Looking for an "interim" mac

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by armistice, Jul 9, 2012.

  1. armistice macrumors newbie

    Jul 7, 2012
    Indianapolis, IN
    I apologize if people hate posts like this, but I don't know where else to ask. ANY input would be greatly, greatly appreciated.

    Currently have: early 2008 MBP 2.6ghz/4gb/256gb

    I ordered my Retina (2.6/16/512) on June 20th (still "processing") and I’ve been nervous about it ever since so I’m thinking about getting something to last me a year or so until I'm comfortable (and can justify) buying a rMBP or iMac.

    I’m SUCH an ignorant computer user- the numbers have always confused me. Therefore, I don’t know what’s overkill for my needs. I always feel the limitations of computers, so I've assumed I'm a heavy user, but realistically speaking I’m probably pretty average (see below).

    I bought my current MBP 4.5yrs ago thinking I would start my career. I flopped with photography and I don’t want to throw ANOTHER $3k into a glorified personal computer. I’m in school (mostly graphic design) and realistically won‘t be doing serious pro work for another year or so.

    I’m thinking about buying something cheap (air, base model, refurb, ?) and selling it in a year or so to buy a solid rMBP or iMac, when the kinks have been worked out and I’m not “wasting” an incredible computer for mostly personal use/etc.

    I want to get the cheapest mac I can, while still enjoying my computing experience (my current mbp causes my blood pressure to rise every time I use it!)

    FWIW, external hard drives are my primary storage space for photos/video- I don’t plan on keeping much on the computer itself and my iTunes library will most likely be staying on my 2008 macbook.

    Garageband w/ Pod UX2 (2-15 tracks in a project)

    (using D7000 RAW files + video files)

    Photoshop CS5
    Illustrator CS5
    Lightroom 3

    iMovie: mostly 5min projects based on a lot of different source files (so for every 5 minutes of “final” video, there’s probably 15-45min of source)

    average web-browsing & netflix/spotify

    NO gaming at all.


    SPECIFIC problems I currently encounter:

    -iMovie takes 30-45min to import (slightly less to export) 5 minute videos...I’m SICK of that. Garageband is quite slow to save as well.

    -Photoshop is clunky right now, sometimes needing 45sec-a minute to make a selection on a d7000 RAW file. CS5 is frustrating, but it’s difficult to pinpoint issues- it’s just kind of slow all around and often freezes up and crashes.

    -There’s NO way I can have Photoshop & Lightroom open at the same time right now. Ideally, I would like to have PS, LR and occasionally IL or DW open at the same time (while browsing the web + Spotify is going)

    -basically, the entire computer moves at a snails pace regardless of what I'm doing.

    Again, I really apologize if this thread shouldn't be here, but I would really love any input.
  2. njean777 macrumors 6502

    Oct 17, 2009
    Why don't you just buy a RMBP and use it? What about it have you heard that makes you not want the device? For every bad thread you see, there are probably 20 people that don't have any problems with the computer at all.
  3. prfrma macrumors regular

    May 29, 2010
    You actually probably need a $3k into a glorified personal computer more than most people on here.

    MBP or rMBP if you can afford it. Referb if you can't. iMac if you don't need the portability.
  4. stevelam, Jul 9, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2012

    stevelam macrumors 65816

    Nov 4, 2010
    i actually have an even slower macbook (late 2008 aluminum macbook 2.0ghz) which i use for full time design agency work. the only upgrade i did was having 8gb of ram and it made a world of difference since i mainly have photoshop/illustrator/coda etc etc open at once.

    oddly enough i also have the line 6 ux2 audio interface but i don't use it on a daily basis.

    it holds up surprisingly well. then again, i do absolutely zero video work.

    if you're working with gigantic raw files and video, i really don't think the RMBP is overkill for you. but keep in mind that barely any software has been updated for retina display yet, including the entire adobe lineup. only photoshop has been given any indication that it'll be updated and that won't be until near the end of the year according to an interview with adobe.

    basically, you're probably the first person to post a sensible request that isn't some clueless college student wanting 16gb of ram for their RMBP to word process and listen to music on.
  5. Mal macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2002
    You need an SSD and a fair amount of RAM. I'd suggest a MacBook Air with the max RAM and a good sized SSD, or a MacBook Pro with an SSD and plenty of RAM.

    In fact, just looking around, you might do this:

    With an aftermarket SSD, like a Crucial M4 (the 128GB models are just over $100 on Amazon right now) and 16GB RAM (8GB might be ok, but with the stuff you described, more will help). You'd like be looking at around $1200-1300 total.

    If you don't want a 13" screen, or are simply ok with spending a little more for the 15", this one's also a really good deal, with the same aftermarket upgrades:

  6. Fortimir macrumors 6502a


    Sep 5, 2007
    Indianapolis, IN
    It's funny, because it's true: Based on your description, the MacBook Pro Retina fits your "needs" more than the majority of people here.

    June 20th? It could be shipping any minute. When it's in your hands in a week or two, this will all seem like a dream. I wouldn't sweat it. You'll have it with *plenty* of time before school starts up again. If you know you want a MBPr AND you already have on on order, don't settle. In the back if your mind you'll resent yourself for being impatient for the next year.

    At least that's how *my* brain works. ;)

    P.S. Your posts are exactly what we wish every "advice" post was like. You clearly state your problem. You clearly state your thoughts. You clearly state your usage habits. If only everyone was as clear-cut as you.


    Where else should it be? :D
  7. InlawBiker macrumors 6502

    Apr 6, 2007
    I know what you mean, it's hard to justify buying the most expensive laptop money can buy for doing work that's not generating income. My laptop does generate income and pays for itself but I still didn't buy a Retina model.

    Anyway your computer is definitely running out of memory. It might be worthwhile to upgrade the memory to the maximum and re-install the whole system.

    On the other hand as a 4 year old system it's probably time for an upgrade. You have already shown that 4GB memory isn't enough. The cheapest route I can think of to what you want to do is:

    Refurbished 2011 13" MBP - $929.
    Upgrade to 16GB Ram yourself - ~$80

    $1009 total for a laptop that will crush Photoshop & Lightroom at the same time. Adding an SSD would just make it fly, at the expensive of some storage space.
  8. armistice thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 7, 2012
    Indianapolis, IN
    I actually had that info in my initial post, but took it out because I didn't want to have a novel for my first post on here haha!

    I'm concerned about optimization. To be fair, I've NEVER seen a Retina screen, so things could be fine. I plan on heading over to Best Buy today or tomorrow to spend some time on various websites while using Retina.

    I've spent all of my spare time on these forums over the last week and I've read a lot of disappointing reviews. Retina was something I didn't really care about (crazy, I know)- so with the lack of optimization outside of Apple products (especially adobe. I have CS5 and can't afford to upgrade to CS6 for Retina support any time soon)...but yea- with reading all of the disappointed reviews, and not really caring about it in the first place- I started thinking "why not just hold off on Retina now and then get something REALLY nice in a year or so when everything is optimized and I can use it for a career?"

    You are far too kind. After reading these forums for a while I was afraid I would get a reply of "if you don't even know what you need, then you're probably already at overkill!" For some reason I've just never been able to understand all of the numbers- plus technology changes so fast that it's hard to keep up!

    Thanks for such a nice/thoughtful reply! Your last paragraph is SO what I was afraid I would come off sounding like- so it's nice to know I didn't! Again, I'm TOTALLY ignorant with technology, so I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure I'm maxed out at 4gb. If I could go higher, I'm sure that would change everything, but I'm thinking I've done as much as I can to it (if not, I have no idea how to find out :eek: )

    "daily" use for video was a bit of an exaggeration- but it's certainly something I want to do often when I have a computer that will allow me to do so!

    I have a 15" now, so I think going down to 13" would be a hard change. Your statement about SSD is quite helpful, as I came to the same conclusion (that my life would be exponentially easier with one), but again, didn't know if it would be overkill.

    Thanks for all of the speedy input! I REALLY appreciate it! Not sure what I'll do yet, but this definitely helps :)
  9. armistice thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 7, 2012
    Indianapolis, IN
    You rock, Sean.

    Actually, I'm doing summer classes as well...dealing with graphics classes on this macbook is KILLING me lol. But yea- I'm not thinking of switching because I've had to wait, but rather I'm thinking about switching because I've had the time to think about all of this while I've been waiting.

    Before I posted my concerns were 1. potential overkill, since I'm not a pro and 2. lack of retina optimization (especially when I never really cared about Retina in the first place. Not only was I not pining for it, but I heard so many stories of how it made most stuff look WORSE?! eek! ...but yes- I SO recognize that I need to see it for myself before I judge that!)

    I'm now convinced that it probably isn't overkill (even though it's mostly for hobbies for the time being. eek!) and I have no way of knowing how annoying the retina aspect will be until I have it, or at the very least, until I head over to Best Buy to toy around with one for a while.

    I know I definitely want a new machine. Mine has had a horrifically annoying buzz that happens whenever I ask too much of it, and just recently my dog jumped on it and ripped off 2 keys from the keyboard- so it's DEFINITELY time to replace!

    Since I would (ideally) like to stick with a 15" I imagine if I did the refurb you priced out AND added the SSD, it would be pretty close in price to what I just paid for the retina (when you consider long-term value and whatnot)

    So yea...heck...maybe you all have convinced me to keep the Retina afterall haha.

    Seriously. I cannot emphasize enough how much I appreciate all of the speedy/thoughtful responses! :)
  10. sweetbrat macrumors 65816


    Jun 17, 2009
    Redford, MI
    I think this is what you have... http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/macbook_pro/specs/macbook-pro-core-2-duo-2.6-15-early-2008-penryn-specs.html
    In which case, you should be able to go up to 6GB of RAM. Honestly, I don't know if that's enough (I don't do any video editing). I do work in the Adobe Creative Suite (CS5 and CS6). I purchased a refurb early 2011 MBP, put in 8GB of RAM and an SSD and it's a great machine for what I need it to do.

    You have a lot of options. Since you've already ordered the retina MBP, if I were you I'd probably wait until it ships and try it out for a little while. You have 14 days to decide if you want to keep it or not. If you end up not keeping it, I'd recommend a refurb from Apple. You can get good deals on them, and they come with the full warranty.
  11. InlawBiker macrumors 6502

    Apr 6, 2007
    As for 15" ... The 2010 Core i5 refurb is $1099. That would work for interim.

    The late 2011 15" MBP 2.2ghz quad-core is $1359. Add 16GB RAM = $1439. That's what, $800 cheaper than the Retina. It's still a lot of dough though.

    For the missing keys, you can buy replacements on eBay for a couple dollars. I had to do this for our old Macbook White. You'd have to do this to sell it anyway, your old Mac should bring you a few hundred bucks at the least once you fix it up and re-install the OS.

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