Help Choosing a New MacBook

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by RoxyJ, Jun 14, 2012.

  1. RoxyJ macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2012
    Location:
    Canada
    #1
    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
     
  2. mohsy90 macrumors 65816

    mohsy90

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2011
    Location:
    New York
    #2
    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!
     
  3. fig macrumors 6502a

    fig

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2012
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #3
    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.
     
  4. therealseebs macrumors 65816

    therealseebs

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2010
    #4
    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.
     
  5. mohsy90 macrumors 65816

    mohsy90

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2011
    Location:
    New York
    #5
    True, If I were going with the 13", then i'd go for the 13" MBA instead.
     
  6. fig macrumors 6502a

    fig

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2012
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #6
    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.
     
  7. RoxyJ thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2012
    Location:
    Canada
    #7
    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).

    ----------

    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) :)
     
  8. RoxyJ thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2012
    Location:
    Canada
    #8
    Does anyone know if 512MB graphics will work OK, or should I consider upgrading to the 1GB?
     
  9. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    #9
    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):

    [​IMG]

    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.
     
  10. NewbieCanada macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2007
    #10
    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)

    ----------

    We buy a computer to last for years. The non-optimized issue will be over in a few months.
     
  11. fig macrumors 6502a

    fig

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2012
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #11
    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.
     
  12. atlanticza macrumors 6502a

    atlanticza

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Location:
    Cape Town
    #12
    Maybe this report from Wired magazine would help

    Read it here
     
  13. NewbieCanada macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2007
    #13
    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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