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rMBP 13 sufficiently compact/powerful for travel? Futureproof?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by RKStarr, Sep 27, 2015.

  1. RKStarr

    RKStarr Mu-43 Regular

    Mac users, I apologize in advance for a "crystal ball" sort of question. As I slowly migrate back toward the Apple universe for creative work I'm thinking about getting the 13 inch MacBook Pro retina. My question is: will it be sufficient for the next several generations of iPhone video editing as well as running LR CC?

    The high end 13" rMBP seems like a good compromise in power vs portability. Is it reasonable to hope that it will remain so over its hopefully long life?
     
  2. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Honestly, I think of computers as disposal anymore. As fast as technology improves now I plan on replacing my computer every 2 years, if not sooner.
     
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  3. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    I have the current generation 13" rMBP, and it's lovely to use (nice screen, fantastic battery life, nice keyboard and good connectivity/sockets). It's plenty fast for photo editing (Lightroom and DxO Optics Pro) even the Sony's 36 MP RAW files. I don't really do video, so can't comment on how it will handle editing 4K, but it should be decent at the very least. The highest spec machine is certainly not bad at all. I figure it will last at least 3-4 years, hardware permitting. Computers are disposable, but the performance increases per 2 years are nothing like what they used to be - even a 2 year old high-end laptop is still more than powerful enough for any photo editing you wish to throw at it. HD video, more or less ditto. 4K? Possibly not, but I'll let folks who've actually processed 4K video comment on that count.

    I'm actually still using my 'old' (I think 2009? Nehalem hexacore, 24 gigs of RAM) Mac Pro for most editing, since it is still actually faster and is coupled to a nice calibrated monitor. Will add a larger second SSD soon, but as long as Apple continues providing support for the latest OS I'll stick with it. Literally the only two things about the machine that could do with an upgrade for my personal use are USB 3 and/or Thunderbolt support, and a 4K capable video card that doesn't cost absurd amounts of cash.
     
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  4. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Larry
    A few years ago I would have agreed with you, now less so. The pace of change has slowed significantly. I am on a 3+ year cycle right now.

    I have a late 2013 15 MPB 2.6GHz+GT750M with 16 GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD, and the only thing that makes the newer machines faster is better SSD throughput. So far I don't see a compelling reason to upgrade. I do tend to buy the top of the line though at any given moment if it seems to be cost effective.
     
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  5. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    Just as a point of reference, my travel/day to day machine is a mid 11 inch 2013 Macbook Air (1.7G i7 and 8G RAM). I can happily edit short 1080p videos in iMovie and in Final Cut Pro.

    this was shot with EPL6 and the editing including applying image stabilisation from within Final Cut, which is generally a processor intensive task, took about an hour from start to finish, and I never felt that the machine was holding me back. In fact the experience was not notably different to similar projects done in my top of the line 2 year old iMac



    I also ingest and edit fluidly images up to 24MP using Aperture. My photo editing is exclusively RAW, and involves basic levels/curves type adjustments with the occasional dodging and burning.

    The screen is probably a little small, but I have got used to that, but overall I place a high value on the compact size and lightness of the complete package.

    The MBP is probably a little more powerful, and obviously has the Retina screen, which personally have never felt a compulsive need for. As for connectivity, I get by nicely with the 1 thunderbolt and 2 USB sockets on the Air, not sure what more the MBP pro offers, maybe another TB port and a SD card reader ?

    All of this is just my opinion, the only other thing I will say is that having used Apple for close to 30 years, and even worked for them for close to 10 where I got to use the latest and greatest, the current generation of devices are capable of amazing things.

    cheers

    K
     
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  6. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    guess?
    Not an iPerson so my only comment is on size. After traveling with a 10" transformer tablet I'd never take anything bigger anymore.
     
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  7. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    Yes, it will meet your needs. I would also take a look at the more portable 12" rMB. Here is a video on new MB running FCPX.

     
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  8. tyrphoto

    tyrphoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2014
    Seoul | NYC
    ㅇtㅈyㅅr
    I run 3 Macs at home, a mid-2011 iMac, a late-2009 iMac and a mid-2011 Mac Mini. I also gave my GF my 13" Macbook Air. All of them are more than capable of running LR and pretty much anything else I throw at them even though they are all a few generations older than current versions.

    Sooner or later, I'm looking to purchase a 13" rMBP and use one of my iMacs as an external monitor for it.
     
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  9. Dragos101

    Dragos101 Mu-43 Regular

    68
    May 1, 2015
    Bucharest, Romania
    Dragos
    My "power" computer is a 2012 Mini. I bought it a few months ago knowing that it would probably be the last "serious" and user upgradeable Mac. So I jumped on a stock clearance and got the top of the line quad core 2012 model. Added 8G of RAM and the computer is everything I can possible need and more. The only thing that isn't future proof on it is the ability to drive a 4K display, but I doubt I'll upgrade to one very soon. My other computer is a 2009 Macbook Pro, which, after a SSD upgrade and a new battery still kicks as my portable work/mail/office/"serious stuff" tool. So, I guess the upgrade cycle, no matter how hard the manufacturers try and introduce new technologies that more or less force you to upgrade, is definitely not 2-3 years. I would safely bet that a current computer (any current decently spec'd one) will serve anyone for serious work for at least 3-4 years and for light/backup work at least a couple more.
     
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  10. Repp

    Repp Mu-43 Top Veteran

    500
    Jan 27, 2011
    Oak Harbor, WA
    I also have a 2015 13" MBP. The best way to ensure a laptops longevity is sadly to throw money into it when buying. So I went with the i7 processor and 16g of ram. I'm expecting it to last me 3-4 years, as my previous 11" MBA did. I will say that it's much nicer for photo editing than the MBA. The color gamut is much better and the retina screen really helps out. It's only slight larger than the MBA, and also includes a SD card slot and more ports. That said, at home I plug it into a Asus PA249 for editing, simply because that monitor has so much better color gamut spectrum.
     
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  11. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    I have a new 5K iMac and I am on a three year replacement cycle that is based on the expiration of Apple Care; I like having Apple Care as my IT dept. I know that there is more life in the Macs when I replace them but at three years there has been enough changes in the Mac line to justify the move without worrying about what the next update will bring.

    We also have rMB that my wife has taken over.
     
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  12. rmcnelly

    rmcnelly Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 21, 2015
    Portsmouth, VA
    I got my girlfriend the current 13" rMBP and was very pleased with it's performance, display and battery life. The new retina MacBook is not powerful enough, nor are the MacBook Airs (loved mine until I got a 15" rMBP). MacMall seems to have good discounts and free shipping.
     
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  13. RKStarr

    RKStarr Mu-43 Regular

    Thanks to you all who took the time to reply. Your comments are a great reassurance.

    On my last lengthy travel I took my iPad air 2 and it was sufficient (and mercifully light!) but for the few extra pounds I would like to have a real computer to actually get some work done. I have a sveldt windows 15" laptop which is my primary computer now but traveling with it isn't any fun due to a) bulk, despite being labeled an "ultrabook", and b) horrid screen. So you've corroborated what I've heard: that the rMBP is up to either travel or stand-alone service. Ultimately I hope to pair it with an iMac for stationary use.
     
  14. Repp

    Repp Mu-43 Top Veteran

    500
    Jan 27, 2011
    Oak Harbor, WA
    So, if you're looking to set something up for home use, I'd suggest looking into a dock system for your new laptop and a monitor designed for photography instead of a stand alone iMac. The MBPs are powerful enough that you don't really need a separate PC unless you're doing some really heavy processing, in which case a iMac probably wouldn't be enough.
     
  15. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    Some of the new iMacs are very robust. The 13" rMBP, while a very nice machine, is only dual-core and has a 16GB RAM limit.
     
  16. protapic

    protapic Mu-43 Veteran

    317
    Feb 12, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    John
    I use my 13" macbook pro (mid 2014, retina) in exactly this way at home-I hook it up to my 27" iMac using thunderbolt cable and Lightroom 6 works perfectly on the bigger screen. In order to make it easier, I had to get another keyboard and bluetooth mouse to hook up to macbook so i did not have to disconnect these items from iMac.
     
  17. Repp

    Repp Mu-43 Top Veteran

    500
    Jan 27, 2011
    Oak Harbor, WA
    If you need a laptop for mobility, as the OP is apparently looking for, there is very little reason to also own a dedicated desktop. While the iMacs might have more ram/cores, I've not needed more than what my mbp currently provides for photo/video editing. At home I'm more concerned with quality editing, which even with external monitors, the MBP does without any issue. In addition to the fact that LR/PS has issues when working across multiple devices (catalogues and history being the main issue), there is also the issue of the iMac's color gamut. You can buy a cheaper Asus or Dell monitor, and get more accurate colors for a fraction of the price.
     
  18. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    I am gonna kind of fundamentally disagree with you. I think there is a very strong case for running a light but powerful laptop in conjunction with a more powerful desktop as opposed to putting all ones eggs in a single top of the range laptop

    As I mentioned above, I have for the last 4 or 5 years have run a macbook air and a imac (it replaced a 7 year old Mac Pro a couple of years back)

    the laptop gets the most use... it is my day to day machine... at home it does all the things you wish.. it moves around the house with me.. streaming radio in the kitchen, surfing the web at the dinner table, its on my lap as I write this from the sofa.

    On the road it is more than capable of editing my images and doing what video editing I wish... which, while probably not broadcast quality, is probably more intensive that what I have seen the majority of people on this forum attempt or share. I am not a pro in the sense that I earn money from my endeavours, but I try and work as if I was

    However I dont keep much 'stuff' on my Air...it only has 256G of storage. Its full right now because I have just come back from a trip... tomorrow I will transfer the images and videos to the imac, which has way more economically viable storage. I have a 1 TB Fusion drive and an external 2 TB USB3 drive. That iMac as well as the Air is backed up to a Time capsule. In addition the iMac is backing up the photos in my Aperture library to the old Mac Pro with its 4 drive bays via carbon copy cloner... The mac Pro is also my household iTunes server for video and music

    The imac has the advantage of bigger screen, greater RAM ( I have 24 G with potential for 32 G,) a much better video card, the ability to run multiple heavy apps (Final cut, Logic, Motion, sometimes Photoshop) at the same time. Its always on and hooked up directly via ethernet to my 200Mbps internet connection

    As for colour gamut and specialist monitors, yeah maybe... but from long experience all a good calibrated monitor is good for is consistency... accuracy is a pile of crock as your work likely will been seen by people with different monitors and different personal perceptions of colour anyway, and a screen will never look like a print... its impossible

    apologies I am jet lagged and I am just ranting against the precious and the prissy

    your goals and expectations may differ

    K
     
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  19. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Larry
    Well I am going to have to disagree with the Cantankerous Scotsman.

    There are big benefits of having only one machine. Having all the apps configured and having all your data in one place is a big win (if you have tons of cloud storage this is becoming less of an issue but that amount of storage is not free by any means).

    The large/display storage are easily solved with a Thunderbolt display/external TB drive/ethernet cable in display etc.

    Take a long look at barefeats.com. The iMacs have mobile video cards (unless you buy the iMac 5K) and 16GB is really plenty for most users.

    I have been doing this for years and I won't go back to a desktop, so unless you buy the 5K iMac or MacPro I don't see any reason to go that route.
     
  20. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    Cloud storage/sync prices are now inexpensive, particularly in relationship to Apple products and camera bodies and lenses. There is no reason to limit yourself to one machine (except for costs). 24 - 32GB is the new 16GB.