Retina MBP storage & RAM: base or high-end? (help?)

MDFang

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 17, 2011
46
0
Hey all!

(Long post, I know. Sorry, but explaining my entire situation helps getting a more accurate answer.)

I'm in a bit of a predicament here. Allow me to explain the situation, and the possibilities I've been exploring.

(I will refer to the Retina Macbook Pro as the Next Generation Macbook Pro, NG MBP for short.)


Next year I'll be going to college, studying computer sciences, and obviously a decent laptop is needed for that. On top of that, I need a new computer for personal use, since I'm currently stuck with a 2006 baseline MacMini with its RAM upgraded to 2GB. It's getting pretty slow, and I think it's time I get my first real upgrade.
With the rumours and all flying about at the start of 2012, I thought I'd hold out on buying a Macbook Pro. I had been aiming for a high-end 15" MBP model whenever the updates came through. However, I did not account for the Next Generation MBP.

I want a machine that is future-proof and can last me another six years (or preferably more), like my trusty MacMini has served me so far. I need it to stay averagely powerful, even by future standards.
The NG MBP, in my eyes, offers just that. A very high-quality monitor (for which they sadly didn't include a matte option), SSD storage, strong processor and good GPU.


As most of you probably know, the baseline NG MBP now costs about as much as the high-end 15" MBP. However, the 256GB of non-BTO-upgradable storage it provides seem a bit lacklustre to me. I'd also need to upgrade to 16GB of RAM since I feel like that will definitely be a big help in keeping the computer fast and snappy, even after a couple of years.

This all wouldn't be a problem normally, because I'd just get the base model or something cheap and upgrade it myself. Sadly, Apple decided to screw me over and integrate every component into the computer, so it can't be upgraded by the user AT ALL. (At least not that I know of.)


So I'd say I'm stuck with dishing out 3.1k Euros just so I can get decent storage space and 16GB RAM. However, I'm no expert, and haven't worked with storage spaces larger than 80GB (aside from my 500GB external drive which is filled to the brim, 30% of that being stuff I use nearly every day).

It'd be really, really nice if someone could tell me if I'm shooting a bit high with the 512GB storage and 16GB RAM. Do I really need that, or can I last just as long with the default base-model? I don't have a particularly large amount of savings, and 3.1k Euros is a huge amount of money.

I don't plan on using it for anything special, but will definitely be doing quite a bit of gaming once I get a capable computer, and tend to do a lot of experimenting with graphics software like Adobe Photoshop as well.


Thank you very much for your help!
~ Fang
 

icebergx

macrumors regular
May 27, 2012
202
3
Copenhagen, Denmark
Is this correct? I won't be able to upgrade the SSD or the RAM in future?
In an ideal world, I'd like to keep the SSD but add a regular 7200 2.5 inch HDD for additional, "slow access" storage.
 

charlieegan3

macrumors 68020
Feb 16, 2012
2,395
14
U.K
Is this correct? I won't be able to upgrade the SSD or the RAM in future?
In an ideal world, I'd like to keep the SSD but add a regular 7200 2.5 inch HDD for additional, "slow access" storage.
EDIT: Seems i was wrong...
 
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psykick5

macrumors 6502
Sep 4, 2011
350
0
I asked an Apple "specialist" and they said it is not upgradable. It is soldered like the Air.

:(
 

Stetrain

macrumors 68040
Feb 6, 2009
3,548
18
there will be no more SSD upgrades, i think you will be able to do ram, not sure though.
Other way around. RAM on the Retina Macbook Pro is not upgradable. The SSD is a removable board similar to that used in the Macbook Air.

There will probably be aftermarket SSDs available eventually. OWC currently makes them for the Air, they will probably have a similar model for the Macbook Pro.



The SSD board is below the left fan:

 

MrGando

macrumors member
Aug 16, 2007
86
0
Neither the HD or RAM are upgradeable ?

The air HD is indeed upgradeable ( even if apple says it's not )
 

TheMacBookPro

macrumors 68020
May 9, 2008
2,132
1
RAM looks like it is not user upgradeable.

The SSD should be like the Air's- a proprietary connector, but removable. Won't be cheap to upgrade though.
 

BeyondMountains

macrumors 6502
Jan 11, 2008
343
0
It seems as if most people are now saying that the HDD is user-replaceable but the Ram isn't... Any idea when we'll see a definitive answer to this?
I just called apple. The Ssd is only upgradeable if you take it to the apple store or other "authorized dealers" that are able to upgrade it for you.

the ram is user upgradable
 

MDFang

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 17, 2011
46
0
the ram is user upgradable
We're talking Retina MBP here, right? The RAM's soldered to the board.
(And, as stated many a times by now, the SSD is replaceable in the same way as with the Air.)

Nobody has really provided any sort of answer to my question though.
I can get a student discount, and may be able to get back the 16% tax I pay over here, but it's still expensive.
 

Stetrain

macrumors 68040
Feb 6, 2009
3,548
18
I just called apple. The Ssd is only upgradeable if you take it to the apple store or other "authorized dealers" that are able to upgrade it for you.
Looks to be the same connector and style as the Air's SSD. It is definitely possible to replace the Air's SSD, and this one looks like it should be as well. Probably not "Apple Approved" but possible.

the ram is user upgradable
From the photo above it would appear that you would need a soldering iron and some very steady hands to do that.
 

BeyondMountains

macrumors 6502
Jan 11, 2008
343
0
Looks to be the same connector and style as the Air's SSD. It is definitely possible to replace the Air's SSD, and this one looks like it should be as well. Probably not "Apple Approved" but possible.



From the photo above it would appear that you would need a soldering iron and some very steady hands to do that.
Then apple customer service lied to me. -_-
 

MDFang

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 17, 2011
46
0
Now I know everyone's all excited and stuff, and there's already dozens of threads like this out there, but could we please keep it on-topic? It's all been side-discussion so far, and I'd much rather have at least an attempt at an answer to my question.
 

MDFang

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 17, 2011
46
0
Update:
I've decided to get the 16 gigs of RAM for sure, since it's pretty much a now-or-never situation and I'll probably regret it in a few years if I don't.

Still a bit stuck on the storage space though. Someone help me out?
 

signalpuppet

macrumors newbie
Jun 12, 2012
5
0
Update:
I've decided to get the 16 gigs of RAM for sure, since it's pretty much a now-or-never situation and I'll probably regret it in a few years if I don't.

Still a bit stuck on the storage space though. Someone help me out?
The storage space is very much a personal preference situation. It really depends how much stuff you have right now and how much you think you may get in the future. I am junior in college majoring in computer science and I can say from personal experience that I have gotten plenty of files not just from programming class but from my other classes that are quite big in size and quickly helped fill up my 500 GB drive in my old 2009 macbook pro. Your experience may differ of course and you may never get huge books like I did in your college class but you should be aware of that. I would also point out that even though it may say the ssd is 512 GB you aren't actually going to get that much storage since you have to factor in the size of lion and everything else that comes pre installed. To me it seems like 512 GB may be a little small for you if you are going to do programming and doing stuff in photoshop, of course a cheaper option you could do is get an external 1 TB drive.

p.s don't forget about the student discount :D
 
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lazer155

macrumors regular
Jul 5, 2010
150
0
The storage space is very much a personal preference situation. It really depends how much stuff you have right now and how much you think you may get in the future. I am junior in college majoring in computer science and I can say from personal experience that I have gotten plenty of files not just from programming class but from my other classes that are quite big in size and quickly helped fill up my 500 GB drive in my old 2009 macbook pro. Your experience may differ of course and you may never get huge books like I did in your college class but you should be aware of that. I would also point out that even though it may say the ssd is 512 GB you aren't actually going to get that much space, you actually get 476 GB (this explains the difference http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_disk_drive#Capacity) of storage and even less when you factor in the size of lion and everything else that comes pre installed. To me it seems like 512 GB may be a little small for you if you are going to do programming and doing stuff in photoshop, of course a cheaper option you could do is get an external 1 TB drive.

p.s don't forget about the student discount :D
Where did you find 476gb? I looked through the Wikipedia page but didn't see that. I ask because I am now very curious about how much space 256gb is in reality. Like the OP I am also trying to decide which size to get as a college student. I was leaning towards the 512gb version but was still considering 256gb. If we really do lose that much space without even factoring in lion and apps, I will refinery be going for the 512gb and an external hardrive.
 
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signalpuppet

macrumors newbie
Jun 12, 2012
5
0
Where did you find 476gb? I looked through the Wikipedia page but didn't see that. I ask because I am now dry curious about how much space 256gb is in reality. Like the OP I am also trying to decide which size to get as a college student. I was leaning towards the 512gb version but was still considering 256gb. If we really do lose that much space without even factoring in lion and apps, I will refinery be going for the 512gb and an external hardrive.
Actually after looking over the wikipedia page (there is a chart on the right side in the capacity section that I was referring to) I am actually wrong about losing space on the ssd since apparently OS X doesn't use binary multipliers but decimal multiples instead, which I didn't realize, so you actually should get exactly how much space they say you should. As for how I got 476 GB this link should give a better explanation http://support.apple.com/kb/TS2419. You should still consider the fact that lion and all the pre installed stuff will take up a few GB's of stuff to begin with.
 
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The "Dude"

macrumors regular
Sep 29, 2011
120
0
Being that you want to future-proof your purchase as much as possible, and that you're area of study in school is computer science, then go with the 512gb SSD and 16gb RAM. Yeah, it's adding onto an already expensive purchase, but it will pay for itself many times over if you can use it for 6 years.
 

signalpuppet

macrumors newbie
Jun 12, 2012
5
0
There really is no need for 16GB of RAM unless you're running Engineering analysis/simulation programs.
Yeah you are probably right he mostly likely would be good with just 8GB of RAM. The main reasons I can see going for 16GB is if you would need to virtualize windows or linux or something while running OS X and the fact that you can't upgrade the RAM in a few years if you find you need more. Personally I am going for the 16GB just because I am going for 768GB ssd and at that price I may as well go all out.
 

lazer155

macrumors regular
Jul 5, 2010
150
0
Actually after looking over the wikipedia page (there is a chart on the right side in the capacity section that I was referring to) I am actually wrong about losing space on the ssd since apparently OS X doesn't use binary multipliers but decimal multiples instead, which I didn't realize, so you actually should get exactly how much space they say you should. As for how I got 476 GB this link should give a better explanation http://www.thetomorrowtimes.com/2007/08/hard-drive-capacity-calculator.html. You should still consider the fact that lion and all the pre installed stuff will take up a few GB's of stuff to begin with.
Thanks and it seems, according to that link, that macs still vary lower than their advertised disk space. So 476 GB sounds about right. Plus having checked my 2009 macbook pro with a 320gb hard drive, the most space I have ever had in around 298gb. With that, I think I will definitely be getting the 512gb version since it is more like 475 gb even that is a bit small. It looks like no matter which RMBP a college student or someone who needs a lot of space and wants to avoid upgrading for awhile (not buy a new one until 3-4 or 5 years from now) external hard drives are kind of a requirement unfortunately. Apple doesn't offer enough space even with the maxed out SSD on the highest end RMBP.
 

signalpuppet

macrumors newbie
Jun 12, 2012
5
0
Thanks and it seems, according to that link, that macs still vary lower than their advertised disk space. So 476 GB sounds about right. Plus having checked my 2009 macbook pro with a 320gb hard drive, the most space I have ever had in around 298gb. With that, I think I will definitely be getting the 512gb version since it is more like 475 gb even that is a bit small. It looks like no matter which RMBP a college student or someone who needs a lot of space and wants to avoid upgrading for awhile (not buy a new one until 3-4 or 5 years from now) external hard drives are kind of a requirement unfortunately. Apple doesn't offer enough space even with the maxed out SSD on the highest end RMBP.
That article is somewhat wrong for macs since it is from 2007 so is a little outdated since starting in 10.6 and up mac will now have almost exactly the capacity they say. This is the actual link I should have posted but couldn't find it earlier http://support.apple.com/kb/TS2419.
 
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