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Scott Paterson
Scott Paterson
26,869 Points

Mac Book Pro advice

Hi guys, seriously considering getting myself a MacBook Pro

I do have a main desktop already at home, this will be for me to work when I am out and About, it has to run a few few program's from creative cloud like Illustrator and Photoshop.

So far was thinking at least 256 ssd drive and 8 gig of ram at minimum but not sure where to go for i5 processor or i7 and add retina display Is retina display any use?.

What's your thoughts on the specs? Add more or have less? Or any other advice Scott

6 Answers

You might be happier with a Macbook Air Haswell than a SSD Macbook Pro. 14 hour battery life is IMO a way better feature for a PC than retina.

Scott Paterson
Scott Paterson
26,869 Points

Also getting into a little photography.

Patrick Cooney
Patrick Cooney
12,216 Points

tl;dr 256 is ok if you aren't storing your photos on your computer, 8 gigs is good as long as you don't plan to start doing video editing or 3d modeling or anything, always i7, only get the retina if you are doing print design work and need the resolution or if you are developing for iOS, all these considerations only apply to right now, if you plan to make this thing last for 5+ years you should probably just upgrade whatever you can afford to, wait till apple's september event to see if they release the new Pro line before purchasing.

If you're storing all your photos on an external drive you should be okay with a 256 internal. If you want to store your photos on your computer I'd up it because photos can eat up drives real quick. Especially if you shoot RAW.

8 gigs of memory should be plenty good if you're just using illustrator and photoshop and if you start using lightroom. If you think you may begin doing video work though I would up the memory as well.

Get the i7. Always get the i7.

Retina is where it gets tricky. The question of do I or don't I need it. If you plan to develop mobile applications for iOS, get it. By everyone's best estimation, starting next month pretty much all iOS devices will use Retina displays. It will make it far easier to preview things in the iOS simulator if you have a retina display. If you plan to print your photos or use them in professionally printed materials, get the retina. Professionally printed materials have an effective dpi of around 300 (this is considered a standard in the print industry) which is much higher than that of a standard screen but right around that of a Retina. If neither of these apply save the cash.

The other thing to consider is how long your computer will last. I'm on year 7 with my MacBook Pro. At the time I bought it, it was literally the top of the line. I had every upgrade you could put in it, you couldn't upgrade past what I had. So I've been able to make it last a long time. If you go low to mid range right now you may not be able to get as many years out of it in terms of performance.

One last thing. There are rumors, and I really hope they are true, that the new generation of Pro's will be released along with the new iPhone in early September. I'd hold off on buying one until you see if they do indeed release them then. The new ones are rumored to be the same pricing structure as the old ones but have a significantly better battery life which is probably something you'd want since you'll be using it almost exclusively for working on the go.

I am on a 3 year old MBP with a previous generation i5 coupled with memory upgraded to 8gb ram and an SSD. It's plenty quick enough for what I do (although the temptation to get something newer and faster is always there). The SSD made a huge difference to my daily workflow.

The big question is probably around the photographic side of things. If you are planning on manipulating large RAW files with some quite heavy editing I would perhaps opt for 16gb ram and 512gb SSD, otherwise the 8gb and the standard SSD should be sufficient (with external photograph storage at home, of course).

Retina is a difficult one justify, and I agree with Patrick above. If you are not really a heavy enthusiast or professional I would put the extra cash towards something else. If the money is burning a hole in your pocket then get it, otherwise the price difference is huge.

Also like Patrick mentioned, hold off until the usual Apple announcements in the next few weeks. You might find yourself getting better kit for the same cost, or perhaps be lucky to save a bit of cash if the store has stock of an old model left in their stockroom after the announcement.

Scott Paterson
Scott Paterson
26,869 Points

Thanks guys gave me food for thought! wouldn't do any harm to wait a little longer and see if they do roll out anything new,

I'm still using a 2008 Macbook pro I got in 2009. It works; but, it's getting old. It does get the job done. I you're low on cash, you can always check out your local pawnshops. Some of them have good macs. I did upgrade to 1 terabyte internal hard drive and I have 4 GB or ram. My only complaint is, the computer gets very warm quickly.