Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!


macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 12, 2008
I currently own an early 2011 13" MBP with 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD + 320GB HDD setup. It's running fine of course but there are certain things that I would like, such as a retina display and maybe a discrete graphics card to venture into some gaming through Steam.

The size and weight is pretty good too; I have no problems walking to uni whenever I do need my MacBook however this is rare as my maths degree doesn't exactly require a lot of essay writing (yet?)

My current needs are mostly media consumption, browsing, document writing, some photo editing via Lightroom and that's pretty much it.

Now my question is, is a 15" rMBP overkill for my needs? Bearing in mind that I probably won't move around with it that much so portability isn't much of an issue. However, would a 13" rMBP + external display be better?

Would like some opinions, thank you.


macrumors member
Mar 20, 2013
If you going to be using external monitor, why not get the 15" classic pro with the discrete graphic card if you plan to game a lot. Retina is definitely going to waste.

13" rMBP + external display be better?
Not for gaming because the 13" models doesn't come with a discrete graphic card. IT CAN run games but its not optimal.


macrumors 68000
Sep 6, 2009
I think the 15" MBPro is just fine for your usage. I was thinking since it has a bigger casing, there is more room for air and heat to circulate better. Though I could be wrong. And the bigger screen is beneficial for your Lightroom image editing


macrumors 604
Jul 4, 2008
Silicon Valley
If you plan on gaming, the 15" is better than 13" for sure. I play League of Legends on my MBA and while I can get 30+fps while using an external monitor of 1920x1200 resolution, I'm not sure how it will hold up with other more graphic intensive games. The same will hold true for the 13" MBPr since it has the same graphics card.


macrumors regular
Jul 7, 2010
American in Pisa (Italy)
15" non retina is a best buy

I have a 15" non retina, and I love it. You'll save almost $1000, especially if you do 2 upgrades yourself (which you can't upgrade the Retina yourself).

I love Apple, but DON'T buy extra Ram from Apple, unless you do buy the Retina. You can add 16GB of ram for about $80 today, and look at the Momentus XT 750GB drive. Runs about $120, and is a hybrid Flash and 7200 rpm 750GB drive, which is nearly as fast as an SSD, and has huge storage capacity for a laptop drive.

Plus, the non-retina will give you a DVD drive, perfect for copying YOUR movies for own the go play, plus watching, and also doesn't need a $29 adapter for ethernet. And it's under 1"thick, so it's still a great size.
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.