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View Poll Results: 2012's: Which MacBook?
13" MBA 33 26.19%
13" rMBP 50 39.68%
15" uMBP 43 34.13%
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 09:32 AM   #26
ct1211
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Retina Stutter

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Originally Posted by dmk1974 View Post
Are you talking about the rMBP's or the uMBP's?

I've been using my 15" rMBP now for a few hours. BEAUTIFUL screen. Played around with a number of the screen resolutions and HiDPI and non. I think I like the 1680 x 1050 the most on this 15" screen.

I will say that I notice quite a bit of stuttering and it feels sluggish when using the HiDPI resolutions (any of them actually). I do not notice any of these sluggish effects though when in clamshell mode and connected to my external monitor which is at 1920 x 1080. Is this just the way it is with the Retina MacBooks? I don't get this at all with the other units in the house (11" MBA, 13" MBA, or 15" uMBP). It also goes away when in the non-HiDPI mode, but then what's the point?
Sorry I did not mention "Retina" in my post. I have had extensive experience with both the 13 & 15 rMPP models. They seem to perform identically in almost every aspect. Both have bad stutter issues on graphic intensive websites like TheVerge.com It is worst in the Chrome browser (my favorite) a little better in Safari but ironically when I run chrome in windows (I use Parallels) it runs perfect with everything I throw at it. In side to side comparisons the images seem identical. Does someone have a technical answer why windows is performing better than Mac in this situation?
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 03:52 PM   #27
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i don't quite understand why the op needs a new laptop. even for moving around the house, and the presence of an ipad mini, the 11" mba is just great. it does everything he has listed and is certainly easier to handle on the couch or elsewhere in the house.
i have the 11" mba/ipad mini combo as well, plus a 24" acd. the best of all worlds. i was toying with an imac or mac mini but realistically simply dont need it. so why waste the money.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 04:06 PM   #28
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I know you can be waiting forever, but I'd say wait for the 2013 13" rMBP.

-significantly faster integrated graphics (I've read double!)
-SSD prices should come down considerably, lowering the overall price
-16GB ram option (which I would always opt for now)
-2nd generation retina product could ensure bugs worked out
-overall much more value for money compared to the current 13" rMBP

I love the 13" form factor but currently the rMBP is way overpriced.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 07:16 PM   #29
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i don't quite understand why the op needs a new laptop. even for moving around the house, and the presence of an ipad mini, the 11" mba is just great. it does everything he has listed and is certainly easier to handle on the couch or elsewhere in the house.
i have the 11" mba/ipad mini combo as well, plus a 24" acd. the best of all worlds. i was toying with an imac or mac mini but realistically simply dont need it. so why waste the money.
While not in my poll, that is a possibility that I haven't completely ruled out. I got a large Apple gift card for the holidays and thought I'd sell the 11" MBA and use the proceeds and gift card for a different model.

The 11" MBA does everything I need it to do and I haven't had any issues with it. When connected to my 24" desk monitor, all of these laptops pretty much perform the same. I do wish the screen on the 11" had more vertical rows (like 900 on the 13" MBA and rMBP's). But while the Retina displays are absolutely the best I've ever seen, they are not as fast and responsive as the MBA and uMBP screens.

I keep playing around with the different machines. I am 95% sure though that the 15" rMBP is going back. Just not worth the money (for me) since that beautiful screen stutters. I've been using the 13" rMBP for the past couple days and at 1680 x 1050. It is no slower at this res than it was at 1280 x 800 (both HiDPI of course) so might as well enjoy the sharp extra real estate on a 13.3" screen.
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 06:09 AM   #30
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While not in my poll, that is a possibility that I haven't completely ruled out. I got a large Apple gift card for the holidays and thought I'd sell the 11" MBA and use the proceeds and gift card for a different model.

The 11" MBA does everything I need it to do and I haven't had any issues with it. When connected to my 24" desk monitor, all of these laptops pretty much perform the same. I do wish the screen on the 11" had more vertical rows (like 900 on the 13" MBA and rMBP's). But while the Retina displays are absolutely the best I've ever seen, they are not as fast and responsive as the MBA and uMBP screens.

I keep playing around with the different machines. I am 95% sure though that the 15" rMBP is going back. Just not worth the money (for me) since that beautiful screen stutters. I've been using the 13" rMBP for the past couple days and at 1680 x 1050. It is no slower at this res than it was at 1280 x 800 (both HiDPI of course) so might as well enjoy the sharp extra real estate on a 13.3" screen.
Well, given the gift card, how about a TBD then, depending how good or not your 24" screen is. Either the current version or a possible new model in 2013.
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 03:51 PM   #31
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Well, given the gift card, how about a TBD then, depending how good or not your 24" screen is. Either the current version or a possible new model in 2013.
Thanks for the suggestion, but to me, those displays are so overpriced. For my use, I am fine with my current Samsung monitor.
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Old Dec 31, 2012, 11:25 AM   #32
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This is going to sound pretty stupid, but using QuickRes, I have been using my 13" rMBP in non-HiDPI mode at 1650 x 1050 resolution. The non-HiDPI is nice and responsive with no lag like I get in the HiDPI Retina mode. Even though not as sharp, I am able to read it comfortably.

That being said, it is making me lean away from the 2012 rMBP (13" or 15") at this time. Unless they have some software fix or something. I do like the form factor and the colors and sharpness of the display, but paying a premium for something that scrolls and lags worse than my daughter's old 2010 MacBook is unacceptable.

That would put me back at looking at MBA or uMBP, especially since I have it connected to an external monitor ~40% of the time.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 12:57 PM   #33
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I just returned the 15" rMBP to the Apple Store today. Man I wish that 13" rMBP didn't have the stutter on certain web pages and operations. Such a beautiful computer and display. Still gonna use for a while and decide if I keep it or return it as well and wait for a hopefully improved 2013 version.
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Old Jan 7, 2013, 04:28 PM   #34
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Well, I "think" I made my final decision. I decided to wait for a 2013 13" Retina MBP and hope that the next one is not riddled with the lag issues. I love the current Retina machine, but it honestly feels slower than a 2009 MacBook because of that lag.

I returned the 2012 13" rMBP to Best Buy today and got a base 2012 13" MBA to tide me over. It was an open box that looks brand new and was only $904.99. Only 4GB of RAM, but I think this machine will do for the next 6-8 months until they hopefully refresh the rMBP.
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Old Jan 7, 2013, 04:31 PM   #35
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Well, I "think" I made my final decision. I decided to wait for a 2013 13" Retina MBP and hope that the next one is not riddled with the lag issues. I love the current Retina machine, but it honestly feels slower than a 2009 MacBook because of that lag.

I returned the 2012 13" rMBP to Best Buy today and got a base 2012 13" MBA to tide me over. It was an open box that looks brand new and was only $904.99. Only 4GB of RAM, but I think this machine will do for the next 6-8 months until they hopefully refresh the rMBP.
I think people strongly underestimate the importance and use of the GPU. You failed to mention that in your original post. The 15" MBP will have a dedicated GPU which will make a *big* (and I mean *BIG*, especially if you get one with 1GB VRAM) in graphics rendering (gaming, etc.).
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Old Jan 7, 2013, 04:35 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by dmk1974 View Post
Well, I "think" I made my final decision. I decided to wait for a 2013 13" Retina MBP and hope that the next one is not riddled with the lag issues. I love the current Retina machine, but it honestly feels slower than a 2009 MacBook because of that lag.

I returned the 2012 13" rMBP to Best Buy today and got a base 2012 13" MBA to tide me over. It was an open box that looks brand new and was only $904.99. Only 4GB of RAM, but I think this machine will do for the next 6-8 months until they hopefully refresh the rMBP.
Good choice.
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Old Jan 7, 2013, 05:01 PM   #37
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I think people strongly underestimate the importance and use of the GPU. You failed to mention that in your original post. The 15" MBP will have a dedicated GPU which will make a *big* (and I mean *BIG*, especially if you get one with 1GB VRAM) in graphics rendering (gaming, etc.).
I don't really game much, but is the GPU that good anyway? When I had the 15" retina MBP (briefly) even when I forced the GT 650 to be active all the time, I still had the same amount of lag under "normal" use of the computer and web browsing. Maybe that GT 650 excels more in games or perhaps no matter what, the retina displays just need more power to not react like a 3-4 year old MacBook.

I do agree with you though that for the 15" uMBP, the dedicated graphics is probably more beneficial and noticeable.
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Old Jan 7, 2013, 05:08 PM   #38
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I don't really game much, but is the GPU that good anyway? When I had the 15" retina MBP (briefly) even when I forced the GT 650 to be active all the time, I still had the same amount of lag under "normal" use of the computer and web browsing. Maybe that GT 650 excels more in games or perhaps no matter what, the retina displays just need more power to not react like a 3-4 year old MacBook.

I do agree with you though that for the 15" uMBP, the dedicated graphics is probably more beneficial and noticeable.
You would not notice the difference of the GPU when doing very basic activities such as web browsing. It's mostly only under intensive, graphic-based applications.

However, if you think you will ever need it, I'd get the 15" MBP. You can't add one later on, nor can you upgrade GPUs that are already in your laptop. The 13" ones only have the integrated Intel HD 3000/4000 GPU cards, which are a joke (and won't run games on good settings with a high FPS, either). The Nvidia cards are pretty good and have high benchmark ratings, too. If you do decide to opt for the Nvidia, I'd recommend one with 1GB VRAM. Some of the MBPs have the card, but only with 512 mb, which, too, is a joke for a card with such significant power and performance.
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Old Jan 7, 2013, 05:30 PM   #39
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I just returned the 15" rMBP to the Apple Store today. Man I wish that 13" rMBP didn't have the stutter on certain web pages and operations. Such a beautiful computer and display. Still gonna use for a while and decide if I keep it or return it as well and wait for a hopefully improved 2013 version.
I think a lot of the lag is software related. I had a 2012 11.6" MacBook Air (i7, 8GB, 256GB) that unfortunately I lost in an airport last month. It was insured, and the proceeds were almost exactly enough to buy a refurbished version of what I had. I decided to go with the 13" rMBP (256GB version) as MacMall had a decent price for it. It cost me about $450 net of the insurance and at the time Apple didn't have any refurb 11.6" MBAs in my configuration. I figured if I was going to buy a new one I'd rather get something different. Naturally about 4 days after I received my order the refurbished 11.6" i7/8/256 model showed up on Apple's website, but I'm going to keep the rMBP.

I definitely notice how it is 50% heavier than the Air. The processor is a lateral move (the 2.5GHz LV i5 is roughly comparable to the 2.0GHz ULV i7). I was a bit worried about the high resolution on the HD 4000, but so far I haven't noticed much of a lag. That's not to say that it isn't there, but just that I don't notice it. Also, the color quality is significantly better than the MBA. I use Parallels and Windows 7 on occasion, and there are some quirks (Parallels 8 attempts to "Retinize" Windows 7, which works about 90% of the time - the text on Quicken's title bar is tiny, for instance, but the rest of the screen is fine), but on the whole it's a nice step up.

However, 2013 will bring Haswell, and undoubtedly better graphics performance, and maybe better battery life. Since you can afford to wait, you might as well. Is there any reason you didn't just keep the 2011? Even if you are concerned about Best Buy going out of business (not a trivial concern), perhaps get some accessories or other items you'll want to use with your next Mac.
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Old Jan 7, 2013, 05:36 PM   #40
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I just returned the 15" rMBP to the Apple Store today. Man I wish that 13" rMBP didn't have the stutter on certain web pages and operations. Such a beautiful computer and display. Still gonna use for a while and decide if I keep it or return it as well and wait for a hopefully improved 2013 version.
its an issue with safari, I'm using the night built of safari on my 13 inch rmbp and the lag is gone. thx god it started to really piss me off
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Old Jan 7, 2013, 06:33 PM   #41
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I get the lag using both Safari and Chrome. Also just OSX operations.

Here's a little test as an example.

1.) Add the Applications folder on the dock.
2.) Click on that Applications folder icon. It will pop up/expand showing your programs. In Retina mode, the icons all start with a square place holder with a border and then slowly fill in the appropriate icons. In non-retina mode (or on a uMBP or MBA) they pop up and fill in instantly.
3.) Scroll down and go to the Utilities folder. Click on it as well. The transition to that folder is pretty slow as well. Again, in non-retina mode, or on a slower spec'd uMBP or MBA, it is much faster.

I think it is just that the 4x pixels on a retina screen have a much slower refresh rate or just need more juice to drive the screen. It is a trade-off though...that retina screen is absolutely beautiful and has great color depth. Just for me, right now, I can't justify spending the extra hundreds of dollars and have a machine that feels like its 3-4 years old.
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Old Jan 7, 2013, 08:54 PM   #42
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I get the lag using both Safari and Chrome. Also just OSX operations.

Here's a little test as an example.

1.) Add the Applications folder on the dock.
2.) Click on that Applications folder icon. It will pop up/expand showing your programs. In Retina mode, the icons all start with a square place holder with a border and then slowly fill in the appropriate icons. In non-retina mode (or on a uMBP or MBA) they pop up and fill in instantly.
3.) Scroll down and go to the Utilities folder. Click on it as well. The transition to that folder is pretty slow as well. Again, in non-retina mode, or on a slower spec'd uMBP or MBA, it is much faster.
All those delays are barely perceptible to me. In fact, I hadn't really noticed it until you brought it up. It certainly doesn't make it seem like a 3-4 year old device (though 3 years ago I was using a late-2008 MacBook Air with a relatively slow SSD). That said, on graphics-intensive sites like the Verge, I do notice some jerkiness. For me, the quality of the display is worth it.
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 02:12 PM   #43
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Also, I forgot to ask, has anyone run 1680 x 1050 on the 13" rMBP screen? Is it super small and laggy or work pretty well? Thanks!
I run the 16 x 10 resolution all the time, using quickres to switch from the top menu bar. I runs perfectly, including when I am driving my thunderbolt display and the LCD at the same time.

Quite honestly, I do not experience lag on this machine at all...but I am not a frame rate measurer on the Verge website. I run windows in parallels and use the MAC apps otherwise, and I do video editing and use Visual Studio for development. Lag is just not an issue.....
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 03:07 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by dmk1974 View Post
I get the lag using both Safari and Chrome. Also just OSX operations.

Here's a little test as an example.

1.) Add the Applications folder on the dock.
2.) Click on that Applications folder icon. It will pop up/expand showing your programs. In Retina mode, the icons all start with a square place holder with a border and then slowly fill in the appropriate icons. In non-retina mode (or on a uMBP or MBA) they pop up and fill in instantly.
3.) Scroll down and go to the Utilities folder. Click on it as well. The transition to that folder is pretty slow as well. Again, in non-retina mode, or on a slower spec'd uMBP or MBA, it is much faster.

I think it is just that the 4x pixels on a retina screen have a much slower refresh rate or just need more juice to drive the screen. It is a trade-off though...that retina screen is absolutely beautiful and has great color depth. Just for me, right now, I can't justify spending the extra hundreds of dollars and have a machine that feels like its 3-4 years old.
What should people who use external monitors expect in terms of such snags and lags?

Will we see problems when scrolling,etc on our external with the laptop screen open?
Will we see problems when scrolling, etc on our external with the laptop screen closed?

This is not something you can test in the store.
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 04:01 PM   #45
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What should people who use external monitors expect in terms of such snags and lags?

Will we see problems when scrolling,etc on our external with the laptop screen open?
Will we see problems when scrolling, etc on our external with the laptop screen closed?

This is not something you can test in the store.
That is a good question. When I connected the rMBP (13" or 15") to my external 24" monitor (clamshell open or closed), there is no lag and is nice and fase. Basically the same as with my 11" MBA and 13" MBA when connected to an external. But then again, my external is "only" 1920 x 1080. It's not driving a HiDPI retina display.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 09:00 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by dmk1974 View Post
I get the lag using both Safari and Chrome. Also just OSX operations.

Here's a little test as an example.

1.) Add the Applications folder on the dock.
2.) Click on that Applications folder icon. It will pop up/expand showing your programs. In Retina mode, the icons all start with a square place holder with a border and then slowly fill in the appropriate icons. In non-retina mode (or on a uMBP or MBA) they pop up and fill in instantly.
3.) Scroll down and go to the Utilities folder. Click on it as well. The transition to that folder is pretty slow as well. Again, in non-retina mode, or on a slower spec'd uMBP or MBA, it is much faster.

It is smooth on my machine at least. I certainly don't see any placeholders. All icons appear at once. And I have over 40 items in that folder.


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I think it is just that the 4x pixels on a retina screen have a much slower refresh rate or just need more juice to drive the screen.
If this were true, you wouldn't get an effect you describe above. Lack of rendering performance would result in presentation delays and scroll lag. If you see placeholders, it most likely means that the Dock has problems retrieving icons of the applications quickly. Maybe the SSD of your test machine was defective or the IO subsystem was busy somewhere else.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 09:04 AM   #47
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It is smooth on my machine at least. I certainly don't see any placeholders. All icons appear at once. And I have over 40 items in that folder.




If this were true, you wouldn't get an effect you describe above. Lack of rendering performance would result in presentation delays and scroll lag. If you see placeholders, it most likely means that the Dock has problems retrieving icons of the applications quickly. Maybe the SSD of your test machine was defective or the IO subsystem was busy somewhere else.
Which model rMBP do you have? For me, it happened even after a clean install of Mountain Lion and prior to even any kind of Time Machine restore. Right after a reboot too.

I do get scroll lag as well on many websites that I don't get when it was in the non-HiRES mode (via Quickres). Our 11" and 13" MBAs don't get the lag either even though they have slower processors (but lower res displays).
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 09:14 AM   #48
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Which model rMBP do you have? For me, it happened even after a clean install of Mountain Lion and prior to even any kind of Time Machine restore. Right after a reboot too.
I have a base 15" rMBP with 16GB RAM, ML 10.8.2

Check your Activity Monitor - is there a problem with WindowServer or Dock eating too much CPU time?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dmk1974 View Post
I do get scroll lag as well on many websites that I don't get when it was in the non-HiRES mode (via Quickres). Our 11" and 13" MBAs don't get the lag either even though they have slower processors (but lower res displays).
Many modern browsers seem to exhibit some lag on image-heavy websites with the rMBP. Obviously, with much higher resolution of the images the workload is substantially higher. However, this seems to be more of a problem how the browser caches/renders the images. For example, there was a discussion on the Chrome bug tracker where one of devs explained that some images were too large for Chrome's internal image cache, which caused the browser to perform a very expensive software resize/conversion operation on each redraw. Try one of the alpha (nightly) WebKit builds, they are much smoother.
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Old Jan 10, 2013, 02:51 PM   #49
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Well, since I cheaped out, I don't have the rMBP's any more to test them, but I had put them through their paces with OSX re-installation and so on. I'm just looking forward to a 2013 rMBP model later in the year.



In the meantime, the base 13" MBP and base 13" MBA are the same price. Upgrading the MBP to a 128 SSD is about $70 extra (at least that's what I paid for a Samsung 830 128 GB SSD a month or so ago).

So at that point, an extra $70 gets you the same 4GB RAM, same 128 GB SSD, same HD 4000 graphics, same footprint, and same advertised battery life.

The differences with the MBP, are:

* 8% faster processor (per Geekbench scores, even though you'd think 39% faster from 1.8 to 2.5)
* an extra 1.5 lb (+50%) in weight and thicker machine compared to the MBA
* lower resolution high glare screen (with better color depth though)
* integrated SuperDrive
* ethernet port
* firewire port
* further upgradeability of RAM and SSD (this is probably the most important differentiator)

I think it just depends if you like it thin, light, and fast with a higher-res screen (MBA) but locked in to the configuration you buy vs the MBP trade-offs I listed above. I've been back and forth on this myself and for me, unless I decide I need 16 GB RAM and a 256 GB SSD, the base MBA is the better choice (I think).
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