Latest rMBP 13 vs mid 2010 MBP 15

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by abta1, Nov 24, 2013.

  1. abta1, Nov 24, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2013

    abta1 macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2010
    Paris, France
    EDIT: Sorry no idea why I posted this in the iOS 6 section, could a mod move please.

    I've had my 15" 2.4Ghz MBP since late 2010 and it's served me very well until now with the only issue being a trackpad issue rendering the left quarter unresponsive which I had replaced under Applecare. The only thing I have upgraded is the original 4Gb RAM to 8Gb about a year or two ago and getting the 1680x1050 screen.

    It's my main computer at home with which I mainly use it for web browsing, storing my music and photos, Latex for writing as well as the Office suite. I also use it occasionally for Matlab but given the limited RAM that's only in emergency. Bottom line, not too power intensive aside from Matlab, no video editing etc.

    Because of this, I thought about streamlining with something smaller like the Air which, after trying it out in-store, felt very speedy for general usage. However, I wasn't a fan of the screen res especially compared to Retina.

    With the release of the new rMBPs, I'm now considering an a 13" rMBP because of the screen and the thinner form factor than previous versions. My question is though, given that I'd want to get the most RAM possible since you can't upgrade later, would it worth upgrading from my current laptop?
  2. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    To me, the resolution of the rMBP 13" is what causes me to question it.

    The native resolution of your current MBP is 1680x1050.
    The native resolution of a 13" MBA is 1440x900.
    The native resolution of a 13" rMBP is 1280x800. :(

    For me, the colors of the 13" rMBP are beyond gorgeous, but 1280x800 would drive me crazy, and I don't like the idea of having to run a retina display in non-native mode in order to get more real estate on the screen. Maybe I'll warm up to that idea (by following people's posts on here), but right now, I'm very meh about it.

    If the Air felt very speedy for general use, I'm guessing that's because of "lack of waiting" that comes from the SSD drive. If you're overall happy with your current MBP, a fairly inexpensive upgrade (vs. buying a new Mac) that should speed it up would be to replace your current HDD with a SSD (assuming it's not currently running a SSD).
  3. Hadron macrumors regular

    Apr 13, 2010
    I just did make precisely that upgrade (mid 2010 high-res 15" to 13" rMBP).

    I'm running the rMBP at 1440x900, which gives a similar text size to the 15" 1680x1050 and appears slightly sharper to look at. It's definitely better than running a low-res display at a non-native resolution, and I find it not a problem at all. Overall it's somewhat more responsive than the 2010 15" was, and considerably more portable. There will be times when I'll want more physical space on the display, I'm sure, but the gain in portability overall outweighs this (in any event I use an external display much of the time).

    TBH given the greater flexibility of the display compared to the 13" Air, and the very similar size and weight, I can't quite see who the 13" Air is aimed at now. Guess it will be interesting to see in a few months whether Apple think the same.
  4. neteng101 macrumors 65816

    Jan 7, 2009
    That's a totally wrong misconception... the native resolution of a 13" rMBP is 2560x1600.

    Screen elements are scaled to make it look super sharp, and you can run multiple scaled resolutions. All the scaled retina resolutions supported are way sharper than any non-retina display.

    13" rMBP at 1440x900 HiDPI makes the 13" MBA at 1440x900 native look like a joke. You can see this easily enough in any Apple store by changing the Display preferences, but most people in the store are viewing screens from further away that you would typically use a laptop.

    Going from a 13" MBA to 13" rMBP using 1440x900 HiDPI, the difference was like night and day when I look at the 13" MBA a few days after. It just looked so bad in comparison after one gets spoiled by the rMBP sharpness.

    Although I wouldn't run the 13" rMBP at 1680x1050 HiDPI myself personally, it does get a bit laggy in some of the UI animations and such given the calculations it has to do for HiDPI rendering. 1440x900 has always provided the right size of screen elements for me on a 13-14 inch display.
  5. abta1 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2010
    Paris, France
    One of the main reasons for getting the rMBP would be to make use of the extra screen space provided by the retina display so I would definitely like to run it at higher resolutions, even if text size is reduced.

    As for my current laptop, I have considered upgrading the HDD to an SSD if I choose not to change the laptop altogether. The things I would miss out on are the screen and portability, but in all honesty, I've dealt with the 15" size for nearly three years already.


    Only somewhat more responsive?

  6. Hadron macrumors regular

    Apr 13, 2010
    At UI stuff. Stuff like app launching is much quicker, but that's a smaller part of my day so I give it less emphasis. It also boots much, much quicker and wakes from sleep faster than I can raise the lid to the point where I can see the screen.

    Also my old 15" was still running Snow Leopard, so not so easy to compare hardware with hardware.
  7. abta1 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2010
    Paris, France
    Am I correct in saying that my mid 2010 MBP cannot be upgraded to 16GB RAM?
  8. moldy lunchbox macrumors 6502a

    moldy lunchbox

    Sep 9, 2010
    Raleigh, NC
    16GB will not work in a 2010 MBP. 8GB is the real maximum for all unibody MBPs made before Feb. 2011
  9. abta1 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2010
    Paris, France
    So upgrading the RAM is a no go then, meaning the only improvement I can make would be changing the HDD for an SSD.
  10. Wuiffi macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2011
    Get an SSD an your computer fells like a new (faster) one. And 8GB RAM with Mavericks work really fine for most things.

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