Quad Mac mini and MacBook Air, or 15" MacBook Pro

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by clarkjamesdigit, Apr 15, 2013.

  1. clarkjamesdigit macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2012
    Ok. so after my thread from last year http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1405208&page=2 I still haven't upgraded my hardware, but i'm about to for definite this time.

    I must have spent god knows how long in the apple store, but really the employees don't really know that much, besides this is a decision only I can make- but I will need some help

    basically i'm a photographer, and I do graphic/web design, occasionally some 3d rendering and video editing but it's not really a priority at the moment- but if I can make money doing it I will, and I think video and 3d will become more and more important to me in the future.

    My current laptop is 2.4ghz 2008 core2duo- old!

    here's what i'm thinking:

    i'm thinking 15" macbook pro/retina, but i'm starting to feel the size/weight are a problem for portability reasons.

    Maybe the 13"'s (upgraded to 2.9 i7) aren't powerful enough (and no gpu?) to be my sole laptop.

    So I started to think about getting 2 systems, a portable solution and a desktop solution.

    I already have a great 26" ips screen, but I wouldn't be against selling it, and I actually have an ipad right now, which I have 14 days to keep or return,

    option 1) 27" imac 2012 (need usb 3) for £1500 with a few large usb 3 drives, and then keep current laptop, upgrade with ssd and keep ipad

    option 2) 2008 mac pro with lots of ram, a few internal hdd's and an ssd, dual quad core 2.8ghz xeon's for about £600-700, and then a macbook air 11/13" for my on the go laptop. Keep or sell current laptop and don't bother with ipad

    option 3) 15" mbp/retina for around £1500, and keep ipad. or 13" 2.9ghz and pocket the change.

    option 4) quad core mac mini, maxed out ram with external drives, and then a 13/11" macbook air or possible base spec 13" pro, take back ipad

    I think all are pretty viable options, maybe the mac pro is the one that makes the least sense seeing as that FB ram is so expensive.
    I also think the 27" imac maybe isn't logical either- it's pretty but no inputs so I can't plug in my ps3 or other hardware, and I still don't have a quick or small laptop

    1) will I miss the gpu if I get the mini/air combo
    2) will the air be powerful enough as my main pc? I guess it will seeing as it geekbenches about double.- how about the i7 upgrade?

    I'm also thinking that a brand new ipad 4 (it was a gift) is too much ipad for me, maybe a refurb ipad 3 and saving £100 would be better, especially as i'm a new ipad user

    I also get educational discount


    one more thing
    my current laptop is glossy, but not as glossy as the new 'glass' covered models
    the retina from the looks of it isn't as glossy, so is probably comparable to my old laptop- I do a lot of editing in starbucks so that could be important to me.

    I love that you get 14 days to trial something, how strict are they about returns, does it have to be 100% perfect?

    I do hate the lack of upgradeability in the retina's, but if I get 16gb ram from the start, and then switch to spotify instead of itunes, and lightroom 5 has 'smart previews' where you keep the master raw files back at home and do your edits on jpeg previews when you're in the field- that could mean i'd be fine with 256gb- and with usb 3 externals, and wireless hard drives I think i'd be ok with 256.
  2. clarkjamesdigit thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2012
    I am loving the screen in this ipad- wow! I think my next machine has to be retina, so I'm thinking either base spec 13" retina with a Mac mini, or 2.9 ghz retina with bigger hard drive

    If I go with the 13" I'll return the ipad. If I go 15 I.ll keep it
  3. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    Just pointing out that the upgrade from the 2.5 i5 to 2.9 i7 nets you only about 900 points in Geekbench: 6600->7500. If power is important, you are better off with the 15" since those are quad cores.
  4. martinm0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 27, 2010
    I'd go Retina 15" and call it done. I do agree the iPad screen is just gorgeous and I'm having that feeling again with my 15 rMBP. And the rMBP is a beast with a 2.7 i7 and the 1GB GPU; the mini and air both only have integrated graphics so you're still missing out if you needed to do anything graphically intensive.

    Also, I was leery of moving from 13 MBA to a 15 rMBP due to the weight and size, and while it is very noticeable while holding both, I'm so over it now after using the rMPB for a month. Weight is totally worth it and really not that noticeable over time.
  5. wordsworth macrumors regular

    Apr 7, 2011
    Oops, wrong thread. I've moved my post to the correct place now. Apologies.
  6. cxc273 macrumors regular

    Dec 12, 2012
    Well, here's my read on what you've said and my thoughts, for whatever they're worth.

    It seems to me that you need both power and portability. If you're looking at a single-machine solution, then I would go with the 15" rMBA. The 13" rMBA won't have as many cores as the 15" version.

    My personal recommendation would be to go for a Mac Mini with memory and processor bumps, which you can use with your current monitor, and a base model Macbook Air -- 11" if possible, but 13" if you need the SD card slot. This combo probably satisfies nearly all of your stated requirements.
  7. Tony0693 macrumors newbie

    Feb 14, 2013
    rmpb 15 + keep ipad.

    rmb13 just won't cut it with a dual core and a integrated GPU. Try to get a refurbished 15 rmbp. They go for about the price of a i7 rmb13.

    Actually if you want to compare. For 1779$ ( both are at the same price):

    Refurbished 15.4-inch MacBook Pro 2.3GHz Quad-core Intel i7 with Retina Display
    Originally released June 2012
    15.4-inch (diagonal) Retina display; 2880-by-1800 resolution at 220 pixels per inch
    8GB of 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
    256GB Flash Storage
    720p FaceTime HD Camera
    NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 1GB of GDDR5 memory


    Refurbished 13.3-inch MacBook Pro 2.9GHz Dual-core Intel Core i7 with Retina Display
    Originally released October 2012
    13.3-inch (diagonal) Retina display; 2560-by-1600 resolution at 227 pixels per inch
    8GB of 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
    512GB Flash Storage
720p FaceTime HD Camera
Intel HD Graphics 4000

    Although theres double the storage in the 13 inch, the 15 is a wayyyy better machine.
  8. clarkjamesdigit thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2012
    thanks guys, the 13" retina/13" mbp is out the game then

    so my choice is either
    15" retina,
    classic 15" maybe with anti glare screen
    11"/13" air with mini- probably lose the ipad too

    so yeah, still no closer to a decision ha!

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