nMP, MBP, or MBA?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Crike .40, Dec 19, 2013.

  1. Crike .40, Dec 19, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2013

    Crike .40 macrumors member

    Aug 9, 2006
    Oxnard Shores (Ventura), CA
    Hey all, I am looking for some buying advice:

    I have an original 11" MacBook Air no upgrades and a heavily upgraded 2009 Mac Pro (quad). Both are starting to exhibit slow downs (particularly the pro) and battery issues (the air). Also, I like to have newer machinery some it is a bit of a vanity/quality of life purchase as well. I use the Air while working (as a teacher and tech coordinator at a local high school) for presentations, data entry, and network management. The battery life is terrible, I'm almost out of SSD space, and the thing is just pretty darn slow. I love the size, and most of the time it works just fine. My Mac Pro is used primarily to edit photos when I help my wife on photo shoots, do graphic design for work (mostly newspaper ads, newsletters, posters, and website), and play wow. The computer acts strange, hanging quite a bit (especially in safari and/or numbers). I have tried replacing all of the RAM, SSD, HDs, and video card (returning back to original parts) and it still behaves the same. I also have an iPad mini that i use for less complex work tasks and several windows desktops at work.

    I'm looking to replace one or both of the computers with new hardware - replacing the Pro is more of a priority, but I'm also willing to buy a stopgap solution while waiting for another round of upgrades to find a better price/performance point for my needs.

    My options (as I see them) are:

    (as a teacher I get edu discount)

    13" MBP retina 1399 - would lose ram, 2 cores, and video performance from the pro, but would easily outpace the air, would use as a replacement for the pro for the interim, and would do any heavy lifting on my wife's 2011 iMac.

    11" MBA (fully upgraded) 1489 - would run pretty close to the 13MBPr would pick up i7, and double the SSD but lose out on graphics and screen. Size benefit (for my concerns) compared to 13. interim solution.

    15" MBP retina (stock) 2399 - or upgraded 3029 - Would be pretty similar to my pro in performance (but would be working correctly) but falls far short of the new Mac Pro and costs almost the same. - would be a long-term solution

    new Mac Pro (base) 2699 - upgraded 3969 - would purchase upgrades over time to RAM and SSD (video cards if ever available). Would by a large margin be the fastest option and could (if I keep upsetting myself) be a huge price increase. I can price itself out of my range pretty quickly. Gfx is more important to me than processor cores so the quad is fine for me. This would be a permanent solution, but would require me switching exclusively to my iPad on the road once my old MBA dies. Eventually I'm sure I'd want to buy a new air-like device, but would be beating up my budget pretty badly if it was anytime soon.

    (EDIT) I guess I could also go for a new Mac Mini when they come out - which would work as an interim device but wouldn't be any faster than the 11/13 and I would still need to replace the old MBA at some point in the not-too distant future. If someone has a good case here, though, I'm willing to hear it out.

    Thanks for any advice you can offer! (sorry for the long windedness)
  2. ozaz macrumors 65816

    Feb 27, 2011
    Do you really need a mac pro? You don't mention video editing, for example, as a use case. Isn't a mini sufficient for photo editing and graphic design? I guess WOW might be why? (I don't know anything about gaming)

    Based on what you said, I would think a mini + 2013 MBA (incredible battery life) would be the way to go.
  3. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    You don't really need a mac pro!!

    For what you have listed as your usage, the 13 inch rMBP will be easily enough to fulfill all your needs speedily and with ease for years to come. Connected to an external screen and keyboard and mouse it'll replace your mac pro as well.

    If you want a long term solution the 15 inch rMBP will be best, look at the new henge dock for turning it into a desktop monster when working at home.

  4. VI™ macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2010
    Shepherdsturd, WV
    How big of a screen are you running at home when editing? I do heavy photo editing for my photo business and running a i5 mini with the AMD card from about 1-2 years ago with 16GB of RAM is not the best solution. I'm pushing a 30" monitor with 2560x1600 resolution and although it gets the job done, depending on how serious the edits get, it can get a little slow. It's adequate, but not perfect. I have a brand new 15" rMBP with 16GB of ram (middle of the road with the 750m) and it's been pretty quick in editing for what I've used it for in the past week. However, I haven't connected it to the 30" yet.
  5. Crike .40 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 9, 2006
    Oxnard Shores (Ventura), CA
    Thanks for the feedback. I'm def leaning toward the 15 rMBP at this point. Just priced it out and am waiting on the trade in value from power max.
  6. pukifloyd macrumors 6502a


    Jun 25, 2008
    I would vote for rMBP too with a thunderbolt display (if you don't already have one) ... you get both portability and power with it!
  7. Black.Infinity macrumors 6502


    Apr 17, 2010
    Apple tree-Toronto
  8. Crike .40 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 9, 2006
    Oxnard Shores (Ventura), CA
    Have had 4 iMacs and had the logic board or video card go out on all of them (2 g5s and 2intel). Probably just bad luck but I don't feel like paying for a screen I don't need and once I spec it out the cost is about the same as the r15 or the Mac pro
  9. amoda macrumors 6502a

    Aug 9, 2006
    Would you be willing to purchase a refurbished model?

    I'm currently using the base model 2012 15" Retina, and I'm finding it more than capable for photo and video editing. I use CS6 & Photomatix Pro (for HDR) frequently and they run really well. Will it be as quick as the Mac Pro? No, but it will also be significantly cheaper.

    Right now, Apple USA has:

    - Base 2012 15" Retina model - $1,599
    - 2012 model with upgraded CPU & SSD - $1,899
    - Early 2013 Ultimate model (16GB ram, 512GB SSD, 2.7Ghz Quad) - $2,169

    The Early 2013 model would be a beast, still highly portable, and comes with a fantastic display built in. It would also have a discrete GPU, unlike the late 2013 base model.
  10. Crike .40 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 9, 2006
    Oxnard Shores (Ventura), CA
    I've thought refurb but really like the battery life haswell/crystalwell offers. I might wait for the late 2013s to go up on refurb. With edu the top stock model is only 2399, not much different than the early 2013 refurb


    Currently at 24 but wanting to go dual display once dell releases the 28 4k
  11. chaosbunny macrumors 68000


    Mar 11, 2005
    down to earth, far away from any clouds
    Have you done a clean reinstall of the OS on your Mac Pro? Is there anything you have not tried yet? That machine should be great for the things you do for years to come.

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