13" Pro Retina or Macbook for heavy academic writing

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by mpm3x3x3, Jul 24, 2015.

  1. mpm3x3x3 macrumors newbie

    Jul 24, 2015
    Hi all,
    I know the MB vs MBP debate has had a lot of threads, but I ask anyway:
    I'm a literature professor writing a big book this year that involves generating and consulting lots of documents (mainly word files, some .pdfs). I need to replace my 2009 13" Pro - and am torn between the retina pro and the new macbook. I'm not bothered about the port issue on the MB (I mainly use wireless for storage and printing), and since I use a lot of libraries and archives I'm quite excited about the portability factor. But mainly I'm wondering if anyone has used the MB for long, intensive writing sessions - lots of toggling between documents, looking at the screen and typing for hours, etc. I'm willing to get used to the new keyboard, but would the extra real estate on the 13" screen make a serious difference here? Would the better CPU make any difference to heavy word processing/pdf use? I want to make sure that I could actually get serious work done on the macbook (and that it's not just a glorified facebook machine).
  2. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    I'll offer up an 'educated' opinion here -

    Because you will be spending long hours in front of your laptop, go to either an Apple store or some other store and look at the two types of screens. From my experience, the retina screen is easier on the eyes (for me). I do lots of reading and also some photo work so it remains important that the screen is easy to look at for long durations.

    Comparing your original Mac to the new offerings - both should do quite well for you in terms of "power" so that leaves, other than the screen, two items to consider: size/type of disk and RAM (memory). In your case, SSD drive would be an excellent option and the size would be based on your own history of needs. For the RAM, consider 8 gigs and no less as you may have several different pdf and documents open along with perhaps mail and a web browser.

    Obviously, I would prefer the rMBP for my needs but yours are a bit different and if the screen of the non-rMBP works well for you, I would put the difference of money into the above mentioned hard drive and RAM. Document programs have a way of eating up RAM as do various web browsers. I might go as far as to say that 16 gigs would serve you well if you have lots of files open along with 3 heavy hitting applications. Consider the latter also an investment to help future proof your next laptop for at least 3-4 years.

    Good luck with your next purchase!
  3. mpm3x3x3 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 24, 2015
    just to be clear - the question was macbook pro retina, or new macbook - both have ssd, both have retina displays, both start at 8 gigs - but i think i understand what you're saying, so thanks.
  4. monokakata macrumors 68000


    May 8, 2008
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    My partner, a poet, has been using her 12" Macbook for a couple of months now, having come from an 11" Air. When she's working on one document at a time, in Word, there's no problem. But when she needs to switch between different apps, or cut and paste from one document to another, she wishes she had a larger screen.

    Other than that, she's satisfied.

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