15" Retina or 13" + external display (buy 13" retina later)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by JeroenDebruyne, Sep 27, 2012.

  1. JeroenDebruyne, Sep 27, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012

    JeroenDebruyne macrumors member

    Jul 6, 2011

    I am having a really hard time what I wanna buy for the next couple of years. I just moved into a new computer room and got a new desk, but I wanna upgrade my Apple hardware also.

    Using the Apple setup for : web design(making a lot of google sites at the moment), so I am using some CS6 and some other apps for general web design purposes.
    Also using it to buy music/movies from iTunes and surfing the web in general.

    What I am debating is this: Either buy the Macbook Pro Retina 15" and use it as my "main setup" meaning that I won't hook up any external monitor and just use as a full machine. The biggest questions here is if I design a google website (for example a simple site made www.residentieberkenhof.be) on the machine will I have problems to do so? Since it is such a high resolution screen.. I am scared that making stuff for other non retina displays in photoshop or google sites will not be nice anymore and also the way around, stuff that I made on another non retina how will it effect me if I continue working on those on the retina...

    If the retina would not be good for designing I would be keeping my 13" Macbook pro that I have now and still use an external monitor as I find 13" to low for constant use at home.. thats why I wanted to get the 15" macbook pro retina. I could always buy the 13" retina later when it comes out and then still hook up an external 16:9 or 16:10 IPS monitor.

    Sooo in short, either buy the 15" retina and only use that without an external display. (will the monitor be big enough for all day use? How will retina display effect on my google sites and photoshop work?


    Keep on using my 13" macbook pro and hook it up to an external display for web design, I can then later swap it to a 13" retina for on the road and surfing at home and keep on using an external display for web design work. With this method I would both still have a retina and another external display to view my work etc.

    I do not want a 13" only for main PC as I found that to small.

    Also I was thinking won't it be weird having a Retina display and then use a non retina as external? Either go all out retina or not I was thinking..

    I hope you can understand a little of what my thoughts are here. Hope to see someone who can help:)
  2. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    I just picked up a 15 in MBP (late 2011) with the hires antiglare screen. It works great. I've played with Retina displays extensively in the Apple store, putting them into all sorts of weird resolutions and while I like it a lot, I really want to remain able to do my own memory and HDD upgrades.

    I would not recommend a Retina 13 in screen as it doesn't do a whole lot of good to have so many pixels when you wind up running it most of the time in lower resolution so you can still read things.

    There is really no down side to creating a web site on a Retina screen. The risk that it will look good to you and bad to everyone else is zero as long as you remember to take a look at it in other browsers (besides safari or chrome) and other resolutions (besides the one you normally work in).

    By default, picking "best for retina" puts the screen in something like 1200 x 900 and while you can find ways to switch it to 3880 x 1800 or even higher, it's not something that is very practical.
  3. JeroenDebruyne, Sep 28, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2012

    JeroenDebruyne thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 6, 2011
    So while the retina will give me better image quality it won't give me more screen estate? For example if I design a simple website like www.berkenhofveurne.be I can almost see the entire site on my 23" monitor. How would this be on the retina?

    This is my biggest concern, will the 15" be big enough to use photoshop and make my google sites or should I buy a 13" model and an external display (27" I found way to big, as in the thunderbolt display).

    Also I have found it so weird when buying a retina laptop why would one need or especially WANT another display, it must be frustating to first view such nice display to then move to a much lower and less crisp resolutino. Would like some advice on this aswell

  4. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    I've been using a 13 in Macbook for 4 years and for most of that time I had a 17 in external monitor. I added a 23 in 1080p external monitor earlier this year. Now that I have the hires (1680x1050) antiglare 15 in MBP, I'm thinking I might (eventually) decide to get rid of the external monitor altogether. I've gotten rid of my bluetooth mouse now that I have a multitouch trackpad that supports gestures.

    I don't use Gimp (Photoshop equivalent) that often. More often I use Seashore. I maintain a half dozen web sites using html editing, drupal or wordpress. I do a modest amount of OSX development. I do quite a bit of "page layout" focused word processing, mostly in Pages. Some of my work is done in Libre Office. I don't own any Microsoft software. I use terminal quite a bit. I do a lot of movie transcoding. I use iPhoto a lot to find faces. I found that iPhoto faces runs about 8x faster on my new MBP than it used to run on my Macbook.

    For me the external display is about having multiple documents on the screen at the same time. For instance, if I'm doing homework, I would want the text book, the lecture notes and some spreadsheet calculations on the screen all at once. To me it wouldn't matter whether I have Retina or not. The issue is whether I need quite as much stuff on the screen. Now that I have gestures, having stuff on other desktops, a mere 3 finger swipe away, might be just as good as having it staring me in the face on a second monitor. Time will tell.
  5. JeroenDebruyne thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 6, 2011
    Yeah I understand, but for using Photoshop etc the Retina alone should give me more then enough? I just wanna go away from needing a big external display while the retina laptop can give my quite alot of screen estate?
  6. jjhoekstra macrumors regular

    Apr 23, 2009
    Hi Jeroen,

    I am using a retina and what you say about moving from an excellent retina screen to a normal external screen is in fact true. I love my retina but I now find that I get annoyed by the mediocre quality of my external screen. I find that I do everything on my retina and stopped using my external screen.
    You can have as much screen-assets as you want. I can see your internet-site completely on my screen if I want to. And it looks good.
  7. JeroenDebruyne thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 6, 2011
    Hi jjhoekstra thanks for the reply. Did you use any good external display (IPS)? Anyway I will try to check out the retina and decide if I want a 13" and external display or just the 15" retina only. So far im undecided but leaning more towards the retina only... its like you said everytime I will move to another display even the TB I will want to look back on the retina I think. And waiting for a 13" retina will be to small for all day use/desktop replacement I think, and the 15" is very portable anyway also...

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