which rMBP for photo editing

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

  1. gnyf macrumors newbie

    Jul 27, 2014
    Considering buying a new rMBP for use with Lightroom and Photoshop.
    I will primarily be using an external 4K monitor but uncertain if i should go with the 13" or 15" inch version.

    The 13" has newer but dual core and less powerfull graphics where as the 15" has older quadcore but more powerfull graphics....

    Will there be any MAJOR advantages for taking the 15" and is the performance worth the price difference?
  2. chmodme macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2012
    hard to say

    If you are cash constrained you'll be fine with the smaller device but fill it with RAM as RAM is really important with larger files.

    More CPU is good but unless you are editing medium format (50+ MP) images or 300+ catalogs of images in batch form, my experience has been RAM is more important than CPU if I had to pick one over the other.

    Video driver issues...well, again, my experience has been if you game then the video card really matters. Otherwise it may or may not with simple photo editing. The video card will not improve the color you see but it MAY reduce the time it takes to render it on that huge 4k monitor?

    How do you work? Is it a profession or a hobby? If the former, it's a write off. If the latter then maybe the smaller unit makes more sense?

    I have a MBP from a few years back, core i7, 16GB RAM, a 500GB Samsung SSD and the Nvidia CUDA card. I have had to switch the CUDA off as often as I have used it due to crashes over the years. So the video card is a variable and may, or may not be a great thing to factor.

    I routinely create catalogs of images to edit of 200-300 RAW files. It processes them OK, the fan cranks up. Seems to be reasonably responsive.

    I know I would need to spend a butt load to make it much faster, so I live with it. I also use Final Cut Pro and this can augur my machine down a bit.

    So maybe share more details - how many images, how often, batch jobs or not, can you write it off, etc.? then others can weigh in.

  3. gnyf thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 27, 2014
    Thanks for the feedback.

    It's for hobby usage and i would always top it up with RAM and use SSD.
    My files are RAW 20MP and i do a lot of HDR and occasionally an event where i shoot 3-400 frames, not much batch editing except export to web album as the final step in my workflow.
  4. chmodme macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2012
    Well, how much you can afford? I SPECULATE you will see very small differences in overall speed. The faster CPU and/or video card will always measure faster. If you can perceive this difference in your use case is very hard to assert?

    Overall, we all know the OS is getting more and more dense so it is likely you should always get the most CPU. But in absolute terms we may be suckers to think this matters. I am not different.

  5. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    If that is all you are doing, 8gb RAM will be more than enough.
    Your bottleneck will be the cpu.

    I would not recommend the 13", if you are planning on upgrading the RAM.
    In that case go straight to the 15" and get the more powerful gpu and quadcore.
  6. MrAverigeUser macrumors 6502a


    May 20, 2015
    why a expensive nMBP for 4k-Monitors ?

    hello, just a few words from another non-professional photographer with lots of data (raw about 40 MB):

    a new laptop for after processing on a 4k-Monitor does not make a lot of sense.

    1) A used MacPro at home will give you much more resources, because the MacPro is upgradeable as you like (Designed in times, where apple was still helpful to its customers, yes, a long time ago..)
    2) It will give you redundancy: a powerful second machine.
    3) You will spare lots of money.
    4) You have a lot of HD-bays for backup.

    OSX 10.8.5 is ok, 10.9 also.

    You buy a used MAcPro 2009-2010 8-core.
    You install the apple-firmware to switch the machine from being 4.1 to 5.1 (cost: ZERO USD)

    What you need: lots of Memory. Nowadays 6x 8 GB is really cheap.
    Start with the memory of the purchased machine, if budget ok:
    get the 1333 MHz Memory, it will work with the 4.1 firmware as with the 5.1 firmware, but your MP will be faster with the latter one, once installed. (6x8 GB 1333Hz = 48 GB (!!) for 450 USD) installation easy+++

    A USB-3-Card with 4-6 ports from Sonnet or Inateck costs nothing more than 25 USD - installation easy +++ (Important for rapid uploading from your memory card)

    As for performance, you can get a PCIe-Module for SSDs from OWC or from Sonnet (Tempo) - you can install every SSD you want to (sounds nowadays unreal for apple clients) - if your budget still allows (roundabout 200 USD).
    installation easy+++
    samsung 850 1 TB pro is the best - budget: Samsung 840 evo 1TB (300 USD)

    Finally you need a GPU easily handling the 4k-Monitor. (300-1000 USD)

    have a look at MAcVidCards or just buy a Nvidia GPU capable of handling a 4K-Monitor, but install the proper Nvidia-Firmware before on your MacPro.
    The GPU is the only thing to think about a little bit more.
    I really recommend to have a look at this thread:


    Now you have a machine to fly through your photo/videodata…. much more faster and more safe than with a soldered/glued rMBP… having NO chance to adapt your system any more...

    and you have 4 (FOUR) 3,5" bays (also fits for 2,5" HDD) to install easily just up to 8 TB in the machine and you can connect lots of external HD with your

    I love my upgraded MacPro a lot - bought an expensive hi-resolution SemiPro-Monitor some years ago and was very pleased - even with the old GT120-Card.

    Soon I will purchase a modern GPU Card for my MacPro and a 4-k-Monitor for this rapid machine..

    BTW: I own the last good MBP for photographers: a MBP 2011 - which was then purchased with the (at that time) "hi-resolution" 1680x1058 Screen - anti-reflex. Since 2012 they sell only MBP with make-up-Mirrors full of reflections…
  7. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    In mid-2012, there was still the 15" cMBP with an antiglare 1680x1050 option. It's only the retina models that don't have antiglare.

    And yes, I do agree as well regarding glare. I still use my early-2011 15" with antiglare display outdoors. My rMBPs just attract glare like a solar panel outdoors.
  8. MrAverigeUser macrumors 6502a


    May 20, 2015
    Yes, I even bought 2 months ago a second MBP 2011 15" with this antiglare-Screen for my daughter.

    the 4k/5k-Monitor will be a Dell - for a good reason: They care about anti-glare!

    BTW: 5k will be a lot better than 4k…

    cheers !
  9. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    You don't say?
  10. MrAverigeUser, May 26, 2015
    Last edited: May 26, 2015

    MrAverigeUser macrumors 6502a


    May 20, 2015
    Problem with high resolution Screens is often, that everything apart from pictures might be less readable.

    The big advantage of 5k-Monitors (as I read some days ago) is the fact, that this is more easily downscaled in office or other programs (just factor 4 of the normal format) - AND therefore gives more readable UI in photoshop and so on… ;)

    Therefore - my future choice will clearly be a 5k-Monitor…

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