MBP for graphic design

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by modula, Aug 24, 2012.

  1. modula macrumors newbie

    Jan 13, 2012
    Does anyone out there use a MBP as their primary graphic design machine (Adobe Suite, 3d modelling etc)? I normally use a Mac Pro but having moved abroad temporarily, having something smaller to take back home would be handy - but I'm concerned that a new MBP (not a retina model) may not be up to task. I would hook up an external 1080p monitor, maybe two - how well do MacBook Pros cope with this please? I'm also concerned that it seems as though unless you get a retina model, you can only have 8Gb of RAM. Sorry, know this is a bit of an open question, but any input from designers would be great please!
  2. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    The 2011 and 2012 15" models are exceptionally fast for this kind of stuff if we're comparing to the quad mac pro. I don't think you'll be disappointed. If you're rendering 3d motion graphics, expect the thing to run extremely hot. I think high temperatures are the most irritating thing. It can throttle. If you're doing something like transcoding, the charger can't really supply enough power and it can eventually drain the battery. You aren't likely to experience this with something like photoshop/illustrator/indesign. For this kind of stuff, it's worth going with 16GB of ram. 8 can still be tight on big files, and 16 is a cheaper fix than a sizable ssd and still significantly faster. It's also $50 or so for 8 and only around $100 for 16. A year ago it was more like $500.
  3. Orlandoech macrumors 68040


    Jun 2, 2011
    Salt Lake City, UT

    May/June of last year 16GB was over $1000, I was like GOT DAMN!
  4. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    Yeah I wouldn't have suggested it at that time for most people. I would've told them to go the ssd route. Adobe recommends 8GB of ram for CS6. OP mentioned motion graphics so he could mean After Effects, C4D, etc. None of those suggest any less than 8, and after effects is remarkably ram hungry. Given the $50 difference between the 2, I'd just suggest maxing out the ram. I think this is one of those areas where it is totally worth it. You get a lot of mileage for your money there. The other thing would be "ideally" one of the gpus with 1GB of vram given the use cases. This isn't the same as gaming. Vram is a much bigger factor here. If the OP uses After Effects CS6, he may consider the 2012s due to its use of CUDA, but these are things where the OP would need to read up on specifics to determine if he's affected. CUDA is mainly used in raytrace functions and a couple other things.
  5. modula thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 13, 2012
    Thanks for the replies. I'm seriously considering a MBP instead of MP now, just for the convenience of it all. Am I right in thinking that unless you have daisy-chained thunderbolt displays (not likely; I am not a millionaire, or even close to it) you can only output to one external monitor? As the MBP screens are so small I would ideally want two external 24" + monitors...
  6. thermodynamic Suspended


    May 3, 2009
    I do - mostly web design and development.

    I have an early-2011 model.

    It rocks.

    Either 2011 or 2012 models will be blisteringly fast. The Sandy Bridge chipset (2011) and Ivy Bridge (2012) both offer desktop performance in a laptop. (Both are on par with a 2009 Mac Pro tower...)

    Laptops will always be slower than desktops, but Sandy and Ivy Bridge are phenomenal improvements...

    I did try 16GB in mine, even "Mac Certified" Corsair RAM that listed the 2011 MBP as a compatible model. It looked generic, and - you betcha - it failed under RAM stress tests, so I returned it. But, yesterday, somebody pointed this out:


    I took the plunge. 16GB would be great, and I've had great luck with Corsair's Vengeance line in the past. My Mac Pro has 16GB of RAM and it gets used, especially if I have a VM in the background (SQL Server) for data connectivity testing, for classes...

    CS6 will be great on the MBP as well; Adobe reprogrammed Liquify and other tools to use the GPU instead of the CPU and - on any computer, Mac or Windows, performance improvements are staggering... One can really use the tool now!


    I don't recall if it was BareFeats, or MacWorld, but someone did a benchmark comparison between a 2011 MBP (Sandy Bridge) and a 2009 Mac Pro (and some iMacs). The 2011 MBP tied the 2009 Mac Pro (a model comparable to mine) in many ways. And the 2012 model with Ivy Bridge will be maybe 10% faster as Ivy is merely evolutionary, whereas Sandy was revolutionary compared to its predecessor... Apple did make the right choice in waiting for quad core mobile processors...

    One thing: If you do 3D rendering, video editing, etc, the MBP will get VERY hot. I still use desktops for anything that will be CPU-intensive for any length of time. I don't like running CPU-intensive software for long lengths of time due to the CPU temperature rising (90C). For short periods, it's okay... but never for long periods of time (~15 minutes+)

    I try to keep mine running under 60C at all times. With a VM in the background and fans running higher, it's possible. Without VMs running it's not a problem...
  7. modula thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 13, 2012
    Thanks for all your help! Really useful. Temperature is a concern as I will do some 3D rendering (not a lot though), and being in Thailand whatever computer I get is going to be running quite hot anyway! With the Macbook Pro, does anyone know how worthwhile it would be opting for the quad 2.7 i7 over the quad 2.6 i7 please? Also, how necessary would it be to go for the more expensive 1680 x 1050 screen? I would be using the MBP as the second screen most of the time as I will buy a 24 inch 1920 x 1200 screen for most work to be done on...
    Cheers - obviously I would go to an Apple store to size this all up for myself but there are none in Thailand, and in unofficial stores my lack of Thai language skills create a huge barrier!

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