MacBook Pro Retina - Opinions for Design School

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by BillD14, Apr 30, 2016.

  1. BillD14 macrumors newbie


    Apr 30, 2016
    Hello All,

    I am an avid PC user and will soon be switching to a Macbook Pro Retina for design school in the fall and wanted to get some input. My main area of focus will be UI/UX Design using programs such as Sketch, Photoshop, Fireworks, Illustrator and the like.

    I plan to purchase either refurbished or slightly used from Apple direct or Amazon. I am zeroing in on the 15.4" models with Retina (2012-2015) and wanted to ask a few questions as well as get some feedback.

    1.Is there any year range I should lean towards or steer away from? I would like to get as new as possible, and to have it fall within the range of still adding AppleCare would be a bonus. However, I am open to going as far back as the original Retina years as I am pretty conscious of my devices and take great care of them.

    2.Is the 15.4" a better buy overall or simply for the fact of a larger screen?

    3.I am looking at models with 16gb of memory in the 15", but is 8gb sufficient enough?

    4.How about the graphic card options? Will I see a dramatic benefit from the dedicated graphics in the 15" models over the Iris Pro options?? (GT 650M/GT750M)

    I have worked on Mac towers before in previous design courses but have always had a custom built PC or Windows based laptop while at home. These graduate level courses are requiring a Macbook Pro with Retina display and since this will be my first Macbook Pro purchase, I just want to be sure before spending that amount of cash.

    Any feedback, input or recommendations would be greatly appreciated

    Thank you!
  2. annay49 macrumors member

    Apr 13, 2010
    As a UX designer: Sketch will run well on anything 2012 and newer.
    Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign require some power on larger documents. I'd say go with an i7 processor and 16 gb of ram and opt for a larger hard drive if you have the luxury. An 8gb and a SSD could also work. You'll save a lot of time with the SSD due to program launch times and file save times.

    If you're going to be spending a lot of time on the go and not able to plug into a monitor you'll probably want a 15 inch. I find myself needing to look at multiple files at once while working - such as a site map to do wireframes.

    Hope that helps and let me know if you have any more questions!
  3. BillD14 thread starter macrumors newbie


    Apr 30, 2016
    Thank you annay! Great to hear from someone directly in the field I am pursuing.

    Would you feel there would be an added benefit to the dedicated graphics card, or would the Intel Iris Pro suffice for programs like Sketch?
  4. JTToft macrumors 68040

    Apr 27, 2010
    Aarhus, Denmark
    On your first question and with respect to 15" with discrete graphics: Don't go further back than Late 2013.
    This because of Thunderbolt 2, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, no graphics issues, and hugely better support for high-resolution external displays.
  5. annay49 macrumors member

    Apr 13, 2010
    Bill, I'd go for the better graphics card if you can in case you start covering programs like After Effects or any video editing in your program.

    I'd say Sketch can run on lower graphics needs, but large files may lag in graphics processing.
  6. hojx macrumors 6502


    Jan 18, 2014
    I'm using a late-2013 15.4" rMBP, 16GB, GT 750M. My coursemates mostly uses Macbook Pros, and they have everything from the non-Retina ones, the original rMBP, to the latest ones in both sizes.

    Anything from late-2013 onwards is safe, they're almost the same except for Force Touch and faster SSD.

    The 15.4" really makes a difference when you are working with graphics for the screen real estate alone. I push it further by using scaled resolutions.

    Definitely 16GB RAM. 8GB is only okay if you are willing to have only one or two apps open at one time. If you are going to be multi-tasking (consider all the Safari tabs, etc. while you have Photoshop open) you'll want 16GB.

    The 15.4" has Iris Pro compare to the 13" 's Iris. (So its Iris vs. Iris Pro vs. Iris Pro+dedicated)
    You'll want dedicated graphics if there's any chance of you doing rendering like AE, Keyshot, etc. My coursemate has a 13" and when we did rendering he wasn't able to render some high res files at all (it just crashed) while I was able to do mine in about 15 minutes? If you are doing 2D the difference isn't as significant.

    I personally think of Macs as a long time investment, so I try to max out the specs whenever I can stretch my budget a little.
  7. VandaG macrumors newbie

    Jul 5, 2016

    I am in similar situation as BillD14. I will definitely buy rMBP with dedicated graphics, but now I can't decide which one - with NVIDIA from mid 2014 or with AMD?
  8. RoboWarriorSr macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2013
    The AMD was chosen specifically due to better performance in many applications requiring OpenCL, it would be best to determine what graphic API the program you'll be utilizing to determine which GPU is best.
  9. VandaG macrumors newbie

    Jul 5, 2016

Share This Page