15" rMBP vs cMBP: What would you do?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by rocknblogger, Mar 31, 2013.

  1. rocknblogger macrumors 68020


    Apr 2, 2011
    New Jersey
    I gotta tell you guys. I've been following and re-reading different threads regarding the rMBP and I am REALLY torn about what to do.

    Two weeks ago today I purchased the 15" 2.7/16/512 model. Overall I like my rMBP but I can't say I'm blown away by performance mostly in regards to the UI. It stutters ever so slightly in most applications when scrolling and when going in and out of Mission Control and menus. Especially Mission Control. I'll call it lag rather than stutter because it literally looks like stop motion sometimes. Granted if I only have a couple apps open and only one browser it's not so bad but overall I think it's unforgivable for a $2799 laptop made by anyone to perform like this. This should be as silky smooth as the cMBP.

    With that said though, I appreciate the slim design, the heat management, the screen and the speed with which it handles tasks in Photoshop, Illustrator, Parallels and some other apps I constantly use. Browsing the web actually isn't as bad as I've read about in these forums. For the most part all three major browsers scroll well enough that it doesn't really bother me. Even on non retina powerful desktop machines browsers can stutter on occasion.

    I think what bothers me most is that it is what it is and will be what it is three years from now. I can't upgrade/swap the RAM, we have no idea if anyone besides OWC will start producing blade SSD drives at a more reasonable cost and better performance and we don't know what OSX will bring over the next three years.

    I know that if I was to return this rMBP and replace it with the cMBP I'll more or less have the same performance and maybe better. I have a brand new 512GB Samsung 840 Pro SSD and 16GB's of of Kingston HyperX 1600MHz CL9 RAM sitting right here on my desk just waiting to go into a cMBP.

    So what do I lose?*

    Retina Display
    Power nap
    Cooling - maybe maybe not. It can be managed to a degree using 3rd party solutions (External)
    HDMI port - I may or may not use it but at some point probably would though can live without it
    1 Thunderbolt port

    What do I gain with a cMBP?

    Ethernet port
    1 Firewire 800 port - I have a number of Firewire 800 drives that are still quite good so it is useful to me
    I could return the TB to FW adapter I had to buy $30
    Audio out AND in
    The ability to upgrade SSD as technology gets better and faster. Much bigger selection and many more options as well as less expensive than blade counterparts
    CD/DVD Drive - I still have uses for it - If I keep the rMBP I’ll have to buy an external $40 and up for decent quality. I’d probably go with a blu-ray at around $90 but that’s personal choice.
    ~$400 difference in price between cMBP configured with my hardware and rMBP

    I guess that’s about it. As I said earlier, not knowing what to expect from OSX I wonder at what point will the cMBP be left behind? As it stands now so far the only feature that a Retina has is power nap. Please correct me if I’m wrong. But will the next version of OSX have Retina only features that I wouldn’t get in a cMBP? And then the next and the next. When will the current rMBP stop getting new features? Will it be with the next version or the version after? This truly bothers me about Apple. Two years from now they could decide that iCloud will no longer be supported by non Retina MBP’s.

    So does it make it any more risky to buy a cMBP over a rMBP? Maybe “risky” is the wrong word, how about “less attractive”?

    I firmly believe that having the ability of upgrading the SSD/HDD and/or replace the RAM can extend the life of a computer. As I’ve stated in a couple threads I’ve managed to get about 5+ years out of an HP dv6000 and it’s still usable.

    I’m just looking for intelligent opinions and a decent discussion regarding the points I made above. So, what do you think?
  2. Trey M macrumors 6502a

    Trey M

    Jul 25, 2011
    That's just something that, like you mentioned, we won't be able to know. Power Nap is actually a feature that was brought to only the 2010 and later Macbook Airs (and of course the new rMBP's), and none of the cMBP's, so you just never know what Apple might introduce that won't be backwards compatible. It's clear that the cMBP has a much greater chance of getting left behind with feature updates, but unfortunately without knowing what Apple is going to release in the next 2 years, it's hard to gauge how important that is for you.

    When I was really reading your post, I think the cMBP would be best for you. There really is no 'best computer', it's subjective. I think, for you, the upgradability the cMBP offers along with the optical drive, audio in/out, and some of the features you mentioned make it the better choice for you.

    If you keep your machine for 3-5 years, ask yourself if it will bother you that all new laptops will have a much higher resolution than yours. Basically what I'm saying is, in 5 years, when you borrow a friends laptop you're going to notice how much better the screen is then yours. Is that something that irritate you, or is it something you can live with knowing you made the best purchasing decision at the time? If it doesn't bother you, then the cMBP is definitely for you. Some people may not have buyer's remorse a year after owning their laptop, but as features become standard over time, buyer's remorse can set in a few years later, especially with computers!
  3. srsub3 macrumors 6502


    Mar 10, 2013
    At this point the two machines are pretty identical except of the weight. To me there is no difference, but it depends on how you use our mac.... I don't travel a lot and so weight is not a problem... I feel very frustrated by the fact the retina cannot be RAM updated.... 180$ for 8 gb more, knowing that RAM costs only 80 dollars is a steal.... the 840 pro is a nice ssd and maybe is also better than the one installed in your retina.... remember that however SSD evolution could mean a evolution of the sata standard and that then you won't be able to use it at full speed....
  4. kittencounter macrumors member

    Mar 22, 2013
    Woot? Your UI stutters? mine is silky smooth. Yes, I mean the mission control and space switching animations. When I first bought it last year it sometimes stutters for 1/2 sec at the begining after a long sleep but now after 2 updates ..it's completely gone.

    Sometimes we have to adapt changes and leave old technologies behind. I think once you give back the rMBP you will regret it. For long terms use, it's not all about performance my friend, it's also about comfort. The hi-res screen does make the long reading\working sessions pleasant for the eyes, it's also quieter.

    Do you do your Photoshop and Illustrator works on a desktop machine too?
  5. xShane macrumors 6502a


    Nov 2, 2012
    United States
    The cMBP has a Mini display port which supports HDMI.

    The weight difference shouldn't stop you at all.

    I can't say I've had any heating/cooling issues with my MBP.
  6. maxosx macrumors 68020

    Dec 13, 2012
    Southern California
    Initially I was anti: glued-together, ultra-thin, non-upgradeable MBPr. Especially after using several excellent, highly effective conventional 15" MBP's both for my engineering work & for personal use.

    But as they say, times change & things change. For me it was a matter of accepting Apple as it morphed from a computer company to a mobile OS oriented disposable gadget maker. A mass market ultra high volume, seller of sealed devices.

    Use it & toss it into the recycle bin. Get it into Apples recycle program. Whatever. Ignoring the hypocrisy is hard, but I really like OS X which means Apple calls the shots.

  7. swerve147, Mar 31, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2013

    swerve147 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 12, 2013
    Seeing as that you're currently a Retina owner and the mere fact that you've posted a novel about your doubts suggests that you're not going to be happy keeping it.

    And tbh the pros you listed for the retina are actually pretty lame, save for the Retina display which you haven't really praised all that much. I personally see the display as one of the most important features of a notebook, without it you might as well get a good Pro or Mac Mini. However if you're not blown away by the display then the Retina loses a lot of its luster.

    Make the switch. That's my feeling based on what you've posted here.
  8. rocknblogger thread starter macrumors 68020


    Apr 2, 2011
    New Jersey
    First of all that you all for your well thought out replies.

    swerve147 I think you definitely misinterpreted some of what I said or didn't say. Of course I think the Retina display is beautiful. I just assumed it was a given and we all understand that the display is the centerpiece of the rMBP. I understand that if I was to switch to a cMBP even a hi-res couldn't comapre to the clarity, color, brightness(?), saturation and crispness of this display, especially when reading or writing text.

    I suppose I failed to make a more or less equal argument of one over the other. Granted the display makes "equal" difficult but that's why I mentioned the positive aspects of a cMBP.

    srsub3 I have to disagree with your assessment that for the most part these two machines are identical except for the weight. Taking the display out of the equation, all the internal parts of the rMBP are brand new. Every single part has been re-engenered and redesigned specifically for this computer. The logic board, RAM, fans/cooling, speakers, battery, design (Part of cooling also) and probably some parts I'm forgetting. The cMBP on the other hand is a tried and true design inside and out that has been around for a number of years now. Pretty much everything inside the cMBP has been produced the same way (More or less) for a number of years. Its a proven work horse. I think most MacBook Pro owners would agree with that assessment.

    I'm a geek at heart. I love cutting edge technology and more than likely I will keep this rMBP because as kittencounter said, I'll probably regret giving up the Retina display. I also have to have some faith in Apple that the internal parts of this machine will last as long as we have become accustomed to.

    Two things happened tonight that swung the pendulum in the rMBP's favor. I downloaded gfxCardStatus and TotalSpaces.

    gfxCardStatus let me know that even when plugged in, OSX switched to integrated graphics. When I saw that I changed the setting in "Energy Saver" to never switch. I'll follow up with Apple tomorrow, however, once I switched back to discreet so that the GT650M was the only video card working the computer became silky smooth just like kittencounter said.

    TotalSpaces is an excellent tweak and allows me to speed up the transitions when swiping from desktop to desktop.

    These two little apps made a huge difference to the overall performance of the UI and my impression of it. This Samsung 840 Pro is just begging to be used so I may just install it in my desktop;)

    I still think that having the ability to upgrade RAM and SSD is a big deal but I have to believe that Samsung and other manufacturers will start making blade SSD's to fit the rMBP. I also believe there are one or two other high end Windows ultrabooks that are using blade SSD, Acer Aspire S7 being one.

    Still have a few days to drive myself (And my poor wife) crazy thinking about all the possibilities. Who knows? Tomorrow the pendulum might swing towards the cMBP:D
  9. etn macrumors newbie

    Feb 7, 2013
    Wow. One of the most (if not THE most) rational cMBP vs. rMBP discussions out there.

    One of the most unnoticed features of the cMBP in my opinion is the hi-res ANTIGLARE option. Not retina resolution but still a gorgeous display. And did I mention antiglare? ;-) I don't want to delve into "what makes a pro laptop" kind of questions but to me, even an allegedly 75% reduced glare is unacceptable for day in, day out professional usage. ("Professional" meaning 8 to 10 hours a day use in various conditions - in the office, in conference rooms, in trains, airports etc.)
    Granted, for work I use Excel more than Photoshop and if you are in the opposite case your mileage may vary.

    Bottom line, if you are -like me- an antiglare nut and besides, have a need for FW, Ethernet and a DVD drive, (not to mention the ability to upgrade RAM and SSD), it's a no brainer.

    Any way you chose, both are good laptops anyway.

    Hope this helps!

  10. xShane macrumors 6502a


    Nov 2, 2012
    United States
    gfxCardStatus is available on the cMBP, and the cMBP has the same graphics card options.

    Now by all means, if you can afford to keep the Retina, I'd recommend keeping it. However, if the screen isn't that big of a deal to you, you want to save a few hundred bucks, and for other various reasons, then switch to the cMBP if you choose.
  11. Ccrew macrumors 68020

    Feb 28, 2011
    I think one thing missed here on the comparison.

    The cMBP will support 16gb DIMMs in it's chipset. While not really available at this time, over the lifetime of the machine it would be a stretch to say they won't be available. Since both HDD and memory are considered user upgradeable, that's also a plus in the cMBP's favor.

    Except for form factor and screen the cMBP has distinct advantages moving forward. While you've bought an up-spec rMBP, you're essentially forced to guess what your requirements will be in 1/2/3 years or whatever you consider to be the lifespan of the machine, where as with the cMBP it can grow with you.

    Don't get me wrong - the rMBP screen is lovely, but that's a lot of what you're buying, it's a sealed device that you sell or dispose of when done.
  12. B... macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2013
    The rMBP has a user upgradeable SSD. Although it is expensive now, prices will go down because Apple will start using more of these and, of course, the technology will get cheaper. That is not to say I do not understand your argument. I do, and I think it is a valid concern, but I know that for people like me, for whom 8 GB is more than enough, the cMBP does not hold any distinct advantage. 8 GB will continue to be more than enough for me, because I will stick with the OS I recieve the computer with.
  13. GermanyChris macrumors 601


    Jul 3, 2011
    Go conventional..You'll kick yourself later if you do not.
  14. utekineir, Apr 1, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2013

    utekineir macrumors 6502

    Feb 20, 2008
    my solution was not to spend so much on the rmbp that i'm attached to it for a long term commitment or have any worries about being a miss cleo and trying to future proof

    going with the base model at a discount means selling it in a couple years for a significantly smaller net loss than that of a high end trim.

    At that point i'll take the difference saved and get something current with specs that blow away any specced out current model, with a new warranty and depreciation clock to boot.

    That said the potential real estate is what sold me on the rmbp over the cmbp, everything else is icing on the cake. cmbp maxes out at 1600x something as a $100 upgrade, rmbp runs at 1900x whatever equivalent res. It probably does help that I'm anal about closing unused programs and keeping systems clean (scarred remnant of having windows 95 and 4mb ram i'm sure), keep all media other than an aperture library on a mini acting as server, and never use discs.

    Having the laptop real estate equivalent of texas sitting in my lap is pretty nice, a cmbp only gives you what roughly amounts to north dakota, and no one likes north dakota.

    I'm just an idiot with no demanding professional needs, so a base model is more than adequate. Real life authentic professionals with actual demanding needs may have different requirements, or atleast think they do.
  15. Orlandoech macrumors 68040


    Jun 2, 2011
    Salt Lake City, UT
  16. nemesis379 macrumors member

    Dec 26, 2012
    For me, upgrading the screen, buying SSD, buying RAM, and upgrading cpu to i7 2.6GHz /w 1GB GT650M on cMBP costs more than just buying MBPr with 16GB ram, by about £70, so my choice would be MBPr.
  17. kittencounter macrumors member

    Mar 22, 2013
    rocknblogger you don't have to switch to the Nvidia card to get the smooth UI. The UI is smooth all the time even with it off. It's a common problem that many people have. It's very annoying and ppl hate the rMBP for that reason. Many think that it doesn't have the graphic power to drive the display but it's nonsense. It's all Apple software related crap that they did fix big amount of it (atleast for me). Please try the following:

    - make sure you have the 10.8.3 version of Mac OS
    - make all the Stacks to Folders on your Dock
    - remove all the preferences pane like Adobe Flash Player ...etc. that you don't need
    - close all the spaces and reboot

    As for the scrolling in webbrowser. If you really need to use Chrome then that's fine but webkit safari is really silky smooth. It doesn't lag anywhere (I mean it) It has webkit inspector and all the developers options but no tab pinning and cross devices sync like Chrome :(
  18. rocknblogger thread starter macrumors 68020


    Apr 2, 2011
    New Jersey
    If what I read in this thread (start at reply no. 94) is true then you are mistaken. I thought that the cMBP would take 16GB DIMM's also. So if that is the case then replacing RAM in the cMBP becomes less important. The only benefit is if the RAM fails you can replace it yourself. In all the years I've been using computers I never had RAM go bad on me. Hard drives, motherboards, video cards, CD/DVD drives all eventually failed at some point on some machines. Memory? Not once. Doesn't mean it can't happen, I know for a fact it does but it is quite rare.
  19. rocknblogger thread starter macrumors 68020


    Apr 2, 2011
    New Jersey
    I've done all the above (10.8.3 was already installed. It was one of the first things I did after turning it on when I brought it home;) )
    And so far it seems to be better. But will continue using for the rest of my real world day and will report back a bit later.
  20. Queen6 macrumors 604


    Dec 11, 2008
    Land of the Unexpected
    Owing both, hands down Retina, the misgivings over upgrade paths are well and truly blown out of proportion. the present systems will easily serve for several years before needing replacement.
  21. gmikesell macrumors regular

    Aug 31, 2009
    I gotta agree with Queen6. I also had the 15" MBPc and was starting the upgrade path but then decided to just go for the 15" MBPr exchange. SO glad I did! it cost me a bit more but I just can't get over the display. As I posted already in a different thread, it still makes me excited to get out of bed in the mornings! :D
  22. rocknblogger thread starter macrumors 68020


    Apr 2, 2011
    New Jersey
    Yes, the display really is awesome. The more I use it the more I'm appreciating it. The only issues I'm having now (And they are minor in the big scheme of things) is when I connect my Dell U2713HM display. In Windows the display looks as good as the retina, it really honestly truly does. When I connect via Thunderbolt to Displayport it looks good but not quite as good as in Windows. I have to assume its the drivers that are making a difference. Also it might be my imagination but it looks like there's more screen real estate in Windows, but that might just be a difference between the OS's.

    Otherwise this rMBP is a pretty darn impressive. I've read all the pro cMBP replies and I myself was really leaning that way a few days ago, but since since I can replace the SSD the "upgradability" is not that big of an issue. I think I would be much more upset if OSX comes out with rMBP only features. Features that I may want. And considering that Apple will more than likely drop the cMBP from their lineup altogether that's a distinct possibility.
  23. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    16GB chips are available as dimms. It may never be available in chips that will work in the current year macbook pro. It might be DDR4 before you really start to see them in sodimms. I'm also unsure where you read the chipset specifically supports 16GB sodimms. It supports 32GB total. You can get that today as several notebooks on the market will allow 4 x 8GB configurations. No one has tested 2 x 16 on a macbook pro.
  24. Ccrew macrumors 68020

    Feb 28, 2011
    Actually that thread was shooting down the links to the memory specified in a previous response. Reality is at this time the chipset supports 16gb, but no one makes a DIMM.

    While you've been using computers and never had a DIMM go bad, I oversee several thousand, and see it all the time. It happens more frequently than you think.


    For the sake of this thread my reference was to the machines in the discussion. I can buy 32gb DIMMs, but fitting them is a different story.

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