Is the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro the right choice for my needs?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by skaertus, Feb 14, 2013.

  1. skaertus macrumors 68040


    Feb 23, 2009
    Well, here's the thing, and perhaps you can help me.

    I am in search of a new laptop. In fact, I've been in search of a laptop for some time now, and I refrained myself from buying one due to some reasons. I don't need a laptop now, and I probably won't need a new laptop in the next few years, but I want one, as I feel the ones I've got don't entirely satisfy my needs. Let me explain my situation and perhaps you can help me.

    I bought a white MacBook in May 2008. It was powered by a 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo "Penryn" T8300 processor, 2 GB RAM, a 160 GB HD, and it had integrated graphics (the crappy Intel GMA X3100). I would have bought a more powerful Mac, but the fact is that I live in Brazil and prices here are out of this world: this one already costed me US$ 2,300 (it was listed for US$ 1,099 in the U.S.) and I couldn't afford a more expensive Mac. It was a high-end laptop for Brazilian standards (most laptops here run on Celerons to keep prices down), although it was one of the lower-end Macs.

    There were several things I liked about this particular laptop:

    • the design: it was clearly well-designed; not only beautiful, but functional and practical;
    • the ergonomics: perhaps because of the good design, it was a practical laptop with everything at hand;
    • the build quality: it felt solid, with no crappy parts;
    • the keyboard: it felt very comfortable to type on, with soft keys and good tactile feedback;
    • the trackpad: it was nice, although not capable of multi-touch;
    • the webcam: it had good quality;
    • the weight: at about 2.2 kg (5 lbs), it was light at the time;
    • the temperature: it did not run too hot; and
    • the battery life: it was OK for the standards of the time.

    There were, of course, several things I disliked about it:

    • the screen resolution: at 1280x800, it was low for my needs, especially due to the fact that I like working with several windows side-by-side;
    • the video card: when I needed it, it didn't deliver; tried to plug an external 1680x1050 monitor, and it was lagging; tried to play any non-demanding games, and it was not capable of driving anything more than the lowest detail quality;
    • the HD: at 5400 RPM, it was slow, so slow... (in addition to the fact that it also had low storage space); and
    • ports: only two USB ports, and side-by-side.

    In a few years, the laptop showed its limitations, perhaps faster than I would have liked. The processor was not able to deliver what I wanted, the RAM was too low, and the HD speed became particularly annoying. I wanted good performance, and the Mac was not able to provide it. So, I decided to buy another laptop, a more powerful one, and which would fit my needs. A 15-inch MacBook Pro would be very expensive and would run me more than US$ 5,000, and it wouldn't solve all my problems. Then, in the beginning of 2011, after reasearching a lot, I bought a custom Sager NP5160, a beast equipped with the then brand new 2.2 GHz Core i7-2720QM "Sandy Bridge" processor, 8 GB RAM DDR3, a 500 GB HD at 7200 RPM hybrid with 4 GB SSD, and an NVIDIA GT 540M video card. It run me about US$ 2,700.

    After two years with this laptop, I have to come to the conclusion that it doesn't fit my needs either. Of course there were things that I liked about it, as follows:

    • the performance: with a quad-core processor, a dedicated video card and 8 GB RAM, it is a beast;
    • the screen: with a 1920x1080 resolution and good brightness, it provides much more work space than the cramped screen of the MacBook, and I don't mind the small fonts.

    There were also things I didn't like about it, and coincidentally they were pretty much the same ones I liked about the MacBook:

    • the design: not well thought;
    • the build quality: felt plasticky, with loose parts;
    • the keyboard: felt plasticky and crappy, although with a good tactile feedback;
    • the trackpad: very crappy, and nearly unusable;
    • the webcam: too dark, poor quality;
    • the weight: it's big and heavy, weighing 2.6kg (5.7 lbs);
    • the temperature: oh, it runs hot, being nearly unusable here during the Summer (I begin to sweat when I am near it);
    • the battery life: very poor, I can get about 2-3 hours and that's it;
    • ports: four USB ports, but they don't work all the time (sometimes one or two only are working);
    • the HD: faster than the one in the MacBook, but still slow.

    So, the MacBook had good design and felt nice, with good quality components, but I can't get productivity out of it due to the lack of performance and the low screen resolution. The Sager has a good performance and screen, but the design is bad and parts are crap. These two laptops have serious compromises for my work. Will I take my MacBook and failing to be as productive, or my Sager, and having to carry this heavy thing around? That's why I am in search of a laptop with no compromises. Fast, well designed, well built, light, cool, and with good parts. I am very picky. If there are drawbacks or bottlenecks, believe me, I will find them, and they will annoy me during the laptop's lifetime. Fortunately, I am willing to spend more than I've spent on my previous laptops, so my range of choices is wider.

    I don't want only to merge the good things of the MacBook and of the Sager. There are some things that I want that were not available at the time:

    • SSD: never buying another machine with an HD again, after I found out the wonders of SSD;
    • IPS display: never going to stick with TN displays again; 1920x1080 is the minimum resolution I would accept;
    • battery life: should be really good for a whole day of work.

    Yes, picky. Another little thing: I will run Windows on it, at least as my primary operating system. I know the wonders of OS X, and it is really great, but I have to say that I succumbed to Windows 8. Microsoft did a great job there, in my view: it's just a matter of installing Start8 and getting rid of the Metro interface. In addition, Microsoft Office for Windows is perhaps the last killer app around. I've installed the 2013 version and I am amazed at how good it is. It fits all my productive needs, and I guess I wouldn't need much more software than it. And there is no parallel for OS X. I found Office 2011 for Mac crappy and annoying; iWork doesn't get a substantial update in four years and it lacks features compared to Office; and even the alternative word processors (such as Nisus Writer Pro or Mellel), good as they are, are not fully compatible with Microsoft Word, which is a requirement for collaboration. So, I have to stick with Microsoft Windows, and I see no reason to not do so, since I've found Windows 8 to be a pretty good operating system. I may even say that I like Windows and OS X equally, but, Office weighs a lot in favor of Windows, so I am definitely not able to get rid of it.

    My use nowadays is basically Internet browsing, watching videos on YouTube, checking e-mails, and using Office applications, mainly Word, Powerpoint and OneNote, and sometimes Excel. Some reference managers and OCR applications help some of the times. If I ever need to edit photos (which I usually don't), some basic free program, or GIMP, may be able to handle my needs. I may do some desktop publishing for fun only, but I've not done that in ages. No video edition. I don't plan to play games, unless a new Monkey Island is released. Pretty basic stuff these days, but I am still a power user and I want a pretty high end machine.

    As I want to run Windows, I investigated the available options which could fit my needs and I came up with the usual suspects:

    • Acer Aspire S7: the keyboard lacks key travel, and the battery life is reportedly low;
    • Acer Iconia Tab W700: good, but I'm not sure if the tablet form meets my expectations;
    • Asus Zenbook Prime: good, but I am afraid the keyboard might not be good enough, and the trackpad is lacking, for what I've read;
    • Asus U500: looks heavy and expensive;
    • Asus Taichi: I think I prefer the Zenbook over it;
    • Asus Transformer Book: looks good, but a little bit on the heavy side;
    • Dell XPS 12: I don't know if it works as a tablet to justify the extra weight;
    • Dell XPS 13 (with 1080p display): looks nice, but I've read complains about the trackpad;
    • Microsoft Surface Pro: looks good, but battery life is lacking and the keyboard (even the Type Cover) is far from perfect;
    • Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga: looks nice, but I found the screen resolution (1600x900) to be low for my needs;
    • Lenovo ThinkPad Helix: looks good, but I haven't seen any reviews yet;
    • Samsung Series 7 Ultra: good, but haven't seen any reviews yet;
    • Samsung Series 9: screen resolution of only 1600x900 spoil it;
    • Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T: looks good, but I'm not sure about the tablet form;
    • Sony Vaio Z: good but expensive; TN screen and lacking keyboard;
    • Sony Vaio S 13-inch: I don't like the TN screen and low resolution (1600x900);
    • Sony Vaio S 15-inch: good, but battery life looks lacking;
    • Sony Vaio Duo 11: keyboard is crap.

    All of them could fit my needs, but I'm concerned about build quality and some components that may be of low quality. In addition, none of the screens offer a resolution higher than 1920x1080, and I could benefit from that. I am also unsure about the performance of an ultra-low voltage processor; if I could choose, I would go for the standard-voltage.

    All that brings me to the retina MacBook Pro. The MacBook Air wouldn't be satisfactory mainly due to the screen (besides being TN, a 1440x900 resolution is not good enough for my needs), so I am not even considering it. If I would buy a Mac, it would have to be a retina MacBook Pro. I've restrained myself from actually buying one due to some reasons: (i) it primarily runs OS X, and not Windows; (ii) it is very expensive (in Brazil, the 15-inch was launched for US$ 5,000 as the base model); (iii) I had issues about the screen (Samsung vs. LG - does it really make a difference) and about the GPU performance on the retina screen); and (iv) I thought Haswell would bring benefits that would make it worth the wait.

    Now, as of yesterday, Apple dropped the price of the 13-inch MacBook Pro with retina display, making it more affordable, so one of the reasons I was avoiding it doesn't exist anymore. Here in Brazil, the base model costs US$ 3,000 now, and the higher-end model costs US$ 3,500. Still expensive, but I could afford that. Haswell is behind the schedule, and I was not able to see any laptop in the beginning of 2013 as I was expecting. And, due to the announcement yesterday, I don't know if Apple is going to upgrade this laptop in June, when Haswell launches. I'll be in New York in June (until late June), and I'll have the chance to buy this laptop for US$ 1,499 or US$ 1,699, but it will presumably come with Ivy Bridge. I could wait for Haswell to be released, but then I would have to pay US$ 3,000 or 3,500 charged by Apple here in Brazil if it doesn't get released by the time I am in New York.

    So, I have some questions, especially to the ones that already have a 13-inch retina MacBook Pro (or even the 15-inch). I would benefit from the real estate of the 15-inch, but I think I would go with the 13-inch for reasons such as the price, the weight and the size to carry it every day. Sorry for the long post, but you should understand that I am investigating a lot this issue because (i) laptops here are really expensive and I can't afford to choose the wrong one; (ii) I've made already two purchases in the last 5 years that didn't fit my needs entirely; and (iii) the market for used laptops here in Brazil is not really developed, and I don't know if I would be able to sell it for a reasonable price if I find out it is not the right choice.

    So, here are my questions:

    1. Is the 2.5 GHz processor much faster than an ULV Ivy Bridge?
    2. Does the 13-inch retina MacBook Pro heat a lot? How is the temperature under heavy usage?
    3. Does the integrated video card handle the retina resolutions well? Is there any lag in any situation? What if I choose to connect external monitors to it?
    4. Is 128 GB SSD too small for both OS X and Windows?
    5. How does Windows run on a retina MacBook Pro? Are drivers optimized? How does it handle the screen? How is the multi-touch trackpad on Windows 8? Apart from the lack of a touch screen, are there any other differences between using Windows under an ultrabook and under a 13-inch retina MacBook Pro?
    6. Is Windows under Parallels really fast? How fast?
    7. How is the keyboard? I guess it has less travel than the non-retina model, but is it as pleasant to type on? How does it compare to Windows ultrabooks?
    8. How is battery life under Windows?
    9. How is it to use as the main computer, in everyday usage? Would it replace a desktop?
    10. Are there any issues that you only found out after you bought it? (that happens a lot with me)
    11. Do you regret buying it for any reason?
    12. Do you think that the 13-inch retina MacBook Pro is adequate for my needs, given my requirements? Or would you choose another laptop if you were in my position?
    13. In your opinion, does it make sense to wait for Haswell, given my situation? Will Haswell bring so important benefits to battery life in the category of processors that equip the 13-inch model?
    14. Does it even make sense to buy an expensive Mac laptop to run Windows?

    Thank you for your help. Much appreciated.
  2. johnnnw macrumors 65816


    Feb 7, 2013
    I could barely justify buying mine for 1300. At 3000 I would never spend that. Thats crazy how expensive they are.

    The 13in Retina is great. It works well, but don't expect to do anything too crazy. The integrated is fine for my needs, but it plays all HD 1080p video with ease.
  3. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68040


    Feb 23, 2009
    Thank you for your reply.

    You have to put things into context.

    The cheapest Mac laptop for sale here in Brazil is the 11-inch base MacBook Air, which costs US$ 2,000.

    Windows laptops are not cheap either. The 13-inch Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga is currently selling for US$ 2,700 (after a heavy price drop, since it was announced for US$ 4,500). The cheapest 13-inch Sony Vaio S sells for US$ 1,700.

    Something cheaper would be very crappy. An Asus ultrabook with an 11-inch display with a 1366x768 resolution, a Core i3 processor and a 500 GB HD costs US$ 1,000. If I'd go with a Pentium processor, it would cost "only" US$ 900.

    Yes, laptops are that expensive. The government charges incredibly heavy taxes on consumer products, especially consumer electronics. There are tax incentives for the local industry, which is totally crap.

    Anyway, the 13-inch retina MacBook Pro is not that expensive compared to the other offerings around here. That's why I'm thinking of it even costing US$ 3,000.

    I don't expect it to do any crazy job. As I said, I don't play games (at least, not demanding games), and I won't use it for editing videos or for rendering anything. I would just like to know if there is lag. I do have a 3rd generation iPad, with the 2048x1536 retina display, and it lags. It doesn't occur all the time, in fact, but when it does, it is so annoying. I ask that because there is absolutely no chance I'm forking US$ 3,000 on a laptop that lags...
  4. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    If you're not going torun OS X, I think it's crazy to spend that much on the retina MBP. The Apple hardware is great but Windows doesn't support all of the features you're paying for. You would be better served by one of the Wndows ultra books.
  5. nobackup macrumors member


    Apr 19, 2008
    Looking at the new prices ... sorry here in Germany ... Lenovo Yoga 13 256 Windows 8 just for comparison

    33.8 cm (13.3"), 1600 x 900 Gloss , Touchscreen
    Core i7-3517U 2x 1.90 GHz (3.00 GHz Turbo), 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD
    Intel GMA HD 4000 Shared Memory, no optical drive
    WLAN b/g/n, 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0, HDMI
    1.0 MP Webcam, Windows 8 64 Bit


    33.8 cm (13.3"), 2560 x 1600 Glossy
    Core i7-3520M 2x 2.90 GHz (3.60 GHz Turbo), 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD
    Intel GMA HD 4000 Shared Memory, no optical drive
    WLAN a/b/g/n, 2x USB 3.0, HDMI / Thunderbolt
    1.3 MP Webcam, Mac OS X 64 Bit


    So only €200 "premium" for full Metal Case + better screen + camera + battery

    Not much me thinks .. (Especially here as the macbook keeps its resale value for longer ... or Flip 4 new ... for a quick sale...)

    I actually went for the i7 512 .. for just €2099

    but the i5 will also run all your needs from your OP


    And lets hope that you go back to run many of your needs under OS X or in a VM (Actually stopped installing Bootcamp) as I can do all in Parallels or Fusion or VirtualBox or WineSkin... YMMV :)

  6. kx22 macrumors member

    Feb 4, 2011
    Try Ebay.
    There are a lot of good sellers on Ebay. Import them pay the tax if needed. Wont cost you 2000 US on tax i think. Or get yourself an trip to US.
  7. Asuriyan macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2013
    Seconding the Ebay idea. Even with higher shipping prices it seems like it would be less than the exorbitant local rates. I don't know if there are any tax duties or customs fees that might make importing something like a computer impractical, though (so forgive me if you already thought of that).

    Also: Is English your second language? If so, you should know that your written English is better than many native speakers. I rather enjoyed reading your post :)
  8. 1member1 macrumors 6502

    Sep 8, 2012
    I'm not sure why you wrote so much. you could just say your needs and what you have today.

    anyway don't buy it. you are not a mac user. go windows.
  9. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68040


    Feb 23, 2009
    Thank you for all the answers so far. I will address each of them separately, as you had the time and patience to read the post.
  10. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    To answer one of your questions, the 2.5GHz Core i5 is roughly as fast as the 2.0GHz ULV Core i7 that is in the MacBook Air. They Turbo Boost to 3.1GHz and 3.2GHz, respectively. However, I have found that heat management is significantly better in the rMBP than in the 2012 MacBook Air (I have owned both), and so the fans run a lot less. In theory, this would also mean that the rMBP would throttle down a lot less often than the MacBook Air (though I never really noticed a problem with the MBA).

    128GB would be pretty tight for both OS X and Windows 8, though it can be done. Parallels might be a good way to go here, since it would allow you to run Windows from within the Mac, and thus "share" the SSD space automatically. The actual capacity of the SSD is 121GB. In contrast, the actual capacity of the 256GB version is 250GB, so you get slightly more than twice the capacity.
  11. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68040


    Feb 23, 2009
    Well, let me explain why I am considering the 13-inch retina MacBook Pro.

    The Windows laptops I was looking at cost in the range of US$ 1,100 to US$ 1,200 in the U.S., and some are even more expensive than that. IPS display, high resolution (minimum 1080p), quality parts, last generation Core i5/i7 processors, good battery life and SSD-only storage (no HDD) is what I am looking for, basically. No compromises at all. Nothing short than that. Laptops that match these specifications are high-end, and they are expensive, and even at a high price, many of them fail to meet these requirements. And that's in the U.S.

    It's very hard to find premium Windows laptops here in Brazil, as due to the crazy taxes charged by the government, people tend to settle with low-end and cheaper models, and that's not what I'm looking for. And, as I note in one of my previous posts, a 13-inch Lenovo Yoga costs as much as a 13-inch retina MacBook Pro here in Brazil. So, the 13-inch retina MacBook Pro is not really far off in terms of pricing.

    And no other laptop that I've found offer the dazzling retina display. In addition, it has a standard-voltage Intel Ivy Bridge processor, while most thin and light Windows laptops run with a low-voltage processor. It has 8 GB RAM, while most Windows laptops have 4 GB RAM. and it has a good keyboard, and high quality parts, while I'm not sure about the quality components of the Windows laptops. That's why I thought of the 13-inch MacBook Pro with a retina display.

    Now that I've read your post, I am curious. Why do you think I would be better served with a Windows laptop? Which features of the laptop Windows does not support? Is there any lack of support for 2560x1600 resolution? Or for the multi-touch trackpad, perhaps? These are the specific details that I am looking for. The retina MacBook Pro is a great computer, but, you know, the devil is in the details, and I want to know about them before I decide to buy anything.


    Thank you for the input. I also thought the retina MacBook Pro has a greater value than Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga, especially when sold at those prices.

    As for running OS X, in fact, I think it's very nice. I even prefer to browse the web and check e-mails using OS X, due to it being less vulnerable to viruses, but it doesn't really make a difference for me. The one thing that keeps me tied to Windows is definitely Microsoft Office, and I've not found a credible Mac alternative so far.

    Does Windows run fast under Parallels on the 13-inch retina MacBook Pro?
  12. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    I don't own the 13" retina, but I can answer most of that.

    1. With your described usage, mostly word processing, e-mail and the office suite, an intel Atom is powerful enough for you, but yes, it is more powerful.
    2. All laptops these days run pretty hot, Macs are no exception, internal temps can get as high as 105C when pegging the CPU and gpu at 100% for extended periods. Aluminum conducts heat quite well so Macs tend to feel hotter to the touch than most computers, even when they are not in fact running hot.
    3. I've seen some UI lag on OS X with a retina 15", but I would not let that deter you, it's more of an annoyance than an actual problem, and is mostly due to poorly written software.
    4. Depends on how much space you need for documents on each, you're the only one who can tell us that, not the other way around.
    5. Windows 8 will run poorly at best, drivers aren't out for it yet. (in my opinion windows 8 is crappy anyway, but that's me). You'll have to mess with settings to get the screen just right, but it should work okay. Forget multi-touch completely, the trackpad drivers for windows do not support it, you'll also get a really crappy scrolling experience as the drivers are poorly written.
    6. It's as fast as you let it be, as you're the one that chooses how much of your resources you let it have. I use a windows 8 VM to run virtual studio and it works seamlessly. I give it 4 cores out of 8 and 2gb of ram.
    7. I haven't noticed a difference between either.
    8. Half what it is in OS X due to poorly optimized power management.
    9. I use a laptop exclusively, but use an external keyboard, mouse + external screen when at my desk at home, so to me, yes.
    10. Can't answer, don't have one.
    11. Same as above.
    12. Power wise, if I read your post correctly, it's already overkill, unless you intend to game on it, then it's underpowered(mostly due to the crappy 4000HD).
    13. Expected changes are about a 10% performance boost at any given clock speed, and an integrated GPU performance boost of about 50%. Nothing to write home about. I wouldn't bother waiting.
    14. I think it's stupid and overpaying, but that's just my opinion. There are quite a few good quality PC laptops out there.
  13. eljimberino macrumors member

    Feb 13, 2013
    Have you considered re-ship, or any other 'pass on' service? A lot of people in Australia use these to buy goods from the states. Many positive experiences.
  14. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68040


    Feb 23, 2009
    Thanks for the suggestion. I already have a trip to the U.S. booked, and it will be in June. Probably the 13-inch retina MacBook Pro equipped with Haswell will not be out yet, and one of my questions address this issue.

    As for importing it from the U.S., it is a little bit more complicated than what you might think. Let me explain a little bit of the Brazilian tax system and then you may tell me what you think.

    Suppose I buy the 13-inch retina MacBook Pro from a good Ebay seller, for US$ 1,499. Then I'll have to pay the shipping costs. Suppose the shipping costs are US$ 100 (it is probably more than that). So, we are at about US$ 1,600.

    Now, to the taxes. Oh, crazy taxes.

    First, you've got the imports tax (II), which is 60% of the total amount (the laptop plus the shipping). Then, you've got a kind of VAT (ICMS), which is 18% over the total amount including the tax itself (18% over the laptop plus the shipping costs plus 18% VAT; it means that the 18% VAT is calculated over 118% of the total price of the product). Then you've got 6% tax over financial operations (IOF) for converting local currency to U.S. dollars. So, it would be as follows:

    US$ 1,600 + US$ 960 (imports tax) + US$ 340 (VAT) + US$ 96 (IOF) = US$ 2,996

    So, I'll have to pay US$ 3,000 if I import it from the U.S. Now tell me, it's hell on Earth, isn't it?


    Yes, there are tax duties and customs fees, and they are sky-high! Definitely impractical. Just take a look at my answer above, and you may scream in horror with the exorbitant import taxes charged by the government.

    Thank you very much for the compliment! I guess my 11-year English course really paid out! I just wish my boss had the same opinion...
  15. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    Bring your old laptop with you, buy the new Mac and take it back as the machine you brought. Unless they track models and serial numbers, who is going to know?
  16. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68040


    Feb 23, 2009
    Well, again, sorry for the long post, I guess I just couldn't make it shorter.

    To sum it, up, today I have a laptop with a Core i7-2720QM 2.2 GHz with pretty high-end specs (at least they were 2 years ago) and a 1920x1080 screen, but I found it lacking in many ways. It's heavy, cumbersome, has low part qualities, cheap-feeling keyboard and trackpad, loose parts, poor battery life, heavy and heats a lot.

    This is what I want: (1) speed and zippiness in every task (fast processor to never wait for tasks to be completed plus enough RAM to never use swap files plus SSD storage, and not a trace of an HDD); (2) high quality parts (from the AC adapter to the webcam); (3) solid build; (4) dazzling screen (necessarily IPS with the highest possible resolution; actually, I find 1920x1080 a little bit low to use apps side by side comfortably and I would like more than that); (5) thin and light (to travel and carry around all day long without breaking my back); (6) good battery life (for a whole day of work); (7) runs cool; (8) good keyboard, with key travel and tactile feedback.

    My use is basically surfing the Internet, office applications, word processing, reference management, indexing and searching PDF files, and those kind of stuff. But I use several windows opened at the same time, and I want to see as much as I can side-by-side on the screen.

    I tried to find a Windows laptop to fit these requirements, but they all seem to fall short. The 13-inch retina MacBook Pro, on the other hand, seems to fit just perfect. All I would have to do is buy a Windows license to run on it. Is there any reason why you think I should go with a Windows laptop instead?


    Wow, that's very interesting! So does that mean that the 13-inch retina MacBook Pro produces less heat than the MacBook Air?

    Thanks again. Yes, I guess 128 GB would be very tight to run both OSs. I am thinking of buying the model with 256 GB, as I would have more storage space for everything.

    Do you have any experience running Windows 8 on Parallels under Mountain Lion on the 13-inch retina MacBook Pro? Is it fast? How fast? Does it lag? Are there slowdowns?
  17. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68040


    Feb 23, 2009
    Thank you very much for your time and patience.

    1. In fact, it looks like so, but in the real world, things are different. I make heavy use of the computer. Word processing is a task that doesn't require much of the processor in most cases; if I write a letter, for instance. But last year I was struggling with my 300-page dissertation with over 1,000 footnotes, lots of cross-references and over 2,000 Endnote references which re-calculated themselves every time I changed anything. So you may wonder that an Intel Atom would not be enough for that. In fact, my i7-2720QM had a hard time doing the job, with several slowdowns. In addition, I have to say that I like speed, zippiness and instant responses from my computer. I've tried my sister's Zenbook (the first generation, with a Sandy Bridge ULV processor), and I found the processor to be on the laggy side.

    2. Thanks. That's good to know that. I've never owned an aluminum laptop before, so I don't know how it behaves. Do you know if it runs hotter than my 2008 white MacBook (the one with the T8300 2.4 GHz processor)? That's an acceptable temperature for me.

    3. I've heard these lags are fixed with a software upgrade (so it would be software, not hardware). Does the Intel HD 4000 handle the retina resolutions well? UI lag is a little bit of a letdown for me. I have a 3rd generation iPad and I am disappointed at its lags...

    4. I guess I could run both Windows and OS X in 128 GB. As for my documents, I keep all of them in a 8 GB Dropbox account, so it doesn't take much space. But definitely 256 GB would be much better to accommodate two operating systems.

    5. Well, I found Windows 8 to be pretty good provided that Start8 is installed (so I can get rid of the Metro interface, as if it doesn't exist). Good to know about the drivers stuff. No multi-touch, huh? Didn't Apple provide any BootCamp drivers so far? Does it lag under Windows 8 when scrolling? That would be a big letdown...

    6. Good to know it runs seamlessly. Does Windows 8 run on Parallels any better than on BootCamp?

    7. OK, good to know that. Is the keyboard comfortable enough for you?

    8. Oh really? About 4 hours or what? Same as ultrabooks, perhaps?

    9. Good, I plan to do just that!

    10. OK.

    11. OK.

    12. Nice. I don't matter if its overkill (it probably won't be, given my usage pattern and the fact that I have absolutely no patience with any laptop that doesn't give my instant responses).

    13. I'm not worried about CPU performance. I guess Ivy Bridge would be enough for my needs in this respect. There are two things that worry me, though: (i) HD 4000 may not be powerful enough to handle the retina resolutions seamlessly, so the faster Haswell GPU would be welcome; (ii) Haswell has better power management, so it would give me more battery life (that's for sure in ULV processors, but I don't know how this statement will hold for standard voltage ones).

    14. Do you have any suggestions? I would be glad to hear some. I considered some above, as you may see, and many of them fell short of my expectations. I am considering the retina MacBook Pro because the US$ 1,499 price tag is not too far off high-end Windows laptops. Basically, IPS displays with a very high resolution, SSD-only, good keyboard/trackpad, quality parts, and good battery life would be my requirements.


    I don't know if there are such services here in Brazil. Never heard of it.


    That's an option. I do think they track models and serial numbers, but I'm not sure if they actually check it.
  18. cvkai macrumors newbie

    Nov 15, 2010
    I'm from Brazil too! And I'm also looking for a nice Windows notebook (SSD, high resolution display, good keyboard and trackpad, etc.), but the high prices for premium devices in our country don't help us.
    A basic Lenovo Thinkpad T430 has a reasonable price (USD 1,200), but if we choose a version with 128 Gb SSD, 1600x900 display and 8Gb RAM, the price will double (USD 2,500).
  19. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010

    The rMBP produces more heat, since it has a bigger battery, a 35W CPU (vs 17W for the MBA), but it has better heat dissipation. There are three vents on the left and right undersides of the rMBP.

    I don't run Windows 8, but Windows 7 runs pretty quickly under Parallels. I use Windows to run Quicken, and occasionally Microsoft Office 2010.
  20. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68040


    Feb 23, 2009
    Yes, my friend. Our country is a very bad place for buying consumer electronics. In which city are you based?

    Your requirements don't seem to be so strict as mine. Will you take TN displays?

    You can buy a laptop without an SSD and exchange the HD for an SSD. A 128 GB SSD may be found for about R$ 400 (200 dollars) in some places. You may also add RAM by your own. Of course it will depend on the specific model you choose. I don't think you will be able to replace these parts in an ultrabook. But in a ThinkPad it can probably be done.

    I could take a ThinkPad, but I can't find one with a 1920x1080 display. Plus, Lenovo is charging very expensive prices for ThinkPads here in Brazil.


    OK. But it means that the retina MacBook Pro runs cooler than the MacBook Air, despite producing more heat, due to the air vents?

    Good to know that. Windows 8 should be quick too.
  21. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    Yes, that's been my experience.
  22. eljimberino macrumors member

    Feb 13, 2013

    The services are based in the USA. Look into it. They are the answer to all of your problems. You buy a machine from amazon. They send it to a proxy address who forward the computer as a gift.
  23. nobackup macrumors member


    Apr 19, 2008
    and he still needs to pay the Hugh Tax + import duty ... the tax authorities don't turn blind eyes ... even in the TAX free Middle East (Dubai) i need always to pay the 5% on basic value + shipping (even for gifts !!):rolleyes:
  24. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68040


    Feb 23, 2009
    Thanks, but that wouldn't work here with tax authorities. Tax as still applied anyway.


    Yes, that is correct.

    Anyway, I am not trying to avoid taxation at this point. I wish I could. But, as you may wonder, taxes here are so high that everybody wants to find a way not to pay them, and the government has developed a strong system not to allow it. There is no way out, unless I buy it from smugglers (which charge a hefty premium over the U.S. price) or if I buy it directly in the States myself and bring to Brazil without being noticed by the customs office. So, I am already resigned that I will have to pay an obscene price for a laptop, as I've done in the past.

    Given that I'm buying a very expensive machine, at least I would like to know whether it fits my needs or if I should look elsewhere, or even wait for Haswell to be released.
  25. eljimberino macrumors member

    Feb 13, 2013
    ok then sounds like you should wait for haswell and just buy it when you go to the states....

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