Photographer buying Refurb Macbook Pro, Help!

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by oofshan, Nov 4, 2014.

  1. oofshan, Nov 4, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2014

    oofshan macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2014
    #1
    I have never owned a mac computer so this is all very new for me. I also have never made such a big purchase, so it is a big deal.
    I'm a part-time photographer and graphic design student so I need a laptop which can run Photoshop and Lightroom with ease.
    I want to buy refurbished and my budget is under $2000. Ideally though the sweet spot would be about $1500.
    At first I was set on purchasing a 13" because I preferred the smaller size and portability however I know there are a lot of upgrades and benefits to the 15" which may make it more cost effective.
    I really just want the best refurb, bang for my buck I can get without throwing away money on specs I do not need.

    I currently have a Sony Vaio pc and it has 4GB RAM and i5 core 2.53ghz.
    It has been ok with storing my photos, have never ran out of storage space. However it is really slow, old and Lightroom lags like crazy.

    The refurb options I had my eye on were...

    Refurbished 13.3-inch MacBook Pro 2.8GHz Dual-core Intel i7 with Retina Display
    8GB of 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
    512GB Flash Storage
    $1599
    Refurbished 15.4-inch MacBook Pro 2.2GHz Quad-core Intel i7 with Retina Display
    16GB of 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM

    256GB Flash Storage
    $1699
    Refurbished 15.4-inch MacBook Pro 2.3GHz Quad-core Intel i7 with Retina Display
    16GB of 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
    512GB Flash Storage
    $1989

    but I could be way off for what I need, I am not really sure. I really appreciate any advice.
     
  2. Bruno09 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2013
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    Far from here
    #2
    Hi,

    I think you should edit your message and add the RAM info...
     
  3. oofshan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2014
    #3
    That would be helpful, wouldn't it! I added that thanks
     
  4. Alimar macrumors 6502a

    Alimar

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2014
    Location:
    New York State
    #4
    This option would work well:
    Refurbished 15.4-inch MacBook Pro 2.2GHz Quad-core Intel i7 with Retina Display
    16GB of 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM

    256GB Flash Storage too small, especially for large PSD files and scratch disk space used by PhotoShop.

    A larger external drive may be in order.
     
  5. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #5
    Some that play into this is you strategy for library storage. I have a rMBP with 1TB SSD. The purpose of the 1TB SSD is not for having huge space for apps or image storage. The purchase is to have plenty of space to collect raw images during multiple week trips. As I download the raw files in the evening, I cull and do preliminary edits (usually with Lr presets). When I get home I drag the kept images (saved by date) to the main LR library that is on external HDDs. I have zero need to try to travel around with TBs of images. What I do to show my work is to export Collections in LR to folders of jpg files on my external drive. Then I tell iTunes to synch those folders of jpg to my iPad.

    I only need around 200GB of SSD space so far to have Yosemite, Lightroom, Perfecto Photo Suite 9, Helicon Focus and few other apps. So you may be able to get by with 256GB SSD if you will put you images on external drives. You may want a 500GB SSD to allow some image capture during trips/shoots, and then move the files off later to your external library.

    BTW, plan to have separate external drive, or a Time Capsule, to do backups. We see it all the time where someone is crying for help and you ask....do you have a backup. And all too often the answer is no.

    I hope some of this ramble helps.
     
  6. oofshan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2014
    #6
    Thanks for all the info. So sounds like you agree the 15" with 256gb would be best.
    I am definitely planning on buying a external hard drive.
     
  7. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #7
    The one with 512 would be "safer" bet depending on which apps you will run in the future. But if the budget only allows for the 256, that should not be a problem if you use an external drive for storing things on the road.
     
  8. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #8
    If I were you, I'd lean towards the 2.3/16/512 configuration, simply because for the extra storage space and also that it actually has a discrete NVIDIA GT 750M.
     
  9. Freyqq macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2004
    #9
    As external drives can be USB powered, it isn't really a huge deal to bring a drive along on trips. As long as 256gb can handle all your needs for a day, you can move all non-active projects to the external.

    ----------

    A dgpu wouldn't help at much for his use case.
     
  10. Brian Y macrumors 68040

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    Oct 21, 2012
    #10
    Go for the 2.2 15" IMO, unless you really need 512GB of space, or a dedicated GPU.

    The 2.3GHz could be a 2012 (with the 650M) or the 2013 (with the 750M). Iris Pro is more than powerful enough for Photoshop.
     
  11. MacInTO macrumors 6502a

    MacInTO

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Location:
    Canada, eh!
    #11
    Go for as much RAM and SSD storage as possible. Camera files are only getting larger and more complex. It's good to have the speed of the SSD and the RAM to move it around.

    My main Aperture library (about 100 GB in size) resides on the SSD and my raw files reside on external drives. I have a 2012 15" rMBP with a 768 SSD. It's 2/3 empty, but when I'm in the field, I temporarily store raw images on the SSD and transfer them to the external storage when I'm home.

    It's good workflow and efficient that I don't have to carry external drives around that risk getting damaged in transit.
     
  12. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #12
    I have the 2.4/8/256 13" rmbp and I use Lr a lot. It never lags.
    The only difference is the screen size and the ssd. I'd rather have 512gb.
     
  13. gngan macrumors 68000

    gngan

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    Jan 1, 2009
    Location:
    MacWorld
    #13
    I don't do photography for living but I do use LR all the time. Nothing fancy though. Just raw files from 5D Mark III and light editing in LR.

    early 2011 MBP with 128gb SSD and 1tb in optical bay. No lag whatsoever. So any rMBP should work for you.
     
  14. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #14
    I like this option since it maximizes the hardware for the future. I also prefer the 15" MBP since it offers you the best screen real estate. I didn't like the 13" MBP using LR and Photoshop. I found it too confining. The quad core processors in the 15" model are also a nice addition and provide that extra oomph in performance.
     
  15. newellj macrumors 601

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    Oct 15, 2014
    Location:
    Boston, MA, US
    #15
    That won't help with LR.
     
  16. rmackner macrumors member

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    Oct 28, 2014
    #16
    I'd assume that i5 is a quad core and unless you get a 15" inch your stuck with a dual core i5/i7. I don't know how current that sony laptop is but i'd guess it's around the same specs as the mid level macbook pros. You would pretty much just gain OSX, thunderbolt, a better screen and bragging rights. Unless your current laptop is having major issues I would assume a mid level macbook isn't going to make things much better. It's not like lightroom will run any better on OSX then it does on a windows box with the same hardware. Lightroom is all CPU based and unless you get a quad i7 (not that a i7 is even needed to run lightroom) I don't think you will see much of a difference. Also if you are still running a spinning disk drive in that computer a SSD will most likely be a huge performance upgrade for you.
     
  17. cjmillsnun macrumors 68020

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    Aug 28, 2009
    #17
    Yup that's the one I'd go for.
     
  18. rmackner macrumors member

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    Oct 28, 2014
    #18
    Why would anyone even attempt to edit anything on a laptop screen? If you're going to do any real work on a MBP plug it into a darn external monitor.
     
  19. meson macrumors regular

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    Apr 29, 2014
    #19
    Being a student, I assume portability is important to you, otherwise, I would look at an iMac.

    With that said, I would go with the lower priced 15" in your situation. I would love to have one, but it just wasn't in my budget. It will run circles around the 13" and has the ram you need. I wouldn't be able to justify $300 for an extra 256GB of storage. It just means that you will have to put inactive projects on an external drive.

    You can put a 256 GB SATAIII SSD in a USB enclosure for about $125 to use as a scratch disk, so PS isn't eating up your storage space while working. Add on another HDD in an enclosure for inactive projects, and you will be just fine.

    Maybe someday you'll be able to buy an affordable SSD to replace the internal SSD, but if not, you can certainly make do wit the 256GB machine.
     
  20. rmackner macrumors member

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    Oct 28, 2014
    #20
    I don't think 2 more cores is really enough to call it "running circles" around the 13". You get a bigger screen and a slightly better iGPU.
     
  21. cjmillsnun macrumors 68020

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    Aug 28, 2009
    #21
    I'd rather use my rMBP screen over my iMac for editing. The resolution is higher.

    ----------

    You also get 16GB of RAM whereas the 13" has 8.
     
  22. rmackner macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2014
    #22
    Well I would assume someone would buy a monitor that would be somewhat close to the resolution of the rMBP if you're editing high res photos.

    ----------

    You can upgrade the RAM to 16gb in the 13" and unless you are running VMs or multiple monitor's most users won't use more then 8gb of RAM.
     
  23. cjmillsnun macrumors 68020

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    Aug 28, 2009
    #23


    Why bother? The 15" rMBP screen is more than adequate, and it allows me to edit whilst I'm on the train home.

    You can't upgrade if you're getting from the refurb store. You have the choice of what's there. The RAM is soldered onto the board.

    He may not be using more than 8GB today, however when buying I get the best I can afford to anticipate my future needs.
     
  24. rmackner macrumors member

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    Oct 28, 2014
    #24
    The 4th gen chips are quite better with power consumption and any update to the iGPU is totally worth the extra money. And about the monitor, to each his own but I don't know why someone would edit photos on a small screen if you making your living off selling them. It's like mastering music with ear buds, sure it works but your not getting the full raw sound that monitors would give you.
     
  25. paolo- macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 24, 2008
    #25
    No brainer for me, get the 15" with the 256GB drive. For the same price as the 13" you get a much faster machine on top of having the larger screen which I believe is a definite plus over the 13" (much more than extra portability). The 512GB model doesn't seem to be worth it. 300$ is a lot for basically 256GB of flash. The money would be better spent on a nice external display, decent external storage...

    256GB is plenty if you can organize your files properly and get decent external storage. You might not be able to fit all of your Lightroom library locally but lightroom has the ability to split it up and even keep thumbnail locally. I have a decent setup for sketching, photo, video and music on my laptop and I'm only using 100GB including the assets for my current projects. I then have a small external 128GB SSD I use as a scratch disk I use to edit video and large 3.5 mechanical HDDs for backup and cold storage (done projects, older pictures, installation files...)
     

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