MBP--What configuration?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by udontno, Apr 18, 2017.

  1. udontno macrumors 6502


    Jul 19, 2011
    VA, USA
    Hey guys! I'm in the market for a new computer as my early 2011 MBP is a bit too sluggish for what I'm trying to get done right now. I'm looking at the new MBPs, but am not sure what configuration I should get as I am not really the best with knowing what specs I need.

    Here's what I do on my current laptop:
    manage iTunes library
    import and light editing of photos (photography is a hobby and I will often import thousands of pics at once)
    web browsing for fun and for school
    Microsoft Office for grad school assignments (I am an EndNote user, so I need Word otherwise I would be willing to use Pages)
    run apps like EndNote, Wunderlist, DayOne, 1Password, etc.
    Play Sims (not so much anymore as it runs like crap on my computer, but maybe would play more with a better computer)

    In an ideal world, I would buy a desktop but I do not have the space.

    I am looking at the 13in, but noticed that the 15in has more options for processors, ram, graphics cards, etc.

    Basically I want something I can get six years out of, like I managed with the last one. What do you suggest?

    Budget note: I have a lot of room to play here, but I don't want to just get the cream of the crop and it be overkill.
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I prefer the 15" for the simple fact that you get a larger display. Either machine will work well for you, but you definitely get more computer.
  3. udontno thread starter macrumors 6502


    Jul 19, 2011
    VA, USA
    I have been happy with the 13in, but I have never had a laptop any bigger so I'm not sure if I would prefer a larger screen. I would like to go the Apple Store and play with them, but it is 1.5 hours away. I would want to leave with a computer in hand if I went, which would be unlikely to happen as I would want to add more RAM, update the processor, this, that, or the other... and they likely wouldn't have them in stock.

    There's a Best Buy about 45 minutes in the opposite direction. I thought about trying to go there on Sunday, but they were closed as it was Easter.
  4. mpConroe macrumors regular


    Feb 14, 2017
    Arbroath (UK) / Wroclaw (PL)
    The main difference between the 13'' and 15'' is not only the screen, but the graphics card.
    In 13'' you got Intel's integrated graphics card and with 15'' it's AMD dedicated graphics card.
    And with 13'' for standard is 8GB (it's still a lot) and with 15'' it's 16GB (this is a lot of a lot).
    To be honest, I bought my 13'' and I want to use him minimum for 3 years. And sometimes I regret that I didn't buy 15'' but it's 500-600 pounds difference. It's a lot of money. So I decided to go with 13'' and buy iMac in the future.
  5. udontno thread starter macrumors 6502


    Jul 19, 2011
    VA, USA
    That's what I would like to do, but I am afraid I won't reach the point in life where I have the space for an iMac any time soon.
  6. Beachguy macrumors 6502a


    Nov 23, 2011
    One more thing about the 15 inch machines is they are quad core, not dual core.

    Any of the MBPs will be good, but in years 4,5,6 do you want "it's okay, but..." do you want "It's still a great machine"???

    I have a 2012 with a 2.6 Ghz i7, an SSD, and 16 gigs of RAM. I can't justify upgrading it because it still does everything I need and does so quickly.

    Best wishes for you, whatever you choose- you'll be very happy with it! Let us know what you decide.
  7. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Honestly buy whatever you want your use case will be fine whatever you buy.

    I have a 2013 rMBP 13 inch, it does all of the above without breaking sweat runs knights of the old republic 1 and 2 easily and has never skipped a beat. The new ones are faster slimmer lighter smaller with better brighter screens, faster ssds better graphics, better speakers, bigger trackpad, and thunderbolt 3 ports all round.

    Basically whatever you get will be a big step up and should easily last you 5 years as long as your usage doesn't change too much.
  8. pna macrumors 6502

    May 27, 2005
    I'd agree with this. My use cases aren't that much different from yours, and if anything are a bit more intensive as I do a lot of RAW photo editing in Lightroom and put together hour long movies with iMovie, and I run them on a similar configuration to what you have now. I have an early 2011 15" MBP with the high-res screen, 8 Gb ram that I upgraded myself, and a 1 Tb SSD that I also added myself that made an enormous difference in the responsiveness of the machine. (Side note, I also swapped out the optical drive for a 2 Tb internal hard drive when I noticed that those only cost about $80 now.).

    I feel like I should want to buy one of the new MBp's, and have the money to do so, but I'm with one of the above posters that when I actually look at the performance improvement over what I have right now, for the things that I do with it, it doesn't seem to be justifiable, and in my case would come with significant extra problems of needing to figure out how to handle my storage needs. When I took a look at the benchmarks for the various models now, they're unquestionably faster, but not nearly by the proportion I would have expected for how old my 2011 i7 is, and likely not faster enough to really change my computing for the better.

    It sounds like money isn't really the concern for you, so by all means upgrade and enjoy the new laptop, you've gotten a lot of use and enjoyment out of your last one! The new ones are definitely nice machines, and I would expect that you'll get many years out of whichever model you buy, and really enjoy it. If you haven't made any improvements to your current laptop, I'd also definitely consider instead spending $100-200 to upgrade your internal hard drive to an SSD, and I think it will suddenly feel like a completely different machine to you, and may last you quite a bit longer in the process.
  9. udontno thread starter macrumors 6502


    Jul 19, 2011
    VA, USA
    I was looking at the specs of my old late 2011 13in. MBP and was surprised at what a big jump I had made. I went to Best Buy and ultimately decided to get the base 15in. I am loving it so far and super excited at how snappy things are.

    I think it came out that I only spent a few hundred dollars more in my decision to get the 15in vs going and ordering a fully loaded 13in. I probably will earn close to the extra money I spent back in credit card rewards points.

    I know the sales guy in Best Buy thought I was crazy because I went in there looking broke, but spent a ton of money. I was lucky to get a decent tax turn, partly because of the out of state tuition I paid so I turned around and invested it in my education. Even though a new tattoo would have been tempting...

    I have not made any improvements to the 2011 MBP I have. My plan is to move everything off, wipe it clean, and then pass it back to my mother, as she bought it for me before I went off to college. They have an ancient (and I mean ANCIENT) desktop running Windows XP that they use for some things. She has a nice Windows work computer and uses my old iPad Mini. My dad has a Kindle Fire that I bought him for Christmas, but I don't know if he really knows what he is doing with it. If upgrading that machine would help them get some time out of it, I would love some advice. I have never upgraded RAM or anything of that nature before and I'm a little scared too, so suggestions there would be helpful.

    It's possible my best friend's dad could upgrade the old machine for me before I give it to my parents. He's a computer guy... but I don't know what sort of timeline he would be on to get that finished. He's been slow with other repairs for folks I know. I also live 3.5 hours from him and my parents, so I don't see them that often.

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