MacBook Pro Conundrum

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Krauser, Dec 21, 2012.

  1. Krauser macrumors regular

    Jan 19, 2009
    I know threads like this really don't usually end up going anywhere, but I'm pretty much at an impasse about which machine I should replace my old 13" MacBook with. Right now, I'm stuck between getting a maxed out 13" non-retina MacBook Pro (with an aftermarket Samsung 256GB SSD) or the standard 15" Retina model. Essentially, the former will run me around 1750 when I'm all done, but is it worth it to spring for the 15" Retina. As I see it, the only advantages would be the screen (which, after seeing in person really is beautiful) and the GT650M. To me, the added bonus of the discrete graphics really is a big deal, but it isn't necessarily gigantic. While I don't do heavy video editing or photoshop, I do do a good deal of multitasking and music production (with apps like Logic and Reason).

    Essentially what it comes down to for me is whether or not I should spring for the 15"? My plan with the 13" was to dual drive it with the stock 750GB in the optical bay, but part of me wants that shiny new retina glory.

    These are the main questions I have:

    Is the jump from the 2.9GHz i7 dual core in the 13" to the 2.3GHz i7 quad core in the 15" model a big jump that warrants the difference?

    If I go with the 15", is the 8GB of RAM going to last me the 4+ years I intend to have the system?

    Is the HD4000 going to hold me back in the 13" or is the 650GT worth the extra oomph for the longevity of the machine?

    My main concern is that, by buying the 13" non-retina, I'm buying a product that has a high likelihood of not existing upon the next refresh. Therefor, does it make sense from a longterm investment standpoint to buy the 15" for the support?
  2. Xgm541 macrumors 65816

    May 3, 2011
    Get the retina. Better resolution as the cmbp has 1280x800 which is outdated by today's standards.

    The 650m is heaps and bounds better than the 4000.

    The quad core processor is better than the dual core.

    Ram should not be an issue but that depends how many programs you have open.

    Retina one is skinnier and lighter.
  3. minifridge1138 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2010
    I wouldn't get the retina now. Wait until they have a 2nd generation retina MacBook Pro. It will be better (some ways, some how).

    So I'd either hold on to what you have, or buy the 13" and plan to sell it within 12 months and use the proceeds to buy a new retina (if you choose).
  4. Krauser thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 19, 2009
    I feel like it's just tempting me with stuff I don't really need, but at the same time, it's still more power. Ideally, portability is a big thing too, as I'm going to be hauling the laptop everywhere as well as in between campuses (and since I go to rutgers, I walk around A LOT with my laptop in my backpack). The Air is also a consideration sheerly because of how incredibly portable it is and that I can get the 256GB SSD model in the 13" with 8GB of RAM and the i7 for 1600. I just don't know if the downclock in the specs is worth it, but damn is the Air nice. I know the 13" non-retina is the most practical for performance, but I feel like I'd be buying last years tech with in a big bulky box just to warrant something I could get in the Air or the Retina (which WOULD be warranted for the power). I'm just a very confused shopper right now... :confused:
    That's an idea, but not really an option... it makes sense, I just don't think I'd be someone to do that out of my own personal habits. I'd probably just end up keeping it... so that's why I'm pretty much trying to commit, as this purchase will be something I have for a while.
  5. Xgm541 macrumors 65816

    May 3, 2011
    If its a long term purchase, invest the money.
  6. runebinder macrumors 6502a


    Apr 2, 2009
    Nottingham, UK
    Definitely agree that if it's for the long term then get the Retina, it'll be better equipped to handle the more power hungry programs in 2-3 years time compared to the 13"

    The 15" retina and the cMBP 13" are about the same weight - 4.46 vs 4.5 pounds so will be no real difference in carrying about apart from needing a slightly bigger bag. If this is a major concern then the Air is a better choice @ 2.96 pounds for the 13"

    Also the 13" Air has a better resolution than the 13" cMBP - 1440x900 vs 1280x800. Out of the 3 choices the 13" cMBP seems the worst option.

    So Air vs the Retina, as you want to have it for 4 years then I'd go for the retina personally, will take longer to get outdated.
  7. Krauser thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 19, 2009
    Alright so I've decided to go with the base model 15" Retina model. I hear rumblings of issues with the screen and such but I tried one today in a store and didn't see any glaring issues and didn't notice anything other than a beautiful screen. So it's set, I'm going to get a retina 15". That said, I have some basic questions.

    I'm pretty confident that the baseline quad core i7 is more than enough power for me, but is it worth it upgrading the processor? I'm going to do lots of music production but nothing super major (I record with an interface and run reaper on my Mac now and it's rather lightweight as far as resource hogging goes) so is it worth it to spend the extra on processor upgrades? I don't have much room to budge what with committing to a 2k machine.

    Also, is it worth it to go from 8GB of ram to the 16gb module? It's either more ram, leave the processor, or better processor, leave the ram. That said, if BOTH are fine as they are, I'll save the money on each. I'm fine with the 256gb of storage.
  8. Essenar macrumors 6502a

    Oct 24, 2008
    Have you considered the classic with self-upgraded ram and hard drive? That'd be the only alternative to the Retina 15.

    As for ram/processor, I would wager the ram would be the most worthy upgrade. People rarely notice a difference between processor speeds over the years, but you will DEFINITELY notice less ram when you begin to open more applications and programs take more memory down the line.

    Retina MacBook also uses more 'ram' for graphics storage.

    Plus, the Retina cannot be upgraded in the future.

    I think the Retina 15 is the best choice and I'm certainly glad you skipped the Retina 13. It's a waste.
  9. Krauser thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 19, 2009
    Yeah the 13" is almost laughable when you spec them. The 13" with 256GB SSD is 100 dollars less... and you get HD4000 graphics and a dualcore i5? Yeah... I'll pass... and I would get a regular 15" pro but I'd be throwing an SSD in it anyway. It'd still be cheaper by 100 bucks, but the tradeoff in weight isn't worth it at all to me. This still will be my main machine. It has to be portable for my classwork but powerful enough to be my desktop replacement and main machine for music production and audio work (mostly reaper).

    Also, I read some more reviews and engagdet in particular stated that they got longer battery life with the 2.3GHz i7 than the 2.6GHz upgraded (and a substantial number too... I'm talking 7:49 runtime for the 2.6GHz while they were able to get 9:22 out of the 2.3GHz i7 with the same rundown tests after MULTIPLE tests). Can anyone confirm this? If that's the case, I will gladly take the slower processor for the extra run time. 0.3GHz isn't going to sway me from an hour of productivity.

    So the only thing I have to consider is the RAM. As it stands, the machine would be $1,999 (education discount) so my total with 16GB of RAM makes it $2,179 (not including taxes). I don't want to cheap out, because lets be real, this is a 2,000 dollar computer... why skimp on the RAM? But at the same time... 16GB is a hell of a lot of RAM. Could I just save the 180 bucks or do you think I'll actually be kicking myself in 4 years?
  10. Krauser thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 19, 2009
    Also, the more and more I read about these image retention issues, the more and more I'm thinking about just not getting one altogether... the last thing I want to do is spend 2200 dollars on a machine with a screen with such a glaring fault...
  11. Maggot FF macrumors member

    Maggot FF

    Sep 24, 2012
    Oslo, Norway
    Get a retina, if you get it with the LG screen, just send it back and get another one if IR will be a problem for you. I luckily got a Samsung one with no dead pixels and as good as no light bleed. loving it.

    And as for the choice... Go for the retina. the 13" cMBP if by no means a bad machine, but the retina will last you soooo much longer. If you're buying to keep for some years, the extra money will be well worth it.
  12. yinz macrumors 6502a

    Apr 12, 2012
    Yeah, I wouldn't opt for a 13" cMBP. 15" is the only MBP that deserves the Pro name!
  13. clyde2801 macrumors 601


    Mar 6, 2008
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    Maybe you could stick 8 gigs of ram and a cheaper ssd in your machine to buy another year's use out of it.
  14. ob81 macrumors 65816


    Jun 11, 2007
    Virginia Beach
    Inwas in the same position as you are now and I finally went with the rMBP. I am like you. I keep my computers for a long time, so I typically pay a little more because of this fact. Get the 15". The retention issues seem to be with the LG screens. You can easily replace until you get the computer you want.
  15. Ccrew macrumors 68020

    Feb 28, 2011
    Really depends on what you spec the 13" against. Small, portable, you should be spec'ing it against an equally configured MBA for true comparison purposes, not the 15". They come out pretty equal. The 15" is a pig on an airline tray.
  16. macmastersam macrumors 6502a

    Sep 14, 2011
    Essex, england
    videos like this would help in your decision.

    Whilst it is comparing the 13" retina against the 15" retina, i find that apart from the screen and the form factor, there really is no difference between that and the 13" macbook pro you want after upgrades.

    I would personally push toward the 15" retina macbook pro, as it has the much better quad-core processors, the screen real-estate, and all the components already built in compared to you macbook pro 13"
  17. Krauser thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 19, 2009
    Wouldn't it be a hassle to keep returning product? I'm probably going to be going the BTO route with this model as I want to add the 16GB of RAM. Would I be able to order online and then return it to the store at no fee if there is an issue?
  18. Ploki macrumors 68030

    Jan 21, 2008
    Yeah, they need to cover expenses for their faults.

    I went BTO as well. thought of getting the cMBP, but since I update twice a decade, having a fresh computer as opposed to a dying breed seemed nice.
  19. Krauser thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 19, 2009
    So I assume you got a retina. Did you have issues with it and if so, was working with apple to get a new machine easy?
  20. Ploki macrumors 68030

    Jan 21, 2008
    still waiting for it.
    I live in a god forsaken place, so while ordering one was easy, waiting for it takes a longer time and returning it in a case of fault will be even longer (6weeks).

    I really jumped into it, knowing I will probably get mine back when its already updated...
  21. runebinder macrumors 6502a


    Apr 2, 2009
    Nottingham, UK
    You shouldn't let the IR debacle put you off. People with a faulty product are more likely to post about it compared to people with fully working ones.

    There are some posters who have said about taking theirs into an Apple store, and the screen being replaced there and the machine back with the owner on the same day.

    I'm getting a rMBP next month as I'll have sold this MBP I'm currently using and have some extra cash. The reports of IR haven't put me off, the fact that it is a very nicely specced machine makes the fact you can't upgrade it not too much of a factor for me. The lack of an optical drive doesn't bother me one jot as 99% time the only thing it does in my current MBP, is make that annoying sound while the Mac goes through POST.

    I only do photo editing as a hobby, but I can't wait to try out Aperture, PS and Illustrator out on the rMBP. Have already created some 2880x1800 wallpapers from some of the better landscape photos I've taken :)

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