Is the 15" Macbook Pro with Retina Display a suitable desktop replacement?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by mac.ross, May 22, 2013.

  1. mac.ross macrumors member

    Oct 27, 2012
    Hi there,

    I've always been a PC user and I've always had a tower at home that has been more than capable and could handle anything I've thrown at it.

    I made my first jump into the Mac world a few months ago with the 27" iMac but after 2 faulty units I didn't want to have to go through the trouble of replacing any more (The lead time on the BTO was a pain in the ass).

    At the Apple Store I really fell in love with the 15" rMBP and was considering one but couldn't really commit since I didn't really require the power if I was going to go ahead and build a new custom pc.

    I just found out that I'll be spending the next year studying/working in Toulouse, France and thus won't spend anything on a desktop that I won't be able to easily transport there.

    This is where the MacBook Pro with Retina Display comes in.

    Is the machine a suitable desktop replacement or does it lack in certain areas or in any non-technical aspects that I wouldn't get by reading more technical reviews?

    I can understand the screen size becoming a factor but is there anything else that I may be overlooking that would make the rMBP a poor choice as my sole machine?

    I will be mainly doing web design/software development work as well as video editing, some gaming (mainly strategy games) as well as watching movies.

    Hope any current owners could shed some light, I'll be going for the high end 15" model (assuming the price remains the same).
  2. Lunfai macrumors 65816


    Nov 21, 2010
    Yes the 15 inch feels like you can do some real work on it. The 13" inch feels more portable but you can do as much as you can on the 15" but rendering video files will be slower because of lack of discrete graphics card. It's just the size is perfect for computing, it you take portability seriously I would even recommend a MacBook Air or 13" inch Retina would fulfil your requirements. These machines purr in terms of video editing and web design. Although rendering wont be as fast, it's certainly doable.

    Okay, moving on forward with the idea of the 15" inch. I think this machine is perfect for you. Although I think you would be much suited with another machine, I think the 15" inch is your biggest attraction. I would say if you want to save some money then opt for a MBA 13/RMBP 13 with external monitor. Or if you want to spend a bit more, get a thunderbolt Display.
  3. renosausage macrumors regular

    Sep 22, 2012
    I have both a 13" Macbook Air and 15" Retina Macbook Pro

    Both products are absolutely amazing and would surely fulfill your purposes.

    As what has already been mentioned, rendering in Final Cut or any Video Editing program will take longer on an Air than a Pro, but not til the point that the Air is unusable for those purposes.

    The huge difference is in screen size and portability.

    The Air is much more portable than the Pro. I know the new Pro is slimmer and lighter, but believe me when I say the carrying the Air around is much easier than carrying the pro.

    No only is is lighter but is also has more distance between the screen and keyboard than the Pro does.

    This allows you to pack it in a backpack without any worries of the weight cause the screen to touch the keyboard and scratch it.

    The Pro on the other hand has a beautiful Retina screen that really draws you in and makes editing sites, pictures, or videos so much better.

    The screen never ceases to amaze me and I swear that the retina truly makes a huge difference when it comes to doing work on your laptop.

    Surfing the web and doing odd things here and there are okay on the Air, but when it comes to some serious productivity I rather use the Pro just solely based on the Retina display.

    Personally, I wish that I could have the portability of the Air with the power and screen of the Pro, but considering thats not possible I would choose the Retina Pro.

    Both laptops can be used as a desktop replacement, but the Retina Pro will obviously have no trouble replacing your iMac.

    Even though its not as portable, its powerful GPU and Retina screen make up for it.

    Now if money is an issue and you are trying to to save a dollar, then the Air well suite you just fine and you well enjoy that laptop for years to come.

    Anyway I hope this helps in your decision making.
  4. srsub3 macrumors 6502


    Mar 10, 2013
    I think that with a 15 rMPB and an external monitor you won't feel the lack of a desktop. this is a good, but also an expensive configuration... quad core processor is good for big tasks and even the discrete graphic card is ok. weight is not an issue as the 15 retina weights as the previous 13 cMPB.
  5. mac.ross thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 27, 2012
    Good to hear.

    I live in the UK and moving to France for a year means it's really not worth it for me getting an external monitor since it will cost me even more having to ship it back to the UK as well as chance for it to get damaged too.

    I'm really not bothered about the weight, my current laptop is around 3kg and I don't really see that as really heavy so I should be fine with the 15".

    Price is not really much of an issue (Or I'd probably wouldn't be doing for Apple) but I want something that I can definitely rely on as being my primary machine to do everything I need.
  6. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    The largest drawback of the rMBP is that it can get hotter than a desktop, so if you're playing games on it, it will slow down when it gets too hot. Otherwise, the only differences are ports. You only get a smattering of USB ports, no 5.1 output, etc etc etc...

    And a 15" screen.

    I used a 15" MBP throughout college and it worked well for me, although I had a desktop for gaming too. The retina factor is irrelevant when it comes to productivity.
  7. janezblond macrumors member


    May 15, 2013
    I would disagree a bit with this. I spend most of my time working with code and typing out stuff in LaTeX. The difference in the visual fidelity of the PDFs generated by TeX, not to mention the cleaner look of the .tex code (or any other code for that matter) make it easier to stare at the screen for longer periods of time.
  8. mac.ross, May 23, 2013
    Last edited: May 23, 2013

    mac.ross thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 27, 2012
    This seems like it could be a problem.

    Is there a problem with overheating and throttling a lot?

    The terrible laptop I have now (Dell Studio XPS 16) is notorious for bad cooling and thus tends to throttle and overheat from time to time which really isn't acceptable, especially with machine like the Macbook Pro.
  9. Snowshiro macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2008
    I also disagree. As a programmer who regularly works in various IDEs, the pinpoint sharpness of the retina allows me to use a smaller font size for code, which either allows me to have a lot more code visible (easier to move around and edit) or have a smaller coding window and a lot more other stuff open, instead of having to keep collapsing and opening panels like I often did on other laptops.

    I find it a far better environment for work, which means I spend more time concentrating on what I'm doing and less on adapting to compromises.

    As far as rMBP vs Air for portability goes, of course the Air is easy to carry around. The point is though, that the rMBP is too, even if it's bigger and heavier. Just because one is easy, doesn't mean the other one isn't.
  10. blackreplica macrumors regular

    Sep 28, 2010
    OP if I understood you right, you're looking for a desktop replacement which can be moved from your country to france (and back) but you won't actually spend much time moving the laptop around while you're based in a particular location.

    IMO if the above is true, the rMBP (in 15 inch form) sounds like the perfect fit.

    Not only do you get full desktop performance and a discrete graphic card, you also get the beautiful screen (which means you won't need an external monitor to be really productive) in a reasonably portable case size.

    IMO the 13 inch gives you un-needed portability at the expense of processing power and the non retina models, although a good budget option, might have you thinking of buying an external monitor, something I assume you wouldn't want to spend money on whilst overseas.

    If you can wait for the new haswell rMBPs you can buy then but IMO at least, the 15 rMBP sounds like a perfect mac for you, even if you were to buy it now
  11. mac.ross thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 27, 2012
    That's exactly what I wanted to hear - it won't be getting moved around a lot while I'm there, maybe from home to university to work but not exactly carrying it around a lot.

    I was planning on waiting for the Haswell release (or I probably would have bought it already) as after my experience with the first run of the 'new' style iMac I'm going to listen to people and wait for the proper second revision of the retina.

    Plus I'm hoping for a shiny overclocked GT750M at least!

    Thanks for the help,
  12. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    And I would respectfully disagree with that. I program on a 17" MBP, and I find that I have no desire to make the text smaller. I do like having a huge external monitor so I can have 3+ full size windows open at once, but if I were to do that on a retina macbook I think the physical size of the text would far outweigh any improvements from sharpness.

    To each their own though.
  13. renosausage macrumors regular

    Sep 22, 2012

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