Help Choosing a New MacBook

RoxyJ

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 14, 2012
6
0
Canada
Hi Everyone! Longtime lurker, first time poster.

I own my own graphic design business The bulk of my business is book publishing, and printed materials, with a recent expansion towards web design. I also do some amateur video editing. I do not regularly play games on my computer (aside from Plants vs. Zombies and Sims3). I also travel and need a computer that can travel with me, and allow me to continue to work.

My current set-up is a late 2008 13" Aluminum MacBook with an external monitor. It actually works quite well, and I haven't had much trouble with it, and has served me well. I believe that the monitor is starting to go (the upper left-hand corner has started to "pulsate" after waking up). And the screen is too small to be very productive while travelling.

Since this is the primary machine for my business, I am interested in upgrading to something faster. I did the math, and I figure that I have 2 options:

1) Purchase a Retina Macbook pro base model with an upgrade to 16GB, this would be a 4-year refresh plan.
or
2) Purchase a base model Macbook Pro with hi-res anitglare, (this would be a 3-year refresh plan) and wait and see what improvements show up with the Retina model (larger HD? upgradable RAM? ...)
or
Maybe even get a refurbished 17?

Any advice, or thoughts would be appreciated
 

mohsy90

macrumors 65816
Feb 4, 2011
1,332
1
New York
Hi Everyone! Longtime lurker, first time poster.

I own my own graphic design business The bulk of my business is book publishing, and printed materials, with a recent expansion towards web design. I also do some amateur video editing. I do not regularly play games on my computer (aside from Plants vs. Zombies and Sims3). I also travel and need a computer that can travel with me, and allow me to continue to work.

My current set-up is a late 2008 13" Aluminum MacBook with an external monitor. It actually works quite well, and I haven't had much trouble with it, and has served me well. I believe that the monitor is starting to go (the upper left-hand corner has started to "pulsate" after waking up). And the screen is too small to be very productive while travelling.

Since this is the primary machine for my business, I am interested in upgrading to something faster. I did the math, and I figure that I have 2 options:

1) Purchase a Retina Macbook pro base model with an upgrade to 16GB, this would be a 4-year refresh plan.
or
2) Purchase a base model Macbook Pro with hi-res anitglare, (this would be a 3-year refresh plan) and wait and see what improvements show up with the Retina model (larger HD? upgradable RAM? ...)
or
Maybe even get a refurbished 17?

Any advice, or thoughts would be appreciated
From your work it doesn't seem like you need a really powerful laptop. If your well accustomed to your 13", then get a base 13" MBP and upgrade it with RAM and SSD yourself. Then purchase a $849 refurb thunderdbolt display and you'll have a nice setup at the same cost of the retina MBP.

But, obviously everyone is drooling over the retina display and it might benefit you if you do a lot of book publishing and web design, but overall it's more than what you need.

15" base MBP is still an option, but if you're going with a 15", you might as well dish out a few more hundred and get the retina.

17" for me inst portable enough, for me at least. It might work to your advantage because of the increased screen real estate. But if you're using your external display a lot, then i wouldn't bother with the 17"

Best suggestion: 13" MBP or even the new 13" MBA and thunderbolt display!
 

fig

macrumors 6502a
Jun 13, 2012
916
70
Austin, TX
Hi Everyone! Longtime lurker, first time poster.

I own my own graphic design business The bulk of my business is book publishing, and printed materials, with a recent expansion towards web design. I also do some amateur video editing. I do not regularly play games on my computer (aside from Plants vs. Zombies and Sims3). I also travel and need a computer that can travel with me, and allow me to continue to work.

My current set-up is a late 2008 13" Aluminum MacBook with an external monitor. It actually works quite well, and I haven't had much trouble with it, and has served me well. I believe that the monitor is starting to go (the upper left-hand corner has started to "pulsate" after waking up). And the screen is too small to be very productive while travelling.

Since this is the primary machine for my business, I am interested in upgrading to something faster. I did the math, and I figure that I have 2 options:

1) Purchase a Retina Macbook pro base model with an upgrade to 16GB, this would be a 4-year refresh plan.
or
2) Purchase a base model Macbook Pro with hi-res anitglare, (this would be a 3-year refresh plan) and wait and see what improvements show up with the Retina model (larger HD? upgradable RAM? ...)
or
Maybe even get a refurbished 17?

Any advice, or thoughts would be appreciated
I'm also a designer (and have the same laptop actually) and I'm waiting to see what everything looks like on the Retina before making any sort of decision. There's been mention of Photoshop being updated for the Retina display but nothing on the rest of Creative Suite, I want to make sure all that plus a few other graphic/3D apps I use are going to look like they should before I drop any cash.

Personally I'd have a hard time getting a base MBP right now knowing that it's tech rapidly on it's way to becoming obsolete.
 

therealseebs

macrumors 65816
Apr 14, 2010
1,057
312
I'd be inclined to get the high-res base MBP. That "obsolete" tech (firewire, ethernet) is stuff I am still going to be regularly using for several years, and the high-resolution display is ... well, basically it's 1440x900 plus pixel-doubling, so for most purposes, it means less functional screen real-estate than the hi-res 15" gives.
 

mohsy90

macrumors 65816
Feb 4, 2011
1,332
1
New York
I'm also a designer (and have the same laptop actually) and I'm waiting to see what everything looks like on the Retina before making any sort of decision. There's been mention of Photoshop being updated for the Retina display but nothing on the rest of Creative Suite, I want to make sure all that plus a few other graphic/3D apps I use are going to look like they should before I drop any cash.

Personally I'd have a hard time getting a base MBP right now knowing that it's tech rapidly on it's way to becoming obsolete.
True, If I were going with the 13", then i'd go for the 13" MBA instead.
 

fig

macrumors 6502a
Jun 13, 2012
916
70
Austin, TX
I'd be inclined to get the high-res base MBP. That "obsolete" tech (firewire, ethernet) is stuff I am still going to be regularly using for several years, and the high-resolution display is ... well, basically it's 1440x900 plus pixel-doubling, so for most purposes, it means less functional screen real-estate than the hi-res 15" gives.
To clarify, my obsolete reference was to the machine obviously being the old architecture that's on its way out. But point taken :)

My real concern with the high res, that doesn't seem to be getting much run in the press, is how non-optimized apps will look.
 

RoxyJ

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 14, 2012
6
0
Canada
Personally I'd have a hard time getting a base MBP right now knowing that it's tech rapidly on it's way to becoming obsolete.
I'm feeling a bit of that too, I feel the "new-tech" envy. And worry a bit about "future-proofing" (but can you really futureproof computers anyways, I mean tech imporves so rapidly) Although I would really like to keep the DVD burner, and firewire (for example I really needed it yesterday when all of my wifi peripherals went down with a power outage, and I needed to reset everything when the power came back on. I was really thankful that I had firewire).

I also agree that it might be a while before things catch-up to the retina displays. Other than a few mentioned software programs, it might be a long time before things like websites, and other software packages catch-up. So we might not be using the real potential of the Retina display for a while. I start thinking that I might be better off waiting until the next spec-bump to upgrade to the Retina.

I am finding the 13" to be too small (both for the screen and the power). Now that business is picking up, and I'm using the machine for a larger variety of work, I am hurting a bit with speed (especially with some large publishing jobs, very photo heavy).

----------

Best suggestion: 13" MBP or even the new 13" MBA and thunderbolt display!
The Thunderbolt diaplays look pretty, but there are better display out there for around the same price. Unfortunately they are all above my price range (I can dream though) :)
 

RoxyJ

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 14, 2012
6
0
Canada
Does anyone know if 512MB graphics will work OK, or should I consider upgrading to the 1GB?
 

Stetrain

macrumors 68040
Feb 6, 2009
3,548
18
I'd be inclined to get the high-res base MBP. That "obsolete" tech (firewire, ethernet) is stuff I am still going to be regularly using for several years, and the high-resolution display is ... well, basically it's 1440x900 plus pixel-doubling, so for most purposes, it means less functional screen real-estate than the hi-res 15" gives.
The default setting is equivalent to 1440x900 with more detail, but there are also settings that give you the equivalent of 1680x1050 (same as 15" high res) and 1920x1200 (same as 17" MBP):



Even at the non-integer scaled 1680 x 1050 setting, the Retina Display looks a lot better than last year's high-res panel.
http://www.anandtech.com/show/5998/macbook-pro-retina-display-analysis

So the 15" Retina can give you the real estate of a 15" base resolution, the 15" high-res, or the 17" MBP.
 

NewbieCanada

macrumors 68030
Oct 9, 2007
2,574
35
2) Purchase a base model Macbook Pro with hi-res anitglare, (this would be a 3-year refresh plan) and wait and see what improvements show up with the Retina model (larger HD? upgradable RAM? ...)
or
Maybe even get a refurbished 17?

Any advice, or thoughts would be appreciated
Making the RAM upgradable would require a complete redesign, so it wouldn't happen for several years. But I honestly don't see it ever happening in such a small form factor laptop anymore than we'll ever see an iPhone or iPad with upgradable RAM.

The last version of the 17 inch goes for $2119 to $2199 on the refurb store. Unless you NEED a 17 inch screen, you're paying the same price as you'd pay for a brand new Retina Macbook with more (and faster) memory, faster graphics, faster processor and an SSD. A refurb 15 inch would have those same deficiencies, but cost hundreds less ($1699-1829)

----------

My real concern with the high res, that doesn't seem to be getting much run in the press, is how non-optimized apps will look.
We buy a computer to last for years. The non-optimized issue will be over in a few months.
 

fig

macrumors 6502a
Jun 13, 2012
916
70
Austin, TX
We buy a computer to last for years. The non-optimized issue will be over in a few months.
You're not familiar with Autodesk, are you? :)

My concern is more with some older versions of apps that may not be updated. I'm also planning on a system in a few months and need my software working by then.
 

NewbieCanada

macrumors 68030
Oct 9, 2007
2,574
35
You're not familiar with Autodesk, are you? :)

My concern is more with some older versions of apps that may not be updated. I'm also planning on a system in a few months and need my software working by then.
While I don't have one to play around with, I don't think that in the worst case scenario, if you run at non-retina 1440x900 it will look any worse than it does on an existing MacBook, which is pretty darn good. It's not like an iPad, with only one resolution mode.

And of course you're right, there can be apps that take "forever" to adapt or never do. There's a major academic app that wasn't Lion compatible until January. Why? Because they still hadn't gotten around to writing an Intel version!
 

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