Which MacBook Pro for d800?

Started Mar 8, 2013 | Questions
Swiss L
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Which MacBook Pro for d800?
Mar 8, 2013

I need to upgrade my laptop to process the large files and given that we are largely Apple converts am considering a MacBook 13 Retina with 8MB RAM following the drop in price. I intend to use Aperture and possibly Lightroom 4. I am not a pro and my experience in processing RAW files is limited. I am concerned whether 8mb RAM with the flash drive is sufficient to work with the large files produced by the D800 as no upgrades are possible. I will use external storage as back-up. Looking for peoples experience with this device. Cheers S

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Nikon D800
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Toccata47
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Re: Which MacBook Pro for d800?
In reply to Swiss L, Mar 8, 2013

The retina is nice for looking at photos, but the 13" screen is awkward with the files this large and imho,  anssd for a 1 drive solution just isn't large enough. These files are huge. If you're tethered to an external monitor and external drives than it doesn't really matter which you use as 8m of ram will be sufficient provided you are just an enthusiastic amateur (assumed).

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EricWN
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Re: Which MacBook Pro for d800?
In reply to Toccata47, Mar 8, 2013

First of all, it's gigabyte, not megabyte we're talking about. Be careful of the "little" differences. Second, 8 GB might be enough but in a machine that cannot be upgraded in this area, always get the maximum possible, even if it's just for the resale value.

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Swiss L
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Re: Which MacBook Pro for d800?
In reply to EricWN, Mar 8, 2013

Thanks. At least I know the standard spec would be sufficient for my needs. It is not possible to spec the 13inch Retina with 16GB of RAM which I find annoying as this would be the easiest solution. The 15 inch in the UK with the right spec would stretch the budget ($3300).

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Tom_N
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Re: Which MacBook Pro for d800?
In reply to Swiss L, Mar 8, 2013

Swiss L wrote:

Thanks. At least I know the standard spec would be sufficient for my needs. It is not possible to spec the 13inch Retina with 16GB of RAM which I find annoying as this would be the easiest solution. The 15 inch in the UK with the right spec would stretch the budget ($3300).

Another possibility might be the 15-inch non-Retina MacBook Pro, with the custom-order "hi-res" anti-glare screen upgrade, and 16 GB of third-party RAM.

The screen would not be as nice as a Retina screen, but you would have a quad-core CPU (as on the 15" Retina MBP) and 16 GB of RAM.  You could replace the HD with a third-party SSD.  Some people have even removed the optical drive and installed drive mounting brackets, allowing them to have both a HD and a SSD inside the case.  (This might invalidate the warranty; I'm not sure.)

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rich garrett
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Re: Which MacBook Pro for d800?
In reply to Tom_N, Mar 8, 2013

8GB ram is plenty for the 36GB Raw files.   I have a 780GB PSD image that fits in 8GB using photoshop CS6.

the bigger issue with a 13" Macbook Pro is that it is only a dual processor CPU.  you have to go to 15" to qet a quad core.   the extra processing power would be noticable on the D800 images.

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Mark K W
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Re: Which MacBook Pro for d800?
In reply to Swiss L, Mar 8, 2013

I do not have a D800, but have 24MP Sony and process the RAWs off that. I currently have a 2009 3GHz core-duo MBP with 8GB RAM, and run LR4.3 on that (sometimes launching CS5 also in one combined workflow). I would say my machine is at its comfortable working limit with LR4.3 and only for ex. Safari and iTunes running. If I do LR plus CS5 (which is RAM hungry), I then have to close down those other apps like Safari and iTunes, and often also LR itself because it is keeping CS5 from working efficiently.

I have considered D800, and this is one of the reasons why I have not switched to it. I just think my dual-core/8GB system is not really up to it. Granted, my system is also 7200rpm HDD, not SSD, but it's cores and then RAM that I think hurts me the most as far as LR4 is concerned.

So, I would probably caution running LR4 on a dual-core in 8GB with big D800 RAW files. Sure it will run and process them, but I think could well be pretty slow, particularly after a large import (I dunno, >100 full 36MP RAW images in a folder say). If you are wanting to have other apps running at same time, then it will obviously suffer even more as mine does. The 13" display means you may well later be thinking about an external monitor, and then I think you really could have a very slow LR4 system (for D800) from the get-go. Still workable, just very slow and less than you would want performance-wise. I think the cores will be as much your constraining issue with LR4 as the RAM.

So - if I were you, I would go 15" (which is then quad-core) and max the RAM to 16GB. I know that's a very different budget level, but that might see you through a good replacement cycle, including LR5, whenever that comes, whereas I don't think an rMBP with only dual-core and 8GB will.

[ I do not know about Aperture - that maybe a different case. ]

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Dem2u
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Re: Which MacBook Pro for d800?
In reply to Mark K W, Mar 9, 2013

i have late 2011 macbook pro 17" 2.4ghz upgraded to 16gm ram(aftermarket) added samsung 256gb solid state drive for operating system and left 750gb for storage . so i have dual hard drive but no cd driver. i run LR4 ,Cs6 ,lightning and youtube on safari at the same time no lag at all… sometimes it takes few extra seconds to save huge files but everything runs fine most of the time.

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Swiss L
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Re: Which MacBook Pro for d800?
In reply to Mark K W, Mar 9, 2013

Many thanks. As with all Macs the answer is to buy the highest spec one can afford and this applies more so for the machines that cannot be upgraded. Quad core and 16 gbs of RAM it is then...

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expireduser
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Re: Which MacBook Pro for d800?
In reply to Swiss L, Mar 12, 2013

Trust me, don't get anything but a retina display. I've recently switched to a 15" retina display and anything else looks awful to me now. It's a huge game changer, especially since you are a photographer and will appreciate the difference - the screen is literally print quality. I shoot with a Sony NEX-7, 24 megapixel raw. I'm using a 2.6Ghz quad core retina MacBook Pro,and it's reasonably snappy running Lightroom 4.3, it definitely could be snappier but I'm content. I wouldn't want to use a 13" dual core, judging from the quad-core performance I'm seeing.

I would personally recommend this $1779 refurb direct from Apple:

http://store.apple.com/us/product/FC975LL/A/refurbished-macbook-pro-23ghz-quad-core-intel-i7-with-retina-display

8GB RAM is fine, I have 16GB but Lightroom never uses much more than 3GB - I just tested memory usage the other night for a bit. Your 36MP raw images will use a bit more memory than my 24MP raw images, but I bet 8GB is still fine. 16GB would probably just allow you to cache more previews in memory, if you want to instantly switch between several images without hitting the extremely fast SSD. The retina display MBP supports USB 3.0, so external storage/backup will be fast and cheap.

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probert500
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Re: Which MacBook Pro for d800?
In reply to Swiss L, Mar 13, 2013

I think the key here would be to have a second drive for the files and one for the system - use thunderbolt it's basically a pci slot.

Otherwise it seems there should be little problem.  The files are large but a lot of people working with masking , layering and compositing have larger files and use lesser systems.

If it was me though - I'd get a machine with discreet graphics and a good external monitor - a 15" mac pro with maybe a 24"NEC - and have some flexibility.  working on a small screen - retina or not - can feel constrained.

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alpshiker
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Re: Which MacBook Pro for d800?
In reply to Swiss L, Mar 13, 2013

Swiss L wrote:

I need to upgrade my laptop to process the large files and given that we are largely Apple converts am considering a MacBook 13 Retina with 8MB RAM following the drop in price. I intend to use Aperture and possibly Lightroom 4. I am not a pro and my experience in processing RAW files is limited. I am concerned whether 8mb RAM with the flash drive is sufficient to work with the large files produced by the D800 as no upgrades are possible. I will use external storage as back-up. Looking for peoples experience with this device. Cheers S

Hello Swiss fellow,

Check that special offer:

http://www.microspot.ch/microspot/product/Notebooks/0000710727/Apple_MacBook_Pro_with_Retina_display_-_Core_i7_2./detail.jsf

I grabbed one of those. They are the pro's choice at the moment.

Cheers, Paul

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