New Buyer Help

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by protzy09, May 31, 2013.

  1. protzy09 macrumors newbie

    May 31, 2013
    I'm trying to figure out what to get for my next laptop. Currently I have a very old Dell latitude D520. I'm looking at the 15" rmbp and the normal 15" mbp. I've been trying to figure out which one is better, and how long they will the judgement of if it is worth spending 3k on a laptop or just getting a cheaper dell?
  2. ramram55 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2012
    It is your choice, non retina 15" mbp with average spec, meaning 500gb hd, 8gb ram will be sufficient. Depends on your need. Later you can upgrade the ram and hd to ssd, will be about 2k total. If you are comfortable with Dell, then stay with it. In my opinion MBP will give you 5+ years of usage, once you are used to it, will not want non apple PC.
  3. peejack macrumors 6502a

    Aug 7, 2007
    Its really a question about what operating system you want. OSX or Windows?
  4. Ledgem macrumors 65816


    Jan 18, 2008
    Hawaii, USA
    While the retina MBP vs. standard MBP can lead to some passionate debates, the big issue is whether the better screen and slimmer, lighter form is worth the removal of the DVD drive, the inability to upgrade your own RAM (or to easily upgrade your own SSD/hard drive), and the added cost. You can determine which system you'd prefer for yourself. You definitely don't need to spend $3000 to buy a MacBook Pro.

    MBP vs. Windows laptop is another personal choice issue. Virtualizing Windows can make the transition a lot easier, but you'll ultimately need to learn the nuances of OS X and find native software on the OS X side. OS X is quite nice once you get used to it, though (and I say that as someone who switched systems about six years ago and never thought I'd ever use OS X as my primary system). Quality-wise, in my experience it seems like PC laptops don't last quite as long as MBPs. Technical support was a nightmare issue when I used PCs, and it's certainly convenient to be able to bring your system to an Apple store and have them deal with it (assuming there are Apple stores near you).

    You're on an Apple site so the answers you receive are probably pretty predictable. If you can afford it (financially and time-wise to get used to the new system) then I'd say to go for it. It's a nicer experience.
  5. Yahooligan, May 31, 2013
    Last edited: May 31, 2013

    Yahooligan macrumors 6502a


    Aug 7, 2011
    Personally, in order to help you on your quest, we need to know how you plan on using it.

    Will you be connecting it to an external display often or always using the built-in display?

    Do you run any memory-intensive apps such as Photoshop or do you plan on editing videos, etc?

    How much drive space do you need?

    The Retina display is quite nice, however keep in mind that if you run apps that haven't been optimized for Retina then they won't look very good, the text won't be very clear/sharp, etc. The native resolution of the Retina is 2880x1800, so running graphics-intensive apps at that resolution may not perform very well. Running at a lower resolution results in poor image quality, IMO, just like running any display at a non-native resolution. Even the desktop, while it doesn't look like it due to scaling, is run at 2880x1800. You have to decide if display quality is more important than graphics performance.

    The Retina model also lacks an optical drive, but an external drive will work just fine if you need to read or burn CDs and DVDs.

    SSD upgrade options are somewhat limited and memory cannot be upgraded in the Retina, so if you order an 8GB/256GB model then you are essentially stuck with it, you cannot upgrade the memory later.

    The non-Retina MBP isn't as thin or light as the Retina, it's about 25% heavier. The non-Retina comes with an optical drive, the memory and HDD can be upgraded, it has the same GPU as the Retina model, and you can get the non-Retina with a hi-res 1680x1050 display (Available as either glossy or antiglare).

    I have both models, my personal mid-2012 non-Retina 15" MBP and a work-provided 15" Retina. Both have 16GB of memory, both gave 512GB SSD, both have 2.7GHz i7 CPUs (Though the Retina is an early-2013 with the new CPU). The main difference is that in my non-Retina I have a 1TB HDD in place of the optical drive, I do a bit of photo and video editing and having a single 500GB or 512GB drive was easy to fill up and I don't want to have to use an external drive to house all my stuff.

    I also only use the internal display when I'm away from my desk or traveling, otherwise they're closed up and connected to an external display.

    My non-Retina listed for $2650 (8GB, 1TB, hi-res antiglare)
    My Retina lists for $2799

    $150 more to get 16GB of memory and a 512GB SSD along with the Retina display is a no-brainer to me and if I didn't need the extra space I would happily replace my non-Retina MBP with the Retina.

    I'm very happy with both but one suits my needs/use better than the other. Think about what you'll be using it for and then decide which model makes the most sense.

    The only things I miss by not having a Windows PC are the games, but if I really wanted to do game then I could just install Windows with Boot Camp.

    Now, if I could only get my wife off of Windows... :)

    Good luck!
  6. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

    Mar 4, 2013
    While the RAM is soldered, the rMBP's SSD can be upgraded, and the job is not hard. However, aftermarket upgrades are expensive because you're limited to either Apple's own original parts or those produced by OWC. So while you're not stuck with the original SSD, it's far more cost effective to pay for any upgrade when you order the computer.
  7. Yahooligan macrumors 6502a


    Aug 7, 2011
    Good point, edited my previous post to avoid confusion/misinformation. The 480GB upgrade from OWC is $530, upgrading to 512GB when ordering from Apple is $300. So while the OWC upgrade is $230 more than if you order 512GB to begin with it looks like people are selling 256GB Apple SSDs on eBay for at least that much if not more, making upgrading the SSD later a potentially money-saving move.

    Of course, if someone isn't comfortable cracking their laptop open then it's best to plan for future needs and not just what you need right now. For that reason I think spending an extra $200 to get a 16GB Retina over an 8GB Retina is a worthwhile move and will add to resale value down the road, especially since that truly can't be upgraded.
  8. Badrottie Suspended


    May 8, 2011
    Los Angeles
    Want to save more money? Just get damn cheap Dell! :D
  9. protzy09 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 31, 2013
    Mostly I need it for school but I graduate in December so I'll need it for whatever potential job I get/home use and maybe law school. I've got the money to spend so I'm trying to do it right the first time and get the best comp I can that will last me the longest. Thanks for all the replies, it has been helpful. I'm also going to wait until after the new mbp's come out at the WWDC so my comp isn't immediately out of date :rolleyes:

    Also, how do macs interface with microsoft office?
  10. Yahooligan macrumors 6502a


    Aug 7, 2011
    Well, if you don't think you'll need more than 512GB of disk space (At least internally) then I would go with a 15" Retina with 512GB SSD and 16GB ram since it will be lighter and easier to carry around. It should also hold its value better since down the road most people are likely to look for the higher-spec'd models.
  11. SMDBill macrumors 6502

    Apr 12, 2013
    For MS Office compatibility it's fine.

    If I were in your shoes I think I'd be looking at the 15" cMBP. I say that because you get a standard screen that still looks as good as the Dell you are used to so you won't "miss" retina without ever having owned it. You still get a great discreet video card, RAM you can upgrade if you find you need more as your requirements evolve, and you will have the power and quality you need to last many years.

    On another note, the Dell is cheap. However, look up used Dell values compared to used Mac prices. One can buy a Mac, sell it used, and pay little more for an upgraded machine. You cannot do that with any PC I know of. That's huge. It's like Toyota trade in value or Harley Davidson future value. By holding value the machine gives you a return later on the investment, but if you choose to keep it throughout its entire life cycle they are still awesome machines that don't typically slow down with age due to the OS (unless, of course, you continue to update the OS as each new version comes out that may require additional resources).

    I've had Dell laptops and for the most part they were ok to use, often ran hot, were of fairly poor quality and lasted less than 2 years with the same use our Macs receive that still look and function like new. I'm sure some have had great luck with Dells, but I have not.
  12. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    For work, it depends on the work environment whether a Mac is a good choice. If it is mostly freelance or e.g. graphics design, a Mac can be good. Anything that requires you to install company software on your private machine could however be an issue.

    For home use... don't know, depends on your personal preferences.

    For law school, a Mac is probably a nice choice...

    Microsoft Office works well on a Mac, although you are sometimes one version behind the current Windows version.

Share This Page