Never bought a Macbook before, need help figuring out what to get!?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by kngiraffe, Jul 10, 2015.

  1. kngiraffe macrumors member

    kngiraffe

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2015
    #1
    I just graduated college with a degree in Communications. I'm looking for something that would allow me to run finalcut and photoshop. Not at the same time but be able to allow them to run smoothly.

    I've been looking at Macbook Pro's and I'm not sure which route to go. If I should go with the
    "13-inch MacBook Pro
    2.9GHz Dual-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz
    8GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM — 2x4GB
    1TB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm
    SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    Backlit Keyboard (English) & User's Guide
    AppleCare Protection Plan for MacBook / MacBook Air / 13" MacBook Pro - Auto-enroll"

    or if I should go with the Retina ones. With the Pros with Retina, I'm completely confused as to what route I should go, and which one would be best for me. I plan on using my pro for like I said photoshop and finalcut but also for surfing the web, netflix, NHL gamecenter, tumblr, fb, twitter, pinterest, basically the basic things online. so I need something that will be able to handle all of those things and not lag, or give me issues like my old Dell has. It's 5 years old and slow as dirt and everything just stops responding 9 times out of 10.

    I've looked at the refurbished ones and I really don't have a problem buying any of those, I just don't know where to start when it comes to retina. Since I'm already spending a lot, I want to make sure that what I'm spending on a laptop will have everything that I want/need and I won't regret not getting something else.

    So basically my main two questions are should i go Macbook Pro with CD rom or Macbook pro with retina? And if I go retina which one should I get/what add ons should I pay for based on what I've selected above and what my uses are?

    Thank you!!
     
  2. throAU, Jul 10, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2015

    throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    #2
    If you're considering 13" machines, get the retina.

    WAY better battery life, better cpu, better GPU, SSD (game changer), lighter weight, better screen, etc.

    I would suggest getting as much storage as you can afford, for your purposes 8 GB ram (standard on the retinas now) should be fine.

    For me, the sweet spot (in terms of cost vs. capacity) was 512 GB of storage - bumping to 1 TB of SSD is a big, big jump in cost and i just don't need that much yet.

    I would not buy less than 256 GB though (especially if you're doing video). People may say "oh just put your stuff on an external drive!" but that defeats the purpose of having an SSD for me. I want SSD storage because i want to be able to work quickly. If all my work is on some crappy external drive, its not fast any more. It's also another box i have to lug around with me.

    Also - bear in mind that the Mac has a really awesome backup program called time machine. It backs up stuff that is on your mac pretty automatically. it won't back up the stuff you have scattered on external drives. So thats another reason to keep your work on the computer's internal storage (and NOT store it on an external drive as per other's suggestions). Who cares if you lose the operating system and need to reinstall if something goes wrong - it's your data that is important!

    Also:

    If getting the amount of storage you need on a 13" MBP retina seems a bit too expensive, consider a Macbook Air. You will make some sacrifice in screen quality, but they're still a pretty capable machine, and as per my reasoning above, i consider having plenty of SSD to work from to be very important.

    1 more thing:

    If you are making heavy use of Final cut - consider a 15" machine. The 15s are quad core (vs dual in the 13s) and can render significantly faster than the 13" machines. There is an associated cost/weight trade-off. The 13" machines are totally usable for that sort of thing, but if the time to render things is of great importance, you want a quad core machine.
     
  3. kngiraffe thread starter macrumors member

    kngiraffe

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2015
    #3
    thank you! I appreciate your advice. I would like to get as much memory as I can on whichever one I choose. The only downfall is the retinas are sooo expensive /: but I'll definitely keep your suggestion in mind. I definitely don't want to screw myself out of anything, ram or memory. At this point, I just want to give someone my money and they can just pick one out for me. LOL. would you recommend refurbished ones? or just get a brand new one?
     
  4. z31fanatic macrumors 6502a

    z31fanatic

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    Mukilteo, WA USA
    #4
    What is your max budget? And are you only looking at 13 models?
     
  5. throAU, Jul 10, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2015

    throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    #5
    As above, what is your budget?

    If you can't afford a retina machine with enough storage, again, i'd seriously consider the Air. The Air loses out on screen quality, but unlike the retina Macbook (non-pro) the CPU in it is still quite fast and it is much cheaper, depending on the spec you order.

    But when you bump an air up to 8 GB RAM and 256 GB plus of SSD storage (which I would suggest for your workload), it starts getting close to the cost of a 13" retina macbook pro, and you have to ask yourself whether it is worth giving up the ports on the pro, and the retina display.

    for what you want to do, i would however suggest steering well clear of the retina Macbook 12". Not because they're a bad machine or whatever - but for your expected workload, they're just not the best idea. They make a lot of compromises on CPU power and ports to get the size down, that will hurt your workload.


    edit:
    Also consider a refurb retina 13" machine too if you can find one with plenty of SSD storage and preferably 8 GB of RAM. Even an older retina 13" is probably better suited to your purposes than an Air. Again, the Air will do the job, but you will miss the retina display - not just resolution either, its viewing angle is way better too. The 13" non-retina machine is a big step down in all respects though, so I'd definitely rule that out. Unless you stick an SSD in it, but just look at what that does to the cost on Apple's shopping cart... and you're still dealing with way worse battery, weight, etc.
     
  6. T5BRICK macrumors 604

    T5BRICK

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    Location:
    Oregon
    #6
    I'd suggest the retina model. Pick up a refurb 2015 unit with the SSD size you need. 256GB is pretty good for most people. 512GB is what I went for so I could have a boot camp partition and not have to worry about space. 8GB is plenty of RAM for most people. If you feel like upgrading to 16GB, I won't dissuade you. I will point out that the i7 upgrade isn't worth the money, so stick with the i5 CPU.
     
  7. TheIguana, Jul 10, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2015

    TheIguana macrumors 6502a

    TheIguana

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    Sep 26, 2004
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    Canada
    #7
    What level of video editing are you going to be doing with it? Is this for home video work or pro stuff? What resolution will the video be at? HD? 4K?

    In either case, screen realestate is a key factor for video editing. If you are going to be using Final Cut I would highly advise you get a retina display Mac. The ability to play with resolutions to get more workspace will save you tons of pain when editing.

    Some will say you can get away with a 128Gb SSD... but if you are doing any type of video work you would be out of your mind to go with anything less than a 256Gb model.
     
  8. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

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    Feb 13, 2012
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    #8
    Yeah definitely don't bother with the i7 on the 13" machine. It's a difference of something like 100-200 mhz of clock rate and a megabyte of L3 cache - for a large cost increase. Performance difference will be in the order of 2-5% if that - on totally CPU bound applications. So not worth it.

    I did consider maxing out my 13" machine when i bought it with i7, 16 GB RAM and 1TB SSD, but the cost came out at $3700 AU which is just way beyond what I wanted to spend.

    So i bought the off-the-shelf 512 GB option with 8 GB and 2.9 GHz i5, saving $1200 and getting basically the same performance. No regrets. If i out-grow the machine in 2 year's time I'll sell and upgrade then (using the $1200 i saved from not doing it today :D)
     
  9. kngiraffe thread starter macrumors member

    kngiraffe

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    Jul 10, 2015
    #9
    My max budget would be 1700. ideal range between 1300 -1500. preferably only 13 but for real if the price is right and it's an 15, that's fine too
     
  10. kngiraffe thread starter macrumors member

    kngiraffe

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2015
    #10
    My max budget would be 1700. ideal range between 1300 -1500. I don't think an air would work for the things that I could possibly be doing in the future. I want to just have my butt covered just in case. I really don't want the retina screen because i've read it's bad on your eyes and I really don't need the crisper font and stuff. I've found several refurbished ones and it's just deciding which ones I would need/would be best for me. My dad and I have never bought a mac before so we don't know what is good and what is bad and what is recommended for buying one.

    I'll attach the ones that I've found.

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9oFQu1_ynzpZG1xeVdjTk54N2M/view?usp=sharing
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9oFQu1_ynzpYnFpWXJJOEJYa0k/view?usp=sharing
     
  11. kngiraffe thread starter macrumors member

    kngiraffe

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    Jul 10, 2015
    #11
    That's the thing though, I don't have a job yet (well I do but not one that my degree is in) so I don't know what exactly i would be doing. But probably I would assume/believe anything to 15 seconds to maybe 2 minutes top. I would only be doing video if it was for PSA's. I might end up not having to use it but it doesn't hurt to have the space and ram just in case I need to use it. Photoshop though, I definitely would like to be able to run on it.
     
  12. kngiraffe thread starter macrumors member

    kngiraffe

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2015
    #12
    ahh okay, so avoid the i7 because it's not really that big of a differences and not worth the money? I'll definitely keep that in mind. I would like to save as much money as I can, so if there is anything that I don't need or would be a waste, I would appreciate anyone telling me. I want a good quality laptop, one that is a huge upgrade from my dell inspiron but I also don't want to go broke in the process. lol
     
  13. kngiraffe thread starter macrumors member

    kngiraffe

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2015
    #13
    I have a TB harddrive that i actually have so it's 500 Mac and 500 Pc or something like that. I'll probably buy another one from Best Buy or somewhere if I need another one, but with 256GB I would be okay and everything would still run smoothly and I wouldn't have to deal with the consist 'not responding' bs.?
     
  14. kngiraffe thread starter macrumors member

    kngiraffe

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    Jul 10, 2015
    #14
  15. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #15
    On the 13", yes. It's not worth the money.

    The 3.1GHz i7 is only 5-8% better than the baseline 2.7GHz i5 at best.
     
  16. z31fanatic macrumors 6502a

    z31fanatic

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    Mukilteo, WA USA
    #16
    Whomever told you that the Retina is bad for your eyes must have been very drunk or high on drugs. The retina screen is a pleasure to work with. Your eyes will thank you.

    At your $1700 max budget, I'd go for a refurbished base 15". It has the quad core i7 which is almost twice as fast as the dual core, 16GB of RAM, 256GB storage, and the better Iris Pro graphics.

    Here is a mid 2014 refurbished directly from Apple

    http://store.apple.com/us/product/F...-22GHz-Quad-core-Intel-i7-with-Retina-Display

    Buy it, close thread, and enjoy your new machine. :D
     
  17. kngiraffe thread starter macrumors member

    kngiraffe

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    Jul 10, 2015
    #17
  18. TheIguana, Jul 12, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2015

    TheIguana macrumors 6502a

    TheIguana

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    Canada
    #18
    The retina is a much better deal and bluntly your probably going to be a lot happier with it than a model from >2.5 years ago. I'll add that if your going to be doing video editing, the ability to switch to a higher resolution will make your eyes feel better and help make your workflow work a little nicer.
     
  19. Rhinoevans macrumors 6502

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    Oct 5, 2012
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV
    #19
    If it were me I would buy the basic non retina 13 inch (4G ram/500G HD). $1089 and upgrade ram to 16G (Crucial for $100) and add a Samsung 850 Evo 256G ($90) or the 512G ($165). Some will say the non retina is outdated and maybe it is, but it is still a powerful computer for what you want to do. Maybe your last opportunity to buy an Apple computer that you can upgrade yourself!!!
     
  20. gngan macrumors 68000

    gngan

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    #20

    Exactly my thought.
     
  21. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

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    Oct 24, 2013
    #21
    The Non retina is a bad deal for 3 year old hardware that is as heavy as a 15 inch retina and doesn't have an SSD (this is the most important factor, yes you can put an SSD in and up the RAM but that will put you at the price point of a retina refurb which is a much better, lighter, longer lasting machine with a far better screen, bluetooth 4, AC wifi etc) or a retina screen.

    you will be disappointed....
     
  22. throAU, Jul 13, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2015

    throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

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    #22
    Thing is, the non-retina machines have fans that constantly spin, vastly inferior cooling, way noisier and way worse battery life - even before you consider the retina display on the new machine and the several year old hardware in the classic...

    If you're a tweaker, sure - you can stick 16 GB of RAM in a classic machine. You can do that in a retina if you order it with it. You also lose out on the PCIe SSD speed on the classic machine - and really, if you want to play system builder, you're opening up the can of worms that many people buy apple computers to avoid.

    Been there, done that with upgrading and tweaking stuff - in my late 30s now, i just want to buy something appropriately specced, have it do the job i bought it for, for 3-4 years then replace it with the new one.

    If you want to upgrade and tweak things, more power to you, but I deal with computer stuff all day at work (I'm an IT projects team leader / network / VOIP / system admin) and playing with hardware at home is the last thing i want to do with my free time now :D



    edit:
    OP: the big decisions you have to make are (and this is the process I used):

    Do you want a quad core or a dual? Quad forces you to 15" - but unless you're doing high end stuff, dual is fine.
    Is 13" screen too small? Or is 15" too big/heavy?
    How much SSD do you need?
    Do you need discrete GPU (and if you're thinking about high end gaming, MacBooks are not for you)?

    Once you work out the above: pick how much SSD you need in the 13" machine and either buy an off the shelf model (this is how i decided on the 2.9 GHz 512GB) or order one online. Be aware BTO can get expensive real fast and you can end up paying 50% more for a machine that isn't really much better. Save the money to upgrade to a whole new machine sooner.

    If you're going 15" for reasons of CPU power, I'd suggest stepping to the i7 to get hyper threading as it can make a big difference - but on the 13" machines all the CPUs are much of a muchness (the i5 and i7 in dual core is virtually the same). You're splitting hairs between 13" machine's CPUs really - the big factor is the SSD size you want.

    If you have a special requirement for heaps of RAM, bump to 16 GB, but you're going to be very much a niche case if you do. If you don't know if you need any more than 8 GB, you probably don't.
     
  23. TheIguana macrumors 6502a

    TheIguana

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    Location:
    Canada
    #23
    The lack of a Retina display is the big deal breaker in my mind with the non-retina 13"... 1280x800 resolution is extremely limiting during a video editing workflow. Given the OP wants to use this at least partially for video editing it seems bonkers to go with a non-retina.

    Additionally, the Intel 6100 in the retina is a far superior card to the Intel 4000 in the non-retina.
     
  24. kngiraffe thread starter macrumors member

    kngiraffe

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    Jul 10, 2015
    #24
    is any of that upgrading and crap possible if I get apple care? I don't believe my apple care will still be valid if I do that stuff. Or am i wrong?
     
  25. TheIguana macrumors 6502a

    TheIguana

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    Sep 26, 2004
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    Canada
    #25
    They are considered user-replacable parts on the non-retinas. But you should make sure you hold onto the original parts as you may need to put them back in for trouble shooting if something stops working.

    Out of interest, have you been to an Apple Store to have a look at these models?
     

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