Previous 1 2 Next 29 Replies Latest reply: Aug 1, 2012 10:03 AM by Kirby Krieger
TechAddict Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

So after the (not so captivating) WWDC I think it's time to go ahead with the new MacBook for Aperture.  Prior to the new refresh I was planning to go with the 15" MBP but not the top one of the two.  After the refresh I'm not so sure.  The new retina models are nice but what a price!!  I'm reluctant to drop that kind of money on a laptop TBH.  The big problem for me is also that they have no FW or Ethernet connectors.  It'll be my only laptop and at times there is a need for ethernet, if only to access a troublesome router or get faster speed.  While I'm planning on a Thunderbolt external HDD for back up at soame stage I also have FW drives that I'd still like to access, so the sparkly retina machines (thankfully - esp when looking at the $3,000 + 750 GB SSD version) are out of the equation.  Any upgrade will also bring me Mountain Lion and Aperture 3.3 of course.


I'm not that heavy a processor of pics to be honest but at times I do do a lot.  I also use the full range of Nik Software.  My Aperture library is only about 50GB at the moment so either the 500 or 750 HDDs on the 15" would suffice.  I'd move my masters off to external referenced if it ever became an issue.


The question now though is which 15"?  I'm sure the 2.3 GHz would be MUCH faster than my ageing MB (white) 2.16 GHz ICD2 with its 2 GB of RAM, esp if upgraded to 8GB RAM.  The 2.6 is around $400 more here in Malaysia and I'm wondering if it is worth the cost given that the extra 250 GB of HDD I probably don't need.  The only issue I suppose maybe the 1GB video instead of the 512 MB, given that Aperture is quite graphics intensive and, I believe, will prefer to use the discreet video card if it can, thereby also putting less strain on the rest of the system.  Whichever I go for I'll likely upgrade to the anti-glare screen. Surprisingly it seems the 15" cannot be upgraded to 16GB RAM, the only other thing I'd consider.


Of course the 2.6 is probably the best option, it's just how much of a compromise the 2.3 would be.

Aperture 3, Mac OS X (10.6.8)
  • léonie Level 9 Level 9 (72,280 points)

    Surprisingly it seems the 15" cannot be upgraded to 16GB RAM, the only other thing I'd consider.

    With really large image formats I found that the 16 GB RAM together with an internal SSD made a lot of difference. I would not want to miss those anymore.

    And with a high resolution Retina display ( I bought my MBP too early for that ) RAM will even be more impotant.

  • Kirby Krieger Level 6 Level 6 (12,470 points)

    leonieDF wrote:


    And with a high resolution Retina display ( I bought my MBP too early for that ) RAM will even be more impotant.

    Cache is king.



  • TechAddict Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Have to say I'm not that fussed about the Retina display (maybe I should be??).  There are a few points that make this decision difficult and for me there are some really weird configuration anomalies now.


    With the retinas, the base model is only 256 GB HDD and that will be half full as soon as I switch across.  OK the, the only thing that's growing is the Aperture library and I suppose I COULD get by with it, moving the masters to a TB connected HDD if needed later on and buying a FW adaptor for my legacy drives.  No Ethernet connector though, that might prove problematic.  Shame they don't do a 512GB SSD version, otherwise I'd likely jump.  Both the retinas can be configured to 16GB RAM also.  So it's 8-16 GB RAM with either 256 or 750GB SSD.


    Neither 15" can be upgraded to 16 GB RAM it seems (whether you can do so via 3rd party RAM is a different matter).  I wonder why?  Forcing 16GB RAM 'users' down the SSD / Retina route???  You can configure them with SSD but only with a max of 8GB RAM.  Same applies with the 13"


    So, the only machines that seem configurable to 16G RAM now are the retinas.  If I went the retina route I'd only consider the 256 GB, the 750 is WAAAY overpriced for me.  It does begin to look like that the retina might be the best option given my preferred option not to upgrade tech too often (my MB is 5 years old).  With SSD and 16 GB RAM it might have more 'legs' than a 15".  $2,400 for that option.


    But the 15" vanilla has a much larger HDD (albeit it's not an SSD), keeps a FW / ethernet connection and disc drive, and can be configured with an anti-glare screen, even an SSD if you want (but then the price goes up rapidly).  Just not 16 GB RAM. $2,300 with anti-glare.


    There's a lot of dead end corridors when navigating Apples configuration maps :-(  Clever the way they do it ;-)

  • léonie Level 9 Level 9 (72,280 points)

    But the 15" vanilla has a much larger HDD (albeit it's not an SSD), keeps a FW / ethernet connection and disc drive, and can be configured with an anti-glare screen, even an SSD if you want (but then the price goes up rapidly).  Just not 16 GB RAM. $2,300 with anti-glare.

    I solved the HDD problem by sacrificing the internal optical drive and having a second internal harddrive put into that slot. So I can have the Aperture Library on the SSD and the referenced masters on a second internal volume. I rarely need to burn CDs or DVDs and a second internal disk is much more useful for me than an internal optical drive. If I need to burn a CD I transfer the files to a different mac or connect an external burner.

  • TechAddict Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hmmm.  Option I suppose.  The Retinas do seem pricey to be honest, esp as I lose a lot of what I want.  But no 16GB RAM now for vanilla 15s.  I presume your SSD addition was 3rd party and not configured by Apple store?


    I also have to bear in mind that the ONLY reason I am going for this upper-mid level spec with the new MBP is Aperture and my investment in time and money (I have the Nik Software full range for Aperture) and the new release of Aperture does seem to go in the direction of dumbing down.  Is Apple giving up on pro photography I wonder and raising the white flag to LR etc?  If that's the case I could even consider moving photo processing an management of my quad-core i7, 16 GB, 3.4 GHz with SSD desktop which sees little use.  That option does force an office based approach to management though.  Aperture always seems slightly more elegant at managing also, compared to the somewhat clunky approach of Windows options.  And I suppose I keep what Aperture dumb away with Nik Software, provided Apple continues to support Aperture!!

  • léonie Level 9 Level 9 (72,280 points)

    I presume your SSD addition was 3rd party and not configured by Apple store?

    It was the Apple SSD, but if you need your Mac only for Aperture and not for GarageBand and iMovie as well I think a smaller SSD should suffice.


    I saved on other expenses by buying a bike instead of a new car , so I had money to spare to get a really nice mac.

  • TechAddict Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Ah I see.  The confiuration options have changed now it seems.  I believe you could get 16 GB RAM, HDD and SSD in the last MBPs.


    Now it's an SSD or a HDD and 8 GB RAM max with 15" non-retina .


    If you want 16GB RAM now it seems the Retina is the only option .  I suppose I could get by with USB to FW/Ethernet connectors but it's carrying round a Super Drive as well (I still by CDs for iTunes etc).  I suppose I could work around that by ripping CDs on the Windows machine and copying them across but...........  That said, I'd rather be able to get a 15" with a 1TB HDD, 16GB RAM and a 256 GB SSD.  At least I would seeing what the options are now


    Apple does seem to have closed down some configuration options now.  16 GB RAM, retina only TQVM

  • TechAddict Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    PS: I think the last MBP was 8 GB max from Ap store but 16GB could be slotted in.  I don't think that's possible now.


    I've narrowed it down (noy much!!!) and am considering either:


    1) Base 2.6 MBP 15" in its basic configuration (except maybe for an ant glare screen) at $2199


    2) As above but with 512 SSD at $3,099


    3) Retina base model at $2199


    4) As aobe with 16 GB RAM at $2,399


    I suppose if I was prepared to put up with losing connectivity and didnt need retina or 16GB RAM there is also the MBA to consider with 8GB, 512 GB SSD and CPU upgrade.


    The deciding factor is 16GB RAM I suppose.  I still suspect 8GB will fly on these machines with what I do but that 16GB may be more future proof.  If 8 GB will hack it, I still think I prefer the connectivity, larger HD (albeit non SSD) and the optical drive on option 1, and the price is good too.


    At the moment I'm leaning towards option 1 or 3.

  • SierraDragon Level 4 Level 4 (2,695 points)

    TechAddict wrote:

    There's a lot of dead end corridors when navigating Apples configuration maps :-(  Clever the way they do it ;-)


    Yup. I have always found Apple balances choices/prices to a perfect frustration level. 


    I don't have time to fully analyze the new choices yet, but some points are:


    • HDD for boot is defunct. SSD is a necessity, so eliminate all HDD choices and price-analyze accordingly.


    • All 2011 MBPs can take 16 GB RAM via third party and AFAIK 2012 models are no different. I will be investigating this further, including whether or not the new MBP can take 2 x 16 GB via third party.


    • Retina display must actually be seen and compared to do a fair analysis. One must weigh tiny fonts against better image presentation and make a personal-preference choice.


    • Ethernet and FW ports are irrelevant, easily dealt with via cables.


    • MBPs with Superdrive have the huge benefit (Léonie and I both take advantage of) of being able to replace the optical drive with a 1-TB hard drive, giving a mobile box with cheap SSD for boot plus HDD for mass storage.





  • TechAddict Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    TQVM for the reply.  Been pondering this more and more and concluded I was making this too difficult, making deciding harder. 


    As you say, FW and Ethernet irrelevant as it can be dealt with by cable and all my FW drives are USB compatible as well (not sure if the sending and receiving device need to be USB 3 to take advantage of that though).  Even the optical drive is neither here nor there.  I can buy a Super Drive to get round that for the 4 times a year I use it.


    The only issue I THINK is that the MBPs are now fixed RAM and drive bay (at least via Apple).  No upgrades possible.  If this is not the case (as you say, to be explored more) it opens other options.  If RAM upgrade is possible and the CD drive can be replaced, I'd def look at that route.  At the Apple store though there is no bay or ram configuration.


    If modification to RAM/drive is not possible it leaves two things to be considered:


    15" with 750 GB HDD with 8 GB RAM max or


    15" Retina 256 SSD with 8 GB RAM (accepting that this CAN be upgraded to 16 - I'm looking base options first).


    I have a gut feel that the SSD/8GB RAM option will be better, better still if upraded to 16 GB RAM??  Is there anything wrong with that overall conclusion (notwithstanding the 16GB upgrade)?


    I see little point in upgrading the MBP with SSD (bearing in mind I'm only talking Apple Store configurations here - not waht MIGHT be an option via 3rd party), taking it over Retina prices given that the Retina upgrade option is more RAM, preferable to a SSD with 8 GB RAM I would think. 


    I could then use a TB or USB 3 external HDD for my Aperture library once the SSD got 75% full.

  • SierraDragon Level 4 Level 4 (2,695 points)

    TechAddict wrote:

    I have a gut feel that the SSD/8GB RAM option will be better, better still if upraded to 16 GB RAM??

    I fully agree. SSD is the only way to go. And elimininating inappropriate boot HDD from the matrix of choices simplifies the decision process.



  • CausticPuppy Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)

    The 15" Macbook Pro (older design) can actually be upgraded to 16GB, you just have to buy your own RAM.  You have to remove the bottom cover but after that it's pretty easy.  Just replace the two 4GB modules with two 8GB modules.


    The new retina version uses RAM integrated onto the motherboard so user upgrades are not possible.

  • SierraDragon Level 4 Level 4 (2,695 points)

    The new MBPs lack optical drive in favor of being thinner. Personally I like replacing the optical drive with a large HDD a lot. Enough that if I was buying a new MBP today I would buy one of the 2011/2012 models that predates June 2012. Ideally an Apple-SSD model, but an HDD model also works by retrofitting the SSD into the optical drive slot.


    If one really likes thin or retina display and must buy the June 2012 MBPs note that like CausticPuppy stated, RAM is apparently soldered on the mobo and not upgradable.


    8 GB RAM drives Aperture fine with zero page outs on my 2011 SSD MBP, but when I use a mixed Aperture/Photoshop workflow I easily page out. I recommend 16 GB RAM to folks looking at 2012-2016 Aperture usage on a non-upgradable computer.


    Refurbished MBPs are the equal of brand new IMO, just make sure not to get pre-2011.






  • TechAddict Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks all very much for replies.


    The points made by SD are very valid.  The only problem with the 2011 line up is that the places here that have them are re-sellers and are not (as yet) offering any incentives to move them on.  Being re-sellers the supply-fit SSDD might be hard to get and the 2011 15" are all 4 GB RAM.  Configuring those to 8GB (even if you can now) pushes the price up beyond the base spec of the 2012 refresh.  If there was a price incentive to take the old stock (esp if that would cover the cost of 3rd party retro fitting to bring the costs roughly to that of buying 2012 spec) it would be an option.  The RAM should be do-able cheaply via 3rd party I suppose but it's just SSDD and the optical drive fit that would concern me.  And of course, buying the 2012 machine with 1GB VRAM at the same price as the 2011 machine has it already fitted with 8GB RAM.


    In some ways would it not make more sense to buy the 2012 MBP 2.6 (non-retina) version which is already equipped with 8GB, supply-fit a 256 SDD and swap out the optical drive via third party?  IF you can that is.  BUT.....that takes the price of that machine (with anti glare to $2,699).  And in my case, for what? Merely an on-board optical that I might be able to swap out for an HDD and all the connectivity I need (or rather might sometimes use).  Compare that to $2,799 for the Retina with 8GB and 512 GB SSDD.  Bear in mind I'm just weighing up available options here in Malaysia v cost/benefit.  I am using US Apple Store $ pricing for ease of reference.


    Compare that machine also to the Retina base model with 8GB RAM and a 256 GB SSDD at the base price of $2,199 to which I need to do nothing other than add a TB HDD in a few years (when hopefully TB drives are the norm and cost around $150 for 1 TB v $500 now). No anti-glare needed either (or indeed an option) given that they say they have reduced glare by 70% (this I need to see before deciding).  In all honesty of course I don't NEED thin or retina BUT it might be something I don't object to when I see it 'in the flesh' so to speak.


    Bearing in mind others might be pondering the same question now (e.g. which 2012 Macbook for Aperture) there are two things that it would be nice to quantify to some degree:


    1) How essential is an SSDD?  May ageing 2007 MB 2.16 with it's 2GB RAM has coped well up until now, albeit the SBOD is proving more and more of a problem these days.  Is an SSDD essential for good Aperture performance or does it just make it excellent?  For many, good may well be enough.


    2) How much discreet video RAM does Aperture need?  It seems to be the case that people have historically suggested the first machine in the old (2011) 15" MBP line, with 4GB and the 512 MB Radeon card.  I ask this specifically because for those who don't feel the need to go down the SSDD route, that same machine in 2012 in it's base state is just $1,799 and fitted out with 8GB (which I think is essential) and anti-glare still only costs $1,999


    Sorry for prolonging this but I suppose it may be useful to others for the issues to be considered in the one thread.  Me too, but I think I'm going with the base retina model given the potential problems here of securing a machine kitted out as has otherwise suggested, other than at a significant premium.

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