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Old Nov 11, 2012, 04:06 PM   #1
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Bought a 13" rMBP, contemplating exchanging for a 15"

I purchased a 13" rMBP last week, and so far I am really enjoying it. I have this nagging feeling in the back of my head though that I should exchange it for a 15". I've always had a 13" or smaller laptop, which is why I went with the 13" to begin with, but I'm really starting to question whether I made the right choice. I upgraded to a 256GB SSD and the faster CPU, so I am essentially paying the same as it would have cost me to get the 15" retina and either a CPU upgrade or 16GB RAM. I won't really be using the computer for anything that will take advantage of the dedicated graphics, so the main reason for getting the 15" would be the added screen real estate and the faster quad core CPU. I'm a teacher and the laptop will be primarily my work computer, and will be moved back and forth between my classroom and home each day. I've always enjoyed the portability of 13" laptops, but honestly I don't know how big a difference those extra 2" would make in terms of moving it back and forth between two locations.

My biggest question is this. If I will notice a performance increase in the thing I use my laptop for daily with the 15", then I think it would be worth me exchanging it. If not, I think I'd rather have the 13" even if it isn't as good a "value". I use the laptop for browsing the internet, using the MS Office and iWork suites, checking email, and other typical uses. No gaming, no video/photo editing. Would I even notice a difference with the 15"?
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 04:08 PM   #2
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Bring back your 13", buy the 15" and if you wouldn't like it, return it within 14 days and buy the 13" again. Only then, you would know what fits you best.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 04:14 PM   #3
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No you won't notice a difference for the tasks your doing, basically comes down to if you need the extra screen real-estate and if your willing to sacrifice portability. As someone who's moved from a 13 inch to a 15, you'd be surprised how much difference there is in portability. If it wasn't for gaming, i'd have probably stuck with the 13 inch. You said it yourself the 13 inch holds more value to you for its portability, some people don't get that and rail on the 13 inch for not having as good of specs. Yet value wise the average user will never need the quad core and dedicated graphics, however everyone benefits from a smaller form factor.

Last edited by crowbar77; Nov 11, 2012 at 04:20 PM.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 04:21 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by crowbar77 View Post
[...] some people don't get that and only see specs.
How true. The saddest part is that even if you try explaining it nicely ( or not so nicely ) to them, they still don't get it and keep on blabbering about specs and "bang for the buck".
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 04:22 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by smurray View Post
I use the laptop for browsing the internet, using the MS Office and iWork suites, checking email, and other typical uses. No gaming, no video/photo editing. Would I even notice a difference with the 15"?
You're not stressing the CPU doing those tasks, you probably wouldn't notice a difference. I'm able to quickly run all of those tasks on my mid 2009 MBP with a RAM and SSD upgrade, there is no reason why a newer CPU wouldn't be able to handle them.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 04:27 PM   #6
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the price is the problem. I advise you to try the rmbp 15, if you want to go back to the 13, go to fry and buy there. its MUCH cheaper, making it almost on the price that we wanted.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 04:29 PM   #7
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I got the base 13" rMBP and very happy with it. But I wasnt gonna get anymore than the base model. If I was getting any update, then I would've definitely chosen the base 15" rMBP. Also, while this is my primary computer, I also have a 2011 27" iMac, to do any "heavy lifting."
13" Macbook Pro with Retina Display, 2.5 GHz, 8 GB RAM, 128 GB SSD
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 04:41 PM   #8
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I upgraded from the regular 13 inch MBP (2.7Ghz) to the 15 Retina MBP mainly due to the bigger, better screen and the fact it weighted less than my old MBP !. I agree you should try the 15 so can you make your final decision. The 15 inch rMBP is bigger, but is slimmer, faster and you can get more memory too. (I don't think 16GB is available on the 13 version). Don't worry too much about the SSD drive since you may upgrade it at a later date (I just upgrade mine from 256 to 512GB, bought it on Ebay for $600 and kept my 256GB on an external enclosure as backup). Just my 2 cents!
'13 Haswell rMBP 13" 2.8/16/1TB (A18 Display)
'12 13" MBA 1.7/4/256 (Wife), '12 rMBP 13" 2.5/8/256, A13 Display (Daughter)
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 01:33 AM   #9
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i have both retina models- 13" and 15".

for portability--on weekends, I do wire service photo work and need to transmit during games, the 13" is awesome. it has a great screen and is fast enough for the photoshop work I do (including actions). also fits on economy class airplane tables better.

However, the 15" is my preferred regular work machine. The extra screen real estate works well for having several apps open at the same time. Also, it is faster for more complex photoshop work. If I only could have one, I would go 15". Should you decide to use more compute intensive apps, you will be glad you have a more powerful platform.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 02:36 AM   #10
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I did just that. The 15" rMBP isn't all that much bigger and if it's your desktop replacement or office notebook there's really none better. I fear the 13" rMBP will soon be outclassed by next year's model, whereas the 15" is more future-proof, at least for a couple of years.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 07:30 AM   #11
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In a heartbeat; for me there is absolutely nothing compelling about the 13" Retina other than the size, the 15" absolutely dominates the 13" in every aspect, anyone looking to buy the 13" Retina should think about it very carefully.

Apple set the standard for performance with the 15" Retina and now they are looking to cash in on those who are not able to live with the 15" footprint. A 13" with a basic CPU upgrade (dual core i7) costs as much as a base 15" Retina in many countries which is a bad joke to say the least.

It makes little sense to go with the 13" unless you are absolutely tied to the form factor; the CPU`s performance level of the 15' over the 13" in isolation is significant to say the least, anything CPU intensive is simply going to be completed far faster, any app that can take advantage of multicore architecture more so.

GeekBench Results:
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch Mid 2012) Intel Core i7-3520M 2900 MHz (2 cores) 7797 (High end)
  • MacBook Pro (15-inch Mid 2012) Intel Core i7-3615QM 2300 MHz (4 cores) 10799 (Base)

My own base 15" Retina benchmarks at over 11K systematically (Link: just hit 11040 and 11043 and 11096) and on top of the far higher CPU rating you will have both the HD 4000 and GT 650M GPU`s, superior audio, higher resolution, twice the storage capacity. If i was forced to buy the 13" Retina i would be very unhappy to say the least giving up so much, saving just a couple of hundred dollars, just for the sake of the smaller footprint

The bottom line is the 13" Retina is priced far too high, i applaud Apple`s ingenuity and engineering prowess, equally their greed is staggering just when will enough be enough $$$$. The 13" Retina should have a base price range of $1200 - $1300, in general the 13" line is grossly over priced, as fundamentally it`s a basic computer with little to nothing changing since it`s introduction in 2008 as the Aluminium MacBook; duel core CPU, integrated graphics only, and very poor resolution on the standard model.

The straight up answer is buy a bigger bag, and you will have all the performance you need, at all times
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