Potential new MacBook user - advice please

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by welshrob, Mar 5, 2017.

  1. welshrob macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2017
    #1
    Hi, I'm new to the forums but have read posts here now and again in the past, so I hope I have posted in the correct place.

    I am considering purchasing a MacBook pro. This would be my first Mac product, I have used other iOS Apple products before and currently own an iPhone 5s and an iPad 3rd gen.

    As part of my job I design leaflets and posters so use Adobe InDesign, Photoshop most days and occasionally Illustrator. There can also be the occasional sound and (simple) video editing. I'm also a photographer so would use Photoshop and Lightroom quite a bit outside of work too.

    My current laptop is a 2009 (I think) Sony Vaio VPCF11C5E. When I got it I bought the customised version with a HD screen and bluray burner. It's a fairly big and heavy machine, I think it was intended to be used as a desktop replacement, so is not very portable to carry backwards and forwards to work everyday. It has started to struggle recently, it can take a while to boot up fully, and updates seem to take forever. It will sometimes refuse to turn on unless I turn it over so it's upside down for a bit. Some functions of photoshop can take a while as the laptop is not that powerful any more.

    After having a photography exhibition at the beginning of 2016 I realised just how unsuited my Sony laptop is now. I bought a Spyder datacolor to try to improve the reliability of what I saw on screen compared to when I printed the photos but I found the colourspace was something like 70%.

    I had decided that my next laptop would be a MacBook, but I thought there wasn't point buying one then as updates were way overdue. Having waited until the 2016 Model was announced, I was a little bit disappointed with the price increase. Even though I am able to afford to purchase a new laptop outright I had thought of buying one on a salary sacrifice scheme but the UK Government are killing these type of schemes. So now with the current 0% financing option offered by Apple I am considering taking the plunge.

    I am considering upgrading the 15" base model to 2.9GHz, 1TB and the Radeon 460, so that it would be more capable of coping with anything I might want to throw at it. If possible I would like to try a few games on it, nothing too graphics intensive though, things like Motorsport Manager, Simcity, and maybe Kerball if that would run.

    I have looking at Windows alternatives such as the Dell XPS or Surfacebook (although the latter is only 13") but they don't seem to have that many advantages, not even that much of a price advantage for a similar spec machine. So I'm asking people's thoughts and experiences of similar usage. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. xb2003 macrumors 6502

    xb2003

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    MO
    #2
    Lots of people will probably suggest the XPS. I own an XPS 13, 2011 MacBook Pro 13, and 2015 MacBook Pro 15. I personally don't like the XPS very well. The build quality just isn't there, nor is battery life. The thing gets hot and the fans kick up way sooner than I think it should. On the flip side, it has a way better screen and is way smaller than my 2011 13. I haven't even used the XPS 15, so I can't really comment there.

    Unless you need the pen and tablet form factor, I don't know why you'd choose a surface book. It has the power of a 13" MBP at about the cost of the 15".

    You probably don't need the 460 for what you do, but I understand the desire to have more than you need. I will say that the 1TB storage upgrade is a waste of money for most people. For the money they want for that extra 500GB you can get a darn nice external solution.
     
  3. andy9l macrumors 68000

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    Aug 31, 2009
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    England, UK
    #3
    Good, impartial advice in the post above. Rare to come across these days.

    Definitely agree on avoiding the 1TB upgrade - that's a huge cost saving, and do you really need >500GB of data with you at ALL times? If not, external storage is a more cost efficient, and often more convenient, route.

    Remember to add on the cost of Apple Care to your purchase decision. Please, please do not risk buying a first-generation product that you are pulling out all stops to afford, without covering yourself with Apple Care.
     
  4. Sanpete macrumors 68020

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    Nov 17, 2016
    Location:
    Utah
    #4
    The XPS 9560 should be cheaper with similar specs. It has some performance advantages with newer chips, mainly in the faster dGPU, and since it's a Windows machine, games will run quite a bit better.

    If you use Adobe RGB in your photography or work, the XPS 4K display aims at that color space, while the Mac aims at the P3 color space used in video. If you're using sRBG, both cover that completely. The 4K screen has higher resolution, the Mac screen is brighter and has better contrast.

    The XPS is more repairable and upgradable, including the option for 32 GB RAM. The latter option, which requires the Dell to use desktop RAM even for 16 GB, is one reason the Mac gets better battery life for light to medium use, despite the Dell's larger battery.

    The Dell has a greater variety of ports, but the Mac's ports are far more powerful and flexible. The Dell's Thunderbolt port is only half-speed. I believe you still need to add a dock to run an external UHD monitor from the XPS. The Mac will run 4 4Ks or 2 5Ks at 60 Hz straight from its ports.

    The Mac runs cooler and more quietly. The Dell still has some coil whine, from what I've read in user comments.

    The Mac has better speakers.

    The Mac is a little smaller and lighter.

    Many find the Mac to have better build quality, but some disagree.
     
  5. welshrob thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2017
    #5
    Thanks for the replies. I wasn't really considering the Surfacebook, I just mentioned it as it seemed to me the closest thing that Microsoft have to a MacBook.

    I was thinking of the 1TB as my current laptop has 500GB and I constantly have to manage my storage.

    The 460 so that it would be able to cope better with more graphics intensive tasks, plus it's the cheapest thing to upgrade. Is there a downside to upgrading it? Higher battery usage than the 455?

    Seems like the pros and cons of the XPS is as I thought. Having seen both the MacBook and XPS in a shop the MacBook did feel like a better built machine. Having a quieter running machine appeals more to me, for a long time my Sony was very noisy until I opened it up to replace the fan and reseat the heat sync with new thermal paste.

    Since the new Macbook had been announced I have been constantly looking at my options but I keep coming back to the MacBook. I think the most daunting thing to me is that I'd have to learn a completely new operating system because I've only ever used windows machines in the past. But I suppose it could be the same with getting a new Windows laptop as my Sony is still on Windows 7.

    EDIT: As for Apple Care. I would of course get that if I decided on the MacBook, but am I right in thinking that it doesn't have to be purchased now? As long as it's bought within the warranty period. i.e the first year?
     
  6. Sanpete macrumors 68020

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    Nov 17, 2016
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    Utah
    #6
    Yes, that's right.

    I haven't seen any indication of significant battery life difference with the 460, though it stands to reason it could use a bit more power when you max it out. But then you'd want that extra speed if you're maxing it out, probably.

    The OS is fairly straightforward for anything you're likely to want to do.
     
  7. SteveJUAE macrumors 68000

    SteveJUAE

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    Aug 14, 2015
    Location:
    Land of Smiles
    #7
    In truth there is no advantage in using a Mac over a PC for your software requirements.

    The main thing is having a laptop that is capable be it Apple or Windows

    There is some good reasons for opting for a less expensive option as the money may be better spent elsewhere eg better equipment for your camera or other laptop accessories etc

    If like your name implies you live in Wales or other more remote parts of UK Dell onsite support may be more useful to you as Applestore may be inconvenient to get to

    There is no reason to think the Dell would be hotter/noiser under your work flow, it can get hot but then it is a more capable laptop for eg gaming when the system is working hard

    Many get confused between aesthetics and build quality. The MBPs are nice looking but equally this gen is the least upgradable and worse to service and almost only consists of 2 serviceable parts (the screen and the base board) post AC 3 years part replacement has never been more expensive.

    The Dell upgradability should not be discounted easily IMO and as you mention the Surface Book nor should pen and touch given your software works well with MS pen's/touch and MSOffice

    Although I understand Adobe do not charge for platform migration be aware of versions in 64/32bit between platforms also it's likely your PC back-ups maybe in the wrong file format to be read by a MAC so do not dispose of your old system to hastily if you opt for a MAC to assist in file transfer

    Do not underestimate interference with your workflow changing OS although at least your software menus should be largely similar

    What is also not mentioned you can run Bootcamp and use W10 on a MBP and have the best of both worlds :)
     
  8. Lihp8270 macrumors regular

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    Dec 31, 2016
    #8
    1st Gen shouldn't be an issue. Consumer law over here in the UK gives us around 6 years for manufacturing issues.
     
  9. lauramayer macrumors regular

    lauramayer

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2016
    #9
    You forgot the OS.

    Please consider the OS!!!
     
  10. LegolasWang, Mar 5, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2017

    LegolasWang macrumors newbie

    LegolasWang

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2017
    #10
    I came from an Acer Aspire laptop(same level to XPS in terms of performance and build quality) to a maxed out MacBook Pro 15 this year. What I regret is that I haven't make that change earlier. The benefits is actually not the MacBook Pro's spec itself, but actually the combined experience with the MacOS. Windows 10 tortured me everyday with the updates and bugs. During my last few months of windows 10. My desktop stop showing up anything. You can still looked up file in file explorer but nothing will display on desktop anymore. A totally mess and waste lots of time tweaking things around. On Mac, the file management is much easier and as soon as you start trying things out, the system give back more and more. I would recommend take at least 1T SSD rather than buy a mobile one later. Because the concept of laptop here is not carrying anything other than needed. Mobile disk is another thing that are not supposed to be needed in first place.

    One more thing I'd like to talk is quite. New MBP behaves just like a fanless machine most of the time. It's absolutely quiet. When you use power hungry apps, the fan kick in for a while but becomes quite again immediately after you finish using that apps.

    I would suggest go with the MBP for MacOS. And regard the hardware as a bonus!
     
  11. tjwilliams25 macrumors 6502

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    Aug 10, 2014
    Location:
    Montana
    #11
    Having just taken the plunge on a new maxed-out 15 inch MacBook Pro, I would say that it's worth it. Not only is it one of Apple's best designs, but it's fast as sin. Many people complain about the lack of older ports, the "older components", and that the touch bar is a gimmick. I will tell you that none of that is true, unless you're completely unwilling to use adapters until the rest of the market catches up, or you're more worried about what a spec sheet says over real-world application. The true beauty of Apple is the ability to take components that are underpowered compared to the rest of the market and put them into a beautiful, thin case and make them run as if they're twice as powerful while being very energy efficient. The key being macOS is ridiculously optimized for the internals that Apple uses, because they control every aspect of the machine. That is one of the major drawbacks of Windows, one that Microsoft has been trying to fix with the Surface lineup. There are a few caveats to this design (i.e. software compatibility), however that has been almost completely rectified in most areas in the last 10 years.

    Also, as someone said above, Apple's screens are calibrated towards the P3 spec for video, but there's a professional-grade calibration tool built in to macOS so you can optimize it to your own use. As for the touch bar, I feel that it changes my editing workflow significantly in Final Cut and that it's use in the Adobe suite is probably as useful.

    I know that you mentioned that transitioning to a different OS may be difficult, but the similarities between the two make it fairly simple. Apple also has a ton of learning tools to make it easier as well.
     
  12. welshrob thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 5, 2017
    #12
    Thanks everyone. Guess I still have some thinking to do.
     
  13. lauramayer macrumors regular

    lauramayer

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    Apr 5, 2016
    #13
    You know you want the MacBook...so get one :)
     
  14. SteveJUAE macrumors 68000

    SteveJUAE

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    #14
    LOL you may be right but it seems a more emotive reason than logical :)

    Once you start talking about maxed out MBP where portability is a side issue for your business and your using cross platform software you may as well have a really good W10 desktop that will grow with changes with enough cash left over to buy a fine but more modest laptop MacOS or W10 for both business and pleasure IMO
     
  15. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    Boston
    #15
    I have the SurfaceBook and its a great machine, but you hit upon the issue I'm dealing with, 13" vs. 15" I may opt to sell the SB and go for a 15" machine. I'm undecided on what model to get. On my short list is the XPS 15, the MBP and the HP Spectre X360.

    What do you mean? The Dell is on the Kaby lake processor, its using a 45w processor, just like the MBP, its has a very good dGPU, the ram, HD and battery are replaceable/up-gradable. The SurfaceBook like the MBP is a sealed machine, you'll need to choose the configuration at purchase and live with it.
     
  16. Mindinversion macrumors 6502

    Mindinversion

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    Oct 9, 2008
    #16
    Something not mentioned: The Surface Book is only a dual core CPU. Can't say about the Dell, as I'd never buy one, but the MbP i15" is quad core.
     
  17. welshrob thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 5, 2017
    #17
    I do, I feel like I might regret not going for the MacBook if I get another Windows based laptop especially after holding out for the latest MacBook to be released.

    Sorry, I meant advantages for what the majority of my usage would be. I'm sure both the MacBook and the Dell would cope easily with what I'd use them for.
     
  18. Hieveryone macrumors 68030

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    Apr 11, 2014
    #18

    I have a 13" rMBP from 2013.

    It's got 2.6 GHz, 8 GBs of RAM, and 256 SSD space.

    It's good! Touch wood. I like it a lot.
     
  19. lauramayer macrumors regular

    lauramayer

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    Apr 5, 2016
    #19
    Sometimes I mixed up business and private. They are something not the same.

    For example I have stuff in my office that I don't have at home.

    My new advice for you. Buy online a MacBook try it for a week and if you don't like it send it back. After you tryed it, do the same with a Dell.

    After you tryed both devices you will know what to you want or need.
     
  20. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

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    Oct 24, 2013
    #20
    The main advantages are size and weight being low despite being able to handle most usages very fast, great battery life, optimised apps for hardware, best screen around, 4 k is pointless in a 15 inch screen but 500 nits brightness and p3 colour gamut is a real bonus, great speakers for a laptop and the fastest I/O around.

    You get 14 days to return it no questions asked so give one a try.
     
  21. SteveJUAE macrumors 68000

    SteveJUAE

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    #21
    Think your mixing me up with the OP :)

    I just bought a Dell for my youngest to replace his 2013 MBP 15" I can't fault it for his requirements or Dell on site support, it excels Apples offerings IMO

    I have bought 2 Macbooks my wife still uses one

    I do not like the current gen of MBP it's too much like mutton dressed as lamb for the premium they require, maybe the next gen will interest me if Apple mange to update it soon enough :rolleyes:
     
  22. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #22
    Apple;s 13" machine is dual core only and so its an apple's to apple's comparison when comparing the SB to the 13" MBP.

    The 15" MBP does indeed offer a quad core processor, and I believe a faster variant, i.e., 45w TDP model.

    What model did you get, XPS or Inspiron?
     
  23. Mindinversion macrumors 6502

    Mindinversion

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    #23
    Even after all this time, I CANNOT get used to them calling the 13" a "PRO" machine >.>
     
  24. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

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    #24
    Why?? It's perfect for many professionals on the go and always has been. It's great for office apps And the vast majority of daily professional applications it's slim and light and portable with a fantastic screen and great all day battery life. Basically it's apples ultrabook.
     
  25. Euro_Guy, Mar 8, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2017

    Euro_Guy macrumors newbie

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    Oct 16, 2016
    #25
    I decided between the MBP and the XPS 15. I went with the latter, and haven't regret it. The design is different, with the MBP probably having a more exclusive design, but I think the build quality is the same between the XPS and MBP. I have had zero issues which the XPS, which is something a fair deal of MBP 2016 cannot claim, unfortunately.

    The fans of my XPS do spin up when doing graphics-intensive stuff, but as of right now where I'm just surfing, working in PowerPoint and Outlook, it is dead silent. In practice, I get 6-7 hours of use per charge, whereas other computers (but maybe not the MBP?) get 8-9 hours. Not a big deal to me, but of course this is the downsize to the 4K IPS-screen.

    For me, the thin bezel and the ability to change HD, RAM and battery are positives. Each to his own, of course.

    If you're a photographer, the built-in SD card reader would be considered a clear advantage for the XPS. For high-resolution pictures in RAW format, which most photographers I know use, wireless transfer is simply way too slow. Having to carry around (and connect) a TB3 card reader to import photos is definitely possible, but I fail to understand why it should be necessary. I have never understood why Apple chose to drop the card reader in their PRO laptop. But again, maybe it's just me.
     

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