PC User thinking of buying a rMBP

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by frenchtony, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. frenchtony macrumors member

    Jan 3, 2013
    Bonjour everybody,

    I'm a software developer, long-time PC user and I'm trying to find the best laptop to buy.
    I've got my eyes on the retina Macbook Pro, but I have a few questions:

    - As of today, can we now have the graphic card switching in Windows? (I read on older posts that it wasn't possible, I wonder if it has been fixed...)
    - If you are running Windows (7/8) on it, what is your experience? Are you happy or do you think you should have bought something else?
    - If you had to buy a MBP to use with Windows today, would you still buy the retina or the "regular" model?

  2. xAgustinx macrumors regular


    May 22, 2012
    If I had to use Windows, I would buy a PC (but that's just me).

    Usually, someone buys a mac to use osx, no for the hardware itself.

    Anyway, Windows 8 runs fine on my macbook.
  3. frenchtony thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 3, 2013
    I considered a lot of (PC) alternatives, but it's either not as good, or not available in the UK where I live.

    Back to my original questions, does anyone know if the graphic card integrated/discrete switching is now working under windows ?
  4. stevelam macrumors 65816

    Nov 4, 2010
    no, it doesnt do it in windows.
  5. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    -No. No drivers were written for it at the moment.

    -I'd forego using windows 8 for now, most drivers for windows 7 work OK, but not all, you may have some trouble with that. That is apart from the fact that Windows 8's interface was clearly made with a touch screen in mind... If you're buying a rMBP to run mostly windows on it, personally I'd look elsewhere. Apart from the fact that you are overpaying to run windows, power management is not nearly as efficient in windows with MBP's, and you would not get much more than 3-3.5 hours out of a charge, whereas an actual, opimized windows laptop would have more runtime.

    -Personally I'd buy a regular one, neither OS'es are truly retina optimized and it would end up bothering me in the long run.
  6. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    I've had some issues getting Windows 8 to install on a 13" rMBP. It will go through the motions, but then it seems to get stuck when it first loads. For some reason, it won't use the whole screen (i.e. it is just using a narrow ribbon along the left side). That was with a clean install and you might have better luck with an upgrade, but Apple hasn't released new drivers yet.

    Windows 7 works fine and I've stuck with that for my Boot Camp partition. I use 1680x1050 scaled resolution in Windows. Unlike in OS X, you can actually use the full (non-quadrupled) resolution (2560x1600 in my case), but the icons are very tiny.
  7. frenchtony thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 3, 2013
    Many thanks for your replies, I think I got the answers I needed.

    And it seems I'm going to look somewhere else and not buy a MBP :)

    THanks again!
  8. rikbrown macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2010
    A non-retina one would be fine. That's how I entered the world of Mac. I was then subsequently converted to using the "other" partition all the time.
  9. krravi macrumors 65816

    Nov 30, 2010
    I am in the same situation as you. But Bootcamp support for Windows is sketchy at best. Its more of a gimmick rather than being able to run Windows smoothly. There are a lot of temperature issues with Windows and not supplying all the drivers etc...

    I just use virtualbox for windows for development. I use it that way on my iMac as well as the rMBP and it works fine.

    Just make sure you buy a 15" with quad core and 16 GB memory if you are going to run virtual machines. SSD size can be 256. I bought a external Buffalo Thunderbolt 1 TB drive to store all my VM's.
  10. bill-p macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2011
    Just to add some input:

    1) No. Not possible... and most likely not possible ever. Problem is Apple purposefully hid graphics switching within the firmware. They may feel generous and spend the extra effort to enable it someday, but I sincerely doubt it. And it's not a drivers issue. It's a firmware issue.

    2) I'm going to go against the flow here: it's the best Windows computer I have had. Bar none. Similar PC laptops with the same specs would only be able to muster about the same amount of battery life (4 hours) under my typical usage. Heck, even OSX would have a hard time getting past 5 hours while I'm doing a lot of coding (compile, debug OpenGL apps) so I get actually about the same runtime either way. If there's a better PC alternative that has the same specs (660M equivalent graphics, quad-core Ivy Bridge, less than 1" thickness, IPS screen, sufficiently high resolution, 4-hour battery life), I'd love to know.

    3) If I had to buy a Windows computer today, and money wasn't an issue, I'd buy a Retina MacBook, install Bootcamp, and delete the OSX partition.
  11. liVec macrumors newbie

    Oct 27, 2012
    I advise to just buy a windows laptop, there are many great options out there... Personally, I went mac after 12 years because of the superior OS.
  12. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    Pointed out above but the rMBP isn't the only option. You even mention this in your own OP.

    I wouldn't. Like many others that have made this comment, my MBP (classic) is the best Windows laptop I've owned. Clearly, it's a subjective matter.
  13. frenchtony thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 3, 2013

    Thanks for your input.
    I'm now back to buying a MBP now, thanks to you and some other posters.

    After reading a lot of articles on the web, I'm even considering making the effort of switching to OSX, as it can't hurt to diversify in my trade (software developer). I might even like coding for iOS...

    I'm going to the Apple Store tonight (the Regent Street one probably) to see the beast with my own eyes, I'll let you know how it went :)

    Thanks all!
  14. Rhinoevans macrumors 6502

    Oct 5, 2012
    Las Vegas, NV
    I just bought a new cMBP and like it. And am running Win 7 and Win 8 with Parallels. It is GOOD, but if I really needed to run PC soft ware, I would buy a new PC, not a Mac. Unless your PC software if Microsoft Office.

    The new PC's with i7 IvyBrige and Win 8 is Awesome. I installed Win 8 on my Sony i7 (3 years old), and it is like a new machine. Had i done that first I might have same some money and not bought the Mac.

    Mac is nice machine but hardware in both is the same, so it really is the software that is different. IMHO OSX is not better than windows, just different. One thing i don't like is the Fat32 format and the inability to read/write NTFS hard drives without so special software which was such a pain i gave up. SOme good implementation in OSX, but for a guy who has used windows for ever the transition is painful. Just not knowing how to do simple things. I sure it will come in time.

    Good luck
  15. Barna Biro macrumors 6502a

    Barna Biro

    Sep 25, 2011
    Zug, Switzerland
    I'm a software engineer myself and I've been using Windows most of my life... until last year! If you want to run Windows, then getting a Mac makes little sense. Sure, you have a nice notebook with nice build quality and support and all that jazz, but you're realistically just spending a lot more on the brand ( it's true that nowadays, PCs with similar or even lower configs come close by price if not even surpass Apple products... but still ).

    If you get a Mac, forget about Windows ( not saying to never use it again, I still use it for gaming for example and a few things that don't have OSX version - but it is not and will never again be my main OS ). Just my 2 cents...
  16. Liquinn Suspended

    Apr 10, 2011
    I know what you mean to be honest. :D Glad you're enjoying your new machine. :) Which size did you buy?
  17. KdParker macrumors 601


    Oct 1, 2010
    Not sure what you mean about the graphic card switching in Windows, but I have been running windows on my rMbp and I have been completely happy.

    I use windows 8 (bootcamp) for windows 8/and java developement, and have found that the rMbp is the best laptop I have ever owned.


    I am a developer and I have a need to work with OSX and Windows. I have been able to do both with rMbp.

    I think this is best laptop out there, but if you only work in Windows, there are plenty of good laptops for a cheaper price.
  18. frenchtony thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 3, 2013
    In OSX, the OS will in normal usage be using the integrated graphic card (the crappy one, but the most energy efficient one), while switching to the discrete one (the NVidia one, much better performance but a real battery killer) if you are running an application that need it (like a game for example).

    In Bootcamp Windows, the driver/firmware only allows the OS to use the discrete graphic card, which kills the battery and make the computer run hot.

    Or so I heard. :)
  19. definitive macrumors 68000


    Aug 4, 2008
    a) wouldn't buy a $2k laptop just to run windows 7 or 8 on it. you can buy a $500 system for that and it would be just as fast as the mbp.

    b) wouldn't buy first generation rmbp so late in to its release. would wait for an updated version instead.
  20. mrbigglessworth macrumors member

    Dec 5, 2012
    So no switching, but what about manual? Is there not a way to say for games that you want to prefer the Nvidia chip over the Intel?
  21. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    No. Windows uses the nVidia card, at all times, period.
  22. mattxi macrumors member

    Nov 25, 2012
    Novosibirsk, RU and Minnesota, US
    I'm on a 15" rMBP, using a Windows 8 Bootcamp partition and it works flawlessly. Beautiful with the resolution set only at 1920x1200. I use it for gaming and it far exceeds that of a gaming specific laptop or console...the light dev I do with windows also runs flawlessly.

    In the end, mac will last longer, and from my experience, will run windows better than windows computers.

    Between retina and classic, in my opinion it's about preference...I love the retina, but there are always the classic fans.

    Best of luck to you!
  23. bill-p macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2011
    I think I have said this before, but since people kept mentioning "cheap", let's try it again:

    Please find one PC laptop that has GeForce 660M equivalent graphics coupled with a quad-core Ivy Bridge processor, an IPS display with sufficiently high resolution (above 1680 x 1050), and a body that's less than 1" thick. All of that while maintaining at least 4 hours of regular battery life.

    Let's say... bump the upper ceiling on pricing up to $4000 or $5000, or as high as you can.

    By "late", you realize it's only 6 months by now, and that disregarding Apple's release schedule, Intel is not slated to release Haswell for the next 6 months?
  24. runebinder macrumors 6502a


    Apr 2, 2009
    Nottingham, UK
    Fat32 is not exclusive to Macs, used to be the main Windows file system before NT, and personally ExFat (Fat64), is a better option for drives that both OS's can read/write to (although need an update in XP for this, but that is an 11 year old OS), as it does not have the 4GB maximum file size limit of Fat32.

    Also at least OS X give the opportunity to read NTFS, Windows cannot even read HFS+ so seems a bit of an unfair criticism.
  25. calpolygraduate macrumors regular


    Jan 16, 2008
    I would wait for a rMBP refresh coming in July 2013, same time the iPhone 5S is slated to be released.

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