Time for a New [i] Mac [Book Pro]?

Sep 12, 2005
Roseville, California
I currently have a an early 2008 Mac Pro, dual quad core 2.8, 18GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 7950 3072 MB graphics card (PC card flashed for Mac), 128GB SSD, with my photos and my Lightroom catalogs stored on a 4TB Western Digital Black 7200 RPM drive. Attached is a Dell 24 inch IPS panel monitor. There is really not much more I can do to it in terms of enhancements. It is painfully slow in Lightroom and Photoshop CC. I also have a mid 2009 15 inch MacBook Pro to which I added a 128 SSD, discrete graphics card and 8GB RAM. It is also painfully slow in LR and PS. The battery only last about an hour or 2 (I am looking for a replacement), but otherwise both computers work fine for family use and I plan to keep them.

It's time to buy a new computer for only me to use with the primary focus on photo editing. I use LR and PS and have an older version of On1. So the first question is do I go with a 27 inch iMac or a 15 inch MacBook Pro. I only take photo trips 2-4 times a year where I would want to have a laptop with me. If I get the MacBook Pro, I'm going to want a better and bigger monitor which I will need to wait about a year to purchase. Both systems will require external storage (possibly a NAS although I do not know how that will work with LR). If I get the iMac, I'll probably get a 13 inch entry level MacBook Pro for general family use and my trips in about a year.

So the other questions are i5 or i7, which graphics card and how much SSD storage in the computer? My research indicates that the difference between similar MHz i5 and i7 processors is only about 10%. Am I better off going i5 and getting a better graphics card? Should I continue to store LR catalogs on the drive with the photos? Should I get a lesser computer and get a NAS?

I shoot with a D500 and do not foresee the additional expenditure that comes with FX in my future.

Any insight you can give me would be much appreciated.
Oct 15, 2008
Can't speak for i5 vs. i7 but you'll want quad-core vs. dual-core. SSD storage amount is up to you...it won't be enough as is so no need to splurge for 512gb if you're going to have multiple 8tb externals. I would store your LR library on the SSD and the photos on an external (depending on how many files you have). The previews and edits will be quicker with the library on the SSD.
Dec 3, 2012
Sandpoint, Idaho
I use an 27 inch IMac here at home and have a 15 inch MBP on the road (I guess it's a 2016, it's got that touch bar thing) for travel. Both have the fastest processor available, IMac has 24 gb of memory, 2 TB of storage. MBP has 16 gb memory, 512 gb of storage. The both work fine for editing (PS CC and Lightroom), I can't detect any difference in speed. The MBP is heavy, size isn't an issue but it is heavy. If I were buying something mobile today I'd look at the 12 inch Macbook, it'll run PS CC and Lightroom and the selling point for me is the weight. They're all pretty nice machines these days, you can't really go wrong with whatever you get.


Apr 26, 2008
Up in the hills, Gloucestershire, UK
The slowness of the old machines is primarily down to the processor. There is no escaping the fact that PS and LR really like a fast processor, and I personally stopped buying anything less than i7 processors five years ago. (When I did that first change to an i7 five years ago I benchmarked PS and it ran 10 times faster than my old system.)

You don't mention doing video editing, so having a super fast video card will do very little for you. Using PS and LR I doubt you would even detect the difference. Any modern video system will do an excellent job.

If you work off a NAS it will slow you down compared to doing your editing off an internal drive, whether SSD or not. Instead of the very fast file load and save times internally, you would be going across a network. And if that is via wifi, it will be even slower. So if you really do need a NAS, use it as an archive, not for your current work.

Ideally you would buy both the iMac and a laptop.

To sum up, get the i7, don't waste money on a super expensive/fast video card, don't use a NAS except as an archive. A fast responsive system is a delight to edit with, I'm sure you will be very happy with your new system.

Latest threads

Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Nikon Cafe is a fan site and not associated with Nikon Corporation.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Forum GIFs powered by GIPHY: https://giphy.com/
Copyright © Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom