Macbook Pro as a desktop replacement?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by SteveJY, Oct 21, 2014.

  1. SteveJY macrumors newbie

    Oct 21, 2014
    I'm interested in a small, quiet computer and had been waiting for the new Mac Mini, but to me it's a pretty disappointing release. I want to use two 2560x1440 monitors, so the 2012 Mac Mini doesn't fit my needs. I've seen a late 2013 Macbook Pro Retina 13" on sale for around the same price as the 2014 Mac Mini and the Macbook is looking like a more tempting option.

    While I don't need a laptop often, it would be a nice thing to have when I do a bit of travelling. Most of the time though, it would stay by my desk, plugged into the external monitors, and effectively being used like a Mac Mini with a built in screen.

    My main concern with this idea is the noise level of the Macbook. I would sometimes be using it for Photoshop and other tasks that tax the CPU, and a lot of laptops run hot and loud under load. While my room isn't silent (it would be running near a desktop PC and a HDD TV recorder with its own fan), I don't really want to add to the noise level significantly, especially if it's the annoyingly high pitched sound some laptops make. Pretty much everyone agrees that the Mac Mini is nice and quiet, but I've read conflicting things about the Macbook Pro's noise level.

    Do you think the Macbook Pro 2013 would be too noisy for my needs?

    Can you see any other problems with what I'm planning to do with it?

  2. chrise2 macrumors 6502

    Sep 17, 2012
    I have both the 2012 mini and the current 13" retina. I love the retina macbook pro. If you're worried about fan noise, they're probably both about equal. 99% of the time, you can't even hear them. However, they can both start blowing if they get hot. Either from high CPU, or if they're in a hot room or sitting in the sun. A mac mini is basically the worst aspects of a laptop (slower processor / minimal upgrade options) with the worst aspects of a desktop (can't take it with you). I still like it. Mostly because I didn't want to buy a new monitor every time I wanted a new computer (iMac). I'd get the laptop. Or the 5k retina iMac if you're rich. :)
  3. jimmyco2008 macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2014
    I too have the 2012 Mac Mini and a Late 2013 rMBP 13".

    You can have two monitors on the 2012 Mini (HDMI and Thunderbolt/Mini Displayport), which has upgradable RAM and room for two hard drives/SSDs. It should be cheaper, too, now that it's finally not the latest. Oh, and less real-estate than a MacBook.

    Still, the rMBP would have superior Iris graphics and another thunderbolt port.
  4. ayeying macrumors 601


    Dec 5, 2007
    Yay Area, CA
    My dad's Mac Mini's fan runs at max whenever he watches TV shows. Then again, my rMBP runs about 40% fans while watching TV shows as well depending on where I put my laptop.
  5. SonicSoundVW macrumors regular

    Jul 22, 2014
    Michigan, USA
    I have a MacBook Pro (Retina, Mid 2012) that i got 2 years ago in november. The specs are:
    2.3 GHz Intel Core i7
    8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
    NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M 1024 MB

    I have been using it as a laptop/desktop for all of its life. It gets somewhat loud when gaming, definitely has the horsepower tho. I can run BioShock Infinite maxed out and it runs pretty smooth at 1080P. I use it for EVERYTHING, i even have a small partition with windows on it as well. :) I was going to get a mini so i wouldn't have to use it so much as a desktop, but looks like ill be waiting another 2 years or more heh. Also I've read not to run it with the lid closed using an external display, the top of it is designed to radiate some heat and it can cause damage to the screen. I leave it open and put a tiny magnet on the top next to the speaker on the edge by the headphone jack to keep the screen off.
  6. TRAV9614, Oct 21, 2014
    Last edited: May 15, 2017
  7. puke macrumors 6502

    Dec 30, 2007
    This is what I've just done.

    I just got a maxed out Macbook Pro 15" Retina

    Thunderbolt Display
    Apple Wireless Keyboard
    Apple Trackpad
    -> Going to get Henge Dock (that's schmexy)

    Waiting for it all to arrive...!!!
  8. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Should be fine

    My 13 inch is pretty much silent even when playing games, you won't even hear it over your PC i'm betting.

    You have 14 days to try it with a no questions asked returns policy, so get one and return it if it doesn't suit your needs.

    I have used an MBP of one type or another for 4 years as my only computer and it is great.
  9. SteveJY thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 21, 2014
    Unfortunately the 2012 Mini's HDMI port only supports 1080p, not a 2560x1440 display. Otherwise I'd definitely have bought one rather than waiting for the new model.
  10. jimmyco2008 macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2014
    Ah, I did not know that. Kind of disappointed now haha.
  11. SteveJY, Oct 22, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2014

    SteveJY thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 21, 2014

    It's something I've thought about, but I already have two displays that I'm currently using with my PC over DVI. I was going to keep that setup, and just plug the Mini/Macbook into their display port connections.

    Also, looking at the prices where I live, a 27" iMac is more expensive than a Macbook Pro 13" of the same age.
  12. paolo- macrumors 6502a

    Aug 24, 2008
    Yes, you should be fine. The MBP are kind of noisy when under a serious load like gaming or video rendering. However, I find that in Photoshop, other than if you're processing a batch of files the computer doesn't heat up. When working on a single file, you typically apply very demanding tasks to the computer for short bursts of time like when applying a filter so the fans don't actually need to ramp up their speed.

    With that said, I'd have a look at selling one of your displays and getting a 27" imac. Much better value if you don't need a laptop.

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