I think am going to take the plunge and get a D800. I currently have a D700. Not sure if this is the right place for my question. The one thing that concerns me is the file size. I use my late 2012 MacBook Pro for processing, it has a 2.6 i7 processor with 8 Megs of memory. It also has the discrete graphics card. Will laptop handle D800 files well? I am willing to purchase an external ssd drive, however not sure this will be as sufficient as an internal ssd drive. Thanks for any advice.
Not to dodge your specific question, but I think you are going to find the images from the D800 so incredible that you will happily make changes you determine are necessary - after the fact. I suspect your laptop will be just fine as is. If I were you, I would not delay another day in getting your D800. Then you can see how well your laptop does in reality which will likely put your concerns to rest, and you can start enjoying this amazing camera!!
Randy - It's gonna take longer with D800 images than with those from your D700. You can add memory, upgrade graphics cards, etc. -- but you cannot make a D700 into a D800. I made the same step you are contemplating and kept my 5 year old ASUS PC. When I finally upgrade it, it will be mostly to gain USB3 connectivity. My real bottleneck is downloading. In the meantime, my results are MUCH better.
Thanks everyone for the replies. I will go ahead with the D800, It looks like my machine will handle the files sufficiently. If I need more memory, so be it, I will figure that out once I start working with the D800 files.
If your primary editing is done in lightroom, I'd say that increasing your memory will NOT help, at least if Mac follows Windows. While memory is never bad, lightroom appears extremely processor limited in doing D800 photos (especially time to load into develop, and time to build previews). Your I7 is fairly current and will probably be fine.
If you had 2 Gig not 8 Gig I'd give a difference answer, but I found very little if any benefit from going from 6 to 16 GB, with a similar aim in mind.
D800 images will work just fine, it just takes longer. And it's worth it. But you will find yourself ready to curse your computer occasionally. I try, when time permits, to just pop in the card and have it build 1:1 previews while I go have dinner, or for a really long shoot, go to bed.