Which MacBook Pro should you buy?

Which MacBook Pro you should buy is the question many creators deliberate over. In this blog article I'll show you the optimum spec configuration to suit your workflow, whether it's photo or video, and also save you money.

Which macbook pro should I buy

I have written about why you should buy a MacBook Pro in this article. Following on from this, the question is now: which MacBook Pro should you buy. And this will depend on your requirements as a creator or photographer.

So let’s get straight to it. First though, there are two MacBook Pro sizes, the 13″ and the 15″. But you need to bear in mind, while the two 15″ configurations have been updated for 2019, Apple are still selling two 2017 13″ MacBook Pro models.

The 15″ MacBook Pro

The biggest and best updates have come to the 15″ MacBook Pro lineup. You have two configurations: a 6-core and 8-core.

As of the date of publication of this blog article Apple have seemingly solved many issues that have plagued this MacBook Pro generation. But we’ll need a few more months of usage time to see what users report back.

For both photo and video editing, the 8-core MacBook Pro will provide ample power to keep on top of editing and renders for years to come. Many tech experts are recommending actually going for the lower spec 2.3GHz 9th gen 8-core. This is because in testing the benchmarks have shown that there is only a 2% difference in performance levels. That is not a great amount to justify the extra cost of going to the faster 2.4GHz processor.


If you are mainly editing photos, upgrading the GPU will not make significant improvements in performance, so sticking with the Radeon 560X would be prudent if you can’t budget for the Vega 20. 16Gb of DDR4 RAM will be sufficient but I would recommend upgrading to 32Gb.

Video Editing and 3D Rendering

Vega 16 and 20 has shown to improve all round performance as it can run at much cooler temps, so even for Photographers I would suggest this option if it’s within your budget. For video editing software like Adobe Premiere or Final Cut or 3D and 3D rendering software like Autodesk Maya or Cinema4D, I would definitely suggest selecting the Vega 20.

Again, it’s quite the upgrade cost but I would recommend selecting 32Gb of RAM. In a few years this will be the minimum requirement for photo and video editing computers or laptops. You get much bigger performance improvements for editing when you increase RAM.

Which MacBook Pro you should buy

The 13″ MacBook Pro

There are three 13″ MacBook Pros, two without the Touch Bar which are from 2017.

Unfortunately the 2019 model has not been updated with the Intel Core i9 8-Core 9th-generation that come with the 15″ MacBook Pros.

13' MacBook Pro

Instead you have the 8th-gen processor from last year and 7th-gen processors from 2017. These 13″ MacBook Pros also come with the 2nd generation Butterfly keyboard.

If you are getting a 13″ MacBook Pro, the 2.4GHz Quad-Core model performance benchmarks are not much higher than the 2.8Ghz Quad-Core to warrant the extra £270, much like the 15″ model.

You only get the option of 8Gb or 16Gb of DDR3 RAM compared to the 15″ MacBook Pro’s DDR4 up to 32Gb. If you are a content creator and you are photo and video editing 16Gb should be selected. RAM is very important for photo and video editing software like Adobe Photoshop and Premiere, a lot of lag issues come down to limited RAM.

Get as much storage as your budget will allow. If you are a video or even photo editor, space is a valuable commodity and it’s all the better if you can save on the amount of hard drives snaking around the laptop.

13' MacBook Pro you should buy

But if you can afford 10% more or just over £220 (Prices correct at time of publication) you can get the base 15″ MacBook Pro and get the 9th-gen processors, DDR4 RAM, and better GPU. It’s also cheaper to upgrade to 512Gb of SSD storage for the 15″ MacBook Pro.

Just over £200 more for a 15′ MacBook Pro over the 13′ MacBook Pro

Final Thoughts

Apple’s final upgrade before the 2020 redesign has yielded some great editing setups that should last you years as a mobile editing workstation or your primary workhorse.

If this article has helped you choose which MacBook Pro you should buy do check out my other articles on tech and photography. And also my gear page on kit.com.

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