MBP as a Main Computer

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by bbapps, Mar 16, 2013.

  1. bbapps macrumors regular

    Jan 19, 2008
    For those who use a MBPx as main computer, interested in hearing about your setup. I'm getting into upgrade mode and considering macbook pro (e.g. probably waiting for next gen which I'm guessing will be limited to the retina).

    If I went with the MBPr, the idea would be to use it as my main computer (e.g. replace my older MB and iMac). Currently, using 400G+ range in terms of storage; quit a-bit of that in media, but expecting that to grow…

    Main usage: usually web access, word-processing activities, FaceTime, iTunes library (e.g. streaming to AppleTV and syncs with iPad), photos, home movies, misc. development (e.g. not primary dev platform, research of technologies, design documentation, …), ….

    So, given you have similar requirements…. What does you setup look like? For example...

    - docking station (e.g. Thunderbolt Display, wireless keyboard; external drive, external optical, any non-TB Display examples)?

    - given a smaller SSD drive, how do you handle media (e.g. external HDD, swapping in/out media files, etc.)?

    - given your using external HDD for primary storage; do you have second external HDD for Time Machine backups?

    - do you serve your iTunes library (e.g. wake MBPr upon Network access)?

    As I write this, I think I'm talking myself out of the MBPr; maybe an iMac and a low-end MB Air for full-OS portability needs. Am I wrong?
  2. xShane macrumors 6502a


    Nov 2, 2012
    United States
    A MacBook Pro definitely makes a great main computer :)

    I use it for *everything* (school, social networking, web browsing, music, programming/developing, etc.). I plan on installing Windows on it soon, too.

    I use a wireless mouse and will hopefully get a keyboard soon.

    I currently have a 750GB HDD for main storage. I *might* put a SSD as the main and move the 750GB into the optical bay slot as a storage, but that won't be anytime soon as I have no need the SSD performance boost, nor do I need anymore storage at the moment.

    I have a mini-to-HDMI adapter and an external monitor that I sometimes use.

    A MacBook Pro is a great, portable computer. It will definitely suit your needs.
  3. Serban Suspended

    Jan 8, 2013
    Get a MBP haswell but keep the iMAC for display.
    how old is your iMAC?
  4. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    Although we have iMacs we spend most of the time on our MBP's. A really good Synology NAS holds the bulk of our files and TM backups.
  5. petvas macrumors 601


    Jul 20, 2006
    Mannheim, Germany
    I recently got my Macbook Pro 15 Retina display and I am very impressed with it. It replaced my Mac Mini Server + Cinema Display.
    I have two external drives, connected to my Airport Extreme. One is used for Time Machine backups and the second one as my media library for iTunes.
    My MBP connects wirelessly to both drives and I can access my files from anywhere at home.
    The Macbook Pro replaced my Mac Mini as main computer and it is much faster. I don't even miss the Cinema Display 27" because of the Retina resolution of the Macbook Pro.
    As far as storage concerns, I got the 512GB SSD and that is sufficient for everything but the media files which I store on the external drive, connected to my Airport Extreme.
    This is by far the greatest computer I have ever owned.
    My setup is completed by an iPad 4 that I mainly use when I am on the road, and an iPhone 5.
    I definitely believe that the future of computing is mobile and I don't think I will be getting a desktop computer again.
  6. bbapps thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 19, 2008
    It's a mid 2007, just replaced the HDD with a 1TB drive; old one died (e.g. TG for Time Machine). I was actually, thinking about ripping the 1TB drive and putting in some type of enclosure. I'm assuming if I rip out the drive, I could no longer use as a display, correct?

    Never thought of a NAS, but that sounds like the solution for primary storage and TM backups. Thanks!!!
  7. bbapps thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 19, 2008
    It's nice to here successes.

    So, how do you manage your media (e.g. iTunes)? I assuming iTunes points to the media file on the external HDD. If you want to take that media file on the road, does itunes support managing that move/copy. In other words, tell iTunes to make that movie local and itunes will copy it to the local disk and update the iTunes link. Or, do you have to manage that manually?
  8. Serban Suspended

    Jan 8, 2013
    So it is a 24" imac i will suggest you to keep it if you can somehow connect to your next rmacbook
  9. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    One method is to have one iTunes library, with your favorite music stored on your internal drive, so it's available when you're mobile, with the remainder stored on an external drive.

    How to split a single iTunes library over two or more media locations
  10. petvas macrumors 601


    Jul 20, 2006
    Mannheim, Germany
    I have my music files on my SSD and all movies and TV shows on my external drive. I just leave the automatic file management in iTunes inactive when adding movies and reenable it when dealing with music files.
  11. bbapps thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 19, 2008
  12. terriyaki macrumors 6502a

    Aug 4, 2005
    My rMBP is my main machine. The thing is a portable beast.

    When I'm at my desk I have it connected to a Dell U2412M via mini-dp to dp. I utilize the USB hub built into the Dell to help connect to multiple external drives and my other USB devices. Sadly, the Dell's hub is 2.0 and not 3.0. I've stuck my iTunes library on a portable bus powered USB drive.

    I'm still waiting for Belkin to finally release their damn Thunderbolt hub though. I think adding that hub would help a lot. It would give me more USB 3.0 ports, give me a much needed FireWire 800 port, and would allow me to plug only one cable in when I'm setting everything up at my desk.

    I also have a 2007 mini paired with it's own external media enclosure that I use as my dedicated media and torrent box. That thing is a trooper.
  13. bbapps thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 19, 2008
    I have been thinking about the mini too, I really like that platform. Depending on the specs of the next release of ATV, may replace my ATV with a mini. Just have to space out these upgrades; leave some dough for some vacation time.
  14. jjhoekstra macrumors regular

    Apr 23, 2009
    I use my rMBP as my main computer. I have the 768 Gb SSD which is enough for all my storage needs apart from my media-collection. That I have on an external 2x2Tb Thunderbolt disk. In addition I have a 2 Tb Time-capsule for backup. Printing is via wifi on a canon printer and I do not use an external display.
    The setup is fine for all normal stuff like internet and for more demanding tasks, in my case video editing and financial simulations. Since I bought the rMBP I have hardly used my MacPro. The MacPro is only superior for very long rendering jobs. The RMBP gets really unpleasantly hot after an hour or so of rendering.
  15. fungus macrumors regular


    Sep 30, 2008
    I used my cMBP for 4 years, docked on a Rain mStand and hooked up to an ACD 30" (previously an ACD 23"), wired keyboard, trackpad, assorted external drives/RAID enclosures, speakers, hubs, etc. Over time, I found I used it less and less as a portable and more as a desktop replacement. When the battery finally gave out I decided to go Mac Pro for my main machine. Slapped a new battery in the 5 year old MBP and I use it more than ever now :rolleyes:

    As far as media serving, I went with a mini under the HDTV in the family room. It's got all our iTunes content, ripped CDs and DVDs, and also functions as a home file server.
  16. Ultra AleM macrumors 6502a

    Ultra AleM

    Jun 22, 2012
    A 15 inch MBP is a main computer, yes.

    Just get at least 500GB of storage, or you will feel very messed up every now and then.
  17. JeffiJers macrumors 6502a

    Sep 12, 2012
    rMBP 15 is my main computer.

    -wireless mouse
    -external hdd
  18. rrm998 macrumors regular


    Jun 15, 2012
    Houston, TX USA
    rMBP is my only computer. Other components:

    - 2 3G USB 3.0 external drives
    - 1 1GB NAS
    - Thunderbolt Monitor
    - Dell 27" monitor
    - Magic track pad
    - External keyboard

    I've found that I use the external monitors much less since I got the rMBP. I find fewer and fewer reasons to need to dock. Some weeks the only time I connect in is to do the weekly USB back up (the NAS handles daily via WiFi).
  19. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    I use a 15" MBP as my primary computer. At home it's connected to a 23" ACD in clamshell mode. Since I'm on the road for long periods at a time I want to have everything critical with me. I will load just what videos and music I want I stead of trying to keep it all with me.


    I use a 15" MBP as my primary computer. At home it's connected to a 23" ACD in clamshell mode. Since I'm on the road for long periods at a time I want to have everything critical with me. I will load just what videos and music I want I stead of trying to keep it all with me. The 750 gb drive is more than enough for my needs.
  20. entatlrg, Mar 16, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2013

    entatlrg macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    I find that's often the case too ... people have nice desktop setups but many spend most of their time onlaptop s. Makes sense in a way, especially if you like to work / enjoy your computer in different area's around the house and aren't really into using two computers.
  21. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    No setup to speak of. I do have a NAS but everything's stored on the SSD in the MBP.
  22. swerve147 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 12, 2013
    My only complaint using a rMBP as my main computer is the lack of USB ports in particular. 2 USB 3.0 ports is not enough once you start using your Mac for everything. I started out with an external HDD for multimedia storage and a wired gaming mouse (forget using a trackpad or magic mouse). I then added a USB headset and a video capture device and now I'm starting to struggle with the lack of available ports. This is exacerbated by the fact that I can't seem to find any reliable powered USB 3.0 hubs.

    Thunderbolt is of course present and I already have a LaCie rugged Thunderbolt for my Time Machine, but in general a good SSD/Thunderbolt enclosure combo is still a bit on the expensive side, and really Thunderbolt is underutilized at this point for anything but storage and displays. Most useful accessories are USB at this point. Hopefully Thunderbolt catches on soon.

    Otherwise in terms of pure performance I have no complaints.
  23. petvas macrumors 601


    Jul 20, 2006
    Mannheim, Germany
    Since I got my Macbook Pro I use my Mac much more than my iPad, at least at home. I can now take my laptop and use it on my couch. I prefer that very much compared to my iPad. The display is great, and I have a real computer instead of a tablet. Of course the iPad is still needed and I use it mainly when on the road.
    I don't miss my Mac Mini at all.
  24. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I've been using MacBook Pros as my main computer since before the intel days. I had a brief stint with a Mac Pro but found that portable nature of the MBP beat out the power of the MP (and I didn't really use the expandability).

    I think the current power of the rMBP make it an ideal computer for nearly anything you through at it :D
  25. bbapps thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 19, 2008
    Hoping next gen of MBPr will have a-bit lower price on the SSD options; I would like to have at least a 512 SSD in order to keep the swapping of files to a minimum.

    That is worrying me some, given some of what I want to do is to convert my blu-ray collection. Started to on my existing iMac, but it was taking 16+ hours for single blu-ray, CPU pegged the whole time; thus, I sort of bailed on the project. Maybe after getting a new computer, I'll put the iMac to task again (e.g. won't be so worried about frying anything.).

    I gotta have a big screen, especially when doing any development type activities; at least 2 terminal windows, manual/browser, editor. Swapping between multiple Desktops just seems to interrupt my thought process on certain things.

    Looked at the Belkin, sounds like the release is getting very close. Looks like a nice option. However, unless I'm missing something, I do wish it had a displayport. Seems the only display you could use on it would be the Apple TB display. Granted the existing TB display only has USB 2.0 ports, but I'm hearing the next gen TB display should be coming up pretty quick which I'm sure will have USB 3.0 and hopefully keep the firewire ports.

Share This Page