[MBP Retina 15"] Config choice

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Doumaille, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. Doumaille, Nov 12, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2012

    Doumaille macrumors newbie

    Nov 12, 2012
    Hi guys,

    First off, forgive my poor english, french user here, hope you will be able to understand all of my concerns !

    I am finally ready ! After months of hesitation (should I be patient, keep my MBP 13" mid-2010 and upgrade it with SSD and RAM and wait for the next generation, etc...), I am ready to let my credit card explode and get this awesome machine.

    Well, I am still in need for some final advices concerning the choice of proc/RAM/storage.

    I know those concerns have probably been answered in various threads here, but in those cases, we alwayse want kind of a personal answer don't we :D

    So here it is :

    My daily use is kind of a mix between casual and geek. I spend most of my "home time" on my MBP. Always surfing, listening music, watching movies/tv shows, playing games (mostly Diablo, WoW, FIFA, NBA2K...) and doing all kind of useless stuff (thus essential).
    So, I'm basically 4-5 hours a day on my Mac, with web browser open with multi tab, iTunes or Spotify in the background, etc...
    I solicit my machine a lot. My games are not high end, cutting edge graphics, but still demanding. And I use from times to times softwares like PSP or Photoshop to do some image/photo editing.

    OK, now we can get started.

    So 3 variables here :

    Proc : 2,3 Ghz or 2,6 Ghz ?

    This is probably where I mostly need your help.
    For my daily use, what is optimal ?
    Is the 300Mhz upgrade worth the extra 100$ for me ?

    I know, when you are ready to throw more than 2200$ in this, 100 more is just probably nothing. But still, those would be far more useful elsewhere if you think this is not mandatory.

    So will I notice any day-to-day boost with a 2,6Ghz ? Like opening tabs faster, opening apps faster, using editing softwares more smmothly ?
    Does it any kind of effect on my gaming experience ?

    I am really not an hardware expert so I would appreciate your help on this specific point.

    RAM : 8GB or 16 GB ?

    This, I think, is a no-brainer from what I saw on this forum and on other websites.
    RAM is not upgradable. So, let's jump on the 16GB model right ? Who knows what RAM-hungry OS will be on the market next year ? And I'm a fan of dual booting on my mac also.
    So 16 GB will always be nice, or I will take full benefit of it in a couple of years I guess.

    But once again, any advice is good here. As you can see, I'm not an heavy programmer or editor. I'm not pushing my mac to the limits with high end softwares. So do you think I may be able to save 200$ more here ?

    Storage : 256 Go or 512 Go ?

    This one was a tough one for me, before I saw a piece of information on the Internet the other day.

    I thought that, as for the RAM, SSD storage was not upgradable on those new rMBP. So, the 256/512 question was a big big question mark for me.

    But I just saw that a brand (OWC) launched a 480Go SSD totally compatible with rMBP. It is upgradable after all (and damn easy by the way) !!

    So here is my question. Today, this 480Go SSD prices at more than 500$. It would be silly to not choose the 512Go option on AppleStore for an extra 500$ here.
    But next year ? In 2 years ? What are your thoughts on this new SSD market for the rMBP ?
    Do you think we may be able to find, I don't know, 512 Go SSD compatible for less than 350-300$ in a couple of years ? Thus, making the switch someday for less money ?

    We can see today that SSD markets for cMBP are dropping prices like crazy. We can find 512Go SSD around 200$. So it may be a good idea to wait and see what future holds on this one.

    But again, 256Go might be too small. I could wait. But not for too long. As I said earlier, I'm a fan of dual booting (primarily for games or softwares not available on Mac OS) and a Windows partition is already at least 60-70 Go with a bunch of big games I think.
    I may feel cramped really fast with a 256Go SSD drive.

    So it all comes down with your feeling on those new SSD that are hitting the market for the rMBP.

    Conclusion :

    What model should I buy.
    Instinctively, I would aim for the 256Go/16GB/2,3Ghz for 2399$

    But what about the proc upgrade ? And is it profitable to wait for future storage upgrade options ?

    I thank all of you who read my entire message and the kind people who will answer me and help me to find the perfect rMBP for me ;)

    Once again, sorry for my english !
  2. designs216 macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2009
    Down the rabbit hole
    I think for the usage you described I'd start w/ the 2.3, bump the RAM to 16 and the storage to 512. This will save you $100 over the 2.6 rMBP and give the machine more longevity than simply accepting the base model with no upgrades. This assumes you aren't eligible for an EDU discount and you don't purchase from the refurb bin.

    Because we're talking about the Samsung 830, which is Anandtech's top rated SSD and the drive Apple puts their confidence in, I'd go with it over OWC's Sandforce offerings. Also since Apple's upgrade charge for stepping up to the 512 is in line with what I see from other vendors, I wouldn't contemplate swapping it out later.
  3. dmw16 macrumors regular

    May 14, 2011
    I wrestled with the same debates just last week.

    I opted for the 2.3ghz reasoning that the extra CPU power wouldn't really do anything for me.

    Went with 16gb because it's not upgradable.

    But I stuck with the 256gb of storage. Instead I bought a LaCie 2big external thunderbolt drive. Since most of the time I use my laptop at home this worked fine for me. If you're mobile then maybe consider an external drive that doesn't require seperate power like the Seagate go flex.
  4. designs216 macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2009
    Down the rabbit hole
    My reasoning for the internal 512 is that though it's pricey up front, it keeps your desktop uncluttered. I see the Thunderbolt drives as both expensive and untried -- as such it might be best to wait for the second generation. Also, apps keep getting bigger, so the 512GB is "future" proofing.
  5. Doumaille thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 12, 2012
    I was unaware that the quality of the SSD Apple put in its rMBP was that good.

    It's a good point for a 512Go bump upfront indeed..
    And I like your point on having an uncluttered desktop and the future proofing thing.

    It clears up for me the question around the rMPB compatible SSD market also... Not so bright maybe. Or at least maybe not that amazing as it looked when i saw that it was so damn easy to replace and upgrade it with OWC solutions.

    As both of you said, 16GB RAM looks like the way to go, just as I thought it would be.
    Also, 2.3 Ghz seems to be your choice for my daily use. Absolutely no visible impact for my gaming experience or daily routine right ?

    So it all comes down to this storage issue. 500$ in the balance.
    2.3/16GB/256Go 2399$
    2.3/16GB/512Go 2899$

    Hey, just 2 options left, out of 12 original posibilities :D

    I'm really considering the 512Go bump right now... thanks to your advices here because the external solution does not fit me well I think.
    But if other contributors stop by, do not hesitate to fuel my reflexion with things I may have overlooked !

    Thanks so much for your time.
  6. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030


    May 20, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    First off, your 13" MacBook Pro (Mid 2010) ought to still have life left in it. That said, if you'd like to upgrade early, you can likely sell it for roughly 2/5 of what the 15" retina will run you. And unlike the older machine, you'll have a much higher-end machine. It's not a bad idea if you have the funds. But if you aren't selling the 13" MacBook Pro to make such an early upgrade, it doesn't sound like a financially responsible thing to be doing in the first place.

    That being said, given your attention to the 15" rMBP, you list three debates. I'll tell you how I'd look at them and why.

    1. Processor: The difference between 2.3GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 (w/ 6MB of Cache) versus the 2.6GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 (w/ 6MB of Cache) is negligible; we're not in 2000 anymore where every MHz counts. That difference, believe it or not, is much smaller than the one between the 2.6GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 (w/ 6MB of Cache) and the next upgrade up, the 2.7GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 (w/8MB of Cache). The difference is in the cache and not in the clock speed. If you can swing the 2.7GHz chip, that's the best. Otherwise, for the most part, going with a 2.3GHz machine over a 2.6GHz machine won't really matter. If you can spend the extra $100, then you might as well; though if finances are limited, that money is best used towards more RAM, more SSD space, or AppleCare. Verdict: 2.3GHz will be fine.

    2. RAM: This is a no-brainer. Get 16GB. Not because you have a need for it today (as odds are, you won't; most people won't), but rather because a future version of OS X might make that the cut-off and where your machine would've made the cut with 16GB, it might not with 8GB. Substitute the OS for any important app and the same concept applies. If you plan on replacing this machine in two years like you are with your current machine, then don't bother. Verdict: If you want to keep this one for the long haul, then give it 16GB of RAM.

    3. SSD: If you can afford it, go with 512GB. 768GB is still way too pricey, and 256GB is still on the small side. Unfortunately, the only well-known third-party SSD drive out their is a 480GB OWC drive. Also, replacing the SSD drive, while fairly easy (assuming you have the right set of screwdrivers), does void your Apple warranty. So, if you can afford it, I'd go with a 512GB drive.

    So, in short, sell your Mid 2010 MacBook Pro; make $800-1000, buy a 15" retina MacBook Pro with a 2.3GHz i7, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB SSD. To save money, use the Apple Online Store for Education.
  7. Doumaille thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 12, 2012
    Thank you for your time Yebubbleman !

    So it looks like I should be going for a 2,3Ghz/16GB/512Mo for 2899$ here.

    I did not know that replacing an orginal SSD with a new one would void Apple warranty actually. So it is a pretty big deal.
    And the idea that 256Go may be to small eventually has grown on me I guess...

    16GB RAM is also your advice, it's pretty much everyone's advice so I think I will end the debate on this point :D

    For the proc.. so basically what you are saying is that the choice should not me considered between 2.3 and 2.6 but between 2.3 and 2.7.
    Hmmm.. Didnt look it that way. I read everywhere that the 2.7 bump for 250$ (350$ if you consider it from the 2.3 base model) was absolutely ridiculous for the price with the 2.6 model.
    But you are saying that there may be a bigger gap between 2.6/2.7...
    I don't know, it all comes down to my daily use I guess. Do you think I should spend 350$ more and it will increase gaming and day-to-day experience ?

    Instinct tells me no. But I could be wrong. My felling at the moment is maybe save those 350$ (or 100$ whatever) for the bump in storage space to 512Go, which is really growing on me as I said !


    On a side note, you are telling me I could be able to resell my cMBP 13" mid 2010 for around 800-1000$.

    I'm planning on selling it but I never really asked myself about the price. Looks decent at first sight.
    But do you think it may be worth it to boost it before selling it (like 8Go RAM and a 256Go SSD, which would cost me around 300-350$ in France), and then maybe resell it for much more. And it would be way more attractive also in terms of spec.

    I know it's a totally different subject but if you have any advice it would be great ;)
  8. designs216 macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2009
    Down the rabbit hole
    Yes, sell your current machine to subsidize the new hardware. No, don't upgrade it first. What you can do however, is put it on Craigslist. Use eBay as a reference as to what people are asking for similar specs. In your ad, offer to set up an appointment at your local Genius Bar. This does two things: it assures them they are getting a computer in good working order and it's a nice public place to make the exchange w/o getting mugged.
  9. Spink10 Suspended


    Nov 3, 2011
    What 2010 13inch model do you have? Expect a lot less than 800-1000 especially if you dont have AppleCare.
  10. Doumaille thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 12, 2012
    A lot less ?! It's a 13" cMPB mid-2010 high end i think. So it is the 2,66 Core 2 Duo (ugh) model.

    Anyway, even if it is around 500$, it is better than nothing.


    Back on the main subject, if other people have any advice/tips for my future rMBP, I still didnt make my mind so feel free to contribute. Thanks in advance for your time (and thanks to all of the kind answers up till now).

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