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Computer specs

SkipperlangeSkipperlange Member
edited July 2014 in home
This is it. I can't take it anymore. My MacBook Pro cannot handle the files from the D800. I have to get new MacBook Pro and send this one to the Smithsonian's Department of Computers that Just Won't Die. In order to easily handle the monster files from D800 I am wondering what I need to get in a new MacBook Pro. It will be MacBook Pro so that question is answered. But what factors affect speed and space? Is it memory? RAM? Power? I want speed, space and MacBook Pro. But I do not speak the language so do not know what to order. Any suggestions? Thank you.


  • TrevTrev Moderator
    edited July 2014
    Being a Macbook Pro, your options are very limited in what you can get inside of it, but certainly the specs on a 'normal' one is pretty good.

    Here is a link to 'configure your own specs' for a Macbook Pro:


    I think many people misjudge the importance of a damn good quality Graphics Card for rendering/redrawing when working with images, especially large file sizes.

    One thing is to have 1 drive for the OS and another if possible for your Data, dunno if possible with Macbook.

    You are unfortunately limited in regards to adding stuff to a Notebook, not like a 'tower' type computer and screen size unless you spend $$ on getting an external monitor.

    You are going to be 'up there' in regards to spending money on a Macbook Pro and that's something to consider obviously.

    Especially if you 'upgrade' the specs on a standard one, you will be around the $3000 mark and for that price I could build a really super fast desktop PC, with multiple drives, but that's not something you want so the best bet would be to actually talk to an Apple Store, call and speak to someone, outline your needs in terms of what it is you are wanting to do.

    Ask lots of questions regarding components and seeing if they are suitable.

    I suppose an iMac is not something you would consider and want the portability of a Macbook Pro. :)

    Good luck.

  • Thanks a lot Trev. Good to know about graphics card. I do intend to ask the store questions but solely from point of view of how best to handle these enormous photos I was wondering what to be sure to get. For example, one D800 event can suck out half my remaining space on my computer. I go from, say, 30 (somethings.... Megabytes or gigabytes) to 14 (somethings). What is that space called so I can be sure to get a lot? And on speed, right now it takes forever to open a D800 file. Or edit it. Or close it. If I open multiple Raws (they're all raw) in ACR holy mackerel you can't believe how long it takes to go from one to the next. So what do I want to get to be sure to get the fastest speed I can? For instance, I would like top speed but I know the term is not 'top speed'.

    Right now I deal with this by leaving the D800 at home and using my D700.

    Yes, I need a laptop for portability and I've had great luck with this MBPro so I am going to get that. I do have external monitor, Apple Cinema Display.

    Thanks Trev!
  • TrevTrev Moderator

    In terms of best speed/computing power you would need an Intel i7 Quad Core with the fastest Ghz range, but I don't think you would be able to upgrade to a really faster chipset that much in a MBPro, as it's 2.3Ghz but definitely upgrade to 2.6Ghz would be best option here.

    Regarding space, standard is 500G, but there is an available upgrade to a 1Tb (1 Terabyte = 1,048,576 Mbs) drive which is 1000G and a Gigabyte is 1000 Mb, so that's the maximum available from what I see in the MBPro specs, but make sure you also ask if the Drive can be Partitioned so there is a separate sector for the Operating System and remainder for the Data.

    RAM, well the specs are 16G I see on that MBPro, ask if that can be increased.

    Regarding the Graphics Card, they use the nVidia GeForce GTX series which is a really good card, I've always used nVidia cards, totally reliable and a good quality one you can use the inbuilt cache for 'memory' so your system runs smoother/faster.

    But I am not a Mac expert, just that the components in this are excellent quality, what you get in a PC based system, so you need to ask.

    Just from the 'upgrading' I did on that Mac with the extra CPU power and increased from 512G to 1Tb drive it's already up in the $3378 price, oh make sure you include the Apple USB SuperDrive Cable ($79) for external connectivity.

  • TrevTrev Moderator
    edited July 2014
    I would seriously consider an iMac, and believe it or not for the exact same price of the MBPro, you get a 27-inch iMac with triple the space (3Tb) Fusion Drive, double the RAM to 32G, better graphics, and a monster Intel Quad-Core 3.5Ghz i7 CPU.

    You may think you want the Macbook for portability, but you can still use yours for downloading files to when out, and when you get home, transfer them to the iMac for processing, much much larger screen, and very fast.

    A friend of mine got a new iMac around 18 months back and it's only a 2.4Ghz but it does really work fast, so the new generation out now would be super, and it's so really compact in terms of taking up desk space and the monitor just sits there and all hardware built in.

    Happy shopping.


  • Thanks Trev. I need laptop because I have an office/studio in town and I'm there a few times a week so I need to carry my computer with me back and forth. Are you saying I should get two computers? IMac and laptop? Not sure but I can only get one. Or you're suggesting I continued to use mine at office? Won't work because I do a lot of editing at office, I download everything at home. Plus I have two ex monitors so only need laptop.

    I do have ex hard drives, La Cies. But even tho I've shifted almost all photos to that I still have very little space left on the current MBPro, so not sure why it's so full up. There is probably a lot I can get rid of but not knowing what it all is, that's a risk, I lost MS Word that way. I've deleted everything I can identify and do not need.

    So from yr great guides I'm thinking processor determines speed and memory also affects speed and also determines space (plus storage). So sounds like I want big processor and lots of memory to get the speed to handle the D800 files. And lots of memory to hold the files. Thank you for the option suggestions.

    I'm wavering on SuperDrive because an Apple guy told me a while back that CDs and DVDs were on the way out and no one burns CDs anymore. It's true, if I give someone pix I put them on a flash drive stick. But I would think I would need something to accept CDs if, say, a manual or software came that way.

    Thanks again Trev!
  • TrevTrev Moderator

    If you do the vast majority of editing on laptop then obviously that's the one you would get.

    Re SuperDrive, yeah, I thought it was mainly to do with connecting external drives, until I re-read it again, so yeah, I have also given up on discs, all USB now, with only the Blu-Ray top shelf discs for an extra layer of backing up RAW files.

    You won't know what you can get until you talk to an Apple store.
  • Does anyone know what "Retina Display" is and whether I need it or not? Thank you.
  • TrevTrev Moderator

    It's Apple's fancy way of saying that when the screen is held at normal eye distance, you cannot see the 'pixels' as they are so closely bunched. Nothing scientific at all in it and just a fancy term for high resolution.

    Like looking at a glossy magazine colour print. Of course since it's 'Retina Display' a good excuse for higher price.
  • Thanks Trev. Sounds like I can take it or leave it and doesn't matter.
  • TrevTrev Moderator
    edited July 2014

    Apple announces an update to the MacBook Pro line of faster, more memory, etc.

    New range here!

  • Thanks Trev! I did see something about that. Thank you for the link. Looks like a considerable price savings. I know what's going to happen though. Once I get computer everything else won't be compatible, like my Apple Cinema Display monitors and software and on and on. I will have to upgrade this and that and that and that and I don't think I have the money for that. But yesterday my computer simply went dead. I thought 'this is it.' It did come back to life but if I don't take that as a major warning I need to get my head examined.
  • Ive been through this one before...just recently.

    First, it matters what programs you utilize. I use very intensive programs like DXO OPTICS PRIME which is a very tedious program. It also matters how many images you have to process.

    Second, you will NOT get lightning performance in a laptop computer. A desktop has better cooling abilities and faster processors.

    Third, if you must got laptop keep in mind that new processors keep coming out every 6-12 months or so. Wait until you cant take it anymore because in months we will be handed faster better processors.

    Focus on the following things when choosing either a laptop or a desktop:

    - The larger the laptop the better cooling ability it has. If the laptop gets too hot then the processor WILL slowdown. That said you also want to get a high quality cooling pad or even have a small portable fan to blow air around the laptop. My laptop just did a DXO run and its hot to the touch. The 17 inch laptop with a cooling pad would be the really best photo contraption for the traveling pro. Yes, its heavy and big, but it will work better. It will also be more expandable hard drive wise. The HP 17 inchers can carry three hard drives. 2 2.5 inchers and 1 in the mssd slot. Unfortunately, I think MACBOOK PRO only comes in 15 inches.

    - When picking laptops or desktops, focus on the processor first and foremost. Then look at memory. Then look at video cards. What makes programs fast is the processor.

    - Fifth, if you want to wait it out then try resetting the system. On PCs, I know that putting the system back to its original state and reinstalling everything makes the system considerably faster. As PCs age, they tend to slow down as the system gets corrupted. I dont know if thats the same way with the MAC.
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