Macbook Pro advice

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by groundeddreams, Aug 22, 2015.

  1. groundeddreams macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2010
    I am going back into further Education this autumn and I require to get a Macbook Pro for my course.
    Having been a Windows user I am looking for some advice on which one will be best for my usage.
    The course is in Film and TV production so will be using the laptop for film editing - Adobe especially After Effect, as well as the usual Office 365, browsing. Won't be using for it gaming.

    I have already purchased a external hard drive [LaCie Rugged 1TB] for backup and transfering work between the laptop and possibly University machine. Am I right in thinking whatever I choose it is then set, no way to upgrade the RAM etc?

    Can someone exact what it means in the description on the Apple site in regards to the Turbo Boost [ ie 2.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz] is this something that you can only do sparingly? Or it is something you can switch/increase all the time, just seems a strange thing to show.
    Due to the outlay and hopefully will be using it for the whole of my degree course, not sure if I should be paying extra to future proof in regards to the specification as I don't want to feel two years down the right for example that there is not enough RAM for what I need to run newer versions of applications etc.

    I'm not sure if I should be looking towards the higher spec 13" or the entry level 15", also can anyone advise how much the student discount is when buying through the Apple store? I can't check due to not having my official student credentials yet, to logged to the site to check and from what I have read its not a set % over the whole store.

    Any help would be grateful.
  2. Kiteskip macrumors newbie

    Sep 5, 2012
    Hello groundeddreams, congrats on heading back to school. Based on your post, I feel confident in saying you should get the 13" Retina MacBook Pro, 2.7 GHz with 256GB storage and 8GB or memory. I would absolutely not recommend a 15" model for a school use. You will value portability over the increased display size. The only reason I might suggest bumping the specs up is to get the 2.9GHz model with the 512GB of storage, extra space can be very nice, particularly when storing lots of video footage. (I might also recommend buying Transcend's SDXC card for MacBook Pro, which sits flush with the side of your new Mac and can also greatly increase capacity.)

    To answer your question about "Turbo Boosting:" the trend for computing for a long time was to increase the clock speed of the processor and so people began to identify "faster" with bigger numbers. But the trend shifted a few years ago to adding cores to the processor rather than increasing the speed. In actuality, the clock speeds got a little slower when they did this, but because it's threading the data through multiple cores, it's turns out to be way, way faster. So, the "Turbo Boost" isn't really a feature as much as a marketing term to get less aware users to compare with competition who have weaker processors with higher clock speeds.

    ALSO, always, always, always get AppleCare. Your education discount is even better than an Apple employee discount for AppleCare, believe it or not. And you'll be very glad you've got it if you have any problems over the next three years.

    Hope that helps!
  3. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    It seems that whatever you buy, you will benefit from extra "power" given the type of apps you will be using.

    The 13" has one advantage - portability.

    The 15" has the following advantages - more screen to work with given the type of applications you will be using. As well as ideally a better processor which your apps will exploit.

    In an ideal world, you would go for the 15", perhaps the 2.5 or better CPU model, at least 512 gigs storage and 16 gigs of RAM. I use these numbers conservatively as those applications you listed will indeed be hungry apps and use lots of space to do the edits required in film work. Since you will deal with time lines and such, unless you are hooking up to an external monitor, every bit of the screen is important. The difference between the 13 and 15 inch screen is huge.

    If budget is your constraint, and you decide on the 13" model, at least get the 16 gigs of RAM and min of 512gigs of storage.

    As for me, I do still photo work and I just can't imagine doing the work on a 13" laptop as 15" is already on the small side (without my faithful 24" monitor attached).

    There will be those that tell you 8 gigs is enough and it certainly might be the minimum but it makes zero sense to get the minimum specs to run when having your school apps open, most likely mail, Safari web browser and possibly word processing. Last - read elsewhere on best way to set up your apps for the laptop based on your purchase (drive space and RAM as well as perhaps colour balancing/gamma).
  4. z31fanatic macrumors 6502a


    Mar 7, 2015
    Mukilteo, WA USA
    Whatever you do, please don't buy the 3 year old classic MBP that Apple still sells.

    Now that we got that out of the way, I think you should get the base 15" for your needs. More power than the 13" and the portability is still good in my opinion. You are probably used to 15" Windows laptops that weigh 5-6 lbs. The 15" Mac is thinner and lighter (4.5lbs) than what you are used to.
  5. monokakata macrumors 68000


    May 8, 2008
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    Kiteskip isn't quite right about Turbo Boost.

    It's not marketing -- it's real. If you see something like "2.7 GHz Turbo Boost to 3.1 GHz" that means that when only one core is working, it can process at 3.1 GHz, but if all the cores are at work, 2.7 GHz is as fast as any of them can go.

    In other words the Turbo Boost number is the fastest that one core and one core only can work. As soon as more cores get into the act, the speed drops to the lower number.

    Turbo Boost is a big help in "single-threaded" applications -- those apps that never use more than a single core (because that's the way they're coded).

    And it's not something you can control. The CPU decides what to do, without any input from you.
  6. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    If you are doing film and TV production get a 5K imac, as everything goes to 4K over the next 2 years you'll need the screen real estate and the desktop processors, and dGPU's for the after effects and rendering speeds. Then maybe a second hand 11 inch to carry to class for taking notes etc.
  7. groundeddreams thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2010
    I will be using a IMac with a large monitor in lectures and tutorials, the Macbook Pro will be mainly used in the library and at home.
  8. MagicBoy macrumors 68040


    May 28, 2006
    Manchester, UK
    If portability and price are not an issue I'd opt for the base 15". Otherwise pick an 13" based on the RAM and SSD storage you will require, as these cannot be upgraded later. The difference between 2.7 and 2.9GHz CPUs won't really be noticeable. The jump from dual to quad cores (in the 15") will.
  9. theluggage, Aug 24, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2015

    theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    15" not portable?
    Kids these days.

    OK, I confess I never had one of those, but even a Powerbook G3 was a brick, yet it seemed like a miracle at the time.

    Seriously, the current 15" is not a huge machine to carry around.
  10. MagicBoy macrumors 68040


    May 28, 2006
    Manchester, UK
    Jumping to assumptions a little aren't we?

    A few things :
    1) Being in my thirties I'm definitely not a "Kid".
    2) Check the sig! I'm writing this on the 15" MacBook Pro.
    3) I carried a 2+inch thick, 3.3Kg Toshiba round with me for the final year at Uni (College for you americans). Plus all the usual books.

    Portability seems to be king round these parts. I'm usually the exception in that I'd happily take my 15" anywhere and not moan about the size/weight. The thing is an engineering marvel.

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