a better one. In 2008 I would have suggested a mac pro was the only viable option for such a workload. Last year would have been a good time for the OP to upgrade. If he can't afford a 2012, the refurbished 2011 15" models may be good options if you can save enough.

    You'll still require backups in the field. These drives have the potential to fail just like any other. SSDs don't have the issue of mechanical wear when powered on. They do have limited write cycles. It pretty much trades one set of issues for another. I hope you back up that Raid. You probably do, but I mention it because not everyone seems to realize that a Raid, including a Raid 1, is not a backup.
  25. SR71 macrumors 68000

    Jan 12, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Buy a 15" MacBook Pro, baseline, and upgrade it yourself to maximize savings. It's a quad core and you can put in up to 16GB of RAM and a 512GB (or two 512GB) SSD's and you'll have a ridiculously fast Mac.

    I'll even add up all the prices for you:

    15" MBP Baseline: $1799
    16GB RAM (Crucial.com): $175
    512GB SSD (Crucial brand): $399 (was $350 a few weeks ago, and is estimated to be dropped down to $300 at the end of the summer).

    Total for 15" MBP with those upgrades: $2373

    That's a bit more than a rMBP, but it has the upgrades that are similar to the maxed out version, while being significantly cheaper than a maxed out rMBP.

    If I were you, I'd go with that setup. That would be a killer setup.

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