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Old Oct 31, 2012, 03:26 AM   #1
Les 76
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Macbook pro buying advice

Hi,

I'm looking at buying a new macbook pro, likely the new 13" retina, and would like some help with the storage amount as I want this to be a computer that lasts me a minimum of 5 years given the price.

I use my current laptop principally for internet, media, some microsoft office stuff. Main use is media as I live abroad and have an apple tv, hence consume a lot of films, tv shows, music etc. My itunes library is currently at close to 500GB, but I have recently bought a synology NAS box to hold my itunes library which works reasonbly well and allows me to access media from my ipad and wife's computer as well, though unfortunately not my old apple tv (it's first generation). With the NAS, this leaves my current storage on the laptop at around 75gb.

Initially I was thinking of getting the 512GB (the bigger the better), but the more I think, when will I ever use it given the NAS, and maybe 256 is better suited (or maybe 128).

I also need to purchase an external hard drive to back up my NAS (scared this will fail and with it all my media). Does anyone have advice what is a good one to buy? Something relatively small that will be connected to the NAS and back up regularly (weekly).

Sorry for long post and any help/comments would be much appreciated before I burn a ton of cash.

Thanks,
Les.
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Old Oct 31, 2012, 11:25 AM   #2
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From what you wrote, I'd suggest a 15" rMBP - it's a MUCH better value than the 13". The 15" gives you quad core, a discrete graphics unit, and up to 16 GB RAM, and seems much more likely to last five years of use.

Go with the base 2.3 GHz and max the RAM to 16 GB - you should be fine with the stock 256 GB SSD.
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 08:07 AM   #3
Les 76
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Thank you for the reply. My main thinking for the 13" is that I currently have a 15" and find it too big for what i use it for. Although maybe the new 15" would be ok as I believe it is a fair bit lighter than my current one (2009 macbook pro 15").

I think I'll take a look at both in store and see what I think regarding size.

Thanks
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 09:28 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Les 76 View Post
Hi,

I'm looking at buying a new macbook pro, likely the new 13" retina, and would like some help with the storage amount as I want this to be a computer that lasts me a minimum of 5 years given the price.

I use my current laptop principally for internet, media, some microsoft office stuff. Main use is media as I live abroad and have an apple tv, hence consume a lot of films, tv shows, music etc. My itunes library is currently at close to 500GB, but I have recently bought a synology NAS box to hold my itunes library which works reasonbly well and allows me to access media from my ipad and wife's computer as well, though unfortunately not my old apple tv (it's first generation). With the NAS, this leaves my current storage on the laptop at around 75gb.

Initially I was thinking of getting the 512GB (the bigger the better), but the more I think, when will I ever use it given the NAS, and maybe 256 is better suited (or maybe 128).

I also need to purchase an external hard drive to back up my NAS (scared this will fail and with it all my media). Does anyone have advice what is a good one to buy? Something relatively small that will be connected to the NAS and back up regularly (weekly).

Sorry for long post and any help/comments would be much appreciated before I burn a ton of cash.

Thanks,
Les.

First of all, Synology do multiple drive NAS that you could RAID 1 for redundancy.

Secondly, if you are looking for 5 plus years out of this, I'd strongly suggest you look either 15" rMBP or the 15" cMBP. Also, if you don't want to manage your data tightly or separate your user folder, I'd suggest 256g as a roomy boot drive size minimum.

Having an integrated GPU might work fine for you, but you don't know when you'll find its limits down the road. Not to mention 2 cores, as opposed to the 4 cores in the bigger machines. I think you might look back 5 years from now and second guess this choice. Also, the rMBP is pretty lightweight, I can't imagine its a burden

Thirdly, look at OWC for all kinds of enclosures for extra drives. I use a drive dock and bare drives as an efficient and flexible way to manage data, but there are all kinds of options.
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Old Nov 3, 2012, 01:52 PM   #5
Les 76
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Thanks for the reply and looks like the rMBP 15" might be better from what you both say. I really want to get something that will last 5 years and maybe therefore the 15" would be better, but I don't really know enough to know where a quad core would make a difference compared to the integrated GPU in the 13", which together with the graphics card seem to be the biggest differences between the two.

I'll take a look at both in person and try and get a feel for the size of the 15" compared to my current MBP 15" which I find a little too big for how I use it i.e. no fixed place, so used on lap, at dinner table and occasionally on the desk ;o)

Re the back up to the Synology, I got a WD my passport (2tb) that appears to do the job, but don't think I'm yet making the most of my nas box, more research to do on that one.

Thanks to both of you for helping.
Les
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Old Nov 3, 2012, 02:25 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Les 76 View Post
Thanks for the reply and looks like the rMBP 15" might be better from what you both say. I really want to get something that will last 5 years and maybe therefore the 15" would be better, but I don't really know enough to know where a quad core would make a difference compared to the integrated GPU in the 13", which together with the graphics card seem to be the biggest differences between the two.

I'll take a look at both in person and try and get a feel for the size of the 15" compared to my current MBP 15" which I find a little too big for how I use it i.e. no fixed place, so used on lap, at dinner table and occasionally on the desk ;o)

Re the back up to the Synology, I got a WD my passport (2tb) that appears to do the job, but don't think I'm yet making the most of my nas box, more research to do on that one.

Thanks to both of you for helping.
Les
I'm in tv/film/video, so I have a certain perspective about cores.

My feeling about the cores is that for most light use, you might not see the difference. But, software is being written that takes advantage of cores better, all the time, so who knows where we are in 5 years.

Anything involving video, rendering, games, graphically intense stuff, will use the processor. Ripping movies in Handbrake will be faster in quad than 2. If you are just an emailer/word processor, might not matter.

But Adobe creative suite is always using more, games are using more, and in order to best make sure this is a 5 year purchase, it seems a good idea to me

Good luck
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Old Nov 3, 2012, 03:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Les 76 View Post
Hi,

I'm looking at buying a new macbook pro, likely the new 13" retina, and would like some help with the storage amount as I want this to be a computer that lasts me a minimum of 5 years given the price.

I use my current laptop principally for internet, media, some microsoft office stuff. Main use is media as I live abroad and have an apple tv, hence consume a lot of films, tv shows, music etc. My itunes library is currently at close to 500GB, but I have recently bought a synology NAS box to hold my itunes library which works reasonbly well and allows me to access media from my ipad and wife's computer as well, though unfortunately not my old apple tv (it's first generation). With the NAS, this leaves my current storage on the laptop at around 75gb.

Initially I was thinking of getting the 512GB (the bigger the better), but the more I think, when will I ever use it given the NAS, and maybe 256 is better suited (or maybe 128).

I also need to purchase an external hard drive to back up my NAS (scared this will fail and with it all my media). Does anyone have advice what is a good one to buy? Something relatively small that will be connected to the NAS and back up regularly (weekly).

Sorry for long post and any help/comments would be much appreciated before I burn a ton of cash.

Thanks,
Les.
A couple thoughts on the 13" rMBP:

1. In terms of horsepower, it's identical to a 13" non-retina, just as the 15" rMBP is identical in terms of horsepower to a 15" non-retina with similar CPU/RAM specs (VRAM disparity on 2.3GHz models aside).

2. In terms of price, a 13" rMBP with 512GB of SSD is $200 more costly than a 13" MBA with the same 8GB of RAM and the same 512GB SSD; you are paying $200 for an extra Thunderbolt port, a faster CPU, an HDMI port, dual-mics, and, of course, the retina screen. However, for roughly the same price as said MBA (which mind you is still around $200 cheaper than said 13" rMBP with 512GB of SSD), you can price out a non-retina 13" MBP with the same CPU as its retina counterpart and with 512GB of SSD and 8GB of RAM. You loose out on HDMI, you get FireWire and Gigabit Ethernet in exchange for the second Thunderbolt port, you get an optical drive (which may be of use to you; if not you can always swap it out with one of those optibay kits, which you can use to put in a second hard drive or SSD [thusly letting you make your own Fusion Drive]. In addition, you can pretty much access and replace storage and RAM to your hearts content at any point (an option not available on any rMBP or MBA). For the same result, you have three 13" machines within the same price range as each other. Not that I'm telling you to consider any one over any other, but it's still worth thinking about.

3. In terms of weight, as Apple has stated, it is lighter than any MacBook Pro that has ever shipped before. If weight is a real concern for you, that's worth considering. However, if you are comparing it to a 2009 15" MBP, any of the three 13" machines will be substantially lighter.


A couple thoughts on rMBPs in general:

1. The only sensible allures to these machines are the display (for which not every app is yet optimized for; if you use a lot of older apps that you know won't ever be updated, this may be something worth considering) and the weight. If a standard fare non-retina unibody 15" MacBook Pro weighs more than you'd like, it's safe to assume that it's not your machine. Personally, I think it's the current sweet-spot of the entire Mac line-up, but that's just my opinion. If these two features are not things you care that much about, then your needs could be more inexpensively served by a non-retina MacBook Pro.

2. The non-retina Unibody MacBook Pros are, very clearly, a design that will likely not see the next refresh given Apple's very vocal stance on the retina MacBook Pros being "The Next Generation of MacBook Pros".


Thoughts on your dilemma, given all of this:

1. If your NAS allows you to have only 75GB of space used on your Mac, that's fantastic. I woudn't limit yourself to only 128GB of local storage, however. I'd at least bump yourself up to 512GB as you never really know what sorts of things you'll have to store locally, as well as what you might need on a long trip. Storage constraints necessitated my last upgrade, and even with a NAS, there's still a ton of stuff that I don't want to be without. But that's just me. If you can get by of 256GB and likely won't need anything more than that for a while, then any of Apple's laptops will serve you well.

2. I agree with the others saying that you ought to consider a 15" rMBP, given that weight is your main concern with the Mac you are upgrading from. A 15" rMBP (let alone any 15" MacBook Pro in general) will likely last you much longer before you run into software requirement limitations than any of the 13" machines likely will. But if gaming, 3D rendering/graphics, or video editing are not things that you care about doing, the extra power will likely be needless beyond future-proofing.

3. If your NAS doesn't have an extra hard drive bay that you can use for redundancy, you should get one that does. If your NAS DOES have an extra hard drive bay and you're using that to get a larger amount of storage, consider replacing your NAS with one that has double the amount of bays as your current NAS so that you can have redundancy. I have a NetGear ReadyNAS Duo v2 that has two 3TB drives (one mirroring the other). The Finder sees one 3TB volume and everything is kept redundant in the event of a drive failure.

4. Really, I'd consider what you want out of whatever machine you're going to get. I think that if your options are 13" MBA, 13" cMBP, 13" rMBP, and 15" rMBP, assuming 8GB of RAM and 256GB to 512GB of storage, the 13" rMBP is probably the worst bang for buck given that you can price out a similar specced 13" cMBP for $~200 less. The 13" cMBP is probably your best bang for buck, but it is the heaviest machine and it does carry the lowest display resolution. The 15" rMBP will likely last you the longest, but it will cost you the most (though if you order one, customizing it with 16GB of RAM is a must as you won't have the opportunity to later and that will affect the longevity of the machine).

5. You'll be happy with whatever you get.
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Old Nov 5, 2012, 11:49 AM   #8
Les 76
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Thanks for the detailed, informative post. I particularly liked your last point as so probably true ;o)

It has given me plenty to think about over the weekend and given that's it's about time I upgraded, want a machine that will last and is relatively portable (and lighter than my current MBP), I'm leaning heavily to the15" rMCP now.

Not sure if 256GB or 512GB is what I need, leaning to 256GB given use of NAS, but take your points below. Is 16GB RAM really a must for me? Where is this likely to make a difference?

Now my final thought on this having read some other posts on the 15" rMBP is whether I wait until the 2nd Gen (many comments on 1st Gen apple products) and make my current one last a little while longer. However, I am a big believer in you can always make a case to wait longer in which case you'll be waiting for ever and I've already been deliberating about upgrading for the past year.

Thanks for all advice and I'll update you later this week with what I finally opt for.
Les
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Old Nov 5, 2012, 01:18 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Les 76 View Post
Thanks for the detailed, informative post. I particularly liked your last point as so probably true ;o)

It has given me plenty to think about over the weekend and given that's it's about time I upgraded, want a machine that will last and is relatively portable (and lighter than my current MBP), I'm leaning heavily to the15" rMCP now.

Not sure if 256GB or 512GB is what I need, leaning to 256GB given use of NAS, but take your points below. Is 16GB RAM really a must for me? Where is this likely to make a difference?

Now my final thought on this having read some other posts on the 15" rMBP is whether I wait until the 2nd Gen (many comments on 1st Gen apple products) and make my current one last a little while longer. However, I am a big believer in you can always make a case to wait longer in which case you'll be waiting for ever and I've already been deliberating about upgrading for the past year.

Thanks for all advice and I'll update you later this week with what I finally opt for.
Les
If you're only thinking about today, than 16GB isn't a must at all. However, if you are thinking about down the road, perhaps to a time when 16GB is the minimum amount required for the then-latest version of OS X (which will ultimately affect how long you have software support on that machine) that will extend the life of the machine by a considerable amount. If it were servicable like the non-Retina MacBook Pros, the 27" iMac, the Mac mini, or the Mac Pro, I'd tell you that you don't need to worry about it today and can upgrade later, but on the retina MBPs, the RAM is soldered to the logic board, so that is a decision that you HAVE to make at the time you buy.

As for 256GB vs. 512GB, if your NAS will cover you, you likely won't need the 512GB; though, it might be handy to have 512GB of local storage at some point. I'd say that if you can afford it, do it, and if you can't don't sweat it.

As for buying now versus waiting for Haswell, there will always be newer Intel technology. My guess is that Apple will, as they have with previous MacBook Pro designs, improve the design under the hood for the second rev to solve some of the issues with the first. Do I think that they'll make substantially drastic changes? No. Do I think that they will be noticable changes? No. At this point in the game, Apple is aware of every major flaw that the 15" rMBP has had and it is thusly the perfect time to buy; though, it won't be for much longer. If you're waiting for a new feature to materialize on the next rev 15" rMBP, then wait. If you have no other reason to wait, you might as well pull the trigger now. Though, if you can squeeze more time out of your current machine, that will have effectively saved you money as really, when you buy a new Mac (let alone new computer in general) you're really renting a machine, and when you're renting a tool, you're really renting time with it.
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Old Nov 8, 2012, 01:05 PM   #10
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Ok, went into the apple store with the intention of buying the 15" rMBP, but got sidet tracked by the 13" size and form factor. Really think that is the one i want, but will it last 5 years and is it a significant improvement (in terms of performance) than my old 2009 15" MBP? Per help above, not sure.

Sorry to post again, but really am confused. If the 13 rMBP is not much better than my current one, then i might just go against my wishes and wait for the next 13" rMBP in the hope they go quad core and different graphics. But i have no idea to be able to compare performance difference.

Thanks,
Les.
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 09:10 AM   #11
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After much deliberation and several visits to the local apple store, I am going to go with the rMBP 13" as for me, the form factor trumps the spec bump in the 15" given my likely usage.

I'm hoping I don't regret it, but we'll see.

My only remaining decision is whether to upgrade the processor to the i7, would it make any real difference for me?

FYI, I will upgrade to minimum of 256 SSD.

Thanks to all who help,
Les
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 09:32 AM   #12
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Having just read a thread about the i5/i7 comparison, seems clear that the i5 will be sufficient for me.

Thanks to all that helped and I'll report back over the weekend, once the 13" is bought and used.

Les
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 09:54 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Les 76 View Post
Ok, went into the apple store with the intention of buying the 15" rMBP, but got sidet tracked by the 13" size and form factor. Really think that is the one i want, but will it last 5 years and is it a significant improvement (in terms of performance) than my old 2009 15" MBP? Per help above, not sure.

Sorry to post again, but really am confused. If the 13 rMBP is not much better than my current one, then i might just go against my wishes and wait for the next 13" rMBP in the hope they go quad core and different graphics. But i have no idea to be able to compare performance difference.

Thanks,
Les.
If Quad-core CPUs and discrete graphics aren't important to you, then, that's a good call to make. Though, it should be noted that the 13" rMBP is the worst bang for buck in Apple's entire notebook lineup today.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Les 76 View Post
After much deliberation and several visits to the local apple store, I am going to go with the rMBP 13" as for me, the form factor trumps the spec bump in the 15" given my likely usage.

I'm hoping I don't regret it, but we'll see.

My only remaining decision is whether to upgrade the processor to the i7, would it make any real difference for me?

FYI, I will upgrade to minimum of 256 SSD.

Thanks to all who help,
Les
See above. The Core i7 is certainly a good thing to have, but for the most part, it's not at all NECESSARY. You do get an extra MB of cache and if you are actually using this machine to do a lot of repetitive tasks (like touching up photos) the i7 will certainly help. But if you're just doing the basics, it's not at all necessary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Les 76 View Post
Having just read a thread about the i5/i7 comparison, seems clear that the i5 will be sufficient for me.

Thanks to all that helped and I'll report back over the weekend, once the 13" is bought and used.

Les
Again it all depends on what you do. Apple doesn't seem to be limiting i5 vs. i7 in terms of minimum system requirements nor do any third party developers and frankly, I don't think it'll make much sense for them to, so the argument of "future proofing" with that particular bump isn't true.
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