Requesting insight: First time mac

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by w33brad, May 21, 2014.

  1. w33brad macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2014
    Hey! :)

    I'm looking for some insight from people here in the mac community. Basically I'm in need of a new computer.

    I've never had a mac before (used them at school however), but something inside me is running towards them. I actually used to despise apple products until maybe 2 years ago, but that's a different story.

    Around 2 years ago, I was looking for a tablet, and I picked myself up the iPad 3 when it first came out. Since day one of having this device, I have NEVER desired any other tablet. I've enjoyed every bit of it and have zero complaints. My next move is to get myself an iPhone when my current contract runs out, which is around the time iPhone 6 should be released... conveniently :)

    Anyway, recently, as said, I've been in need of a new laptop. I have always admired the aesthetics of macbooks but never really took an interest beyond that. But recently I've been looking into them more, and everything about them just appeals to me. Except the price. And this is where I need some insight.

    Now, of course, I would love to get the top end model with all the niceties included, but that's way out my budget, and even if it wasn't, I couldn't justify it. In saying that however, I have this niggling feeling, that if I bought another windows laptop instead of a macbook, I would regret it and not be fully satisfied. So here goes.

    After all that mumbo-jumbo, here is the point ;)

    1) Dual Core? For the prices of the macbooks, is dual core really worth it? Like the same price on a windows laptop would easily get you quad. Does it compare? I mean, I know the dual core is going to be good, but I just can't help feeling like I should be getting quad for that price.

    2) Is retina worth it? The way I'm looking at it, retina as much as it looks great, also appears to come with some draw-backs. Firstly, unless I go with a higher end retina model, I'm limited to very poor storage space. Secondly, the processing power doesn't seem as good, al-be-it, there isn't vast differences, but hey... it's a difference.

    3) I'm too much of a windows lover to fully let go. For now at least. So I'd be looking to bootcamp it. Now I also play games, not excessively though. Cod4, minecraft, and occasionally skyrim. Anyway, could one of the lower end macs handle these games? Particularly with no dedicated graphics.

    4) I'm also a student so would be using it for uni work too. And yes, I'm aware of educational discount - which is why macbook is an option for me. Otherwise, I'd likely not consider a mac.

    5) Is a processor upgrade worth it? (from 2.4 to 2.8)

    I'm not sure I could justify the higher end models (15")

    I think that's everything. If I come up with anymore queries, I will be sure to ask. I hope some people might give me some opinions to think about.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    The sweet spot is the 13" rMBP with a 2.4/8/256 configuration. Upgrading to 2.8GHz isn't worth it because:
    1. The processor is still dual core
    2. 400MHz won't make much difference

    However, I do recommend a 512GB SSD upgrade considering that since you're a Windows lover, I'll assume that you'll be using Windows more than Mac, so I guess you'd probably allocated half of the drive to Boot Camp. Besides, with the 512GB SSD, you won't have to play the SanDisk/Samsung lottery (128GB and 256GB have the SD/SM lottery, with the SD variant being 150MB/s slower in writes. 512GB and 1TB are SM only).

    The Intel Iris 5100 has no problem playing an old game like COD4 at max settings. Minecraft plays really sweetly on the Iris 5100 (I play MC myself too).

    Based on your needs, I don't think you'll need 16GB of RAM.
  3. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    Most important:

    - what apps do you run? do you multitask and to what extend?

    - whats your budget?

    - how often do you take it out of the house and what apps do you use on the go?
  4. w33brad thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2014
    Thanks yjchua95!
    Taken all into consideration, and I like the sound of it. Can't upgrade the SSD to 512gb unless I pick at least the 2.6GHz model. But all else sounds good.

    1) The apps I usually run would be: Photoshop, office, web browsing, and a few engineering apps. Which are windows only. And games. Multitasking, not really.

    2) Hmm no more than £1500. But ideally cheaper than that.

    3) Well I take my current laptop out the house for uni every day. Apps I use on go are office apps and browsing. Don't really do anything but that.

    I fully realise, that I wouldn't be using the MBP to it's full potential, and you might advise me to turn around and go for something a lot cheaper. And I have thought about it, but I really do have my heart set on a MBP.

    Thanks again.
  5. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    My 2 cent:

    1. Unfortunately we can't get a quad core in the 13'' model. Now from what you are telling us, I would say that you don't need a quad core. So it is not a problem. Whether or not you should be getting a quad core for that kind of money is not really relevant, because you can't have it if you want a Mac.

    2. I think yes, as far as the screen is concerned.

    2.1) The downside you see regarding the storage is not related to the retina screen, but to the storage solution. Now I think that laptops without a SSD are not an option. Unfortunately SSDs with large amounts of storage are still quite expensive, but they are so totally worth it.

    3) Hmm, I do some gaming on my 13'' retina. It is doable, certainly good for an integrated graphics solution. But it is obviously not a gaming machine. The 15'' with discrete GPU does well, but that is quite a bit more expensive.
    You can buy the machine and test how it does with gaming... if it is not good enough for you return it.

    4) OK?!? Unless the courses you will follow have very special hardware and software requirements, any Mac will be perfectly fine

    5) Personally I went for the 2.6 GHz, because it was rather cheap. It is not gonna make a big difference. Upgrading to 8/256 is important in my opinion. Anything beyond that is optional, and you have to consider that it brings the price closer to the entry level 15''. $1.5k vs. $2k is still a big difference, but if you get to a point where your 13'' would cost $1.8k for example, I would just get the entry level 15'' instead. Quad core, stronger graphics and larger screen are better than 16 GB of RAM in my opinion.

    In short: I think the 13'' rMBP with 8/256 GB is a great laptop for students. Great battery life, fits in every bag and on small coffee shop tables, and not all that expensive (a good windows laptop is also hard to find below $1k).
  6. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    Both 13" rMBP or base 15" rMBP will work for you. Playing old games like COD4 and Skyrim is not a concern with those modern iGPUs, but you need to understand that they won't handle much more. I was actually slightly shocked to find out that I can't really play Heroes&Generals on my 2012 rMBP with the 650M due to the awful performance; although, its quite likely that the reason is the bad game engine...
  7. w33brad thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2014
    Thanks everyone for their opinions and recommendations.

    So by what everyone is saying, I should be going for this:

    13-inch: 2.6GHz with Retina display
    • 8GB RAM
    • 512GB Flash

    I find it somewhat infuriating that you cannot upgrade the storage on either of the 2.4 rMBP's.
  8. Boomhowler macrumors 6502

    Feb 23, 2008
    There are a couple of companies that sell upgrade SSDs for the retina macbooks. are one, transcend is another. Check them out.

    Remember that RAM is not user upgradeable.

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