Which rMPB for designers and photographers?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by mskill, Oct 29, 2013.

  1. mskill, Oct 29, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2013

    mskill macrumors newbie

    Oct 29, 2013
    Hey everyone,

    Thanks for taking the time to look. After reading many threads and posts regarding the new rMPB, I feel the base 15" should be sufficient for me. However, I'm truly clueless when it comes to specs and what's going on behind the scenes and I could use some final opinions or suggestions based upon my needs.

    I'm a graphic designer and photographer who will be designing for print and web, using programs such as InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Dreamweaver and Lightroom. While I don't game, I occasionally use iMovie to edit tutorial videos for YouTube, however, this workload may increase.

    I'm currently using a 2010 27" iMac 2.93GHz/8GB/1TB and would like a rMPB that is a improvement from current setup as it will become my main machine.

    Will I benefit much with a upgrade to the processor or RAM on the base model? Any other opinions or suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Thanks again!
  2. mskill thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 29, 2013
  3. AlecMyrddyn macrumors 6502

    Dec 5, 2008
    Southern Maine
    Depending on the size of images you work on, and how many of those Apps you have open at once, my guess is you'll probably benefit most from upgrading the RAM to 16 GB.

    If you do a lot of CPU intensive transformations, then the CPU upgrade could help as well, but the 15" is a quad core with pretty good performance even for the 2.0 GHz.

    Keep in mind that on the rMBP, you cannot upgrade the RAM after you purchase the computer. If you buy the 8GB now and it turns out to be inadequate in 2 years, your only solution is to replace the computer. How long do you want this computer to be your primary for?

    What does Activity Monitor show for CPU & System Memory usage on your iMac when you are using it for your most intensive workloads? That might help us judge if 16 GB is worth it for you or not.
  4. KeegM480 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 13, 2013
    Orlando, FL
    I completely agree with the above post.

    The base model should be enough but I would suggest 16GB of RAM and possibly one up processor if you want this to last a long time. I also would suggest an external HD rather than spend a lot extra on a bigger internal
  5. Macshroomer macrumors 65816


    Dec 6, 2009
    Looks like you use it for work, I do too. Since it is a tax deduction, why not bump it up to near max? I never get base model machines, it’s just not cost effective when earning a living with these tools as you simply don’t know what software, file size and client requirements you will be dealing with in the future.
  6. MisterMott, Oct 30, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2013

    MisterMott macrumors member

    Oct 24, 2013
    I agree with Macshroomer, and am in the same position as the OP in that I'll be using my rMBP for primarily Print and Web design.

    I'm getting one to replace a 24" late 2007 iMac. The reason that computer has lasted so long is because I maxxed it out on its purchase. (That's not entirely true – I added some RAM about 3 years afterwards, because you could still do that to Macs then :D )

    I fully expect to be able to use my new Macbook Pro for at least 5 to 6 years. By bumping it to its fullest potential now I can help to increase its longevity and (hopefully) build in some future-proofing. True, for my needs at this very moment it may be overkill, but who knows what kinds of demands my machine will need to meet in the future.

    Given the lack of upgrade-ability in these machines, I would really hate to be beating my head against lack of RAM or storage space down the road because I tried to save some money (which is tax-deductible for me anyway) three years previous.

  7. Macshroomer, Oct 30, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2013

    Macshroomer macrumors 65816


    Dec 6, 2009
    I pretty much maxed out a 13" Retina with the exception of the PCI-SSD which I was on the fence about. I figure that is something I can easily upgrade if some good 3rd party options surface in a year or two and I really like having a fast separate external for backup and photoshop scratch while on the road.

    If I did not have my MacPro I would have gone for a 15" full tilt. My 13" is plenty fast, export 10 D800 raw files to Jpeg-11, the old 2009 13" 2.53/8GB/2xSSD did it in 3:12, MacPro in 1:02 and the new 13" in 1:19, not too shabby for a roadie!
  8. mskill thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 29, 2013
    Thank you everyone for your response. I ended up buying the base 15" rMPB this afternoon. However, given the suggestions I will still consider the RAM upgrade. I'm installing my software right now and will spend the next few days judging how it performs per my workload.


    I would say I plan on using it for about 3-5 years. I know how to access Activity Monitor, however what numbers should I take note of?


    That external matches the Mac perfect! Do you recommend any other cost effective alternatives?

  9. Lolito macrumors 6502


    Mar 20, 2013
    I would get the very top one, if you have the cash. Otherwise I would get a cMBP 15", top speced. With an optibay. And the 1050p non glare screen. After all you are gonna be working with an extrnal display, maybe, most of the time... I use the same software, with an ssd, and indesign and lightroom (cc & 5.2) both can get stuck under heavy tasks many times with my current setup.
  10. applegeek25 macrumors regular


    Jun 6, 2010
    Windsor, ON / Austin, TX
    I would seriously consider returning the base rMBP model you just purchased. Even if you've already loaded it up, installed your programs/etc, you still have 14 days to return/exchange at the Apple Store. No restocking fee.

    As others have mentioned, you can't be entirely sure how you will use your Mac in the future. I made the mistake of selling my 2011 17" MBP last year and purchased a BTO 2012 13" MBA with 8GB RAM and 256 SSD. My reasoning was that my 17" MBP was "overkill" and during the 8 months I owned it, I didn't really use it to its full potential. BIG MISTAKE. My MBA lasted me 11 months before I realized that my situation and computing requirements had changed dramatically.

    Last month I purchased a BTO early 2013 15" rMBP, 2.7, 16GB RAM, and 256 SSD. Best purchasing decision (at least computing wise) I've made in years. My needs are very similar to yours right now: CC versions of Photoshop, After Effects, Illustrator, and Dreamweaver. I'm also running Windows 7 via Parallels 9 for Eclipse IDE and MS-SQL development/testing.

    There's a few reasons why you definitely need the upgraded RAM and the discrete graphics:

    1) You will eventually be forced into upgrading to Adobe CC (unless you plan on staying behind the curve). Adobe has committed to supporting CS6 compatibility with Mavericks, but that's where the buck stops.

    2) CC versions of all the products you're using now can/will require more RAM than previous versions.

    3) Adding to #2: Mavericks alone usually eats up between 4-5GB of memory with no apps running at all. Launch Safari and you're at 6-6.5GB easily. Yes, Mavericks does manage memory utilization better than Mountain Lion, but Adobe doesn't care about optimizing their products to support this feature.

    4) You NEED...absolutely NEED...the discrete graphics card. No doubt about it. You may be able to get away with just the iGPU right now, but when your computing requirements change (and they will at some point), you'll miss the dGPU dearly.

    My advice would be to return the base model and place an order online for a BTO rMBP. You might even consider browsing through the refurbished section and seeing if you can grab an early '13 model with the upgraded RAM and dGPU. If you're a student or can pass for a student (hint: Apple doesn't check up on education purchases anymore, nor require you to select a school) then I'd order from the education website and save at least $200.

    Sorry for the lengthy post, but the info was necessary. :)

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