Help me pick out a rMBP?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Boxer757, Nov 4, 2013.

  1. Boxer757 macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2009
    Hello all. Long time no post. I’ll try to be succinct, but it’s not my strong suit. Get ready for another “I don’t know what to buy, help me” thread.

    I am a communications professional who makes a living through writing, photography and graphic design. I have a mid-2009 MBP 13 with 2.53ghz dual core, 512SSD (crucial m4) and 8 GB RAM.

    The upgraded ram and SSD gave the laptop new life and it has served me well. It is starting to show its age in high usage situations though and I am in a position to upgrade.

    The most intensive applications I use are probably Adobe Bridge, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver and Fireworks. Often three or four of these programs are running in unison along with iTunes, Chrome, etc. I dabble in video work and may do so more frequently in the coming years.

    I want something that allows me to jam out to some music, browse the web, work on large text documents (Scrivener), and swap between three or four graphics and photography editing applications while run handbrake in the background all without breaking a sweat. Gaming doesn’t matter to me. I am looking for a computer that will not only handle this today, but 3-5 years from now.

    Prefer a laptop, not really keen on the iMac as I work remotely much of the time and already have a nice graphics monitor at home (though I suppose you could twist my arm if you have a brilliant solution).

    I teach at a local university off and on and have access to an education discount. I would like to be at $2,000 out the door after tax and apple care. Am I dreaming? I could push up to $2,500 but really don’t want to go that high unless it nets me a considerable advantage.

    I’m thinking 16GB of ram is a must for “future-proofing.” So MBA is probably out of the question unless it is more of a beast than I think it is. I believe that leaves the 13 rMBP vs the 15 rMBP. I’ve been scouring the web the last couple of days but it’s becoming information overload. So I turn it over to you, trusty MacRumors denziens – can you solve my first-world problem? Advice? Suggestions? Flames for the novel of a post?
  2. Shubbeh macrumors member

    Nov 2, 2013
    I think that if you want your new purchase to last through the next 5 years, the 15" rMBP would be a smart investment, but you'll never get that with 16 GB of RAM and the 512 GB SSD and AppleCare for $2000. You can get the base model with those hardware upgrades but no AppleCare for $2500, and that price point I'd just get the higher-end rMBP with the GT 750M for the extra $100, even if you don't care about gaming, as it comes with a 2.3 GHz CPU instead of 2.0, but then you're still not getting AppleCare.

    The 13" rMBP certainly is capable, and if you've been happy with your dual core all those years, chances are you will continue to be happy for some time still, but again, you'll be hard pressed to get that with 16 GB + 512 GB SSD + AppleCare for $2000. It's $2000 without AppleCare though, so you could always buy AppleCare later in the year.

    Edit: I missed your comment about an educational discount. That might save your life :)
  3. AlecMyrddyn macrumors 6502

    Dec 5, 2008
    Southern Maine
    Given the amount of CPU & Graphics intensive work you do, I'd personally recommend the 15" rMBP. It has a quad core processor and the Iris Pro graphics. The 13" is only Dual Core, and it seem like you are doing a lot that will tax the CPU.

    Education pricing + Applecare on the base model 15" rMBP upgraded to 16 GB of RAM is $2318, and you can probably save some money on the AppleCare by getting it from B&H Photo instead.

    Is a 256 GB SSD going to be big enough? Keep in mind there are currently no aftermarket upgrade options for the PCIe SSDs. You'll be stuck with 256 for a few months at least.

    Given your budget, what about a 15" Ivy Bridge rMBP from the Apple Refurbished Store?

    You can get a top-specced 15" refurb model for $2,169 before AppleCare, with 1.7 GHz i7, 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB of SSD storage, plus the nVidia GPU. Adding AppleCare straight from Apple brings it to $2,408.
  4. rMBP2013 macrumors member

    Oct 22, 2013
    No brainer

    In your case, i'd definitely recommend the 15" rMBP. But the only limiting factor is your budget. $2,500 just won't cut it, unless you wait 4 - 6 more months for these laptops to start appear on the refurbished site.

    Can you wait?
  5. Boxer757 thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2009
    Thank you all for the replies!

    I've got about three months to work with so not sure if I'll see a 15" refurb. that is appropriately specced come through in time. After taxes and apple care the 15" ivy bridge refurbs fall with a couple hundred dollars of the brand new ones, so that may be out.

    I've been playing with configurations and it seems that my best bet may be a 13 rMBP 2.6 i5, 16GB ram, 512 SSD. With apple care and taxes it comes out to $2,232.

    If I went with the 15 rMBP 2.3 i7, 16GB ram, 512GB SSD and apple care it shoots to $2,855.64.

    I don't think I can go that high. $600 for the slightly larger screen, quad core processor and dedicated GPU feels like a huge jump. It also puts me $355 over my top budget. No apple care brings the 15 down to $2,596. A $364 difference - more palatable and just $96 over budget. You have one year after purchase to secure apple care, correct? So I could save up my shekels and buy apple care 9 months from now...

    Oh, if only I were made of money :p
  6. Breedlove macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2006
    Do you have a rewards credit card that gives extra Amazon cash back?
    My 15" rMBP (same model as the one you're considering) cost 2594 (no tax and free shipping). Had I not returned the laptop, i would have gotten 129 back (5% from Chase Freedom).
  7. Boxer757 thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2009
    I do not. And unfortunately they charge tax in Texas now. Brings the cost to $2,808 - more than going through the Apple Education Store...
  8. pat.micunnis macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2013
    The education store prices are much lower overall. Including AppleCare (it's just $239).

    Amazon's no sale tax depends on the state. You made out like a bandit -- assuming min sales tax is 5%.. you saved $129 + 129 (with Chase Freedom's 5% cashback from Amazon this quarter).

    But you raise a couple of great points!
    • Chase offers 1% cash back for all purchases.
    • Ebates offers 1% cashback. Which you can stack!!! Make sure you go to Apple's education store via Ebates first!
    For me, I earned a total of $60 cashback from both.
  9. Boxer757 thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2009
    Never heard of Ebates, will have to check it out.

    Think I've decided on a 13" with the 2.6 i5, 512 SSD and 16 GB RAM. After apple care and taxes I'm out at $2,232.12. Should last me at least 3 years and hopefully more like 5.
  10. pat.micunnis macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2013
    All the major retailers offer cashback. Important: you have to click on the Ebates link to go to the retailer's website in order to get the cashback. Nordstrom offers 5% cashback. Sometimes, there are special "double cashback" days too!

    If you forget to go through Ebates & have already put stuff in your cart (e.g. Apple store), you can always open up a new tab to bring up Ebates. Then click on the Ebates - Apple store link. And you get the cashback -- as long as you haven't totally checked out!

    Attached Files:

  11. Starfyre macrumors 68030


    Nov 7, 2010
    Always pick the one without or has less yellow tint.
  12. Boxer757 thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2009
    Cool! Will look into it when I get ready to order. Every dollar counts ;)

    I've heard of the yellow tint problem but as I am going BTO I will cross that bridge if I come to it. I don't expect a perfectly accurate color gamut. As long as it isn't off by an unreasonable margin...

    One (probably) last question - sorry, don't hurt me:

    13 rMBP - 2.6 dual-core i5 - 16GB RAM - 512 SSD - AppleCare = $2,232.12
    15 rMBP - 2.0 quad-core i7 - 16GB RAM - 256 SSD - AppleCare = $2,509.24

    So for ~$270 I gain a quad core processor and Iris Pro graphics but lose 256GB of storage. The SSD will be upgrade-able in the future, right? Will PCIe SSDs be stupid expensive for years to come? If I could live with 256GB for a while is the processor/graphics bump worth the extra $$$?
  13. Starfyre macrumors 68030


    Nov 7, 2010
    15''. Its Quad Core. Of course the processor/graphics bump is worth it!
    Right, SSD is upgradable. PCIe SSDs could potentially get replaced by an even faster and even newer standard, but considering its been pretty solid in the Desktop realm, it should last.
  14. AlecMyrddyn macrumors 6502

    Dec 5, 2008
    Southern Maine
    We believe the PCIe SSD will be upgradable in the future, but it isn't yet. We have no way of knowing when, or how much it will be. OWC is currently charging over $1 per GB on the SATA card-type SSDs for the MBA from 2012 ($568 for a 480 GB SSD). They only have up to 480 GB available right now. We could be looking at the same kind of price a year from now to upgrade from a 256 to 512. There might be a good market to sell the 256 to someone who bought a system with a 128, but still, expect it to cost quite a bit.

    Given your usage, I think the quad-core and Iris Pro graphics will be of major benefit to you. Can you deal with 256 GB of primary storage and external drives for a year or more though?

    Do you really need the faster SSD or 802.11ac WiFi on the Haswell? Any reason not to go for an Ivy Bridge Refurb? There's an Early 2013 15" rMBP/2.7 GHz i7/16 GB RAM/512 GB SSD available in the refurb store for $2,169. If you buy AppleCare with it from Apple, it's $2,518, 9 whole dollars more than your 15" and includes twice the storage, dGPU, and has a faster processor (per benchmarks) than the 2.0 GHz Haswell.
  15. Boxer757 thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2009
    256 is definitely going to be tight as I work with numerous large files and don't always have an external around to off-load.

    I suppose I can't think of any reason not to go with an Ivy-bridge refurb. unless they had any issues I don't know about? Found the refurb you are referring to. With applecare and taxes it comes out to $2,606.66 (ominous) so it's more like $100 more and it's really getting out of my budget.

    I could get a mid-2012 15" rMBP/2.6 GHz i7/8GB RAM/512 GB SSD plus applecare for $2,314.39 Am I missing much by going back a year and a half? Seems to be just .1 Ghz and 8GB of RAM. Then the question becomes, for my uses am I foolish to go with 8 GB of RAM vs. 16GB? I use 8GB now and things get tight...
  16. PDFierro macrumors 68040

    Sep 8, 2009
    The general rule here is to go with what you can afford. The 15" is rather expensive if you're looking to make any upgrades to it. Just pick something that you will be happy with.
  17. Boxer757 thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2009
    Yes, good point. It's easy to get carried away with "one more upgrade." My 2009 MBP has served me well for years, albeit with a RAM and SSD upgrade. I suppose that's what makes me antsy about the new rMBPs; the inability to really upgrade anything.

    Perhaps, to your point, I should just go with Shubbeh's observation that a dual core 13 has served me well all these years so an updated one should probably do the same in the years to come...
  18. jondunford macrumors 6502


    Oct 22, 2013
    Going for a poo Moderator

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