What 2016 MacBookPro for Adobe Indesign

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by UncleDicky, Jul 11, 2016.

  1. UncleDicky macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2016
    Hello all,
    I publish and edit a digital magazine and for the last 2 years have been using a colossal Alienware 18" screen gaming laptop to do this - mostly because I had one already and it was the only computer in the house with the graphic capability of running Adobe InDesign and the rest of the CC suite.

    However, it's now a few years old - keeps getting nicked by the kids to play games on and with an 18" screen and an aluminium chassis it weighs as much as a sack of potatoes and uses more power than London.

    I am therefore in the market for a new laptop to run Adobe InDesign and the CC suite in general.
    I usually manipulate some pretty high definition photos in Photoshop and the documents I am creating in InDesign are usually 100 A4 pages + and are converted into PDF for publishing.

    Now I have been considering some options including the new MS SurfacePro 4. However, one of my big issues is with Windows 10 - it is far from a perfect product and develops more bugs than a 3 year old in a pig sty and is one of my main reasons for stopping using the big gaming laptpop. The hangs and the windows created issues are causing huge productivity fails and are deeply frustrating. I am also not convinced by the build quality of the SP4 which I have read variable reviews on.

    I am not going to replace like for like as these big gaming laptops cost an absolute fortune - the current one still has an awesome spec and can run most games despite being 4 years old but then - it did cost £4k new.

    Now I know that using RAM intensive programmes on a solid state drive laptop with no forced cooling isn't a great idea for long periods of time and I know that Adobe software on very high definition screens can become very difficult to read, especially for those of us over 45. However, the plan is to connect the laptop to two large 40" monitors and it will sit on a base which has integrated cooling fans. I'm only going to be using the desktop publishing software when I am in the office with this set up.

    On the road it will mostly be word processing - ie writing and editing articles and photo file manipulation in Adobe Lightroom. Obviously the cost effective solution would be to get a new Windows desktop PC with a high spec for publishing but I do a lot of on the road work and am typically out and about most of the time - portability has become a major issue.

    I use an iPad Air for managing my photos with Lightroom and uploading to a Flickr account.

    I know absolutely nothing about MacBooks and their technical capabilities viz Adobe design software so am at a bit of a loss as to know which MacBook to go for.

    I am leaning towards a MacBook Pro 15 Retina Display with an i7 and 16 GB ram with a 2GB graphic card - however - is this overkill? I am not editing movies etc, just a magazine.

    What could I get away with? The above machine strikes me as ideal but it is also very expensive.

    I would be very much obliged if those in the know would be willing to make suggestions.
  2. thelorax76 macrumors newbie


    Jul 11, 2016
    I use Adobe CC every day on my MacBook and mostly InDesign. I do everything from brochures to graphics-intensive 200-page books.

    My current machine is a mid-2012 2.3 GHz i7 with 8GB of memory and a 256GB flash drive, and the GPU (dual video cards). This setup has worked really well, with my main frustration being the lack of space on the flash drive. Pictures and various drafts of DTP files take up a lot of space. So does Adobe CC. The 15" monitor is sometimes also a limitation; sometimes in the later drafts of the books, I will move the project over to a 27" iMac, where it's easier to see a whole spread and also the toolbars/palettes etc. Your external monitor should help you with that.

    This machine died on the weekend (coffee spill). I'm replacing it with a refurbished May 2015 model, upgrading to a 512GB drive and a 2.5GHz processor. Refurbished and a year old cuts down significantly on the cost. I debated also going with the single graphics card, which would have saved even more, but Adobe really does push the video. I wouldn't want any worse performance than I have now. Refurbs have the exact same warranty as new machines; I've had great luck with them in the past, as have many members of this forum.

    When I'm working in InDesign, I also regularly also have open PhotoShop, LightRoom, Illustrator, Acrobat, Bridge a browser with several tabs open (checking facts, looking for stock images, Facebook etc.), and Thunderbird. I may also open Word to look at submissions from authors. With all that, I rarely get spinning beach balls. Being able to work on projects without the grief of having everything crash is worth a bit of extra cost to me. I bet you rarely have just InDesign open when you are working!

    I love the high resolution screen. You can make the text on the actual document as big as you want for editing and lining up graphic elements. By now you know what all the palettes and icons say, so having those visible all the time is much more valuable than having them huge.

    On my current machine with the small flash drive and the slower processor, I can't really do even basic video editing in Premiere. Am hoping to be able to do that with the new one. You've said you don't edit video, so this isn't an issue with you.
  3. bent christian, Jul 11, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2016

    bent christian Suspended

    bent christian

    Nov 5, 2015
    Which ever model you get, make sure it has an SSD. The hard drive is the biggest bottleneck in any current Mac device.

    InDesign uses linking of images and fonts, so it is a relatively low-power application. In my experience, Acrobat and InDesign are the two applications with the lowest resource demand out of all the classic Adobe print apps. InDesign doesn't need much to run smoothly. i7 may be overkill. I am not sure how hyperthreading helps in InDesign. 16GB of RAM might be as well. I would say got for it, though. The i5 machines are worth considering. They are very capable. I work professionally in print and use a much less capable machine. My newer (2015) iMac (non-work, home machine) with the 2.8 i5 and 8GB of RAM is smooth and fast while using ID, PS, IL, LR together. I will get some skipped frames in Premiere if I use more than a few effects, but that is to be expected.

    Without knowing the intricacies of your work and as a general statement, you should be fine with:
    Any quad-core
    Solid state drive
    8-16GB of RAM
    Any graphics card

    IMO, you could buy any system with these specs and have a very capable machine for use in print. Technology requirements have really plateaued for us in the last five years. Any mid-tier machine will most likely be adequate.
  4. UncleDicky thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2016
    Thanks to both of you for your advice and taking the time to share your experiences.

    Indeed, I rarely have only InDesign open - typically I'll be running InDesign with 2 or 3 documents open, Photoshop, Word, Excel, Outlook, Chrome and the usual background processes that Windows 10 seems to sprout like warts.

    Having reappraised my requirements, I've concluded that the most important factor here for me is portability and speed of set up and write - I work full time as well as publish the magazine and also have a young family. This means that I have to frequently jam in work an hour here or an hour there and usually infront of the telly or in a hotel room or even the car. Booting quickly and reliably is really critical so a sound SSD is imperative as is a robust operating system.

    At the moment the choice appears to be going for an off the shelf MacBook Pro 15 with the 500 odd GB solid state, the separate 2 gig graphics card and the 16 gb ram. This is essentially the top of the range off the shelf Macbook and comes in at £2k. OR going back to Windows 10 with a Dell XPS 15 which is an extremely capable contender. There's not a lot in price for the high spec versions of these laptops - the difference is really in the lower end models of both where the Dell is considerably cheaper. Once you start talking i7, high performance graphic cards, large SSD drives, top of the range screens etc. you are basically looking at a few hundred quids difference if any.

    Pros for the Dell?
    touch screen and a brighter screen with 100% accurate adobe colours (is a touch screen necessary?)
    1TB or 2TB SSD drive (precludes lugging around additional storage - we know how large these files can be - they've got larger ever since I invested in a Fujifilm X professional camera system (absolutely awesome for you photogeeks)
    the ability to self fix and self upgrade (never underestimate this)
    it's as thin and as light as the MacBook

    Negs for the Dell
    Windows 10 - the fixability of it is also its weakness - it's the time involved in maintaining this, whilst I can do this it realistically means spending money on Dell pro support which is another £200 odd quid a year but includes next day on site service.
    Chassis - on the Dell is superb compared to 99% of competitors BUT it lacks the Aluminium palm rests of the MacBook and whilst they are carbon fibre (which works brilliantly on the 13" version) on the 15" version there is an ever so slight flex
    Screen sturdiness - the infinity screen edge trade off is there is ever so slight a twist in the screen - I wouldn't be happy lugging around without a hard shell case or it inadvertently getting in the hands of a small child when left open.
    Battery Life - Dell claim a whopping 17 hours but bench tests demonstrate 5 and a half. TBH this isn't a huge issue, it's unlikely I would have the battery munching software running like photoshop for 5 hours when on battery but I do known what Windows 10 can do to power supply
    Cooling - due to the way Windows 10 works the Dell generates an enormous amount of heat when working flat out - this is cooled with interior fans but it makes it impractical to use on your lap without a cooling pad of some sort and I understand the noise of the fans becomes wearing after a while especially in a quiet office or space.

    As I mentioned there is little to separate the cost of both systems at the top end. The Dell does have some technical advantages, many of the disadvantages with it come from the nature of the Windows operating system and Windows 10 which is yet to have some seriously annoying and potentially time munching bugs ironed out. Microsoft have yet to balance the pressure to create new operating systems with getting the last one bullet proof. This is one of the reasons why NT hang about for so long. If I could retrograde to Windows 7, a robust and reliable system then great and I could spec the machine thus but it hardly future proofs the scenario and when you're shelling out £2k then it is a compromise too far when the alternative machine - the MacBook comes in at the same and, OK whilst it isn't the sort of machine you can attack with a screwdriver and hacking is always a headache, it strikes me that the balance between portability and plug in and go capability together with reliability is going to be the thing that swings it.

    So - unless someone gives me a stupidly reasonable price on a top of the range Dell XPS 15 it will be the Apple MacBook Pro 15 with all the off the shelf trimmings.
  5. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2008
    I just bought a mid 2015 (current model for the moment :) ) 15" 2.5GHZ with the 2GB card for $2000 on eBay. It has like 70 battery cycles on it, and has apple care through Feb 2019. there are some similar deals on eBay right now. I saved almost $1000 buy buying a 4 month MBP. I think that machine will b perfectly fine for what you are wanting to do
  6. UncleDicky thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2016
    That's a very good deal indeed. I'm between a rock and a hard place on whether to chase a used one or a recon/new one. eGlobal can supply a US spec keyboard model - 15/2.5Ghz/2GBcard for £1850 which is about £150 less than Apple in the UK - the problem is it has a US keyboard - not in itself a hassle but when you add the delay in shipping from Hong Kong (price includes import charges) (I've been waiting 3 weeks for a dual sim Samsung Galaxy Edge 7 but they did send me a Fujinon 28mm lens in under a week) it suddenly starts to ask questions. Given that I can claim the VAT on the £2k Apple will charge me as this is the real cost to my business is £1600. There's also a CAPEX tax break on UK small businesses so I might even be able to right it off v tax! Given this I might just do a next day delivery from Apple - I am not sure if I can really face going into an Apple store - they are more like shrines than shops. If I can put it vs tax then I will buy now - if not I may wait until later in the year and buy a clearance.

    an associate visited me yesterday and the b@stard was waving around a brand new Surface Book - top of the range model. It was coping very well indeed with Adobe InDesign and Photoshop was running very quickly. Whilst it is a Windows machine, the fact it is made by Microsoft means that the windows installation is (usually) pretty robust. The problem with Windows is that it has to interface with dozens of 3rd party programmes and hardware bits some of which are of dubious pedigree and some of which are ridiculous in bloat and resource guzzling. I had a play with it and have to admit, it is a lovely bit of kit. BUT in the form I would need it it is eye wateringly expensive. It would, however, remove the necessity of lugging an iPad round with me and if you consider the upgrade to a 12" IPad pro which I will be adding to the equation if getting a MacBook pro then the price starts to look acceptable.

    Given all this, I will probably end up with the Mac, again - it is the reliability thing and I also like the way that Apple respects users with older machines. Microsoft, so new to the hardware market, have yet to give me this reassurance. the PC manufacturers - they don't care.
  7. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2008
    plus resale value is very high on Macs. i will probably get $500 for my iMac that is a base 2011. I paid $999 for it. A local place will give me $480 trade in for it :)
  8. UncleDicky thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2016
    Well - I ended up buying a Macbook Pro 15 Retina with the 5xx SSD drive and 16 gigaroonies of RAM and the juicy I7 processor and AMD graphics card.

    It handles Adobe in it's sleep. El Capitane works very well on it and I like the way it truly uses the iCloud as a storage solution.

    Boots well and the battery life is good and when I fancy playing the Tyrant it will run Rome Total War 2 and Attila.

    Thanks for all your advice, I did consider waiting for the new chip but given its been gossip and rumour for over a year decided to simply just get on with it. I hope I will be able to get a good 5 years out of it - the only downside for me is that it doesn't have a touch screen. I do find myself jabbing at the screen like a chimpanzee wondering why it isn't responding - ah, the wonder of evolution!
  9. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2008
  10. lympero macrumors 6502a


    Sep 1, 2008
    Arta, Greece

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