Clamshell mode rMBP with external display, does it make sense?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by sofianito, Jun 12, 2013.

  1. sofianito macrumors 65816

    sofianito

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Location:
    Spain
    #1
    I am starting to think seriously about to replace my old 2008 MBP. My initial thoughts were to get either a 13" or 15" refurbished rMBP.

    The dilemma I am having right now is I bought recently a 24" dell ultrasharp 2412M IPS display and I am quite happy with the real estate it gives me when using it my MBP in clamshell mode, but I am asking myself what are the benefits of getting a retina and use it mainly in clamshell mode? I would rarely use it in public places, I wouldn't mind to use it from time to time on my sofa but I definitely prefer to sit on my herman miller chair :cool:

    Any thoughts/experience using rMBP in clamshell mode?
     
  2. InlawBiker macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    #2
    My opinion, why spend the extra money on the Retina screen if you're not going to use it?

    I was running my MBP classic screen with external monitor. I found myself preferring the normal screen and less desktop clutter, so I got rid of the monitor. I'm stuck with 1440x900, but I still prefer it.

    If I were to do it again, I'd try to use an Air in clamshell with an HD monitor. In other words I would go all-in one way or the other: Use the retina 100% or use the monitor 100% with the cheapest Mac.
     
  3. pnyc macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 12, 2007
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #3
    I might be in a similar situation to yours I predominately use a 15 inch rMBP with my 27 inch Apple LED as a sort of desktop replacement. For me the rMBP is not just the retina display but also better specs vs the Air and what I consider to be a better form factor vs MBP. The rMBP rarely leave my home but when it does I appreciate its larger screen better specs vs the Air and smaller ligher chasis vs the MBP. Using it in bed, on the coach, in the kitchen is also a pleasant experience and a definite improvement over the MBP.

    I have owned the unibody MBP 13, 15 as well as the Air 13 and for me the rMBP 15 is a comfortable compromise between the MBP and the Air.
     
  4. theuserjohnny macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2012
    #4
    You know, I would actually in your case just get a 13inch MBA. I mean chances are it'll be left in clamshell mode and considering how high the resolution is on that screen it's not like you'd be sacrificing screen quality.

    However, if you really do want something with more power than a refurbished 15' would be a good idea, I mean imo if you're going to spend money might as well get the best bang for your buck!
     
  5. TrollToddington macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    #5
    You'd get a mac mini instead. Why pay for the retina screen if you don't use it?
     
  6. iAppl3Fan macrumors 6502a

    iAppl3Fan

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    #6
    You're better served getting a mac mini since it always plugged in anyway. Extended usage of the laptop plugged in can mess up the battery too if you don't take it out and about on batteries.

    I have my retina plugged in to the TBD but I use the laptop screen just as much so I'm happy with the setup.
     
  7. Yahooligan macrumors 6502a

    Yahooligan

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2011
    Location:
    Illinois
    #7
    My take...

    13" rMBP vs Mac Mini - Mac Mini is cheaper for basically the same hardware, sans built-in display

    15" rMBP vs 13" or Mac Mini - 15" rMBP has a discrete GPU and will provide better graphics performance than the 13" rMBP or the Mac Mini

    My 15" cMBP stays connected to my ATD 90% of the time, my 15" rMBP is carried around the house more because it's smaller and lighter. The main reason I bought a cMBP, other than being able to upgrade it, is because it would be connected to an external display most of the time.

    That said, based on current prices and my cMBP's specs, I would spend $150 more for a fully loaded 15" rMBP as I easily have more than that in upgrades in my cMBP.

    If you think you'd get value out of the Retina display then go for it, if you're not sure then go play with both at your local Apple reseller and decide which you like better overall.
     
  8. sofianito, Jun 12, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2013

    sofianito thread starter macrumors 65816

    sofianito

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Location:
    Spain
    #8
    Thanks for your feedbacks.

    Although I like its format, I discard the mini because it won't be useful the day I want to use it on the couch, in a public place, or take it on a travel...

    My daily use would be programming using IDEs such as Eclipse and JetBrains, and running some Linux and Unix VMs. I heard that Windows VM looks ugly under retina but I don't mind since I have an old PC desktop running finely Win 7. I don't game, just watch some youtube videos, and surf on the web.

    I have played around with both retina models at my local apple store. Using the scaled mode gives you more real estate but you lose the sharpness of the retina mode, and using a resolution higher than 1680x1050 on the 13" or higher than 1920x1200 on the 15" makes it a bit difficult for the eyes to follow.

    The laptop I want to get must be able to handle without issues at least my external dell 2412M 1920x1200 display, and it would be nice if it could handle 2 of them without triggering the laptop fans at maximum speed. Would the 13" HD4000 make it? Also, is the thunderbolt connector compatible with the mini-display cable I am using to connect my current MBP to the dell display?

    To take advantage of the retina display, I thought I could use the retina resolution for coding and the external display for the web and other stuffs. Any feedback/experience on this combination?

    Regarding my RAM and disk size requirement, my current 2008 MBP has 8GB of RAM and 500GB disk, and I don't want to compromise them ;).

    The cMBP could also be an alternative for me, particularly the 15" model with Hi-Res antiglare widescreen display (1680x1050).

    Here are the configurations I am considering based on my requirements:

    1) rMBP 13":
    1.1) 2.6GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, and 512GB Flash disk
    1.2) 3.0Ghz Dual-core Intel Core i7, 8GB RAM, and 512GB Flash disk

    * Based on my context, would the difference between the i5 and i7 be noticeable?
    * Will the HD4000 handle without issues 2 external displays?


    2) rMBP 15":
    2.1) 2.4Ghz Quad-core Intel Core i7, 8GB RAM, and 512GB Flash disk
    2.2) 2.4Ghz Quad-core Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, and 512GB Flash disk

    * I favored the RAM instead of CPU clock. Is the difference between the 2.4Ghz and 2.7Ghz noticeable?


    3) cMBP 15": I would upgrade myself later on the RAM and disk
    3.1) 2.4Ghz Quad-core Intel Core i7, 4GB RAM, 500GB 5400 rpm disk, and 512MB VRAM
    3.2) 2.6Ghz Quad-core Intel Core i7, 4GB RAM, 500GB 5400 rpm disk, and 1GB VRAM

    * Is the 512MB VRAM capable of handling a couple of external displays?
    * Any noticeable difference between the 2.4Ghz and 2.6Ghz?


    @Yahooligan: You've got nice configs! :). Did you benchmark them? Which one is faster?
     
  9. Yahooligan macrumors 6502a

    Yahooligan

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2011
    Location:
    Illinois
    #9
    Thanks. :) Here's a Geekbench comparison, though my cMBP numbers are a little low (I also have more services running by default)...at least, that's my excuse. :D

    http://browser.primatelabs.com/geekbench2/compare/2039476/2014196

    The 840 Pro SSD in my cMBP is a bit faster for both read and write compared to the 512GB SSD in the rMBP.

    rMBP - 413MB/s write, 443MB/s read
    cMBP - 490MB/s write, 513MB/s read
     
  10. sofianito thread starter macrumors 65816

    sofianito

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Location:
    Spain
    #10
    Nice numbers, but not really a big difference regarding the perceived performance, isn't it?

    Although equally equipped in terms of cpu clock, ram, and flash disk, as you stated, the cMBP is $150 more expensive than the rMBP, but you get an extra 500gb 5400rpm spindle disk and 2x2gb ram you could resell on eBay... :) On the other hand the cMBP won't have the nice retina display...

    The rMBP would be the winner if you resell it before the 3 years apple care warranty ends, else the cMBP would be the winner since the cost of repairing/replacing disk or battery in case of failures would be cheaper if you do it yourself...
     
  11. kis macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2007
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #11
    No. In my experience, the 13" rMBP struggles with external screens - it becomes laggy and hot almost instantaneously when hooking up just one of them. If you need to drive two external screens, you need a dedicated GPU.
     
  12. devilcm3 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2011
    Location:
    South Melbourne, Australia
    #12
    i'd use dual displays.

    external display as primary, retina for secondary.
     
  13. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2011
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #13
    I have a similar setup at work... I don't like it. I rather use my TB display exclusively, with the MBP in clamshell mode. The problem is that it is not so easy to put both monitors at the same height, and also the best viewing distance is very different for a desktop display.

    @OP

    I believe there is no perfect solution for you right now. But I don't see a problem with buying one of the retina MBPs. The point is that while you could go for a cMBP instead, at least you would want a RAM upgrade (8 GB) and an SSD - the performance difference is huge. If you add that to the cMBP price, you are not so far away from the retina machine, so why not just go for the nicer screen.
     
  14. tillsbury macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2007
    #14
    Of course you're going to be using it on a desk with a large display when you're stationary. You can't seriously think you would use a 15" display all through the day by choice? This isn't the 1980s...

    But when you're sitting on your sofa or occasionally out and about the display will be everything you expect.

    The rMBP is also not a slow computer, of course. You can't compare it to a rMBP13 or an Air or a Mac Mini. Only the top end iMacs and Mac Pros are more powerful, and then only if specified with SSDs...
     
  15. sofianito thread starter macrumors 65816

    sofianito

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Location:
    Spain
    #15
    For my use case, don't you think the 15" rmbp would be a waist of horsepower? Compiling, deploying, testing and debugging are likely single threaded tasks, isn't it? Maybe a 13" rmbp would be more than enough? Someone in this thread mentioned that 13" get hot even with only one external display!. Is this a well-known issue related to the hd4000? Would it be solved with the hd5000 that comes along with has-well?
     
  16. Mercmanman macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2012
    Location:
    Canada
    #16
    I use a 13" i7 rMBP with a Thunderbolt display all day at work, usually in clamshell mode. No fans, no heat, no lag. I develop software and have a Win 7 VM in parallels all day long...so you must have something wrong with your machine.

    To the original poster: Run a 13" in clamshell mode with your Dell monitor, and then when you travel you have great display on the road. The i7 rMBP is still faster than a brand new 13" MBA with haswell processors released this week.
     
  17. Yahooligan macrumors 6502a

    Yahooligan

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2011
    Location:
    Illinois
    #17
    Nope, none that I can tell. :)

    Sorry, I meant the rMBP listed for $150 more than my cMBP. $2799 vs $2650. By the time you add in the 512GB SSD, 16GB memory and optibay my cMBP is a bit more expensive than the rMBP, which has the Retina display but lacks the second 1TB HDD but is otherwise basically equal in terms of specs. For the money, a loaded rMBP is a better value than a loaded cMBP, IMO.

    I didn't pay for the rMBP as it's supplied by my employer, which also means it's not my primary personal laptop. I use an Apple Thunderbolt Display 90+% of the time so when it comes down to it whether one is a Retina or not doesn't make much difference to me. My cMBP has 1.5x the storage of the rMBP which is needed for when I do video editing and such. I could just use the external USB3 HDD for that, but then it's not as portable. I like everything being contained within a single device. :)

    As for resale, I hope my cMBP holds its value well but it likely won't matter, when I upgrade I give my old stuff to family...or at least sell it to them at a heavy discount if it's still worth a bit of money. I don't want them to think of me as the one who gives them awesome free stuff and then they come to expect it. ;)
     
  18. sofianito thread starter macrumors 65816

    sofianito

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Location:
    Spain
    #18
    Thanks for the good news :). Have you tried with 2 external monitors?

    Is there a big difference between the 13" i5 and i7?



    Wish all employers were like yours :)
     
  19. tillsbury macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2007
    #19
    It's a point. The external display is run by the discrete GPU on the rMBP15. On a 13" obviously it has to be worked by the HD4000. Your mileage may therefore vary. While I've never had any issues at all with an external monitor and find it good and snappy this is a completely different machine from a 13.
     

Share This Page