Can current 13 rMBP handle two monitors with ease?

cmm

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 30, 2006
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NYC
I have an early 2013 15" rMBP and I want to upgrade to haswell and am considering the 13" model due to portability reasons. However, I'm concerned about the built in graphics. Can it handle two displays? I have a 27 ACD 2560x1440 and a Dell U3011 2560x1600. Or will it be sluggish?

Thanks!
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G3
Jul 30, 2003
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Delaware
I have an early 2013 15" rMBP and I want to upgrade to haswell and am considering the 13" model due to portability reasons. However, I'm concerned about the built in graphics. Can it handle two displays? I have a 27 ACD 2560x1440 and a Dell U3011 2560x1600. Or will it be sluggish?

Thanks!
From the tech specs for late 2013 13-inch rMBP
Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display and up to 2560 by 1600 pixels on up to two external displays, at millions of colors
Several "up to's" there, so you'd have to try it to decide if it's sluggish for your use.
 

cmm

macrumors 6502a
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Apr 30, 2006
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I know what it says, but I've heard that the graphics card in the new rMBP is a giant step back from the early 2013 rMBP (which I have), so I'm a bit concerned...
 

leman

macrumors G4
Oct 14, 2008
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I know what it says, but I've heard that the graphics card in the new rMBP is a giant step back from the early 2013 rMBP (which I have), so I'm a bit concerned...
I think you might have read about the 15" model (which dropped the discrete GPU unit in base models). This does not apply to the 13" model which never had a dGPU. Of course, the 13" has slower graphics compared to your 15", but that is not really relevant for driving monitors. It will handle the standard desktop stuff just well.
 

hakkamukka

macrumors newbie
Sep 27, 2011
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I know what it says, but I've heard that the graphics card in the new rMBP is a giant step back from the early 2013 rMBP (which I have), so I'm a bit concerned...
Huge step back, sure. But the lowly Iris graphics in the current Haswell chips are pretty capable. I have the late 2012 rMBP 13" which has the awful HD4000 and it is fine driving the built in display (scaled 1680x1050) and a 27" 2560x1440 simultaneously.

As with these integrated graphics, don't expect any gaming but you probably already knew that.
 

Freyqq

macrumors 601
Dec 13, 2004
4,020
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rmbp 15" gen1 base model graphics are superior to gen2 base model, as gen2 base model dropped the dgpu.

rmbp 13" gen1 is significantly slower than the gen2 with iris graphics
 

FelixII

macrumors regular
Feb 22, 2013
117
25
Germany
Can current 13 rMBP handle two monitors with ease?

I worked with a 13" rMBP, which was connected with two 2560x1440 monitors, a few weeks ago. The performance was good, although animations (e.g. mission control with many windows) can get a little sluggish. The performance gets worse when you use two monitors and the built-in display simultaneously, but you will notice it primarily during animations or graphics-intensive work.

For comparison, I returned the 13" rMBP for various reasons and got a 15" rMBP with 750M graphics, which is driving the two monitors and the built-in display without any lag. So while the Iris graphics should deliver enough power for your current setup, the faster processor and the dedicated graphics card can make a big difference if you are planning to add a third monitor or switch to 4K displays.
 
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cmm

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 30, 2006
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NYC
Hm, thanks. I was planning on using three displays; i.e, the ACD, the Dell U3011 and the 13 rMBP display (this display would just be used for IRC and Adium).

So, just swiping for mission control, you noticed lag with three displays?

What do you consider graphic intensive work? I don't really use photoshop; the most I really do is upload photos from my Nikon D70 into iPhoto and then maybe light edits (cropping, for example)...

I don't have any plans to upgrade to 4k displays as the refresh rates are too low right now for the reasonably priced units...

Thanks!
 

ayeying

macrumors 601
Dec 5, 2007
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There's lag. But it's not a show stopper. Considering the power that it has, it does very well under the conditions.
 

cmm

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 30, 2006
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I see. The lag will drive me insane. I guess I'll have to buy the 15 rMBP with discrete graphics.
 

ayeying

macrumors 601
Dec 5, 2007
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Yay Area, CA
I see. The lag will drive me insane. I guess I'll have to buy the 15 rMBP with discrete graphics.
Why not stick with your current one? When you connect an external monitor, you can only use the GT750M which isn't that much more powerful then your current GT650M.
 

cmm

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 30, 2006
768
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I want the battery life of haswell. Supposedly I'll get 8 hours of battery life with the 15 inch model.
 

cmm

macrumors 6502a
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Apr 30, 2006
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Of course not :) Do you really get the advertised 8 or 9 hours of battery life with haswell? And how is the ac wifi chipset compared to n?
 

cmm

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 30, 2006
768
10
NYC
Anyone else have some opinions on running 3 displays at once with the 13 rMBP? Unfortunately, the Apple Store doesn't have this setup so I can't try it out...

I'm really concerned about it being sluggish/a lag... I'm afraid that will drive me crazy. I would love to get the 13 for portability reasons, but it seems like I need the dGPU of the 15 inch....
 

PressureDrop

macrumors newbie
Apr 2, 2011
18
5
I have two Apple Cinema Displays connected on my MacBook Pro Retina 13 (Late 2013 - 2.8/8GB/256GB SSD) and its perfect for me. I'm a software developer and i'm really excited about this little machine. Had a MacBook Pro Retina 15 (Mid 2012 - 2.3/8GB/256GB SSD), but sold it last weekend, because this little guy is almost perfect for me.

I play WoW with the 13inch on the ACD on 1920x1080 with settings set to good (fps capped to 30) and i'm very surprised about the performance!!!

I don't think that the iris graphics card is really sluggish...in my opinion the OpenGL-Driver provided by Apple are not well optimized.
 

cmm

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 30, 2006
768
10
NYC
I have two Apple Cinema Displays connected on my MacBook Pro Retina 13 (Late 2013 - 2.8/8GB/256GB SSD) and its perfect for me. I'm a software developer and i'm really excited about this little machine. Had a MacBook Pro Retina 15 (Mid 2012 - 2.3/8GB/256GB SSD), but sold it last weekend, because this little guy is almost perfect for me.

I play WoW with the 13inch on the ACD on 1920x1080 with settings set to good (fps capped to 30) and i'm very surprised about the performance!!!

I don't think that the iris graphics card is really sluggish...in my opinion the OpenGL-Driver provided by Apple are not well optimized.
Wow, great, thanks!! So no issues with sluggishness at all? And you use your rMBP screen at the same time as the two externals?
 

Orr

macrumors 6502
Oct 8, 2013
363
50
I want the battery life of haswell. Supposedly I'll get 8 hours of battery life with the 15 inch model.
If you're running both external monitors a lot then the increased battery life is moot since you'll be running on AC anyway.

You might be able to get 8+ hours on battery with just basic web browsing and word documents but once you start doing anything more intensive (especially if it involves the dGPU) then that drops to around 4-5 hours, or less.

While the power of the Iris Pro is impressive, the battery savings is not much to write home about and in real world usage offers little difference from the 750M (contrary to what seems to be the popular opinion here).
 

PressureDrop

macrumors newbie
Apr 2, 2011
18
5
No. I only use the two cinema displays. The macbook pro is in clamshell mode, because i don't need the third display. Further the system don`t need to render the screen for the retina display, which could hit the performance, if the display is scaled.

In other words, i don't see an issue! If you notice sluggish rendering, then its due to Apple`s drivers. These dual core chips are almost perfect.

Even on my MacBook Pro Retina 15 there was sometimes a noticeable hick hack with the GUI. Ergo, I couldn't justify the need of a dGPU.
 

cmm

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 30, 2006
768
10
NYC
Have you had any other issues going down to the 13 from 15?

Didn't want to go with 16gb of ram? I'm always running swap so I feel the extra ram will be useful... unfortunately, the refurb store doesn't have any 13 rMBPs available right now, so I have to wait and see what they have...

But the 15 rMBP with 16gb ram and 512gb SSD is only $2199, which is a pretty damn good deal...

(I travel a lot, so the haswell cpu should help me stay entertained/working on large flights. Any idea how long the battery will last if I watch a movie on the battery?)
 

PressureDrop

macrumors newbie
Apr 2, 2011
18
5
No. I was always the typical 15 inch customer, because of the higher resolution of the screen. Since Apple released the retina display and Intel released it's integrated iris solution I thought again about my real requirements.

I think the 15 inch version give you a little luxury feeling, but when i'm on the way to my office (by train) the 13 inch is simply better to handle. And that's the truth for me. Is luxury needed? For me - no.

In my free time i make music with ableton live and logic and the 13 inch is powerful enough.
 

cmm

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 30, 2006
768
10
NYC
Thanks for your input! I'll be thinking about this today; hopefully I can pull the trigger by Friday (once apple adds some 13 rMBPs to the refurb store...)