cMBP or rMBP which you would recommend?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by MacGeekette, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. MacGeekette macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2012
    I need some serious advice from fellow mac geeks :)

    I have a first gen intel MBP (early 2006). It works, just super slow. Ram is maxed at 2gigs. The biggest problem I have with it is the functionality of the browsers (I have chrome, firefox & safari). They crash constantly. They are no longer upgradeable because the OS is so old and I can't upgrade the OS because of the hardware. I do a lot of work on web stuff so this makes for a pretty frustrating experience. The machine is also just slow. I write a lot of papers and spend a lot of time in powerpoint and excel as well and it is painful at times.

    Anyhow, I have decided that now is the time to replace it, but I am torn between the new rMBP 2.3GHz, 18gb of ram, 256SSD hard drive and the cMBP 2.3GHz, 8gb of ram and 750gb 7200rpm HDD?

    I am trying to determine the cost of maintaining/upgrading as well since I like to keep my machines for a long as possible. With regards to the rMBP, I would get apple care, but what do I do after that? The rMBP is pretty much non-serviciable, right? However, I'm sure since the SSD is on a daughter board that a replaceable unit will available shortly, but what about other parts? Do you think, in 3 years when the apple care expires, will we see the availability of other replacement parts? I see that the battery is permanently glued. I have had to replace the battery on my existing one once, so that concerns me about the rMBP.

    In the 6 years that I have owned my current MAC I have only had to take it apart a couple of times, once to replace a failed hard drive and once to clean it out. But that's it. Now, my biggest question is do you think I am likely to get that kind of life out of the new rMBP? Or should I just stick with the cMBP with the 8gb of ram & 7200rpm drive that I can later update?

    My biggest fear is that I will get stuck in the situation that I am now. I have an OK machine but can't update the OS past 10.5.8, can't upgrade the ram past 2gb. I Could upgrade the drive to an SSD but I would rather put the money towards a new machine that is more capable of running the software I need. To me that is no different than having a non-servicable machine.

    I have priced out both machines and with my student discount there is only $255 difference between them, so money is not as much of a concern as is the longevity of the machine. But for $255 is the rMBP a better value?

    I apologize for rambling! Thank you for any advice you can offer!!
  2. Ariii macrumors 6502a


    Jan 26, 2012
    Snow Leopard is the max OS on your MBP... you'll likely see a huge speed increase. If you buy an SSD for your MBP, you can use it in any of your other laptops once you are done with your first-gen MBP. I would suggest getting the cMBP, you can upgrade the RAM to 16 GB once you find 8 GB to be too slow.
  3. designs216 macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2009
    Down the rabbit hole
    Another vote for the cMBP:
    I like the idea of being able to do upgrades myself later and buy those components at a huge discount from other vendors. Also, there were reports of a ghosting/burn in issue with the rMBP -- not sure if that was ever solved. The cMBP comes with a CD-DVD drive which can be removed to allow the installation of a dedicated Time Machine drive or utilized for extra storage.

    On another note, the refurb price is a better deal than the EDU discount.
  4. jjhoekstra macrumors regular

    Apr 23, 2009
    Interesting question. I recently bought a maxed out rMBP which seems pretty future-proof so my choice is clear! But in reality it depends on your needs. If portability is important, or a maxed out SSD or an excellent screen or a computer which runs quiet even under heavy loads, than the rMBP is your choice. If you want to be able to update later and you can live with a somewhat heavier computer than the cMBP is a better choice. In your case I would go with the cMBP. You will be very happy with it.
  5. CASLondon macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2011
    You will be able to upgrade that SSD in a rMBP, see OWC for details.

    HOWEVER, i'm voting for cMBP. In fact, I usually sell my 17" every 18months or so and upgrade, I choose to dual SDD/HDD and 16g ram my current last 17" and ride out its lifespan rather than go retina yet.

    More options, its not a first generation product, I think the last cMBP with SATA III on both optical and the hdd, USB 3, is ideal product.

    I'm sure the retina screens are beautiful, though. Maybe later.

    Here's some thoughts.
  6. kohlson macrumors 68000

    Apr 23, 2010
    I would go for the rMBP. While I respect and enjoy diglloyd, this is not a good comparison. For example, he did not add into the cMBP's price the uptick for higher resolution, and I think adding for the superdrive is not something everyone needs.
    Memory is a big deal as apps seem to only get bigger. When swapping to HDD, as is the case when you run out of memory, it's a huge performance hit. The impact is not as great with SSD (especially SATA3 SSD) -- they can be 10x faster in this situation.
    As I pine over the rMBP in the Apple Store, I can't seem to make a cMBP cheap enough compared to the rMBP. Fot me, a 15-inch, with anti-glare and more pixels, 16GB, plus an aftermarket SSD comes to about the same as the rMBP, except the latter is thinner, lighter, faster disk, and better screen.
    I would get 16GB memory no matter what. I have it in my current 15MBP, and keep Activity Monitor running. I have lots of apps and data open, but am almost always running with only 4-6GB free -- that is, using more than 8GB all the time.

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