Need Help Configuring new MacBook Pro Retina UPDATED

iRobby

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 22, 2011
994
5
Fort Myers, FL USA
I'm trying to choose a configuration of the Base Retina Model:

I would like to know which one would give me better performance. I may have to choose between only upgrading the Processor or RAM.

My choices are:

2.6GHz
8GB RAM

vs.

2.3GHz
16GB RAM

My question is if I need to choose 1 or the other. Which one would be more beneficial in everyday performance?
 
Last edited:

defektion

macrumors regular
Jan 29, 2010
136
1
Go for the Ram upgrade, You won't see much of a difference between 2.6 & 2.3 but maxing out your ram is always a good option, especially if you plan on running virtual machines.
 

zainiak

macrumors regular
Aug 1, 2012
105
0
the CPU upgrade will not be noticeable at all to 99.9% of people. the ram on the other hand is helpful for running multiple programs at the same time and especially helpful for things like adobe after effects ram previews. also, the only difference between the 2 cpus is only .1 ghz. they both have 6mb of l3 cache.
 

Dangerous Theory

macrumors 68000
Jul 28, 2011
1,981
28
UK
As you haven't given us your usage requirements we can't make any credible judgement. Personally, the .3 GHz would be the only thing that would impact me, since I rarely eve use over 4GB RAM, while the extra .3 would at least do something, even if not noticeable in a comparison.
 

iRobby

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 22, 2011
994
5
Fort Myers, FL USA
As you haven't given us your usage requirements we can't make any credible judgement. Personally, the .3 GHz would be the only thing that would impact me, since I rarely eve use over 4GB RAM, while the extra .3 would at least do something, even if not noticeable in a comparison.
Basic everyday use web surfing, Email, watching videos, photos, and music via iTunes in the background.
 

axu539

macrumors 6502a
Dec 31, 2010
929
0
Basic everyday use web surfing, Email, watching videos, photos, and music via iTunes in the background.
Frankly, with that kind of usage, the rMBP is serious overkill. I would go with the RAM, though, since at least you COULD potentially hit that if you edit your photos at all.
 

Dangerous Theory

macrumors 68000
Jul 28, 2011
1,981
28
UK
Basic everyday use web surfing, Email, watching videos, photos, and music via iTunes in the background.
Go with neither and save the money for accessories/ext hard drive/whatever. If you absolutely had to choose, then the processor upgrade will do something for you, however unnoticeable.
 

stevelam

macrumors 65816
Nov 4, 2010
1,215
3
Basic everyday use web surfing, Email, watching videos, photos, and music via iTunes in the background.
wow really? you don't need either upgrade. you aren't going to notice any performance gain at all. but since you're obviously wanting to just throw down money, get both upgrades just for the hell of it.
 

iRobby

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 22, 2011
994
5
Fort Myers, FL USA
wow really? you don't need either upgrade. you aren't going to notice any performance gain at all. but since you're obviously wanting to just throw down money, get both upgrades just for the hell of it.
Go with neither and save the money for accessories/ext hard drive/whatever. If you absolutely had to choose, then the processor upgrade will do something for you, however unnoticeable.
Frankly, with that kind of usage, the rMBP is serious overkill. I would go with the RAM, though, since at least you COULD potentially hit that if you edit your photos at all.
I'm concerned with future proofing the Mac down the line. I'm i need the configurations to be up to date far as long I can.

For example My current system is now an antiquated Dell PC Dimension from 2005.

My situation:

I *need to get a new computer due to mine being an *antiquated desktop. I'm coming from:

2005 Dell Dimension E510 Desktop
Purchased: 10/10/05
Price: $1,074

Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition Version 2002 (Service Pack 3)

* 3.0GHz Single Core Intel (R) Pentium
* *1GB 400MHz DDR2 SDRAM *4x256MB
* 250GB Serial ATA Drive (7200rpm) (replaced 3/06/07)
* 180GB Serial ATA Drive (7200rpm) (original)
*'ATA Radeon X300 SE with 128MB memory
* 17" Viewable E173FP Flat Panel Display*

When I bought it it was the High End maxed out. It ran fine til the past 2 years and now it is getting worse and worse. Mind you, my uses haven't changed.

I'm just concerned with the MacBook's internals becoming obsolete so fast

The machine I choose will be my PRIMARY computer.

Originally, I was going to go with a 27" iMac. *But due to new living circumstances living in two states New Jersey and Florida throughout the year a laptop is more practical.*
 

minnus

macrumors 6502
Aug 12, 2011
347
0
I'm concerned with future proofing the Mac down the line. I'm i need the configurations to be up to date far as long I can.

For example My current system is now an antiquated Dell PC Dimension from 2005.

My situation:

I *need to get a new computer due to mine being an *antiquated desktop. I'm coming from:

2005 Dell Dimension E510 Desktop
Purchased: 10/10/05
Price: $1,074

Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition Version 2002 (Service Pack 3)

* 3.0GHz Single Core Intel (R) Pentium
* *1GB 400MHz DDR2 SDRAM *4x256MB
* 250GB Serial ATA Drive (7200rpm) (replaced 3/06/07)
* 180GB Serial ATA Drive (7200rpm) (original)
*'ATA Radeon X300 SE with 128MB memory
* 17" Viewable E173FP Flat Panel Display*

When I bought it it was the High End maxed out. It ran fine til the past 2 years and now it is getting worse and worse. Mind you, my uses haven't changed.

I'm just concerned with the MacBook's internals becoming obsolete so fast

The machine I choose will be my PRIMARY computer.

Originally, I was going to go with a 27" iMac. *But due to new living circumstances living in two states New Jersey and Florida throughout the year a laptop is more practical.*
The concept of future-proofing is frankly obsolete. For example, processor upgrades provide 5-10% more performance, but does it really future proof? You can't predict what advances are made, and what requirements are in the future. 5-10% is often negligible.

The fact that you haven't upgraded for so long is a testament of how long you're willing to endure using the computer vs how future-proof it is.

The most common / practical advice is to simply get the Base model, and use the money you 'save' on the next version when you're willing to upgrade.

The base model is plenty fast.
 

Teem45

macrumors member
Mar 27, 2012
34
1
Dallas, TX
I agree with the RAM recommendation. I only got 8 the first time around and regretted it, but the 2.3 processor has been more than enough. You may not need 8 GB of RAM today, but you very well might in 6-12 months. If you would decide to sell it later on, the person who buys it from you would probably appreciate the extra RAM also.

I'm impressed that you made the Dell last from 2005 to 2012. You definitely deserve this new Mac. Have a great time with it!
 

SandyT

macrumors newbie
Aug 3, 2012
8
0
Fraserburgh, Scotland
"I'm concerned with future proofing the Mac down the line.I need the configurations to be up to date far as long I can."

I'm with you Robby! The main reason to buy a retina pro would appear to be the stunning display- which I've seen in action in a 'Stormfront' Store over here. Megapixel photos look simply stunning, As far as future proofing goes- can't be done- my first PC back in the 1990's was a Viglen which was guaranteed future proof, it had a hard drive of 3.2G which at the time was stellar- 12 months later it was a joke!

But if you have the money then why not max out the retina pro- its better than getting the 'If only' feeling. I plan to get the highest spec possible when I visit the USA

Not stalking you by the way, we just seem to be looking at similar threads.
 

WindWaker

macrumors regular
Oct 13, 2011
182
0
USA
I think it's a good move doing the upgrades now, just for the fact that as more updates come out for Mac's there's a chance that they could lag it down (that said, you could always downgrade I believe). Anyway, the bump from 2.3 to 2.6 is pretty hard to notice-- go for the RAM, it'll better in the future (although you might want to consider picking up a customizable MBP so you have more control in the future).
 

SandyT

macrumors newbie
Aug 3, 2012
8
0
Fraserburgh, Scotland
Forgot to mention that my 1st computer- the Viglen, cost over 3000 pounds sterling- approx $4500 dollars at current exchange rates and considerably more in the 90s.
 

axu539

macrumors 6502a
Dec 31, 2010
929
0
The concept of future-proofing is frankly obsolete. For example, processor upgrades provide 5-10% more performance, but does it really future proof? You can't predict what advances are made, and what requirements are in the future. 5-10% is often negligible.

The fact that you haven't upgraded for so long is a testament of how long you're willing to endure using the computer vs how future-proof it is.

The most common / practical advice is to simply get the Base model, and use the money you 'save' on the next version when you're willing to upgrade.

The base model is plenty fast.
I think this is the best advice. When the 2.3 goes obsolete, the 2.6 and 2.7 will likely be obsolete too. Big processor advances don't happen in small increments, they happen in orders of magnitude, so that 5-10% difference is not going to matter when the next gen processors are 100x faster. Regarding the RAM, if you don't know if you need 16 GB, you probably don't need 16 GB. It's that simple. Many users are doing fine with 4 GB right now, so even 8 GB is plenty, especially for your uses. That being said, if you do start editing large photos very often, the RAM could come in handy.
 

stevelam

macrumors 65816
Nov 4, 2010
1,215
3
I'm concerned with future proofing the Mac down the line. I'm i need the configurations to be up to date far as long I can.

For example My current system is now an antiquated Dell PC Dimension from 2005.

My situation:

I *need to get a new computer due to mine being an *antiquated desktop. I'm coming from:

2005 Dell Dimension E510 Desktop
Purchased: 10/10/05
Price: $1,074

Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition Version 2002 (Service Pack 3)

* 3.0GHz Single Core Intel (R) Pentium
* *1GB 400MHz DDR2 SDRAM *4x256MB
* 250GB Serial ATA Drive (7200rpm) (replaced 3/06/07)
* 180GB Serial ATA Drive (7200rpm) (original)
*'ATA Radeon X300 SE with 128MB memory
* 17" Viewable E173FP Flat Panel Display*

When I bought it it was the High End maxed out. It ran fine til the past 2 years and now it is getting worse and worse. Mind you, my uses haven't changed.

I'm just concerned with the MacBook's internals becoming obsolete so fast

The machine I choose will be my PRIMARY computer.

Originally, I was going to go with a 27" iMac. *But due to new living circumstances living in two states New Jersey and Florida throughout the year a laptop is more practical.*
get over the idea of 'future proofing'. its silly and useless, especially in your case when you aren't even doing anything of consequence on the computer.
i mean really, do you think your 'internet surfing, watching movies, emailing etc' is going to be much improved if you have 16gb of ram instead of 8?
 

wethackrey

macrumors 6502
Feb 27, 2007
259
17
Redondo Beach, California
I'm trying to choose a configuration of the Base Retina Model...
It would be easier to make a credible suggestion if you told us more about your intended use cases. Based on the way most people use their computers, the actual performance impact of the 13% increase in processor clock speed is going to a be great deal less than 13%. Most applications don't tax the processor to anything approaching the clock speed limit.

The impact of memory is different. As you start to allocate more and more memory, things zip along linearly until you hit the memory limit. At that point the OS begins to swap virtual memory with the disk, and, since the fastest SSD disks are still a great deal slower than RAM, things slow down in a hurry.

The impact of this is that, if you're doing memory intensive things, doubling the memory can have a very noticeable impact on performance. If you're planning on running VMs within MacOS, for example, two things are critical for performance: the number (not speed) of processor cores and the amount of memory that can be allocated to each VM.

Doing what I do, my vote is always for more memory as opposed to faster processors. You should give some thought to what your intended use cases are and see if your decision is the same.

I'm concerned with future proofing the Mac down the line. I'm i need the configurations to be up to date far as long I can.
That's an interesting notion. It also has a great deal to do with your use cases. In my case, I depend on my laptop to make a living. I buy a new one every 12 months or so. My annualized computer costs are typically $500-700 as I'm usually able to easily turn my old one on eBay in very good shape in the original box. That's cost effective for me. It may not be for you. If your computer is less critical to you, it would make sense to look at a longer life cycle. Still, technology is advancing rapidly. I wouldn't plan on getting seven years of use out of any computer you buy today unless you're just doing web and email with it.
 
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iRobby

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 22, 2011
994
5
Fort Myers, FL USA
Well, after analyzing if I needed the 16GB RAM vs the 8GB RAM over the weekend, I just ordered my first Mac. Thank you for all who gave their advice in this thread.

I decided to go with the base model:

2.3 GHz
8GB RAM
256GB SSD

I chose the 8GB after reading the following on the MacBook Pro Retina Apple Store Configuration Page:


How much memory is right for you?

With 8GB of memory standard, you can multitask with ease and run memory-intensive applications without compromising performance. This allows you to work on complex tasks such as editing photos and video, creating illustrations, and building complex presentations.

Max out the memory in your MacBook Pro with 16GB
to allow your professional applications like Aperture and Final Cut Pro to run at peak performance.



I dont plan on doing the professional apps that are similar to what is stated above.

However, I did read the recommendations for the 4GB RAM on the MacBook Air:

How much memory is right for you?

Choose the standard memory to support day-to-day tasks such as email, word processing, and web browsing as well as more complex tasks such as editing photos, creating illustrations, and building complex presentations.
Max out the memory in your MacBook Air with the 8GB option to enjoy the greatest possible performance for all your computing tasks.


So based what I read found that my uses were more than that so the 8GB should be perfect for my uses.


But one thing I am concerned with is that the 8GB will start lagging after 2 more OSX releases after Mountain Lion. Hope that doesn't happen.
 
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Teem45

macrumors member
Mar 27, 2012
34
1
Dallas, TX
I'm glad you were able to come to a decision that suits your use. Having spent the better part of two weeks trying to figure out the best configuration to suit me, I can relate to the difficulty of the decision. The non-upgradeability of this model really complicates the buying process, but Apple is undoubtedly laughing all the way to the bank on that one. You beat them at their own game by ordering the base model! :D No matter what, you'll get a great computer that will serve you for as long as you need it and will return a decent amount on the resale market when you get ready to move to the next one.
 

geoffreak

macrumors 68020
Feb 8, 2008
2,193
2
But one thing I am concerned with is that the 8GB will start lagging after 2 more OSX releases after Mountain Lion. Hope that doesn't happen.
I'm at three releases (and 4.5 years) after I got my MBP and while 4GB of RAM isn't sufficient for what I want to do, the performance degradation isn't too bad. You'll be fine. ;)
 

dartox

macrumors newbie
Jul 23, 2012
6
0
I'm at three releases (and 4.5 years) after I got my MBP and while 4GB of RAM isn't sufficient for what I want to do, the performance degradation isn't too bad. You'll be fine. ;)
That's more of a CPU issue. In the name of graphics performance, Apple was pushing Core 2 Duos in the i3/i5 era and still pushing them in the i5/i7 era. Had you been able to buy a 13" Pro with an i3 or an i5 or a 15" with an i7 the performance degradation over 3-4 years would have been minor.