Switching to Mobile Mac, need advice

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by IndigoDesign, May 25, 2015.

  1. IndigoDesign macrumors regular

    May 25, 2015
    Hello fellow mac fans,
    let me quickly introduce myself, I'm a self-employed graphics designer from austria/europe, been in the trade for over 10 years now, 6 of wich as being my own boss, always worked on macs. Love them.

    Here is my situation,
    my business is changing, the way I do my business that is. I need to be more and more mobile. I've been on a mac mini for the past 2 and a half years which is holding up tremendously well for the kind of work I do (mostly brochures, catalogues, multi-page files in Indesign, some photo-retouching, some vector graphics, no heavylifting like video editing other than some gameplay clips of my Playstation 4 exploits in iMovie, ...).

    My mac mini still sits at the (for me) very comfortable stats of 2,6 GHz i7 Quad, 16 GB DDR 3 1600MHz Ram, HD4000 1024 MB Graphics and a 1TB Fusion Drive. I payed like 800 Euro for it which is - in my book - a steal for its performance. I'm perfectly happy with it and I wouldn't even think of upgrading my elegant little friend for years to come if my job situation wasn't changing. Also my private life. To juggle on-location appointments with customers, the constant need for last-minute changes, a fresh new love living about an hour from me and transferring files to the printers at ungodly times - all those circumstances call for a more mobile oriented way of working, of living even.

    I'm evaluating my options here and I'd love to actually replace my mac mini with a mobile solution as my one and only worktool (don't worry, got triple backup running) of choice, hooking it up at home to my 32" screen and use it in clamshell mode and do most of the other work on the road.

    Now my question is this: I've been waiting for update-rumours on the 15 inch macbook pro for a while and now it got "refreshed" instead of getting a complete new overhaul. I get it, its because of chip shortage and new generation of innards. I don't know how long it will take for a complete redesign, people say 3-5 months, others say not before 2017 with that kind of refresh the Macbook Pro got. So... do I get a Macbook Pro NOW and do I even NEED one for the kind of work I do?

    I get that the Macbook pro is just what the name implies: the end of it all mobile workstation for professionals, also sufficient for video editors and sound-guys. I know about the ridiculously fast SSD solution in the pro too. But do I need it?
    My mac mini is PLENTY fast for what I do and Im super-happy with it, yet on "paper" the stats of the macbook pro don't look too superior to my almost 3 year old mac mini (I know I know, SSD, graphics card, form factor, ...) and the price is totally ok for what you get, but I'm not sure if I'm not overshooting things with that kind of price.

    So... the only other options I see is the 13" and the "new macbooks". But will they suffice? Anyone with some insight in how the models compare to each other or basicly just anyone with an opinion on this matter is welcome to help me make a decision! I like to get the best mix of value for money and tech that suits my needs, but right now, I feel a bit like "sitting between chairs".

    Any help's appreciated,
    thanks in advance!

  2. Cuniac macrumors 6502a

    Jan 23, 2013
    Ok, so there are a few things to consider when looking at Macbooks. Mainly what are you going to be doing with them. Because you stated that you will be doing graphical work I would strongly recommend a MacBook that has a retina display, as this may help you in your job. This rules out the MacBook air as an option.

    Next is going to be how much power do you need. With what you have now you are pulling a score of 12711 on Mac Geekbench, so you will want to get a MacBook that has at least that high of a score. If your looking at new macs the entry level 15inch will give you 12973. Its a small jump in CPU power, with a much faster SSD and better integrated graphics. I would not even really consider the MacBook an option as it will be a bit slower than the mini and the new keyboard is a little rough in my opinion.

    The 13 inch is pretty good and would have faster graphics and SSD but CPU power would only come in at 7373 due to its only a dual core, so it would not be as fast as the mini.

    Lastly comes how much space do you need, that entry level 15 only comes with 256GB, going to 512GB would be a good option as it will only add $300 on that price, and going to 1TB adds $800 if you really need it. You may be better off looking into cloud storage or using an external instead of spending that much money.

    CPU Score from https://browser.primatelabs.com/mac-benchmarks used Multicore 64bit results (note the MBP 13 has a higher single-core but multi-core is slower due to fewer cores, most mac apps utilize multiple cores. Also I'm using the 2014 MBP results as the CPU did not change and these are purely CPU power scores and do not take the GPU in consideration.
  3. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    I would get the 15 inch, it is your business after all and the faster it is the more money you can make, this will soon pay off the few hundred more euros you spend on the 15 inch vs the 13 inch.

    I don't think you need the dGPU but by the time you upgrade 512GB or 1TB upgrade you might as well get the dGPU model. This model will also run a 5K screen in the future which may well come in handy

    For me, your best mobile come desktop single solution, would be the top end 15 inch rMBP with 512gb.
  4. IndigoDesign thread starter macrumors regular

    May 25, 2015
    Thanks alot for all that valuable input so far. I've also boiled it down to the top-of-the-line 15" with 512 GB. The only thing I'm left wondering is, upgrade now or wait? I'd upgrade if broadwell or even skylake comes within 6-8 months, but not any longer. I fear skylake will slip into 2017 even.

    I'll scout the respective threads about that subject to make myself a picture.
    It's just... being able to whip out my MBP and do work anywhere would be a big increase in my work- and life-quality as I'm struggling between appointments, rushing home quickly just to do a 10 minute correction and send a file to the printers. Argh. Choices.

    Thanks again though! Really great advice there!
  5. Frost17 macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2011
    I don't think waiting for Skylake will be a deal breaker for what you need it for. Unless you really want the new processor, who knows when that will come out? I'd buy it now and enjoy the portability.
  6. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    You might be fine with just a little MacBook if the screen size is enough. If you work at home on the desktop anyway. The 15" is really expensive but for your use the entry version with only Intel graphics would be fine. You can wait for Skylake but you will be waiting half a year and if it isn't a redesign I doubt the wait would be worth it for you.
    Since the new - just released - 15" isn't really any better I would just get a refurbished or second hand 15". They are all fine for performance and performance wise not much has happened in the last 2 years. They are all basically the same, even the SSD speeds translate to intangible effects in real use cases.

    Really bad time to buy a Mac with the price increases lately. Not that they were ever cheap but now they are out of their minds. Maybe the refurb and second hand market don't have those adjusted prices yet.
    I am from austria too btw. I would buy a Asus UX501 today if I was in the market for a notebook of that kind, not a MBP. But if all your software is Mac I guess you are locked in.

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5 May 25, 2015