15" retina MacBook Pro or wait for 13"?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by rhys092, Oct 3, 2012.

  1. rhys092 macrumors newbie

    Oct 3, 2012
    Hi everyone, I've read through the forums for years but this is my first time posting so go easy on me :p

    Anyway, my dilemma is I am wanting to and have the funds to purchase a new mac but can't decide what to buy. I am set on buying a Macbook Pro to replace my current iMac + iPad combo (some say it is a good idea but I don't like it, would rather one device that is both a computer & portable).

    I've heard the rumours that a 13inch version of the retina MacBook Pro will likely release later this month. This would be great as it would be portable and powerful. However I'm not sure that the 13inch version will be powerful enough for my needs but I thought the 15inch would be too big, heavy and not that portable.

    I would be using it to:
    -Use for university to write assignments and use excel/MYOB for accounting
    -Take to class to write notes
    -A lot of multitasking with multiple different programs and windows open
    -Emailing and browsing the internet with multiple tabs open
    -Playing music & HD video through iTunes
    -When at home I always have a 32" 1080p TV connected as an external display
    -A small amount of video converting
    -Downloading music and videos
    -Sometimes using VMware Fusion to boot windows
    -I don't do a massive amount of gaming. Most frequent game would be Borderlands 2 through steam and probably also SimCity 2013 next year. I do have Battlefield 3 and X-plane but don't really play them.
    -And lastly I want a laptop that won't be outdated soon, something I can hang onto for 2 years

    Can anyone make any suggestions? Anyone who currently uses a 15inch rMBP shed some light on its portability and everyday usability? I am worried the 13" will only have integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics and I'm not sure that will cover my current needs/ might be useless next year?

    Any thoughts and suggestions would be great.
  2. jacob.schmidt macrumors member

    Oct 22, 2011
    Even a maxed out Air would do those tasks without taking a breath. Don't know 'bout gaming though..
  3. dba415 macrumors 6502

    Jun 18, 2011
    lol yeah, those tasks aren't stressing at all.
  4. davefromca macrumors 6502

    Nov 30, 2011
    Santa Barbara
    Hey bud I'm in the same boat as you. My Lenovo laptop looks fast on paper but its really not. I want to do the normal stuff, plus video conversions, storage and of course Sim City 5. :) I would like to hear people's opinions on the gaming side of things. Its ok if it cant do incredibly intensive gfx, just be able to run a future game like SC5 on medium settings.
  5. mrsir2009 macrumors 604


    Sep 17, 2009
    Melbourne, Australia
    The 15" Retina and just the regular 15" cMBP would both preform those tasks with ease :)
  6. MaxPower72 macrumors 6502


    Aug 15, 2012
    Chicago, Illinois, Crooks County
    The rMBP 13" is just a fable
    I don't understand how people can get so naive and believe any "RUMORS" the read on the forums.
    The Laptop lines have been upgraded already for this year if not wait until next summer for the new MBP/MBA lines to come out with the new Intel bridge;
    honestly I don't think Apple is going to release just a new Laptop model after
    3 months of the major update.
  7. idunn macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2008
    13" versus 15" - and so on

    As others have mentioned, you might want to give serious consideration to a MacBook Air as well. If traveling with such an item frequently the size and appreciably less weight would be a bonus. In gaming, one cannot have enough horsepower, and even the 15" RMBP would have some limitations; yet, even the Air would hold its own with many games; if this a serious consideration check the requirements of the games in question, and at what frame rate, etc., any given machine could handle them. The Air is light, responsive and powerful, with perhaps its most obvious deficit a higher resolution screen than the 13" MBP, but otherwise inferior in color gamut and overall appearance. Nice on its own, but not in direct side by side comparison. With that going double in comparison to a retina screen.

    There is a good chance a 13" RMBP should be released soon, most likely being a downsized version of its larger sibling in the 15". As such, it should be lighter than the existing 13" MBP, but probably not as light as the Air. But with not only a great screen but something slim and quite powerful in that small form factor. Downsides would be the higher price than the standard 13" MBP; more significantly, possibly some of the teething pains of a Version A model that the 15" RMPB is reported to have. A prospective customer may wish to research some of the related threads of this on this forum. Still, quite tempting. Yet one big caveat in this would lie in the eventual specs: if Apple cheeps out on the GPU it might, regretfully, have to remain a no go. Even the 15" RMBP with discreet graphics is said to struggle somewhat at times due all the pixels dealt with on its retina screen. At 13" a few less pixels, but a sobering question if the Intel 4000 could handle that alone. As an offering it would be something to look at closely, and perhaps wait on until at least the initial reviews begin to filter back.

    Otherwise, one might opt for the standard 13" MBP, being a perfectly fine computer, and aside from some gaming situations surely all the computer you might need. The price is decent, although right up there with a maxed out Air if opting for an SSD (being a good idea). Moreover it retains the optical drive and other ports that some feel necessary, that a retina will not.

    If undecided on the latest and greatest, or exactly what might suite best, purchasing a reconditioned unit from Apple is a good option. Save some money, and kick the tires on something fairly new, like new, and appreciably more powerful than such offerings of but a few years ago.

    Again, if lugging this thing around on a regular basis do consider size. 13" is a good all around size, and portable. More so than one might think in but a couple extra inches in the 15". Yet some will never be satisfied with less than 15" of screen real estate, are enough of a masochist to feel it travels easily, and correct that to date and likely continuing it remains the more powerful option.

    By and large they should all more than meet your needs. Which would you want?
  8. rgr555 macrumors 6502

    Mar 8, 2012
    15" is the best imo for everyday use

    i wouldn't want 17" after having a 15" and 13" is just too small unless you're just reading a lot
  9. Boe11 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 12, 2010
    Here's the thing. We don't know whether or not the 13" rMBP is even real, and assuming that it is, we have no idea what it's going to entail. Will it somehow have a quad core and dedicated GPU? Who knows. You can argue both sides of the argument but the fact remains we will have no idea until it's announced.

    So that information really creates a lot of distinction between the two models. As others have mentioned, aside from your gaming requirements, the other stuff on your list is easily handled by an MBA or whatever the 13" rMBP ends up being.

    As someone with the 15" rMBP I can say it's a great piece of hardware and every bit as powerful and capable as most desktops. It's not an ultralight like the MBA, but the 13" rMBP won't be either.

    You can either wait and see exactly what happens with the 13" rMBP, or just buy the 15" now and start rockin'. I can tell you that you won't be disappointed in the computing experience provided by the 15".

    If you really don't care about gaming or heavy lifting (encoding and stuff), it's tough to beat a loaded up MBA.
  10. rhys092 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 3, 2012
    Thanks for the input everyone. Appreciate the comments about the air but its just not for me. Its great and all but I used to own a 13" MBP which was plenty portable. I don't need something that is 'ultra' light. The point of wanting the retina was its just as powerful as a pro but lighter and thinner like an air :)

    Besides a maxed out 13" air where I live is only a few hundred dollars less than the retina MBP, and the retina would have the awesome screen, 1GB dedicated graphics and a quad core i7. The air is limited to a 2GHz dual core as well and won't be as 'future proof' as something with a higher clock speed or more cores etc. Just doesn't make sense to buy an air.

    Think I might just wait and see if the 13" retina gets released. I agree its all speculation but trust me I've done a lot a reading on the 13" rMBP and I think theres a good chance its coming, if not 15" rMBP it is!

    Also a few people are saying the integrated intel 4000 graphics performs quite well with modern games including borderlands 2 :D

    Thanks everyone!
  11. Queen6 macrumors 604


    Dec 11, 2008
    Land of the Unexpected
    If a 13" is a must for you, wait for Haswell, even if and it`s a big if Apple release a 13" Retina this year the 2013 Haswell 13" will be just so much better. The 15" Retina it`s not such an issue thanks to the GT 650M as undoubtably the 13" will only have Intel`s integrated GPU.

    Frankly once Intel`s integrated graphics meet Apple`s expectations i believe that the discrete GPU will be dropped, Apple likes simplicity, Apple likes control, most of all Apple likes it`s margins. The start of this will be the 13" Retina...
  12. jacob.schmidt macrumors member

    Oct 22, 2011
    No such thing as 'future proof'.. Especially not with the solded ram (air + retina). I've had a lot of MacBooks - Pro's and Air's, and after having Air I wouldn't go back to MBP - maybe rMPB - but that's a lot of dough! The MBP seems chunky after used an Air - you should definitely consider it
  13. stevelam macrumors 65816

    Nov 4, 2010
    the hd4000 does not perform that well with games. and who cares about specs when you barely do anything on the computer according to your usage.
  14. SpyderBite macrumors 65816


    Oct 4, 2011
    Depends on the games. I play SWtOR, GW2 & Diablo III just fine on my 2012 13" MBP. Other games may have higher gpu demands, but not all of them.
  15. rhys092 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 3, 2012
    Just a fable huh? You shouldn't be so quick to write off things ;)
  16. rhys092 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 3, 2012
    Thanks again for all the replies but I've gone with the 15" rMBP :D

    Had it for 2 weeks now and don't regret it one bit. Its amazingly fast, is thin, light and just a great laptop to use.

    The 13" rMBP has finally showed its existence but without a discrete graphics card it can't handle playing Borderlands 2, Battlefield 3 and Starcraft 2 at max (or anything even remotely close).

    I agree a MBA is a great machine but until technology develops further to make it more powerful I personally don't see it as an everyday-all rounder computer. I started checking my stats and noticed I regularly use more than 4gb of RAM and go beyond the max output of a 2ghz dual-core (these being the maximums found in the air)


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