Minimum required mac for design

almost 5 years ago from , Designer

I won't waste any more money on the ridiculous cost of the latest mac. Is anyone still running sketch etc on an older version? How does sketch run on macs with 6GB memory and less ? I know that photoshop can bring macs with less than that to a stop.

Cheers in advanced


  • Kevin Healy, almost 5 years ago

    Interesting question. I run a late 2008 Macbook Pro for personal projects which I've upgraded throughout the years (no more CD drive and two hard disks, maxed out RAM, SSD for booting and apps).

    Its lasted a very long time and runs well with Sketch, Photoshop, anything where you are designing static comps. Since I've been doing a lot more motion design over the last few months I definitely need an upgrade (very low frame rates).

    I'd suggest a 2014 model if you want something with another 3-4 years life left in it. Thats what I am looking at anyway.

    3 points
    • dh ., almost 5 years ago

      I can understand the needed upgrade when doing animations and motion design. But for static design an older model should suffice.

      1 point
      • Kevin Healy, almost 5 years ago

        Completely agree. Just keep in mind that if you end up using prototyping tools like Flinto or Principle to visualise your UIs they will also need a bit of extra juice from your GFX card. Perhaps look at that spec when considering your buying options as that can't be upgraded manually.

        2 points
  • Nitin GargNitin Garg, almost 5 years ago

    I'm still running an Early 2011 MBPro with 8GB Ram.

    And I never face any issue in everyday usage of Sketch (10-40 artboards), 5-8 browser tabs, iTunes, iAWriter and couple of other small utilities like numi, cloudapp, dropbox in the background. And sometimes Coda or Brackets running alongside sketch.

    The only time I feel a bit of lag is with music production and If I have to edit, export huge videos. And that too only with fairly complex arrangements.

    I also have a late 2009 iMac with the similar setup that I use at least 40% of the time. Surprisingly, that works just fine too.

    2 points
  • Powers Gray, almost 5 years ago

    (I'm at 8gb of ram not 6gb, but thought it was worth sharing anyways) My home machine is a: mid-2012 MB Air 2ghz intel core i7 8gb ram 500gb SSD.

    I just updated it to Sierra and I'm running Photoshop, Illustrator, Sketch and Xcode all without any lag or issue.

    With Sketch I'm easily able to navigate files that board out full mobile applications. I was worried about updating to Sierra, but I have to say it's running a whole lot better now!I To think I was going to buy a new MBP until I was like "wait a second, letttt me just try this out first." Glad I did, definitely not buying a new machine anymore, as it's completely unnecessary for my workflow.

    1 point
  • Mattan IngramMattan Ingram, almost 5 years ago

    You can't design on a Mac without the TouchBar.

    1 point
  • Andy BrownAndy Brown, almost 5 years ago

    I really rate the older Mac Minis. I run a 2012 Mac Mini (2.6ghz i7) with upgraded SSD and maxed out RAM (16GB). If it died I'd probably buy another one off eBay. About £600/£700 in the UK.

    I also use a newer top spec 27 inch iMac (2014 ish) and honestly the Mac Mini feels like it runs faster.

    1 point
  • Matthew BlodeMatthew Blode, almost 5 years ago

    I have an early 2011 MacBook Pro 13" with 4gb of RAM and a 500gb hard drive. It struggles using lots of art boards and multiple files open on sketch. So I usually have to close the Google Drive app and Chrome to have a better experience. It is manageable but slow. I use Sublime Text instead of Atom to optimise for speed. I can't have too many chrome tabs open either. I hope to upgrade soon or just get someone in my families hand-me-down MacBookPro 15" retina.

    1 point
  • Stefan HoardStefan Hoard, almost 5 years ago

    2011 17" Macbook Pro here. Upgraded to a Samsung Evo SSD and 16GB of DDR3 Ram - No issues running sketch, photoshop, ae, etc.

    1 point
  • Mihai VladanMihai Vladan, almost 5 years ago

    Using a maxed out 17" early 2011 MBP 16gb ram / SSD for boot and apps + the original hdd .

    Had my mainboard replaced a few months ago with the free replacement program( Apple extended it till end of 2016)

    Using photoshop / sketch / illustrator / flinto without any issues. Heck i even use Maya / Unity 5 on it and it still runs like a beauty .

    Pros : 1100$ base price + 400$ upgrade = 1500$ beast of a mac Cons : 6.6 pounds ☹️. Battery life ~ 4h for video/browsing . ~2.5h for work stuff (400cycles on the battery )

    Planing on getting the 2015 model and use it for the next 2-4years . Mainly due to the whole mainboard problem i had with the 17"one.

    1 point
  • Duke CavinskiDuke Cavinski, almost 5 years ago

    If you want to run Sketch with any imagery, your Mac should be able to rocket to Mars probably.

    1 point
  • Daniel FoscoDaniel Fosco, almost 5 years ago (edited almost 5 years ago )

    I have a 2010 13"Macbook Pro with minimal specs (at the time), slightly upgraded to 8gb RAM and SSD.

    I use it to run Sketch, Atom, Illustrator, Pixelmator and what have you*. Will probably be upgraded in 2018 as a christmas gift to myself, and unless it breaks down it will remain as a regularly used secondary machine.

    For comparison, I use a 2015 13"Retina MacBook Pro at work. I can work seamlessly between both. Is my personal machine snap-fast like this one? No. Can it get work done? Hell yeah it can.

    *I'm a digital designer. I would probably be crying myself to sleep if I had to use After Effects, 3D Editing Software, game development or just heavy photo editing. This machine is not suitable for everyone, but I'm really glad I'm able to be this cheap and still productive.

    1 point
    • dh ., almost 5 years ago

      Sounds good and promising. Between jobs perhaps the 2010 model is sufficient.

      0 points
  • Maiken v V., almost 5 years ago (edited almost 5 years ago )

    I run sketch on my personal 13-inch MacBook 4GB ram from 2012 without problem. The only thing I notice compared to my 15-inch work MacBook 2015 is when Sketch has way too much artboards. My 15 inch will slow down a little, my 13 inch more, but still workable.

    Update: I did put a SSD in my 13-inch MacBook instead of a HDD. If you buy an old MacBook with HHD, I would always replace it with a SSD.

    1 point
    • dh ., almost 5 years ago

      cool, Yeh Sketch seems quite light weight compared to adobe products and as i imagined possible to use without noticing much difference. At work i am currently using 16gb 2015 macbook but need to get my own. Out of principle i won't payout $2.799,00

      0 points
  • Tony Roberson, almost 5 years ago

    I'm on 2012 rMBP with 8Gb of RAM and integrated Intel graphics. I use this machine to make designs with Sketch and also use this machine to develop. Develop both front end and back end.

    Although I do wish I went with 16GB of RAM. And to be honest, the new MBP is kinda cool! Checkout this video on how you could potentially setup a new battlestation, I think its quite cool and I will definitely be upgrading: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HM3O7rn3aqA

    0 points
  • renato campanarenato campana, almost 5 years ago

    I have the cheapest retina macbook pro at home, 13" and 8gb of ram, works perfectly with sketch and photoshop, you just need to keep a clean workflow and avoid cluttering your files. SSD makes a lot of difference.

    0 points
    • Gene M, almost 5 years ago

      I have exact same one, works great if you don't open up a million windows like I often do :)

      0 points
  • Dimitrie A. StefanescuDimitrie A. Stefanescu, almost 5 years ago

    Got a late 2013 15in MBP, 16GB RAM and 512 SSD. I must say, doing a mixture of development (threejs, but that's mainly sublime text), graphics (photoshop and illustrator), video and running windows on parallels with a 3d modelling program (rhino), at least 30 tabs in chrome open, all at the same time - I am impressed with my machine. I'm working usually on three screens (one is a converted 4k iMac, I guess the dedicated graphics help here) without a glitch.

    Photoshop runs as a breeze, Illustrator never crapped up even with a 100mb file, Rhino dies only if I do something stupid, etc. And I can still play music and waste time on twitter. I restart... once a week maybe? Just checked, nope, more like every ten days.

    Just looked this on ebay up, there's one for £ 1300. I literally can't see when I'm going to give this computer up.

    Spend some monies extra, save them in the long run.

    0 points
  • Cosmin MadalinCosmin Madalin, almost 5 years ago

    I run Sketch on a Mac mini (Late 2014) - 2,6 GHz Intel Core i5 with 8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3. It runs so smooth, had no problems with it.

    0 points
  • Cristian MoiseiCristian Moisei, almost 5 years ago

    Check out my comment here

    0 points
  • Tropical HoochTropical Hooch, almost 5 years ago

    I just upgraded my 2010 MBP to a lightly used 2015 MBP. I'm super happy with this decision. I spend under $1,500 on a fantastic machine that would have cost me > $2800 for a comparable 2016 version. I'd highly suggest you check out eBay / craigslist.

    0 points
  • Mitch De CastroMitch De Castro, almost 5 years ago (edited almost 5 years ago )

    Being a student and not knowing much about Apple computers at the time, I only opted for the base-level mid-2012, non-retina 13" MBP (2.5 i5, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD) which I never upgraded in the 3 years I owned it and simply replaced with a mid-level 2015 15" MBP during my internship.

    Sketch 3 worked great for small projects and I used the Marvel plugin pretty often. I ran into issues when having lots of high-res raster assets—fans spun up like crazy and my machine slowed to halt but that was actually a really crazy edge-case (I converted a bunch of PDF files into JPGs to use as assets for a concept app and they averaged at ~3000x4000 each jpg for some reason.) It also froze up when using some of the raster-editing tools built into Sketch but I wouldn't recommend relying on those anyway.

    Up until last July, I was still using it for small projects in Sketch but I had been meaning to replace it for a bigger screen, slimmer body, and higher specs so I went and bought a refurbished 15" MBP. I'm running 16 GB of RAM and even when having Chrome, Sketch, Photoshop, InDesign, Atom, and GitHub Desktop open, my RAM usage only really peaks at ~10GB but I believe it scales depending on how much total RAM you have anyway so, 8 GB might be safe if you're only focusing on design stuff but it's great to have more RAM for the sake of multi-tasking. The SSD allows everything to boot faster but if we're talking Sketch specifically, I never really noticed a huge performance change compared to my old MBP. That being said, I still recommend an SSD anyway. And as for the processor, it should probably be the least of your concerns if you want to save money. Don't get a super-low spec one though, but don't sweat it if you didn't get the strongest one.

    NOTE: Some have said that the size difference between the 13" and 15" is negligible but I found it pretty beneficial because I commute every day and can't always rely on an external monitor. Plus, I avoid scaling my resolution to fit more stuff because I just find it confusing when designing for different resolutions and my eyesight isn't great to begin with.

    0 points
  • Gabriel AnghelGabriel Anghel, almost 5 years ago

    Would like to see some opinions about this, since i plan to buy a mac.

    0 points