Please help me pick my first macbook!! =)

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So after many months of saving, planning, and even foregoing food and basic amenities, I have saved enough to make the leap to Apple, despite my friends protesting that its overpriced. I am a musician and I have hea5rd amazing things when it comes to using it as a media device for recording/mixing.

I am going to get a 15" macbook pro but would love some feedback from you guys on my best option. I am getting pretty confused with why one computer is 300 dollars less even though the specs look better.

Here are the 3 I am picking from:

OPTION 1: Refurbished 15.4-inch MacBook Pro 2.4GHz Quad-core Intel i7 with Retina Display

Originally released February 2013
15.4-inch (diagonal) Retina display; 2880-by-1800 resolution at 220 pixels per inch
8GB of 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
256GB Flash Storage1
720p FaceTime HD Camera
NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 1GB of GDDR5 memory

PRICE: $1579 (why is this less than my next option when it looks better on stats??)

OPTION 2: (I am leaning towards this as it is late october 2013 and I heard good reviews. But for only 400 more I can get a new one)
Refurbished 15.4-inch MacBook Pro 2.0GHz Quad-core Intel i7 with Retina Display

Originally released October 2013
15.4-inch (diagonal) Retina display; 2880-by-1800 resolution at 220 pixels per inch
8GB of 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
256GB Flash Storage1
720p FaceTime HD camera
Intel Iris Pro Graphics

Price: $1619 (seems solid, says I am saving 5%)

OPTION 3: New Macbook pro ($2099, but it does seem much better than either option. Just not sure if it is $500 worth better than option 2)
2.2GHz
2.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.4GHz) with 6MB shared L3 cache

16GB of 1600MHz DDR3L onboard memory
256GB PCIe-based flash storage
Intel Iris Pro Graphics

Soooo those are my options. I was leaning towards option 2, but then I saw 1 and on paper it looks much better. But the apple store guy said the processor makes a big difference. Then I figured I might as well buy new if its worth but, but its also another 400.... basicallyt I am just overwhelmed with info, and for my first mac, I want to make sure I get the right one. Figured you guys would know much better than I the best deal.

I would be using it mainly for audio recoridng/mixing and as a live interface doing gigs, light video editing with FCP, word processing and maybe some light gaming. (counterstrike and stuff, not Skyrim. Though if it could handle it it would be cool, gaming is somehting I am not concerned with).

So there you have it. I got the money now and dont mind spending up to 2000-2100 for the right machine. Also, if you have a BETTER option, either on the refurb section or whatnot, that is either cheaper or more expensise, I am all ears; Any and all feedback and advice is greatly appreciated!!!

Thanks a lot :)
 
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G'day and welcome to the forums.

If you got the cash, go with Option 3. Turno Boost, 16GB of memory and Intel Iris Graphics. To give you some idea this is GeekBench ratings, and they are all similar.

Option 1 is 11,214. option 2 is 11,365 and Option 3 is 11,624 but have a read of this showing 2014 models are up to 9% faster:-


http://www.iosdoc.com/new-macbook-pros-6-9-faster-than-their-predecessors/
 

pigoo3

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Just curious…why are you thinking of going with a 15" MacBook Pro?

- Nick
 
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Just curious…why are you thinking of going with a 15" MacBook Pro?

- Nick

Well, I don't have a desktop computer right now, so I am thinking it would be best to have something big enough to do video editing and audio stuff without much issue. I was looking at the 13" too because I plan on travelling a lot and want something portable, but the 15" doesn't seem THAt much bigger.

Also, the base 15" has the i7 and 16gb ram, compared to the i5 @ 8gb.

Why, do you think I'd be better off with a 13"? I am open to other options. Just want to get the best value for the money. It will be my biggest purchase to date, so I want to make it right!

Thanks.
 
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chas_m

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Of the three you presented, I'd easily pick option 3. Have you considered the idea of a non-retina 13-inch, and a second monitor?
 

pigoo3

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Why, do you think I'd be better off with a 13"? I am open to other options. Just want to get the best value for the money. It will be my biggest purchase to date, so I want to make it right!

I realize that getting a 15" MacBook Pro gives you more screen area to work with. But this can be easily solved (and actually greatly improved over a 15" MacBook Pro)…by using a large external monitor.:)

I sometimes use my 13" MacBook Pro with an external 30" computer display.

With a 13" MacBook Pro you get the best of both worlds. A smaller lighter computer to carry when you are mobile. But when you are at work or home…you can use a large external monitor.

FYI…the 13" MacBook Pro's can be upgraded to an i7 cpu…and they can be upgraded to 16gig of ram.

They upper end 15" MacBook Pro does have the dedicated graphics hardware (can't get this on the 13" MacBook Pro)…AND…the 15" MacBook Pro does have a quad-core cpu (can't get a quad-core cpu on the 13" MacBook Pro's). But the upper end 15" MBP costs $2499 (lower end 15" MBP $1999).

So the 15" MBP does have a couple advantages over the 13" MBP. But if you really don't need these advantages…a 13" MBP can be a better decision…since it is smaller & lighter…and costs less. Nice for when you are moving around a lot….and don't have a "fat wallet" full of $$$$!;)

- Nick
 
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I am a musician and I have hea5rd amazing things when it comes to using it as a media device for recording/mixing.


I don't want to start a flame war here, but neither a Mac nor a PC is "better" for music. It depends entirely on your audio software and choice of audio interface. If you want to use Logic and/or Apogee hardware, then a Mac is the only option; if you want to use Cubase/ProTools/Live etc, then take whatever platform is best for you. Either way, you'll need a decent audio interface. No built-in soundcard will offer you the same performance as a dedicated interface - there's a reason why good interfaces sometimes cost more than your computer.

If you are intent with making the jump to Mac, get whatever offers the greatest CPU power as software instruments and effects eat CPU. Also, an SSD will allow you a greater number of simultaneous tracks than a HDD. A MBP or Mac Pro are the best options.
 
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Thanks for all the replies guys!! I am leaning towards the new MBP, mainly because of the extra ram and quad core processor.

I am open to a 13" though, as I wouyld love the portability. But I am just wondering, do you guys know if the mid range MBP 13" with 2.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz) with 3MB shared L3 cache and 8GM ram would handle final cut and programs like logic/protools/ garage band?

I think I would prefer the 13". but I am worried that I may get frustrated when I throw some moderate video editing/graphics/audio mixing, especially if I am using it during a show or something. But right now I am not getting paid for pro video editing, and would likely be doing it on a low key.

Do you think that processor/ram could handle the load? Or should I go with the 15" quad core and 16gb ram instead? Also, the 15" has Iris Pro, whereas the 13" just says Iris. Not even sure what the difference is to be honest.

Could I get away with the 13" for what I need it for? Besides the portability, the extra $500 in the pocket is a nice perk.

Thanks!
 
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I am open to a 13" though, as I wouyld love the portability. But I am just wondering, do you guys know if the mid range MBP 13" with 2.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz) with 3MB shared L3 cache and 8GM ram would handle final cut and programs like logic/protools/ garage band?


Logic/ProTools/GarageBand will all work fine. How many tracks you can run is another story as some virtual effects/instruments are more CPU-intensive than others. But you should have enough power to put together something decent.

Honestly, with multimedia, bigger is better. I'd go with the best you can afford, especially as Macs have limited upgradability.
 
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Just as a little update, I am currently writing from my new 15" MBP, and am extremely satisfied :)

Thanks everyone for the responses. I will surely hang around here as I navigate my way around the mac world.
 
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Congrats. I'm pleased that you opted for the better model, which should give you peace of mind when working with audio and video. Logic's a steal at $199 compared with some other DAWs.
 
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chas_m

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I don't want to start a flame war here, but neither a Mac nor a PC is "better" for music.

This is entirely true but I think most people, when they say something like this, are thinking of a bigger picture, ie the whole experience, not just the one individual piece of software.

In that sense, Macs are "better" than Windows machines for people who want to focus on the music and not be a computer manager/caretaker/dogsbody. If I take two utterly identical programs like say Lightroom for PC and Mac, chances are incredibly high I'm going to have a "better" experience on the Mac because of what I view as the clear superiority of the OS. This has, however, nothing to do with the quality of the Lightroom program on either platform.
 
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It's all personal preference. I don't make music to have a romantic experience with my operating system.
 

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