Mac Pro & Air vs MacBook Pro

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ericsd05, Jan 14, 2017.

  1. ericsd05 macrumors newbie

    ericsd05

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2013
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #1
    Howdy guys!

    I have a 2009 8 core Mac Pro and I'm debating if I should upgrade my Mac Pro and purchase a MacBook Air for when I need to travel or If I should sell my Mac Pro and go with a upgraded 2015 MacBook Pro with dedicated graphics and dock it when I am home. I mainly use my Mac for photography and media creation. I also dabble in video editing and website creation. If you were in my shoes what would you do?
     
  2. Penn Jennings macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Michigan
    #2
    I have a Late 2011 MBP15. I upgraded the RAM to 16 GB, installed a 1 TB SSD and replaced the DVD with a 512 GB SSD years ago. I got a thunderbolt dock to get access to USB 3. I have been waiting for a 2 years for a new MBP that I liked.

    I like the new MBP 15. I'm happy with USB C, and happy that Apple didn't add ports that won't be used in 2 years. I could care less about the the touch bar, and the keyboard is OK. The CPU power looks good and I could live with the GPU. I don't understand the why everything needs to keep getting smaller but ok. I don't buy a laptop because it's thin, I buy it because it does what I want and it's "thin enough"... I don't think Apple understands that. Personally though, I just can't bring myself to spend between $4,000 - $4,600 for a MBP that only has 16 GB of memory, a middle of road GPU and because everything is on system board, WHEN something goes bad I'd guess that any repair is going to cost as much as a replacement. I decided to wait until the end of this year for a better option from Apple. If things don't get better, I'll hold on to my late 2011 MBP 15 for iOS and Mac OS development but end up moving back to Windows for everything else (Yuck). Apple really is charging twice what you'd pay for a very nice Dell or Asus 15 inch. My guess is that by June $2K will get you equivalent spec'd hardware with 32GB of memory and better GPU, not as nice of a feel, but the same or better performance. I'll buy a 4K or 5K display and save the other $1,500.... I'll just have to live with Windows. Microsoft Office and Adobe offer their products as a service now. I can also access music and video content with streaming services so although I might have thousands in iTunes, I can still access all the same content via streaming services so I'm not locked into the platform like I used to be.

    It's hard to say what I would do if I were you. However, if you are dealing with large images and 4K video I'm not sure the Air has the horsepower or internal storage that you need. A dual core i5 and 128 or 256 GB of storage is not very much. You could go external storage but that will add to wait times.

    How bad do you need something now?
     
  3. ericsd05 thread starter macrumors newbie

    ericsd05

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2013
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #3
    I guess you didn't read parts of my post. I'm not looking at the 2016 MacBook Pro... I'm looking at the 2015 used MacBook Pro. I have also debated going windows but still undecided.
     
  4. Penn Jennings macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Michigan
    #4
    Ah, sorry. :)

    Well, my concerns over the Air remain and upgrading an 8 year machine feels odd.

    I would think that a 2015 MBP 15 would be a good option if you can get a good deal on it. I wonder if 2015 MBP sellers want more than normal, knowing how extreme the 2016 prices are (rhetorical question).


    Good Luck, It all seems like a tough call.
     
  5. pat500000 macrumors 604

    pat500000

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    #5
    I'm gonna say Mac Pro with air; however, I have to ask....do you need desktop experience (meaning being at your desk with a nice mouse with big screen..and etc)?
     
  6. ericsd05 thread starter macrumors newbie

    ericsd05

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2013
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #6
    When I am at my office yes. That is one reason I would buy the henge dock for the 15 inch when I'm home.
     
  7. pat500000 macrumors 604

    pat500000

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    #7
    It sounds like you would be better with mbp then. Then again, Mac Pro could assist you a lot when you are at home.
     
  8. jjhoekstra macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2009
    #8
    I use a 2009 MP, a 2015 MB and a 2012 MBP and wife uses a 2016 MBA. The MP and the MBP have the same speed when editing video or photo's. The only difference is when doing long compression-runs. The MBP gets VERY hot after 15 mins or so, the MP not at all. So I use the MP for compression and both the MBP and MP for editing. The MB, by the way, is surprisingly useable for casual video-editing and stays pretty cool during compression-jobs but takes about 4 times as long for compression.
    If you don't do long video-compression runs regularly, my hunch would be: go with the MBP. You get a fast and portable computer and you have everything in one, manageable, place. Also as a 7 year old MP has a higher chance of hardware-failure.
     
  9. kschendel, Jan 15, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2017

    kschendel macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2014
    #9
    As jjhoekstra suggests, I think the decision hinges a lot on how hard you push the Mac Pro now for your work. The Mac Pro may not have the burst speed of a 2015 MBP, but it will run flat out for days on end. The MBP, not so much. If you run long renders or other long jobs, upgrade the Mac Pro. If you are looking for max speed for short periods of time, you might be best served with the MBP with dock/monitor for home.

    Assuming you're running a stock Mac Pro, it's pretty easy to upgrade. The CPU upgrade is probably the hardest, because that particular model (4,1 dual CPU) needs the de-lidded CPU's; in order of increasing difficulty (and decreasing price), you can use a CPU swap service; buy de-lidded CPU's and install yourself; or buy regular CPU's, de-lid, and install (there are a couple variations on the last choice, such as using spacer washers instead of de-lidding). Swapping in SATA SSD's for spinning drives is trivially simple, or you can go for PCI SSD's with a simple adapter board, or you can spend more and get a PCI SSD RAID card. There are any number of GPU upgrade choices available, and of course adding RAM is trivial.

    I haven't priced out dual CPU upgrades (my 4,1 was a single, and I used a board swap because minimizing risk was crucial in my situation). I suspect though that for no more than $1000 and probably a good bit less (depending on the CPU upgrade cost), you can improve your Mac Pro's performance by a minimum of 75% and probably more.
     
  10. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #10
    You might quickly grow tired of "plugging and unplugging" the MBPro into the display (and/or dock) all the time.

    There's nothing like the convenience of having TWO Macs:
    1. The desktop with a large display,
    and
    2. The laptop for other locations, in-house or on-the-go.
     
  11. Billy Underhill macrumors newbie

    Billy Underhill

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2016
    #11
    If I'm not mistaken, your 2009 MP is a tower and not the newer "coke can" style. I would keep and upgrade the tower and get a MacBook Air. Those towers are amazing and can be upgraded relatively easy.
     
  12. kohlson macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    #12
    If I understand this correctly, this is about "how light do I want my traveling system?" Given the description of what you do, the MBP won't be that much different than the MP, especially for dabbling. I haul my 15 MBP everywhere, and don't consider that an issue. I turn on my 2009 MP once every 6 months to see if it still works...some day I will update it (SSD, more RAM). But if a 15-in MBP is too big to travel with, then you have your answer: get an MBA. I don't think there's a wrong choice here, from a technical perspective. But using a single machine, properly outfitted, does tend to simplify things.
     
  13. ericsd05 thread starter macrumors newbie

    ericsd05

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2013
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #13
    It's not about weight just having something I can take with me to review photos maybe do a quick photo edit while I'm in the road.
     
  14. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #14
    As an alternative, have you considered:
    - 27" retina iMac (properly equipped with fusion drive or SSD)
    and
    - 13" MacBook Pro (2015 model if budget requires -- still a VERY impressive MacBook)
     

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