15" MBP questions

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Live Steam, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. Live Steam macrumors regular

    Dec 30, 2007
    I'm thinking of purchasing a late 2012 non-retina 15" MBP to use as a desktop station. The 27" iMac is nice but the wait time for them coupled with but some of the issues have me worried. Having a second portable option is a plus here too.

    I have a few questions that maybe the community can help answer regarding the non-retina version:

    1. is the ram user upgradable?
    2. is the video card upgradable?
    3. is there a way to use a discrete video card?
    4. can the non-retina version display at the same resolution as the retina version on an external monitor - can it take advantage of the display resolutions offered by the 27" Thunderbolt display?
    5. can the HD be user replaced to a larger ssd?
    6. does anyone have experience using Matrox DS1 docking station or have a suggestion for a quality docking station?

    I would like a Mac desktop, but the Mac Pro doesn't fit in the space I need it to. I feel this might be a solution I can live with if some of these issue can be achieved.

    I may have some follow-up questions and thanks in advance.
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Yes, its upgradeable in the cMBP

    No, its no upgradeable, like ever other laptop

    Yes, there's two GPUs in the 15" MBP
  3. Live Steam thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 30, 2007
    Thanks. I found ViDock which has an external enclosure for use with any video card you choose. Do you think this can be made to work? Or will there be OS issues with the drivers? Can they be overcome? How about the display resolution? Can it take advantage of the Thunderbolt display at 2560-by-1440? I am guessing since it has the same video card as the retina version it can but need confirmation.


    I just wish Apple mad a simple desktop with more power than a Mini.

  4. mobilehaathi macrumors G3


    Aug 19, 2008
    The Anthropocene
    Yes and yes
  5. Live Steam thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 30, 2007
    Ok now I'm getting more excited about this. It may be a round about way of getting to where I want to be, but I'd rather have options than get locked into the retina model that isn't really user upgradable. I may have to do some searching to see if anyone has utilized the ViDock with a Macbook, and with good results.
  6. duervo macrumors 68020


    Feb 5, 2011
    That ViDock product appears to use an ExpressCard/34 to drive graphics to the laptop.

    It will very difficult to use that with 2012 cMBP considering that system does not have an ExpressCard slot in it :)

    There are ThunderBolt PCIe enclosures out there somewhere. I remember seeing a couple several days ago ... just can't recall the name of the manufacturer right now. Anyway, that would probably be your best bet.
  7. Live Steam thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 30, 2007
    Yes, after doing some more research I found a few including one from OWC and Sonnet. My guess is that if I want to game on the system with a discrete high end video card it will have to be using Windows under BC, which will be fine.

    I think all in all, this is the best solution for me. I don't prefer having a PC for gaming and a Mac for everything else. This will also allow for portability. I'm just concerned now about how the system batteries will respond to being connected to external power most of the time. Does power management allow for this, protecting the batteries during continual AC connection? My other concern is how the system will handle heat buildup during a gaming session. However using the discrete VC should help alleviate that and the MBP screen will also be off as I'll be utilize and external display.


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