rMBP vs. MBP for Musicians

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by thetotster, Jul 10, 2013.

  1. thetotster macrumors newbie

    Jul 9, 2013
    Hey, guys! I'm a newbie... I'm a Surface RT owner planning on moving to a MacBook Pro sometime in the next 9 months. I'm also a keyboardist (amateur) hoping to get more involved in the music creation/editing field and some graphic design here and there.

    Anyway, I have a strong desire to purchase the 13” rMBP due to its beautiful screen, SSD, 8 gigs of RAM, and the lighter/thinner hardware. I’m also looking at the regular MBP with a 750 gig HDD, 8 gigs of RAM, and the i7 processor.

    So, for those who are actively involved in the music editing/creation process, which would serve me better? The i7 with the HDD or the i5 with the SSD? I’m under the assumption that the i7 on a plain MBP would be better for the job. I adore the rMBP’s display, so I’d love to have one, but not if it would be a worse performer.

  2. ddany macrumors member

    Oct 16, 2010
    I can't compare the 2 because I have never used az rMBP. I just wanna say, no matter which you buy, make sure, you get SSD!!!
    I had HDD in my MBP, last summer i put 128gb SSD in it, and like a new 3x faster computer.
    Btw, I'm playing guitar, thourgh garage band, and the MBP is just fine. (mid-2010)

    Good luck
  3. scbond macrumors 6502

    Oct 16, 2010
    Nottingham, UK
    I know you said a bit of graphic design here and there but as a musician you really don't need the Retina display. If you did graphic design for a living then I would say you could make use of the Retina display but only as a luxury in my opinion.
  4. fratey macrumors regular

    May 6, 2010
    An SSS will speed things up massively. Adding that to the classic MBP makes the price quite close - and I'm sure the difference is worth it for the better, thinner body and a screen with four times the resolution.

    Using a DAW is quite hard at 1280x800, and the retina allows you to use up to 1680x1050 virtually.
  5. vpro macrumors 65816


    Jun 8, 2012
    I'm a recording artist and visual artist.

    For me, my completely maxed-out, late 2011 17" MBP is my production house all in one mega machine.

    The rMB is my show-off toy and helps out here and there for the 17" when I have more than 35 + tasks to run and complete every hour. I use each for very different reasons. I just love the way the rMB feels but the performance and overall delicious value of the 17"MBP is just endlessly impressive, and delivers without fail every time so I get all my work done when it needs to be done.
  6. Badrottie Suspended


    May 8, 2011
    Los Angeles
    next 9 months? Just wait until 8 months then come back here and start asking for help. For now just enjoy your Surface Pro. :) :apple:
  7. Suraj R. macrumors regular

    Feb 17, 2013
    I was able to run Logic with well over 25-30 tracks on my Core 2 Duo 2008 iMac. I got the new 2013 13" MacBook Air, base model upgraded to 8 GB of RAM, and it has more than enough power to run Logic (or whatever other music software you use) and even do some graphical design. Get the MBA, currently its better than any other 13" Macbook.
  8. Orlandoech macrumors 68040


    Jun 2, 2011
    Salt Lake City, UT
    13" rMBP for sure. You won't regret it, if you do, make sure it's within the 14 day return period lol.
  9. hammo123 macrumors member


    Jun 9, 2013
    + one to this comment

    Also the Firewire port on the 2011 MBP is a Godsend i reckon ..although you can use an adapter for the Thunderbolt port it's just more junk to get lost i feel:cool:
    *Pro Tools 9 & Reason with a RME fireface 800 & my 2011 MBP are a formidable & extremely portable little bag of Kit;)
  10. thetotster thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 9, 2013
    Thanks for the responses. everybody!

    Interesting. I've been contemplating the new MacBook Air with the i7. Between the rMBP with 8GBs of RAM/SSD/i7 and the MacBook Air with the same specs, what would be the difference in performance?
  11. Suraj R. macrumors regular

    Feb 17, 2013
    The current Air i7 outperforms the current rMBP i7. Same goes with the respective i5 versions.

    For Logic/DAWs a huge factor is the RAM, where 8 GB is more than enough (but suggested). The processors perform similarly (even though the rMBP has a higher clock speed, although that means very little by today's standards).

    You'd get the better display on the rMBP, but much greater battery life on the Air + better graphical abilities (better integrated chip that doesn't have to drive almost twice the pixels).

    Your say, but getting the 13" rMBP instead of the 13" MBA for performance doesn't really make sense.
  12. falconeight Guest


    Apr 6, 2010
    My rmbp encode and encodes video way faster than the 2013 MBA I had did. It also does it more quietly and wastes less battery while doing it.
  13. mitchellm macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2007
    I'm in the same boat I'm buying for music production and ssds are a huge upgrade I noticed it right away on my pc setup it's ashame you can't upgrade the ram on Rmbp's but 8 should do it as long as your not running 30 Vsti's. I was set on a cmbp 15 but I don't want to pay to upgrade the hd and ram it brings me right to the price of a retina.
  14. jeffreyfranz macrumors member


    May 21, 2012
    I'm not the OP, but this sounds like very good advice. :)
  15. Suraj R. macrumors regular

    Feb 17, 2013
    Thank you sir!


    Yeah might as well get the Retina there. What DAW are you planning on using?
  16. mitchellm macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2007
  17. Ardmanz, Jul 12, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2013

    Ardmanz macrumors regular

    Jul 12, 2013
    Sorry to hijack the thread, this is kind of relevant.

    I'm also looking to get my first rMBP soon.

    With most DAWs samples and sessions should be saved on a separate drive. I don't want to be lugging a external HDD around.

    If I bought a USB 3.0 64gb flash disk do you think this would be sufficient for samples and session saves? Are USB 3.0 flash drive transfer speeds reliable enough?

    I'll also be using Ableton 9 and sometimes Pro tools.
  18. mitchellm macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2007
    64gb? how big are your sample libraries? are you recording at 32 bit 48 khz if so you're gonna rack up space pretty quickly, i guess it depends how many samples you need with you at all times. it sounds big enough especially if you're using it for one session, i have no idea about recording or streaming directly to the flash drive that sounds sketchy to me but someone else might have input on that. i would def record to the internal ssd and then transfer things over when you are done.
  19. mcnallym macrumors 6502a

    Oct 28, 2008
    As a sideways idea, look at the current Classic MBPro. Then use an Optibay replacement to remove the Optical Drive and provide space for a Second HDD/SSD internally for the Sample and Sessions.

    That way everything internal. I am guessing if looking at the rMBP that the Optical Drive isn't important to you as it doesn't have one so would be happy to remove the Optical Drive from the Classic.
  20. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Same price using Apple's +4GB RAM and +256GB SSD ( for a around a total of $500 in price .... around $560 effective increase. ) ? That's purely a gimmick being used by Apple to track you that way. It doesn't cost that much at all to move the cMBP to RAM/SSD parity with a rMBP if stop using Apple's BTO system.

    8GB ( two 4GB soDIMMs) $80
    8GB ( one 8GB soDIMMs and keep using one of the 4's in std config) $88


    [ about $20 cheaper than Apple's prices. Crucial.com similar prices. ]

    Samsung 840 Pro 256GB $239

    [ about $200 cheaper than Apple's prices. Plus get to keep the HDD for back-ups. For $60 can get a USB 3.0 external enclosure to put HDD into.
    http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/firewire/EliteALmini/eSATA_FW800_FW400_USB ( the 0 GB option lower down). So for $100 less have system and new back-up drive. ]

    There is a difference in the screen. The default cMBP has a more glossy screen, but the "ready after upgrades" price is lower.
  21. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Is separate drives driven by the the DAW or by using HDDs ? For a pure HDD system that "rule of thumb" has merit. There is read/write latency overhead that gets worse on an HDD when samples and sessions are being stored on different parts of the same drive. Matching the number of spindles to the number of read/write streams you have will minimize the latency issues.

    SSDs are largely immune to that particular problem. Sure you can crank up the number of concurrent files being accessed to the point overwhelm a single SSDs ability to handle all the requests, but for a modern 6Gb/s SSD that's pretty high.
  22. Ardmanz macrumors regular

    Jul 12, 2013
    My sample libraries aren't humongous. I'd only need the samples and the session I'm actually working on saved onto the drive. When I get home I can back it up onto my server or external HDD.

    I have considered the cMBP but by the time I get it it will be 2 generations out of date (assuming it's not getting a refresh). I guess it depends on the price when I come to buying it.


    It still appears to be rule of thumb even with SSDs (at least with pro tools). I'm not entirely sure why but it can cause issues if you have your sessions and samples saved to the same drive the DAW is installed on.
  23. spoonie1972 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 17, 2012
    the only drag about "upgrading" to the rMBP is the lack of ports.

    it sounds silly, but really - the cMBP has FW, wired ethernet, and you dont lose your TB port... and you don't have to buy adapters.

    I was in the same dilemma. I went with the classic and threw in ram and ssd.

    YMMV. Best luck.

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