MacBook Pro screen and Spec query?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by snerkler, Feb 14, 2012.

  1. snerkler macrumors 6502a

    Feb 14, 2012
    I've been wondering which screen to get (standard or hi-res) for the 15"MBP I'm planning on getting and I finally got to see the 15" hi-res (albeit the anti glare) and the standard screen side by side last night. The difference in screen quality is night and day, BUT the hi-res does make text/menus etc too small for me. This leaves me with a bit of a dilema as if I go with the standard screen having now seen the hi-res I can't help but think I'm always going to be disappointed. I've heard rumours that there may be a MacBook coming out in Q2 that will have retina display. This could be the best of both worlds for me as some are saying that the retina display will have the same ratio as the current standard screen, so the text/menus etc. should be the same size as the current standard screen only larger. Is the retina display a true possibility or all pie in the sky stuff? If it is a possibility and it's due in Q2 this year, when are Apple likely to announce it?

    Also the guy at the Apple store told me the difference between the 2 base 15" MBP's (ie the 2.2GHz/512MB Grahpics card vs 2.4GHz/1GB GC) isn't worth the £300 ($470) difference. What are peoples views on this? Whilst it might not be worth it money wise, if I'm going to notice improved performance in rendering HD video, and for software such as logic, plus make the MBP more future proof then I would be prepared to swallow the cost.

  2. yousifabdullah macrumors regular

    Jul 19, 2011
    With the better configuration you get a higher performing graphics card with 1GB video memory, as well as some specific features on the CPU side not available in the standard configuration, such as support for Intel® Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O. So unless you need to drive a 30" monitor or have specific needs, the price difference might not be worth it.

    I personally would go with the standard configuration and couple it with a Hi-Res Antiglare Widescreen Display. In fact, I have one right here in front of me. To me, the higher resolution panel did require a little getting used to in the beginning, but now it feels very natural to use. I certainly don't have 20/20 vision, but even so I can easily tell the difference between a low resolution and high resolution panel. Go for the high resolution panel, unless you're really short on cash.
  3. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    It depends on how much money you have to burn.
    From a pure objective few the guy at the store is right. Currently the 1GB extra VRAM doesn't really get you anything significant on top of the other. It is otherwise the same chip and overclock they will give you pretty much the same performance.
    1GB might be a bit more future proof.
    The CPUs are not that far apart. You wouldn't feel the difference and none is more future proof than the other. Once the slower gets to slow the faster will be too. 10% speed difference just doesn't matter, when apps start performing to slow because you need twice the speed.

    Get the base if you want to save money. Get the other if you have enough money anyway and are a gamer who like to fine tune graphic settings which is about the only situation the 1GB VRAM will get you anything.

    As for HR. I would always recommend it. Menus and buttons are smaller but that is a good thing. That stuff takes up less screen and there is more space for the actual content. You don't read menus that often anyway. Almost all "content" can be zoomed to whatever size you want. In Text Editors you can adjust the font size. In almost any apps with text you can. Browser can today have default zoom levels or you set shortcuts to switch to certain levels. iphoto, word ... really just ends up at whatever zoom level you like anyway as that is not pixel bound, yet you get a sharper crisper picture.
    I think the HR AG screen is worth every penny.
  4. Lisa89 macrumors newbie

    Jan 30, 2012
    I've been wondering myself the same question: which mac to buy. I went with the low end 15" and upgraded the screen. (see this topic

    If you're worried about the small menus: you can alway enlarge your icons etc... I guess you'll get used to the smaller text eventually. If not, you can always buy an external monitor for at your desk. They're quite cheap if you don't want to buy an expensive Mac-one.
  5. snerkler thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 14, 2012
    Thanks for your reply. With regards to the monitor I don't have any plans on hooking the MBP up to an external monitor so will only be running/powering the 15" one of the MBP itself.

    Unfortunately I'm not very technically minded when it comes to computers, which is why I'm asking the question regarding spec. I know roughly how processors affect performance in terms of clock speed and cores, and how RAM affects performance, but no idea about graphics cards other than the fact it will make videos and game graphics run smoother. Do the graphics cards actually play a part in rendering HD video? The reason I ask is that I currently have a PC based laptop which is on the old side of things spec wise. It's running a Intel core 2 duo 2.13Ghz 4GB RAM (not sure of RAM speed) and 512MB Graphics Card (A ATI Radeon HD5450 I believe). After I've finished editing the full HD video footage and render it, saving it to the had drive, it takes an eternity. It can take 2-3 hours to render a 10 minute video, and that's with no other programs (including internet browsers) running at the same time. I'm using Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 9 by the way. I assume each of the base model 15" MBP will run considerably faster than this, but would the improved Processor (2.4GHz vs 2.2Ghz) plus the improved graphics card (1GB vs 512MB) make any significant difference in regards to this?

    Back to the screen resolution I understand that you found given time you got used to the font/menu size of the Hi-res screen, but I only was using the MBP in store for about 5 mins and was already starting to get a headache, and strangely felt a bit nauseous, so am not convinced that I will get use to it to be honest. This is why I would like to know if the rumour of a retina display is likely or not. If it is I'll hold out for a few months and see if it does indeed come out, if not I'll probably get the standard screen.


    Thanks. I've just replied with another post with my concerns over the HR screen. Whilst you have the zoom features etc I would like everything to be default rather than opening an app and then having to zoom everytime. For me I can imagine getting annoying. The other issue I had with the sizing was the search bar including bookmarks on the safari browser and google chrome browser. I use the internet A LOT and use the bookmarks bar a lot, and thin I'd struggle as these are things that can't be adjusted, according to the Apple store guy anyway?
  6. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    Clock speed isn't everything. The MBP has 2 more cores, as well as that extra .27Ghz. If you want to take that into perspective(it doesn't really work that way, but you'll get a rough idea).

    2 x 2.13ghz = 4.26ghz total processing power(what you have now, note that it doesn't exactly work that way, there are a lot of other things to take into account, this is nothing but a rough estimate).

    4 x 2.4ghz = 9.6ghz. The MBP has roughly twice the processing power your current PC has. It probably also has faster RAM, and can probably house more of it. Whether Sony Vegas is able to tap into the GPU's power as well, I can't say. Maybe it is able to do so as some programs are able to use the GPU as well as CPU for calculations, which would mean your rendering times could be cut in half, maybe even more.

    The screen is personnal preference, really.
  7. snerkler thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 14, 2012
    Thanks for your reply. I appreciate that either MBP will be much faster than my current laptop, and will render HD video more quickly, I just listed the spec so you could understand where I was coming from.

    I think I've confused matters, which I seem to do quite often lol. What I am trying to get to the bottom of is whether or not there is a noticeable difference between the 2 MBP's, one with 2.2GHz CPU and 512MB GC, and one with 2.4GHz CPU and 1GB GC.

    Let's say I'm rendering 60 mins worth of Full HD video, if one the lower spec one did it in say 2hours and the higher spec one takes 1 hour 55 mins, then there's not enough difference to warrant the upgrade. But if the lower spec one did it in 2 hours and the higher spec one in 1 hour 15 mins then there's enough of a difference for me to warrant the upgrade. Am I making any sense? :confused:

    By the way, whichever MBP I buy I will be upgrading the RAM. I was going to upgrade it to 8GB, but crucial have informed me today that the newest MBP's are actually compatible with 16GB RAM, even though it doesn't say this on the Apple site. they inform me that if you actually ask Apple Technical they will confirm this, and apparently they will be updating the Apple website to reflect this.
  8. yousifabdullah macrumors regular

    Jul 19, 2011
    You guys are not taking HyperThreading into account, which effectively turns the four physical cores in the CPU into eight logical cores. To calculate total processing power, you need to take into account the software that runs on the underlying hardware. Despite all technological advancements in OS X, the operating system itself as well as all available software does not (and can not) use all logical CPU cores at 100% efficiency. That's not how symmetrical multiprocessing (SMP) works. In addition, total processing power and effective processing power are two very different variables, of which only the latter is useful from an end user perspective.

    GPU accelerated video editing is not new by any means, but it's also not ubiquitous just yet. It highly depends on the editing software whether or not there's a significant benefit from having a higher performing graphics card. The difference between the AMD Radeon HD 6750M (512MB) and 6770M (1GB) becomes noticeable only when driving an external monitor. Otherwise, they are fairly similar in regards to raw processing power. The same goes for the 2.2Ghz and 2.4Ghz CPU configurations.

    I personally do audio and video work, and I spent a long time considering both options. When the MacBook Pro line-up was refreshed in late 2011, I knew which configuration I wanted: the base 2.2Ghz model. This is because the Early 2011 line-up had a more significant gap between the two models, with the lower performing model sporting an AMD Radeon HD 6490M compared to the 6750M on the higher end model. As I rarely need to use an external monitor, the standard configuration was plenty for what I do, and I used the money I saved towards the high resolution antiglare display.

    For some people, the high resolution panel may not be comfortable to use, but even then I see no need here to go for the higher end model. Save yourself a few hundred and use the money for something better.
  9. snerkler thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 14, 2012
    Thanks, so you edit and render HD video? What software do you use and how long would you say it takes to render 30 mins of video?
    I won't be using Sony Vegas as its not compatible with Mac and ideally don't want to partition it. I'm thinking I may just use iMovie and buy a boxed version of iLife to get iDVD being as you no longer get iDVD preinstalled. Final cut is a bit on the pricey side.

    Does anyone have any views on the prospect of the retina display being released? I'm prepared to wait 3-4 months, but if it's highly unlikely for another 12 months I don't want to wait that long.

  10. bdodds1985 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 18, 2011
    If you can wait, then why not wait to see what new stuff comes out. Also, I think if you have thought about it at all wether or not you need the high end 15", then you don't really need it. You can get the Hi-Res in the normal 15".

    My two cents: just wait it out for a while longer. With apple releasing a much better display on the iPad, you can be sure to see it implemented on the MBP's as well. But that is a whole different topic with many threads already 10 pages long. So as far as the screen res goes, I always get the bigger and better resolution. For me, it's more about how much I can fit into one screen, not the size of the text. Most text you can make bigger, or enable zoom in system preferences.
  11. yousifabdullah macrumors regular

    Jul 19, 2011
    Yes, I edit video. I use a variety of software, ranging from Final Cut Pro 7 to Adobe Premiere Pro. Your question is a little flawed as it does not take into account the complexity of the project or the type of video material it contains. Rendering 1080p footage from a consumer camcorder in AVCHD format is different to rendering 1080p footage from a DSLR. As for iMovie, I really do not recommend it: iMovie employs color banding when exporting video, making even the finest 1080p footage look ugly. For more details on what's happening, see this blog post:

    It's funny you should mention iDVD. Earlier today somebody asked about rendering an iMovie project to DVD, and I discovered a way to install iDVD without an iLife installation disc. It's not perfect, but it works. Check it out:

    Lastly, if you wish to check out what kind of video work I do, you can view my latest project on my homepage at Criticism is welcome. :)
  12. snerkler thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 14, 2012
    Thanks, I'll be sure to check out the threads regarding the retina display. Regarding the spec, the reason I ask is because I'm not that clued up and what affects what and by how much. All I know is that I'm pretty impatient and leaving my laptop running all night whilst it renders video is something I want to avoid in the future.


    Yeah I guess my question was pretty flawed. I don't do any pro stuff, just simple cutting, transitioning, text overlays, audio overlays and audio tweaking. And yeah I use AVCHD from camcorders/super zoom compacts so very amateur stuff.
    Whilst some will say there's no point going high end unless you're doing pro work, I'm the sort of person that likes quality stuff and things that work as quickly as possible. That being said I'm not willing to pay £300 ($470) for something that will save 2 mins on a 2 hour project.

    I'll check out your video later. I would rely on my critique though as I do very amateur stuff.
  13. IngerMan macrumors 65816


    Feb 21, 2011

    That was an awesome video. You are very creative. Like:)
  14. yousifabdullah, Feb 14, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2012

    yousifabdullah macrumors regular

    Jul 19, 2011
    Edit: Thank you IngerMan! Much appreciated. :) The following is a reply to snerkler:

    In that case, you only prove my point: you gain absolutely nothing from the higher end configuration. Also, you should bear in mind that iMovie does not support AVCHD. I've cut in Sony Vegas 9 a few years back and I completely understand your position. You can look at it this way: go with the standard configuration and buy Final Cut Pro X with the money you save. That's probably the best option if you're "amateur", as you describe yourself to be.
  15. snerkler thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 14, 2012
    Just shows you what Apple staff know, I was told that iMovie was compatible with AVCHD. Your idea makes sense saving money and buying final cut instead. I assume that Final Cut is programmed to run faster than Sony Vegas 9 anyway, and combine this with the faster Computer it should render much faster.

    Awesome video by the way, I like it a lot. Very professional looking imo. What is that 2nd track, the one that starts with a long piano solo intro? Really nice that. Bizarrely the first 4 notes of the 'riff' sound like a candlelight version of Katy Perry "I kissed a Girl".

    I see that you use Cubase 5. I currently use Reason 4 along with Cubase Studio 4 but am thinking about swapping over to Logic if/when I get a Mac. Don't know how I'll find the transition though.
  16. yousifabdullah macrumors regular

    Jul 19, 2011
    Thank you for the compliments!

    Actually, it is one track with a very long pause between the two main sections to accompany the elements in the video. It took me well over a month to make it, but I'm happy with the way it turned out. It's called "You Can Count On It".

    In a way iMovies does "support" AVCHD, but it first converts the video on import into AIC (Apple Intermediate Codec), which can take ages if you have a lot of footage. (It's very near uncompressed video and requires a lot of storage space. So if you're all about cutting down the time from start to finish, stay away from iMovie.) Final Cut Pro X is my main "toy" right now; it's very simple to use for small projects and ideas. It's also GPU accelerated unlike its predecessor, Final Cut Pro 7. Still there won't be any noticeable difference in render or editing times if you compare the two MacBook Pro 15" configurations available to you.

    For anything complex I like to use Adobe Premiere Pro, which does an outstanding job keeping everything in sync while rendering in realtime, as you edit! When it comes to audio, I think nothing beats Cubase. I currently have Cubase 6, but am looking into upgrading to Nuendo as I'm moving towards post-production more and more. I've tried Logic Pro, but it just doesn't cut it: far too many issues and no logical way of incorporating it into a video workflow. Since you already have Cubase Studio 4, better stick to that. Perhaps the only con about Cubase is the dongle, but you can always buy an OEM version like Cubase LE or AI if you just want to sketch around, and keep the dongle for serious situations only. :D

    Hope this helps.
  17. snerkler thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 14, 2012
    Thanks for your help, very useful info. The dongle is a bit irritating but not the end of the world. I've not checked to see if reason's compatible with Mac. If it is I could just use the same set up as before.
  18. yousifabdullah macrumors regular

    Jul 19, 2011
    Reason definitely supports Mac. Properllerheads has always provided excellent support for the Mac platform, even before OS X. I guess now that you have all the information you need, it's time to go shopping, right? ;)

    Regarding rumors: you have to remember that rumors are, well..., rumors. I'm not sure if we will ever see a Retina display on a MacBook Pro or whether or not the 15" model will be "Air-ified", but I do know that the current line-up packs a punch and provides ample performance for both demanding and professional workflows as well. I personally don't think much about rumors, as I buy things only when I need to. So if you need a MacBook Pro for video editing right now, you can get one—without compromises.
  19. snerkler thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 14, 2012
    I understand what you're saying about rumours. The thing is I don't need a new laptop, just fancy one, and fancy a change from windows based laptops. As you may have seen from other threads the screen is my sticking point and is the only reason I'm contemplating waiting for the new release. Spec wise the current models are more than ample, especially with a RAM upgrade.

    Out of interest for my uses as discussed will I notice any difference between 5400rpm and 7200rpm HDD? I can't afford SSD at this point, but will consider upgrading to one as and when the prices come down.
  20. yousifabdullah macrumors regular

    Jul 19, 2011
    Definitely take a 7200 RPM hard drive. For anything audio and video it's going to help a bit.
  21. snerkler thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 14, 2012
    Ok thanks.
  22. snerkler thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 14, 2012
    Well I've gone and done it. After much deliberation I've ordered a 15" MBP with 2.2GHz CPU and added the Hi-res glossy screen.

    I've not upgraded the drive or RAM as I'm going to by the RAM from Crucial and also going to buy a SSD from them too. Can't wait :D 2 week delivery though :(

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