Multiple Questions about the RMBP (mostly Hardware-related)

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Panini, Jun 12, 2012.

  1. Panini macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2012
    Palo Alto, CA
    So I am considering getting the new RMBP but I've come face to face with many dilemmas that I don't yet have the proper knowledge to dodge. I was hoping people here could help.

    Before I start, I must mention that I will this computer for gaming as well. I am a semi-hardcore gamer. This means CPU intensive java-games and GPU intensive games such as Crysis.

    Here are my questions:

    1. Between the 2.3GHz and 2.6GHz models, is there really any difference? If so, how much?

    1a. How does the Turbo Boost work? Wouldn't the turbo boost make up for having the weaker processor since (I doubt a game will max out the 3.6GHz on the high end model). If I am gaming, will I be able to "turn on" turbo boost for the entire gaming session or is it only for short busrsts?

    1b. Would the 2.6GHz model run out of battery faster or do they complement it with a slightly higher battery capacity?

    2. I know that modern applications rarely demand even 4GB of RAM, and most of the games I play don't hit the 8GB mark (but come fairly close to it). I will NOT be using the computer for video or photo editing. For gaming, is 8GB enough for the next five to six years? Is RAM only for people who work a lot with 3D-graphics/videos/photos?

    2a. I know the RAM is non-upgradeable, but is the $200 price increase for an extra 8gb fair?

    3. Games will undoubtedly run better on lower resolutions, so will I be able to downscale to 1920*1200 and get the game to run faster or does the strain from scaling negate any performance increase?

    3a. If I were to downscale to 1440*900 would it run as fast as a computer with the exact same specs but with a native resolution of 1440*900 (since it is integer scaling)? If not (most likely) how much slower will it be? Will it be noticeable?

    3aa. The list of supported resolutions does not have 1440*900 as one of them. I am suspicious about this since 1440*900 seems to be the most reasonable resolution to downscale to. Can anybody confirm if this is possible?

    4. Since the RMBP is thinner than the MBP will it suffer greater heating issues or does the new fan technology make up for that?

    5. My friend has the late 2011 17" maxed out MBP model. It has, in my opinion, decent computing power, but not enough for some applications. Does the RMBP's Ivy Bridge and Kepler graphics give a significant boost over the previous generation? Does it beat the 17"?

    6. Other than user-upgrade freedom, is there really any other reason to go for the non-retina MBP? It is more expensive. (Test conducted by selecting identical non-retina model and giving it 8gb ram and a rivaling SSD - comes to a higher price without even going for the high resolution option).

    6a. I can see it may be an advantage for those hoping for a optical disk drive or non SSD drive (for more space). But assuming I'm going with no disk drive + SSD either way...

    7. I am currently leaning towards the 256GB model but I am hearing things about the actual space being a lot less than expected with all the pre-installed apps and such. Does anybody know how much useable memory the 256GB model will ship with?

    Sorry if the post is long.


  2. Speedy Gonzalez macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2012
    Alligator Bayou
    you have so many questions but lets focus on the resolution since the 1440X900 is half the res of 2880X1800 the games will look fine maybe with a little AA 4X or 2X and the 650M would be enough to run most of the games decently at that res

    there is some games that are more CPU intensive but they are few only like GTA 4 just to mention but they are few only so the CPU upgrade is not worth it in that regard

    turbo works when your app is using 2 cores you will see the max turbo frequency but if the CPU hit certain temp it will throttle down to cool

    I know other members can answer the rest of your questions I hope this help you :)
  3. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    You may want to wait then for benchmarks on the GT650M. It may work for your purposes, but we don't know for sure how it will perform in specific games yet. Keep an eye out for AnandTech's offical review of the new Retina Display MBP, it should answer most if not all of these questions. I'll answer what I can.

    Turbo boost increases the clock speed if you are only loading down one or two of the cores. It's completely automatic and managed by the processor to stay within thermal limits.

    Not really sure about whether it will run out of battery faster, or how significant the difference will be, but the 2.6Ghz model doesn't have a higher capacity battery.

    Future games may push the 8GB of RAM limit, but probably not for another couple of years. I get by with most games at 4GB on my desktop PC if that's the only thing running. 8GB should give you some headroom.

    It's quite fair by Apple's pricing standards.

    We'll have to wait for a more detailed review and benchmarks before we say for sure, but I would think that a game would be able to run directly at 1440x900, 1680x1050, or 1920x1200 and completely bypass the software scaling, just like on a PC. It should look pretty decent since they're still 16:10 resolutions.

    Again we're waiting for full reviews, but I actually suspect that they may run cooler than their non-retina counterparts. The non-retina MBP has both inlet and exhaust at the rear vent. The Retina model has inlets at the front and exhaust at the back. Should provide much better cooling.

    It should be the 17" somewhat in CPU power and by a large margin in GPU power. Keep an eye out for AnandTech's review for real benchmarks.

    Basically just if you really desire a DVD drive, Ethernet, and Firewire without external adapters.

    In that case I wouldn't really look at the non-retina version.
  4. w00t951 macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2009
    Pittsburgh, PA
    1) 2.3 to 2.6 GHz is a small difference. You might see a difference with some complex applications (not games) with difference in processor cache, but you probably won't. The two processors consume identical amounts of power. Besides, you're not going to be running the computer at 2.6GHz while on battery - it'll be dynamically down clocking.

    2) Turbo Boost isn't like over clocking. Granted, I do that too, but TB dynamically increases clock speeds as cores are disabled. Some applications can't take advantage of multiple cores, so the Intel silicon turns off some cores and dramatically boosts the clock speed of the running ones. You can mess around with ThrottleStop (Windows only), but it's a very dangerous proposition. I've accidentally run my CPU over 105C, which is unhealthy.

    3) I'm interested: What games come close to 8GB? I've never had ANY game (including BF3 or Crysis 2) go over 1.5GB. Most people are going to be fine with 8GB, but since you can't upgrade the RAM in the Retina models, it's up to you to upgrade or not. $200 is a bit steep considering normal RAM prices, but I don't know if soldered RAM is more expensive than normal DDR3.

    4) It won't be slower. It'll run as fast as a computer with the same specs and 1440x900 resolution. When playing games, most people set the resolution from in-game, which means that the supported resolutions depend entire upon what games you're playing. I know for a fact that all major titles support 1440x900, as I have been running them at native resolution on my over clocked Mac.

    5) The new fan tech is supposed to make the computer quiet. I bet the cooling system will actually be more effective than the normal MacBook Pro cooling system, which sucks air through the right side of the hinge and spits it out the left. The Retina appears to have two separate intake and exhaust vents. That being said, only real-world experience will tell how heat factors into the machine's performance.

    6) A maxed out 15" will beat a maxed out 17" from last generation. It's mostly common sense - both models have quad core processors and discrete graphics. Just compare the two. Kepler is supposed to produce less heat and consume less power for the same level of performance. Ivy Bridge is the same - just a die shrink. Ivy Bridge processors aren't incredible in their performance increase, but it is respectable. The 650M is quite a bit faster than the AMD cards from the last generation of Macs.

    7) I would go with the normal Mac simply because I like the idea of having games run at native resolution, but that's just me.

    8) Probably 250GB once the SSD is formatted, and then 6GB for Lion, and maybe a GB or two for installed programs.
  5. Erasmus macrumors 68030


    Jun 22, 2006
    Hiding from Omnius in Australia
    Expect to run Crysis at High graphics quality, probably not Very High, at 1440*900 resolution. That would be my best guess at graphics performance.

    The 2.3 and 2.6GHz CPUs have the same power draw, and so will drain the battery equally quickly/slowly. Higher clocked CPUs are identified as being better quality, with less defects, when they are created, allowing them to be clocked slightly higher without choking. As far as I am aware, anyway.

    The 2.6 will beat the 2.3 by a factor of 2.6 divided by 2.3. That's it.

    $200 for 16GB of ram is pretty good. Especially as it was more like $1000 from third party sites 6 months ago. It's hard to tell if you will need more than 8GB of RAM, but my guess would be no, but to get it anyway just in case. BTW, what game uses almost 8GB of RAM???

    Games have always had resolution settings far lower than those offered by the operating system. Running games at 1440*900 seems like a good idea, although you would have to see yourself if the performance hit from playing at native res was comparable with running with 4x AA.

    As it is thinner, heat should be more readily dissipated through the case. You will have to wait until more reviews are in to know how it handles heat for sure.

    It will beat the 17" in games by ~30-50% running at the same resolution. It will beat it in CPU tasks by more like 10-15%.

    Poor test. If you went for the non-retina MBP, you would get your RAM and SSD 3rd party, for probably around $50 for RAM, and $250 for 256GB SSD. If you play lots of games, one would assume you will have lots of game DVDs, so you will have to buy an external DVD drive for the RMBP. That's probably $50.

    I would expect at least 220GB, probably a fair bit higher.
  6. Panini thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2012
    Palo Alto, CA
    Thanks for all the helpful replies!

    I guess I'll have to look at the RMBP from behind the glass for a week or two until the reviews and benchmark tests come in.

    I have one question for w00t951:

    You said:

    For your second reply, why would you prefer to run at a native resolution, your first point implies there are no drawbacks to scaling down. Is there anything else I need to worry about other than performance or is this just a matter of personal preference?

    And some people have asked me which game uses almost 8GB of RAM, it's Skyrim with the 2K Texture pack mod running at along with many other texture mods (some going over 4k) and a few AI/City overhaul mods (though those demand more cpu than gpu). It uses around 6GB-7GB depending on the situation.
  7. w00t951 macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2009
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I never implied that there aren't any drawbacks - I simply stated that the performance would not be different. The image would not look Retina and the image would look fuzzier than a native 1440x900 display.

    I had no idea Skyrim was so badly optimized. I run Fallout: New Vegas on my Mac, and with 86 mods (including 26 hi-res texture packs) I barely take up 1.56GB.
  8. Panini thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2012
    Palo Alto, CA
    Even though it is just pixel doubling will it look different from a native 1440*900 display? I would imagine not since each pixel is now four pixels but I would like to know how much fuzzier it will be exactly since I know must graphics-intensive apps will definitely run better in 1440*900.

    I don't know about Skyrim being badly optimised, but there are multiple mods out there that increase the amount of available RAM for skyrim beyond the default 4GB and I wouldn't imagine they would be so popular if people didn't need it. I also play Crysis with multiple high-res texture packs and that requires about 4.5GB of RAM - but I have two 2560x1600 monitors so that might explain some things.
  9. w00t951 macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2009
    Pittsburgh, PA
    How do you want me to explain "exactly" how much fuzzier it will be? Is there a standardized unit of fuzziness? It's turning down the resolution on a monitor!
  10. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    Here's a video showing Diablo 3 at both 2880x1800 and 1680x1050 for comparison:
  11. Panini thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2012
    Palo Alto, CA
    Well I assumed the difference between a display at a native resolution of 1440*900 and one with a native resolution of 1440x*900x scaled down to 1440*900 would be identical.

    Is the difference noticeable?

    And thanks, Stetrain
  12. stevelam macrumors 65816

    Nov 4, 2010
  13. VacantPsalm macrumors member

    Sep 21, 2010
    Assuming he's like me, it's not specifically for gaming. It's just gaming happens to be the thing that calls for the most specs out of all the things he does on it. (When you spend this much on a computer, it's probably your primary comp unless you're super rich.)

    Uhhhhhgh, I keep going back and forth between 2011 17" vs RMBP. (head spins a little.) Thx for asking all these questions and saving me from making the thread. :p One main problem for me is the base storage is NOT enough, so I would have to go for the neigh 3000 one. Well, less since I'm a student but still.
  14. Artagra macrumors member

    Sep 6, 2007
    Three more things to add:

    1. I'd probably put in the extra 8gb memory - my guess is that when you sell it you will get at least $100 more, so the upgrade ends up costing you less. Considering it's a small portion of your overall investment and impossible to do later, I'd do it unless you absolutely can't afford it.

    2. Battery life *will* be worse with faster CPU - Apple doesn't make a big thing of it, and Intel rates them at the same TDP, but they do end up using more juice. On a 100mhz upgrade it's probably less than 5% less battery time, but on the Macbook Airs going from i5 to i7 can be a big difference.

    3. I'd strongly suggest buying it on a CC that doubles your warranty - I know my Visa Platinum does so. Much cheaper (free!) than Apple Care, and because the system is so integrated you are more likely to need it.

    Either way it's an awesome machine - enjoy!
  15. jtcedinburgh macrumors regular

    Sep 26, 2010
    I disagree, at least in theory. I have in front of me an iPad (mk1) and an iPad (mk3) showing the same image, which is non-retina.

    They look effectively identical - the mk3 is simply using four pixels where the mk1 used one. Therefore it looks to all intents and purposes as if it is displaying on the mk1, without any further processing/anti-aliasing being performed. No blurriness whatsoever. As logic would suggest.

    Not having seen the MBPR yet, I cannot imagine it would work any differently in comparison to a native 1440x900 display. Other resolutions (where things are not on an integer multiple), sure, I can see how some post processing would come into play, but for 1440x900, no. It should look identical.

    What I don't know is whether the downscaling to 1440x900 is done in hardware or software. Shouldn't make much of a difference though.
  16. stevelam macrumors 65816

    Nov 4, 2010
    just to clarify, you are looking at the exact same file/ image on an ipad 1 and ipad 3 and both look exactly the same? thats not even possible.
  17. Panini thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2012
    Palo Alto, CA
    I'm going to revive this thread to see if anyone has any answers now, since it's been out for a while.

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