Most Affordable yet Capable New MBP for Music Production?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Sethaniel, Oct 28, 2016.

  1. Sethaniel macrumors newbie

    May 20, 2016
    While I'm disappointed along with everyone else the fact of the matter is my 8 year old computer is no longer relevant or capable. I need to get one of these new pros, and I would like to have it last at least 5 years.

    The main things I'd be using it for are general school task in college, but primarily music production. I run pro tools, but I'm interested in using logic pro as well. I've fairly new to music production, and as such I don't really know how demanding my projects will become. Lastly I might do some light gaming, but I've been consistently reducing my play so it's by no means a necessity, but I'd like the capability for modern games.

    Now looking at the different configurations I've been cycling through a few ideas, but I'd really appreciate feedback from others. I'm definitely getting a 15". My options are:

    2.6GHz / 512 SSD / Radeon Pro 460
    2.6GHz / 1TB SSD / Radeon Pro 450
    2.7GHz / 512 SSD / Radeon Pro 460
    2.7GHz / 512 SSD / Radeon Pro 455

    I think my questions are would the .1 CPU bonus noticeable improve my capability? I know that it increases the cache size by 2 GB, but I'm not sure well versed in understanding CPU so I'm not sure what that does for me. Then there's whether 512 is enough room for some sample libraries, because I haven't actually gotten any yet but am looking and would like them to be portable, but I'm not in need of excessive samples. I'm just wondering if an average amount of samples would fit with room for other things on the 512. Lastly, since I won't be using a monitor for the light gaming I do, would the lower dgpus be able to run moderate to high setting modern to near future games?

    Well that's it, thank you to anyone who take the time to respond!
  2. ekuLoN macrumors newbie


    Sep 6, 2016
    A country where a schizophrenic has ruled
    I think first one is ideal for your needs.
  3. MF878 macrumors regular


    Jul 12, 2011
    Auckland, New Zealand
    2.6GHz/460 is better than 2.7GHz/455 for the same money, so definitely eliminate 2.7GHz/455. The difference between the 460 and 455 will be far more noticeable (especially over time) than the difference between 2.7GHz and 2.6GHz. That makes it a question of whether or not you want to go 2.7GHz/460, and pay for the extra .1GHz and 2MB of cache. I'll be using mine for Logic Pro as well, and I went with 2.6GHz/460, I can't really see where I would benefit from the only slightly faster CPU.
  4. andreyush macrumors 6502


    Oct 24, 2015
    Ow cmon. Tell us how many tracks and plugins do you think you will use. Do you want a rmbp that will last min 5 years? You can choose from a late 2011 macbook pro with ssd and more ram to a mid-2015 rMBP. The lack of ports will be a pain in the a$$ if you don't buy dongles. Anyway....

    2.6GHz / 512GB/1TB SSD / Radeon Pro 450 - but for this money? for music production? I would gladly choose a refubished Mac Pro.
  5. enthawizeguy macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2007
    North Hollywood, CA
    what about for the 13 inch MacBook pro's for music production? my quad core i7 2.0 still runs great from 2011 so what about a dual core i5 3.0 6th generation in 2016?
  6. Sethaniel thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 20, 2016
    Thank you for the responses, I'm strongly leaving towards the 2.6/512/460.

    When I said I was new to music production I meant it haha I'm not really sure what the amount of tracks and plugins I average will be, I've worked with 20+, but that's for school, but as of now I don't see myself exceeding 15 tracks once I get into a flow. I do tend to use mostly virtual instruments.

    I would say that for this amount of money, 5 years is a minimum longevity, yes. I get what you're saying about the ports, but personally I don't see it as too much of a barrier, seeing as I will really only have 1 or 2 pieces of equipment that I'll could take on the go regularly, and I can just have straight to usb C cables for those like I would have anyways if they were usb A. And the usb C gives me peace of mind for whatever's to come in the future.

    If I didn't need portability a Mac pro would be great, but I'm constantly moving so I need a laptop at this point. In an ideal world I could have both.
  7. tbirdparis macrumors 6502

    May 30, 2015
    When it comes to the CPU for music production, my usual advice is to pay more attention to the turbo boost speed of the CPU rather than the regular clock rate. This is because when you're pushing the machine (playing software instruments live, running a mix with a great deal of plug ins), this is the mode the CPU is most often going to be in. Also applies for the speed of offline bounces. So in some cases where there's a big difference between the regular clock speed and the burst one, at least on paper the choice can be more clear. But with the new MBPs, it looks like there isn't much of a difference at all on this level. So I'd say get what you can afford, should be fine.

    It's probably also worth mentioning that I often use a 2012 15" MBP (I think it was the top spec one from the time, the last model where you could still put in a 2nd drive in place of the optical drive) as a secondary machine running Logic. We upgraded it to two internal SSDs (which aren't as fast as the PCI drives in recent notebooks), and honestly the machine is a beast for running Logic. I work in film music, so I'm often making huge orchestral mockups which can run up to 100+ tracks of very large Kontakt sound libraries and it runs these projects pretty much as well as the iMacs we use at the studio. Would obviously be better if it had more than 16GB RAM but, well, that seems to still be a pipe dream. Anyway I mention this to point out that any of the current 15" models (in terms of CPU grunt) should be more than fine for what you need.

    If anything, I'd put as much of the budget as I could into the biggest internal storage I could afford. If you really want to hang on to the machine for 5 years and you like the idea of having your sound library onboard, this is where you're going to most appreciate having spent more money. As you go along working on music in the coming years, you will definitely get more and more sound libraries and you are going to run out of space. 512GB wouldn't be enough for me, if (and it is definitely an if) I get one of these new MBPs, I would probably grudgingly end up coughing up the money for 2TB internal. Currently our standard sound library which we use on all of our Logic composing setups (identical sound bank on all machines) is nearly 3.5TB, on external Thunderbolt drives. I suppose I could pare that back a bit if I really wanted to have a fully portable workstation and squeeze it into the free space on a 2TB internal. But in our use-case, all of our current projects are kept available online in a big shared Dropbox folder, so even a MBP with 2TB internal wouldn't be enough for both. I'd be most likely to use the internal for the project Dropbox, and stick with having a big capacity fast and compact external drive for sound library, such at the 4TB WD My Passport Pro Thunderbolt drives we currently use. Those are pretty good (except when they get hot and the pretty loud fan kicks in). It's not the nirvana of having a laptop with everything in the box, no external drives needed.. but it's more cost-effective than bumping a MBP up to 2TB, and still gives you more room to grow your library over the years.

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6 October 28, 2016