My review of the base model retina Macbook 1.1ghz

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by doitdada, May 27, 2015.

  1. doitdada, May 27, 2015
    Last edited: May 27, 2015

    doitdada macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2013
    My local apple dealer called me up last week with some good news, they just got in a couple of gold retina MacBooks. The catch was that both of them was the base model. Having read the mixed reviews and the gap in performance between the base at 1.1 ghz and the 1.3 ghz model made me think twice. I did however pick it up today after 10 days of dwelling.

    At the moment I stream football in HD with Silverlight and browse the web. No hiccups. The lag everybody is crying about, was present in the indexing process upon booting the machine for the very first time. Now every transitions smoothly between desktops and video streams. Expose is working great as well, even with a HD stream in motion. All my fears and disbelief in the "weaker" CPU is gone. This machine is a winner.

    I use the "more space" option in the Displays option, and the screen still looks nice. Fonts are great to read. The trackpad and the keyboard has brought my the most hassle, though I love the layout and the new font on the keys. The new gestures and feel of both the trackpad and the keyboard feels different, but I can feel that the experience is growing on me and the "problem" is fading away slowly with each push.

    Haven't installed Photoshop or Lightroom yet, but I believe the casual edit will work just fine. I can update later with more details regarding the CC software from Adobe and how it is to do basic editing on Nikon D810 and Leica M9 RAW files. I have another machine for this purpose, which also has more space to store big files and triple the horsepower to make beachballs and slowdowns non existent.

    The sound is great. Commentators, the crowds cheering and the movement of the ball is conveyed quite good for such a small machine and speaker system. I'm watching a soccer stream, while streaming music from SoundCloud in Safari while writing this review, and I have yet to experience any beach balls or lags. It plays music great. I would no longer bring a set of different speakers to a hotel room or a friend for a casual evening.

    The weight is delicate and balanced. I am writing this review on my chest and it feels almost like air. I have been waiting on this form factor since my first laptop. No looking back. This will satisfy 99% of users. Power users should get a desktop and a couple of great external displays. If you are waiting for skylake, you are either poor or in the market for PC with real GPUs to game. I wouldn't recommend a laptop for performance hunters anyway. Go build a Hackintosh, buy a iMac or splurge for a Mac Pro. At least get a Macbook Pro 15 with quad core.

    Simply the purchase of the year for me. I also bought the 2010 Macbook Air when it first arrived five years ago, and it didn't impress me like this machine. Again, I am reviewing the retina Macbook Gold 1.1 ghz with 256 GB SSD. Migrated from a rMBP 13 (mid 2014) base model, I also owned a rMBP 15 (late 2013) before that.
  2. PaulNL macrumors newbie


    Apr 25, 2015
    Thank you for the nice review!

    I'm thinking of buying the same MacBook, not sure about the color yet.
    I also want to install Photoshop and Lightroom. Please let us know how they are running at the MacBook.
    I'm very curious..
  3. phoni macrumors member


    Sep 18, 2012
    Silver base not a hitch. No heavy programming/photo editing, been working steady and consistantly for 3 weeks. Ordered 1.3GHz with Apple but canceled after waiting for over a month, found new one at local best buy and with various discounts, took home for 1130. (tax incl.)
    I can't comment on the differences between the 1.1 and 1.3, but for me the 1.1 works great with no issues, stayed on 10.10.2 that came with the Mac, considering updating the OS at some point, but "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".
  4. rezok macrumors newbie

    May 26, 2015
    Concur. The weight difference and profile is night and day between even the 13" MBA. I don't even consider the Air anymore given I've had a few laptops with the Retina display - you'll never go back once you've used it.

    Not sure if its powerful enough to run Photoshop and editing type apps but for general usage, easily the best laptop I've ever owned.

    That said, I've had four or five iterations of Apple products from the 2011 aluminium MBP, the second gen Air, the 2013 thinner rMBP and now the rMB.

    It's a piece of art - and it still "just works".

    Keyboard, weight and profile/design just a bonus....
  5. Wahlstrm macrumors 6502a


    Dec 4, 2013
    You are the perfect candidate to tell me all I need to know :)

    I really want the rMB, have the base rMBP on order and work as a photographer.
    (Not my main machine) How does it handle the 36mpix from your Nikon?

    I´m still on 21Mpix so if it works for you then I should have no issues :)
  6. doitdada thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2013
    I have already written a few lines about using Photoshop on the rMB base. Check it out:

    I wouldn't use it as my only computer, as both storage and power isn't sufficient in a professional environment. I don't mind editing the 10-20 RAW files that I like from a shoot on this computer, but if I was to go through a vast collection from long trips I would recommend getting a desktop with lots of storage and processing power. Anyway, the rMB is great for the road. There is a difference in the performance between the base rMBP 13 and base rMB, but not a big enough gap to recommend the rMBP 13. Someone is actually buying my Pro tomorrow.

    The trackpad and keyboard now feels better than on the rMBP. I type faster. This is the computer I would bring with me. My Macbook Pros made a habit of staying on my desk, that includes 17, 15 and the 13. No looking back.

    To sum it up, if you're making enough money on your photography to buy a Mac Pro or iMac 5k without thinking about it, then get both a desktop and a rMB. If you can't live off your photography alone, you are well off with just the rMB. Working with more pro cameras will require a lot of disk space and processing power, so you are somehow doomed working out of your laptop. As said in my other post, if you can only afford one computer and work full-time with photography, the only option at the moment from Apple is the quad core MBP 15. The lack of a SD card reader on the rMB can also be considered an obstacle if you are using high end cameras and work with large images.

    The 13 inch MBP with dual core CPU isn't that powerful, so you might as well get the rMB right now, if you can live without the SD card reader.
  7. Wahlstrm macrumors 6502a


    Dec 4, 2013
    Thanks for your reply.

    The laptop would mostly be used for backing up and going trough photos on location and then transfer the keepers to my main i7 QC machine once I get back in. It´s very rare that I take more than 60GB of photos in a day so the 256GB would be more than enough for this purpose.

    I´ve been looking in to getting an iPad for this purpose but I alway end up at the same conclusion;
    I want a lot more function for that amount of money.

    The base rMB is 32% more expensive than the base 13" rMBP I just ordered on sale.
    And I think the longevity of the devices will differ in favour of the Pro. The sensible business decision would be the rMBP, but my unhealthy love for gadgets still want the rMB :)
  8. bcaslis macrumors 68020

    Mar 11, 2008
    Really? The base price of the 13" rMBP and the rMB are the same in the U.S. And the rMB base has 256GB SSD while the base rMBP has a 128GB SSD.
  9. MVPinFLA macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2008
    Boynton Beach, FL
    Well, based on this thread and others I have recently read, I have ordered one. The concerns I had don't appear to be an issue anymore. Thanks for all the info.
  10. Borja1055 macrumors regular

    Jul 25, 2010

    Hey, was wondering how you feel about the base model macbook almost a year later. Thanks.
  11. doitdada, Apr 4, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016

    doitdada thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2013
    Just sold it. Great computer for people who want a single computer, but don't need the power. Actually bought a MacBook Pro 15" (with M370X) last October. Sent it back. I'm now using a iPad for 80% of my tasks, then 20% on a Hackintosh with i7 4790k, 32GB memory and two 760 GTXs. I like to do all the planning on the iPad like comment code, jot down ideas and schedule appointments. Then finish my todo list in long sessions/sit-downs on the desktop with a big screen. MacBooks don't have cellular connectivity, so the portability isn't that portable as you need two chargers and two devices to go online. One for the modem, one for the MacBook. Working on open wifi networks isn't safe. I love the portability of the MacBook 12", but I don't believe productivity flourishes and killer apps gets written in a coffeehouse.

    Would I buy it again? Not a fü¢k1ng chance. The keyboard travel is OK and the typing experience is good enough, but the quality of the keys are downright dirty. Keys got stuck, they stopped responding. Had to service it three times. First it wouldn't charge. They didn't "find" anything. Six months later they are sending out free replacement cables. Then the keys. Then two thin lines of "staingate" started to show on my display.

    If I could only pick one computer from the current line up of computers. It would be an iMac 5K with an i7 CPU. Or you could join the rest of us in this thread.

    I think the Hackintosh experience is so good at the moment, and there is no real alternatives from Apple either. With the Trash Can Pro you just end up with a cable salad and a bunch of external boxes. iPad and a Hackintosh offers the best Mac experience at the moment. I may get rid of the iPad, if the iPhone 7 Plus is groundbreaking.
  12. Jobsian macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2009

    Appreciate the honest review.
  13. Borja1055 macrumors regular

    Jul 25, 2010
    Interesting. Thanks for the reply.
  14. 1rottenapple macrumors 68020

    Apr 21, 2004
    I agree I'm happy with my 1.2 rmb
  15. GioFerrara Suspended

    Mar 26, 2016
    Nice review. I do agree it's a bit late in the game for a review, but I enjoy/respect the opinions of others.

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14 May 27, 2015