New to MacBooks - which spec do I need?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by rabbit8587, Aug 4, 2014.

  1. rabbit8587 macrumors newbie

    Aug 4, 2014
    Hi all

    Many thanks in advance for any help.

    My current Asus laptop has died on me after 2 years (typically all my laptops last me 2 years). I have always had Windows laptops in the past.

    I have an iphone and an ipad which is why I'm now looking to Apple for my next laptop. However, I'm finding trying to decide which spec I need a nightmare.

    I'm looking at the new MacBook Pro retina model which has just come out.

    Requirements as follows:

    - On the whole, I have my laptop on all evening every evening and all day weekends.
    - I usually have at least 4-5 browser tabs open at a time (eg always have facebook and twitter open in the background, then may be actively looking at at least another 2 pages at once). I also usually keep my mailbox open.
    - I take a lot of large photos (18 megapixels a time) and use photo-editing software photoshop and lightroom (open the same time as all my browser windows)
    - I don’t do any video editing or serious gaming. I don’t do any programming or web development or anything. My main usage is internet browsing and photography.
    - I have a lot of music but currently signed up to itunes match which keeps it in the cloud.
    - My current laptop screen is 15 inches. I have an ipad for on-the-move, I don’t really take my laptop out and about (possibly just because it’s too bulky). I feel like it could be a bit of a shock going down to 13 inches and possibly not the best for the photography. However the 15 inch models are ridiculously expensive.
    It’s my understanding the newest OS will require quite a lot of memory.

    Any help gratefully received. I’d be looking at the new mackbook pro retina models which came out last week. Customising them is possible, but I’m leaning towards buying from John Lewis and getting 5 year warranty which would mean I’d have to stick to the pre-configured models.
  2. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    what's your budget?

    I write this in every thread: Try to get the 2013 models on sale! They are basically the same as the 2014 models.
  3. someoneoutthere, Aug 4, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2014

    someoneoutthere macrumors regular

    Jul 27, 2014
    The Great Lakes State
    I switched from Windows platform to Mac just last week. I opted in for the high-end 15" rMBP, with dedicated GPU.
    On top of your daily usage, I also do occasional video editing and little bit of programming.
    Just yesterday I went to a local coffee shop, and used it on battery. I installed gfxcardstatus before I did so that I could only stick with the integrated GPU (Iris Pro) to see how it would perform and how the battery life would be.
    With iTunes radio streaming, a few active browser tabs open, and some Steam downloading, I got little over 6 hours working with Lightroom.
    Lightroom performance was just smooth. Since you will be doing only some photo-editing, I would suggest you to go with the base 15" rMBP with iGPU and call it good. It now comes with 16 GB RAM, which is just fine.
    As far as the storage goes, get a 2 TB USB 3.0 external hdd. Put all your work there, and if you use Lightroom, there is a new setting now where you can "catalog" all your work with smart previews; it saves a cached version of all your images on your MAC hard drive using VERY LITTLE space and you can still edit them like you are editing the original file - and sync later when you connect your external HDD. You will find it very convenient.
    Hope this helps, best.

    Edit: 15" screen would be just fine, opting for the 13" could really make things tight when it comes to photo-editing. It is still a matter of personal preference, but I'd like to have some screen estate for myself, especially having used to have a 17.3" laptop for such a long time.
  4. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    what was your screen brightness on?
    Lr is smooth with all current MacBooks.
  5. 556fmjoe macrumors 65816


    Apr 19, 2014
    Any of them. If it was me, I'd just get the cheapest 2013 refurb I can find.
  6. capathy21 macrumors 65816


    Jun 16, 2014
    Houston, Texas
    This is not true. Memory management in Mavericks and Yosemite mean your memory actually goes farther than it used to.

    What is your budget?

    As Meister said, the 2013 models are a much better deal since they are virtually the same.

    If you want a 2014 model and want the 15 inch, the base model should serve your needs well. The 2014 base 15 comes with 16GB of ram which is more than enough for everyone. If you can get a 2013 base model, 8GB of ram would do you fine as well.
  7. someoneoutthere macrumors regular

    Jul 27, 2014
    The Great Lakes State
    It was around 1/2 way on. I don't like to have the screen too bright. At home, it's generally around 1/3 way on when I don't have a direct light source behind me.
  8. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    capathy is right. since you are going to use your macbook mainly at home I'd recommend:

    1. lowest base mba + thunderbolt display :) --> 1600,-

    2. 2013 base 15" and don't pay more than 1400,- for it
  9. rabbit8587 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 4, 2014
    Thanks so much for all your replies, they are really appreciated.

    Technically I could afford any of them if I had to....however that doesn't mean that I can justify paying top price for a top end one if a cheaper model would suit my needs - they are VERY pricey!

    I have just been to the apple store to have a look at the different screen sizes in person. I agree the 15 inch would have the better ram and much more screen estate - the photos stored on the store models looked amazing on that screen, though the 13 inch was so light and portable which made it just seem really attractive. It's not so much that I have the laptop sitting at my desk, but more on my lap in the living room or on the bed with me.

    Thanks again :)
  10. Justinhub2003 macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2012
    Cincinnati Oh

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