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Really struggling on next computer purchase (Mac)

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by WT21, Jun 26, 2016.

  1. WT21

    WT21 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    610
    Aug 7, 2011
    If you read this whole thing, then 1,000 Talk E-Mount points for you! And thanks for any thoughts/input you can provide.

    I have an aging 2009 MacBook Pro 13" I find the CPU is the bottleneck in my computer processing for photos (mainly). I was thinking of just toughing it out for another year, but...

    My dad needs a new computer for e-mail and web surfing. He prefers a Mac, but is on limited budget. I could buy him a used Mac, or use this as an opportunity to upgrade my machine and give him my old one.

    But which one should I get? I'd like to stay around $1000 or a bit more. I do most of my work in one location, but like the ability to, for instance, sit in front of the TV while processing photos or working with Quicken.

    I could get one of the 2012 13" MacBook Pros, on the Apple (US) refurb site. I could then easily move my existing hard drives to the new machine, and upgrade to 16GB (I currently only have 8GB) RAM and be under $1,000. This would unleash my CPU and RAM bottleneck, and based on the benchmarks I reviewed, should be 2-3X faster than my 2009 MBP. The only downside is the pretty old GPU (Intel HD4000) and non-retina display. I think it would be fine for now, but would I find it limited a few years from now?

    I could buy one of the newer machines, but I can't easily afford the newer Macs built out to 16GB and a big hard-drive. I'd have to go with 8GB RAM and a smaller hard drive, and then use external drives, which is a pain. (I have about 750GB in files now on my laptop, backed up to a firewire drive - 1TB drives in an Apple machine are SUPER expensive). Additionally, moving to one of the newer Macs means I can't just drop in my existing hard drives, and there is no future upgrade path.

    I did look into used Macs -- 2011 or 2012 15" MacBook Pros looked nice -- a little more than $1000 and with 16GB RAM and upgradeable harddrive, and some (mid-2012 rMBP) have the retina screen, but I found out they have quality issues (2011 suffer from GPU failure, and 2012 can have screen burn in), which makes me a little leery of them.

    I did think about switching back to PCs, but I don't think I have the time to re-learn windows, peripherals, etc. Maybe I'll just stick with a Mac.

    Any help/thoughts/personal Mac upgrade experience from a 2008/9/10 MacBook Pro is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. MAubrey

    MAubrey TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Unless you're doing video editing or gaming, HD4000 shouldn't be a problem, especially on a non-retina display. Just be sure to turn off GPU acceleration in LR (if you have LR CC), since that only slows things down unless you have both a high res monitor and powerful gpu.

    With a solid SSD and 16GB of RAM and you should be fine for a while with a 2012 Mac. CPU performance hasn't really improved much at all since Intel's Sandy Bridge chips (which are in 2011 Macs) and with Moore's Law basically coming to an end, a 2012 Mac should give you several more years of respectable performance. I'm using a laptop right now with the same i7 CPU as a 2012 Macbook Pro that I have no intention of replacing until at least 2018.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2016
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  3. WT21

    WT21 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    610
    Aug 7, 2011
    Are you using a 13" or 15" MBP? Or do you mean you have a PC but with the same CPU?
     
  4. chalkdust

    chalkdust TalkEmount Veteran

    282
    Sep 25, 2015
    Bert Cheney
    I do not have a 2009/8/10 Macbook Pro. I know you said a 2012 might by beyond your budget. The 2012's perhaps have reliability issues - I do not know. I have been working all day long every day on my early 2012 15 inch Macbook Pro since I bought it new. It has been rock solid for me.

    Of course one data point is nothing, statistically. But on the other hand, no statistic ever trumped a actual observation.

    I hope you find a good match for your requirements.
     
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  5. MAubrey

    MAubrey TalkEmount Top Veteran

    It's a Lenovo. Same CPU though.
     
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  6. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    I recently gave up on my mid-2010 15" MacBook Pro and upgraded to the the current 15" MBP with the AMD Radeon R9 M370X graphics chip. It's a major step up from my old Mac, but well above your price point. Were I in your shoes, I'd try to get the most recent version of the Mac that I could find at the price point I could afford. The retina display makes a big difference in photo work, and you can always upgrade the hard drive with an SSD if your new Mac doesn't have one. You many also want to scour Apple's web site for info about the next Mac OS. Apple has announced which of the older Macs will no longer be supported.
     
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  7. SamSS

    SamSS TalkEmount Regular

    166
    Oct 11, 2014
    You can get a serious Windows i7 desktop for a lot less which can do plenty of heavy lifting.
    If you must, skip 2011 MBP and get the MID-2012 since it has newer 3rd Gen. Ivy Bridge CPU. Honestly, I can't bare the thought of spending that much for it.
     
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  8. WNG

    WNG TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2014
    Arrid Zone-A, USA
    Will
    +1
    Can't you pick up a Windows or no-OS laptop for less than a MBP of equivalent hardware? Since they now both share the same architecture, can't you install a copy of MacOS onto it?
     
  9. bdbits

    bdbits TalkEmount Veteran

    406
    Sep 10, 2015
    Bob
    Apple does not license their OS seperately from their own hardware. They used to, but one of Jobs first actions was to shut that down. There are still ways of doing it, if you are technically inclined and are willing to violate Apple licensing. It is technically illegal. Google Hackintosh.

    Nothing against Apple products, but you do pay a pretty hefty premium to buy them, and from what I have seen they work best if you go all Apple (phones, computers, etc.). Not worth it to me, but obviously your mileage may vary. And need I point out that even the budget-minded among us use cameras from a company that doesn't shy away from charging a premium for lenses. :rofl:
     
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  10. DYNOBOB

    DYNOBOB TalkEmount Regular

    145
    Feb 9, 2016
    Cincinnati, OH
    Bob
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2016
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  11. SamSS

    SamSS TalkEmount Regular

    166
    Oct 11, 2014
    Alright, before plunging all that hard earned cash, take a look at this site. You'll find many deals going on everyday on various makes and configurations.
    If you're going to get an i7 cpu for laptop, make sure to cross check at Intel's website that it has a true 4 cores (running at 8 threads).
    If it is an i7 with 2 physical cores (running at 4 threads), then don't bother. Just get an i5 instead.
    TechBargains – Your Source For Online Coupons, Promo Codes & The Hottest Deals
     
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  12. DYNOBOB

    DYNOBOB TalkEmount Regular

    145
    Feb 9, 2016
    Cincinnati, OH
    Bob
    From what I've read, the upside to a dual core for a laptop is it runs cooler. You're correct on comparative speed.

    .
     
  13. storyteller

    storyteller TalkEmount Veteran

    322
    Sep 25, 2011
    The problem with that approach is that Apple has now made all the laptops non-upgrade able. RAM and disk size are important. On top of their usual premium their upgrade costs are outrageous. If the OP wants to stick close to $1k I'd go older too. Check OWC, they've got some good refurb deals.


    Sent from my iPad using TalkEmount mobile app
     
  14. WT21

    WT21 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    610
    Aug 7, 2011
    Not sure if I updated this thread but I got a 2014 15" with 16gb and 512ssd and discreet graphics card from b&h used for $1499 which I thought was a good enough price for that much Mac. More than what I was looking to spend, but a well priced unit and certainly should last a number of years
     
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  15. firemist

    firemist TalkEmount Regular

    71
    Dec 4, 2015
    Seriously thinking of updating my 2010 vintage iMac 27" (2.93 i7) and replacing it with
    - MBP, 13" i5 with Retina (May 2015); 16GB Ram and 512GB storage, about $1700 Apple Refurb store
    - Dell P2715Q 4K IPS monitor, about $470

    Questions - is that MBP robust enough to drive the monitor at 3840x2160 without any issues (screen refresh, etc.)? Will I notice any measurable improvement in performance with Lightroom, especially using adjustment brushes etc. (my old iMac stutters and freezes at times)?

    TIA
     
  16. MAubrey

    MAubrey TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Between 16GB of ram and the fast ssd in the MBP, you shouldn't have any problems. You won't be gaming at that resolution with the MBP, but you won't be stuttering either in normal work. RAM & the storage are more important for LR performance.
     
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  17. firemist

    firemist TalkEmount Regular

    71
    Dec 4, 2015
    OK thanks, that's good news then.
     
  18. firemist

    firemist TalkEmount Regular

    71
    Dec 4, 2015
    OK, one more question: specifically for photos processing in LR and some plug-ins (like ON1 Photos)

    Given the choice between (a) 16 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD, with master photos on an external 4TB HDD connected by USB 3.0; or (b) 8 GB RAM (2.9 GHz Broadwell i5) and 1 TB internal Flash Storage, with Master Photos and LR Catalog on the internal Drive,

    which would you choose? I'm assuming after 12 months (or whenever the internal flash drive becomes "full") I can export/move the LR catalog and the photos to the external 4TB drive, and free up space to load newer photos.

    TIA,
     
  19. WT21

    WT21 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    610
    Aug 7, 2011
    More ram
     
  20. firemist

    firemist TalkEmount Regular

    71
    Dec 4, 2015
    I was afraid of that, I understand the memory in the 2015 rMBP models cannot be upgraded.