New MacBook Dilemma

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by new2mbp, Aug 6, 2012.

  1. new2mbp macrumors newbie

    Aug 6, 2012
    Hi, I'm new to this forum but I've been browsing various threads for awhile. It's finally time for my 6yr old HP computer to retire and I'm looking at getting a MacBook Pro. The problem is I'm having a tough time deciding between the 15" MBP normal and the 15" MBP retina.

    A little background....I'm finishing up my undergraduate degree and moving on to medical school. I need a computer that will last at least 5 years, (hopefully longer). I want something fast that will be able to handle various applications running at once. I don't do gaming, but I am into photography and edit a lot of photos. Money isn't really a major factor, but I would like to keep it under $2500.

    I noticed that the base specs for the rMBP make it cheaper than if you put the same options into the normal Pro, (8gb memory and 256gb solid state/flash is $1,999 for the rMBP and $2239 for the MBP). If I want whatever computer I get to last a long time, what are some specs I should definitely look at having, (memory, storage, etc.)?

    Any overall advice?
  2. geoffreak macrumors 68020


    Feb 8, 2008
    For what you do, I'd doubt you would see much of a performance difference between the two machines (assuming you put a SSD in the regular MBP). Just pick the one you like and go with it.

    You might want to consider upgrading to 16GB of RAM if you go rMBP as the RAM isn't upgradeable.
  3. Gumpdump macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2012
    I'm into photography and went for the cMBP because I need the extra storage that it can have if you remove the SuperDrive and upgraded the screen to the higher res. I have ordered extra memory and an upgraded HDD separately as well.

    The retina screen is indeed great but for me from looking and playing with one I think the next one will be the one to have personally.

    As for processors all are super quick, I'd avoid the top 2.7 it's performance advantage for the money is minor at best.
  4. Rocky244 macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2012
    It helps to first distinguish between the two options, to help determine pros and cons.

    As I'm sure you've read in previous threads, the benefit of a cMBP is that it is upgradable, allowing you to spend less now and upgrade later if it suits you. Also, upgrading on your own can present cheaper upgrading solutions, and more customized components specific to your needs.

    The drawback of a cMBP is the decreased portability, and obivously the lower quality screen. There is some discussion of the cMBP being less powerful in terms of graphics than the rMBP, but considering you do not plan on gaming, this will probably not be much of an obstacle.

    You really need to decide which of these factors are most important, and choose accordingly.

    You mention that you want longevity in your product. If you want it to last longer you're going to want to have a decent amount of RAM in the future. The problem here, is that if you want more RAM in the rMBP you have to make that distinction now, and pay more for it. If you choose the cMBP, you can pass on upgrades now, and make those upgrades with less expensive parts in the future, causing the pricing to be similar for the two computers.

    Choosing the cMBP is about flexibility, and reliability.

    As for storage, I don't see this as a huge factor in computer purchases, mainly because I tend not to store extreme amounts of media on my internal drives. I keep separate drives for media, and that usually is enough to keep my interal drives fairly empty, as is true for most people. What this means for you is that you can not focus heavily on this aspect and make your decision elsewhere, with the exception of adding an SSD. SSDs provide significant speed boosts, but are quite pricey, as you've noticed. The cMBP allows you to add an SSD yourself, and if it a larger capacity SSD you can do so at a cheaper price than Apple offers. The rMBP already come with these.

    You most likely already know the information you need to make your decision, if you've spent some time reading various threads. The cMBP is upgradeable, the rMBP is not really. Along with that fact, you have form factor, and display differences. Considering those three components, I'm sure you are capable of doing the math and determining the best possibility.
  5. Dangerous Theory macrumors 68000

    Jul 28, 2011
    Considering you've been fine with a 6 year old HP, either of these Macbooks are going to do well for longevity and perform your needs. The retina macbook is probably the start of much higher density displays in the coming years, and it's not likely to get any higher for a long time, so you'll have a display that is still desirable in 5 years.
  6. vladster macrumors member

    Jul 25, 2011
    For what you do, just buy the cheapest one you can configure. Modern hardware exceeds requirements of photo editing. Unless you do some batch image processing rather than individual images.

    If you want to keep it for long time - buy the one that can be upgraded with more memory (eliminates retina one and Airs).
  7. stevelam macrumors 65816

    Nov 4, 2010
    what are you using to edit photos? all you have really is aperture. no adobe apps will be updated for retina for quite a long time.
  8. new2mbp thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 6, 2012
    Stevelam--I use mainly picasa, with adobe photoshop on occasion. I'm not a pro so I don't need anything fancy, just something where I can crop, adjust lighting/colors, and review lots of photos.
  9. stevelam macrumors 65816

    Nov 4, 2010
    picasa isn't retina optimized either.
  10. Newfiebill macrumors regular


    Jan 6, 2011
    Agree with the Upgradability

    For what it's worth, you should leave the rMBP and go with the new regular MBP. You get the USB 3.0, new GPU and CPU & TB. The ability to upgrade the RAM and Hard drive in the future is large! Go with the basic model and you will be good for years to come.

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