Ask DN: Upgrading workstation advice, summer 2018

over 2 years ago from , Design & Development Lead

Hi all,

I’m starting to get pretty desperate for a new work machine, but I’m uncertain how to go forward. Summary of my situation:

  • currently using a mid-2012 MacBook Pro, 2.7GHz 16GB
  • working with 500+ screen Sketch files, After Effects videos, some video editing in Final Cut, some frontend web dev
  • machine must be a laptop (currently working out of 3 different offices per week)

I do not want to upgrade at all, but my machine is becoming unstable. I’m starting to see multiple system failures per week, completely out of the blue. I’m running at minimum 15% and normally 40% CPU all day (thanks Slack & Chrome).

My uncertainty comes from the lack of options and lack of transparency about upcoming releases. My colleagues who have the latest MacBook Pro’s don’t seem to handle heavy usage any better than my laptop, but they do seem more reliable. But, they are plagued with problems (display issues, keyboard failure). They are also 300+ days since last release, so theoretically they should be renewed now.

Of course, Apple love to ‘entertain’ with keynotes and surprise features. This is not helpful for a business planning perspective, as I have no idea if waiting will pay off. I’m wondering if it could be possible to switch to Windows or Linux, has anyone had any success with this? I don’t mind switching to Figma, but I would need to open Sketch occasionally, so might be out of the question. Even if it is a possibility, I have no idea what kind of machine I would get, a thinkpad?

Not really sure where this is going, but I am dreading the day my laptop finally stops working and I have to go right out and buy whatever MacBook Pro is available. Anyone else in this situation, or got any advice/soothing words?

P.S. Apple’s currently release policy reminds me of when I was a child, my father would always pretend we weren’t going on vacation. He would not make any hints and really make it feel like we weren’t going. Then…one morning he did the ‘Surprise! We’re going on vacation!’. I feel like this was fun the first 2 or 3 times, but the next 5 years it just made me anxious. It was obvious the surprise was coming, but it wasn’t fun. I couldn’t plan anything, and I couldn’t look forward to it. It was a total one way street because he always decided where we went, and what we did. We didn't get to input because we weren't involved or privy to any details. Apple reminds me of my Dad, desperate to create a charade of excitement over what was essential a regular week away with family, but in doing so kind of missing the whole point… /aside


  • Eduardo Tello, over 2 years ago

    I'm kind of in the same situation, want to upgrade my workstation, but don't like the newest Macbook, so I'm waiting for the refresh hoping for better performance and a fixed keyboard. I decided to wait a few more months, probably worth it.

    1 point
    • Joe C, over 2 years ago

      Yeah, I feel you. Do you have a backup plan? I'm slightly worried that if Apple come with consumer-level only hardware in the fall, I won't really have any other option than to upgrade to that. There's no way this MacBook is lasting until Sep 2019 haha.

      0 points