15" rMBP as a Desktop Replacement

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by RainCityMacFan, Jul 16, 2014.

  1. RainCityMacFan macrumors 6502a

    Jun 10, 2007
    Has anyone have any experience with using a laptop such as a 15" rMBP as a desktop replacement? I currently have a 13" MBA I use for portability and I have this 15" rMBP I want to sell but can't seem to... so I'm thinking about just keeping it.

    My main concern is not about power but if keeping it plugged in all the time would damage the lithium ion battery.
  2. MacBH928 macrumors 68030


    May 17, 2008
    I had a macbook from 2009, it spent most of its lifetime plugged in ever when its sleeping. My battery life is 54% after 5 years, after 5 years you should upgrade you computer anyway (rarely I hear of 7 years lifetime as a main

    The problem with the new rMBP is that they have non-replaceable batteries, so i am not sure what happens when they die.
  3. johnnylarue macrumors 6502a

    Aug 20, 2013
    An easy yet effective way to keep your battery in good health (in addition to using it from time to time) is to unplug your computer when you're not actively using it--i.e. when it's sleeping or powered down.

    Just set a reminder for yourself to cycle the battery down to 20% or so every week or two, don't force-feed it power when it's not needed, and it will have a long, happy life.
  4. RainCityMacFan thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 10, 2007
    Sounds good guys.

    If I don't find a buyer come August or so... I'm keeping this baby. [Or I might keep it anyways since using an external monitor and my MBA is hurting my eyes]

    I wonder if there are any with a similar setup like mine.
  5. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    Modern LiIon batteries are far less (if at all) impacted by being constantly hooked to AC than former battery technologies (probably charging logic also has improved).

    I am running my 15" rMBP as desktop replacement for nearly 2 years now. It's plugged into a switchable multi-socket extension lead and shut down after finishing my work (with SSD imho there is no need for sleeping in desktop replacement mode).

    Every once in a blue moon I use it as a mobile machine and run the battery down. So far the battery has 98% health and ~24 cycles. Hence I'd say there is absolutely no problem for your intended use scenario.
  6. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    It does not really matter what you do to your battery, it will at any rate last somewhere between 2-3 years. Replacing the battery is quite cheap, so I don't think its something worth being concerned about.
  7. diggy33 macrumors 6502


    Aug 13, 2011
    I replaced my iMac with a 13-inch rMBP and 27-inch Monoprice monitor, and havent looked back.
  8. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    My rMBP is a complete desktop replacement - I have an external monitor, keyboard and mouse. It works great :)
  9. SarcasticJoe macrumors 6502a


    Nov 5, 2013
    Been using 15" MBP's as practically as desktop replacements since I got my first one in 2007. In my experience batteries for the pre-unibody machines seem to take a bit of damage if you don't empty and re-charge them every now and then while the unibody machines' batteries actually last longer if you don't empty and recharge them.

    I usually don't consume the battery down to the end of it's duration very often, so last time I checked the battery health on my 2011 Macbook Pro (think it was January this year) it was something along the lines of 96%, which isn't bad for a machine I took into active use in the April of 2011. However it did see a period of weekend only use when I was in the army. As for my 2007 (pre-unibody) machine the battery just flat out died in 2009 and I've been much more careful with the replacement batteries (on my second one right now).
  10. Crugga macrumors regular

    Nov 25, 2010
    Definately sufficient.
    At that money I should hope so.
  11. ano0oj macrumors 6502

    Apr 20, 2010
    ^ indeed.

    Only thing you would need is external monitor, keyboard and mouse.
  12. andyp350 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 14, 2011
    I decided to get the maxed out 15" rMBP so that I could replace my desktop. I haven't noticed a compromise in performance so far and I'm not too concerned about battery issues. I use it as a laptop as much as I do a desktop so I don't think I'm leaving it plugged in too often. As others have stated it shouldn't really matter in this day and age but if you are concerned just pull the power lead out when you remember and plug it back in when you're on about 20%.
  13. soulreaver99 macrumors 68020


    Aug 15, 2010
    Southern California
    Absolutely. Before I had an iMac I used a MacBook Pro with one of those Henge Docks for a few years and it was a great solution.

    Also, at work I use a MacBook Air connected to an LCD Monitor, keyboard and mouse and it works great as a desktop :D
  14. UBS28 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 2, 2012
    The 15" rMBP is faster than the current Mac Pro in single core performance and in multi core performance it's faster than some older 8-core Mac Pro's. I would say it's a pretty good desktop replacement. Just deplete your battery every month and the battery should stay in good health.

    Unless you do gaming, then it won't be a desktop replacement ofcourse.
  15. RainCityMacFan thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 10, 2007
    Out of curiosity, why did you guys trade in your iMacs for a rMBP?

    Mainly for the portability?
  16. Alphabetize macrumors 6502


    Oct 6, 2013
    I'm actually using a 13-inch MacBook Air for everything I do, and it handles everything really well actually. Though I just got introduced into casual gaming, and now my fans finally became audible :eek:
  17. johnnylarue macrumors 6502a

    Aug 20, 2013
    Yes. I work in a few different places but can't afford a few different computers. ;)
  18. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Yep, its hard taking an iMac on vacation with you to old your pictures or going on a business trip :p
  19. sharky25ant macrumors member

    Nov 7, 2013
    If you use at least one battery cycle per month then you won't have any problem with your battery.
  20. Badrottie Suspended


    May 8, 2011
    Los Angeles
    13" or 15" laptop is not a desktop replacement but 17" is. anyway there are less 17" laptop out there right now. :apple:
  21. c1phr macrumors 6502

    Jan 8, 2011
    I believe OP (and most everyone in this thread) is talking about the raw power of the machine, and then hooking it up to an external monitor. Even 17" is woefully small these days, and the resolution that most 17" laptops run at are hard for some to read.

    OP: I've been using my late 2013 rMBP as a desktop replacement since I picked it up in December (and a 2010 MBP as a desktop replacement before that). My setup right now is two external displays with the rMBP closed, but I've also done 1 external and the rMBP open on a mStand. Either way, it's served me very well, and I can even play some older games just fine in this setup (Diablo 3 in specific).
  22. petvas macrumors 601


    Jul 20, 2006
    Mannheim, Germany
    I tried with a 15" rMBP but after 6 months I bought an 27" iMac. Sure I could just buy a Cinema display, but I found that to be cumbersome, having to plug the laptop in all the time. Especially the resolution change when going from "mobile" mode to desktop with the monitor connected, would bother me a lot. Windows do not keep their position and lots of resizing would have to be done..
    Another factor to consider is that a laptop needs to be configured with energy saving in mind. So, I had lots of programs that I would normally configure to start with the OS, configured them not to start...Also think about Safari plug ins that you would normally disable when mobile just to save some energy but would like to use when connected to power..
    Another issue for me is having to connect my external drives to my Macbook all the time. Sure, someone could use a NAS or a Time Capsule (which I also have), but the overall speed cannot be compared to Thunderbolt or USB 3...
    Overall, the compromise was big for me, so I ended up selling the 15" rMBP and getting a 27" iMac. Much better for me!
    I also got a 13" rMBP to use as a laptop...

    Generally I believe computers should be used for what they were actually made for. A laptop is a laptop, and it will always have its limitations..
  23. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Shhh, don't tell my 15 MBP, since its working fine as a desktop replacement :D
  24. Wild-Bill macrumors 68030


    Jan 10, 2007
    I'm considering doing the same as the OP. I have an 08 Mac Pro and a 2013 13" MBA. I am toying with the idea of going down to just one machine. In the office I'd have a Henge dock (when they release the horizontal dock). Dual monitors are already set up in there.

    For the rest of the house, go mobile. Use the AppleTV in the living room or bedroom as an extended desktop when needed. Already have the wireless keyboard / trackpad.

    I have a Synology 5-bay NAS to handle backups and Plex to serve media. All I need to do is move everything from the MP and put it on the NAS.

    My Mac Pro has served me well over the years, but is finally starting to show its age. And it is nowhere near as power efficient as a rMBP.
  25. s2mikey macrumors 68020


    Sep 23, 2013
    Upstate, NY
    Yep, my 13" is a desktop replacement and I don't even use an external monitor or keyboard. Just a wireless mouse. I actually haven't had a desktop system in over ten years. Just laptops. Desktops take up too much space and are just sooooo 1990s. :D

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