Retina vs Custom PC + MBA

aloshka

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Original poster
Aug 30, 2009
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I was one of the first few people to order a rMBP. I maxed it out minus the 768gb drive. Now I'm wondering did I do the right thing.

My work goes as follows. I have 5 virtual machines all running windows 7 that I used consistently running Visual Studio, etc. I use the mac side to run PS 6 and iPhone/iPAD development. I currently hook my rMBP into a thunderbolt display.

I'm wondering would it be a better solution to build a custom power-pc and run all the windows on that box, and use the air to remote into the pc when mobile, and use the air for iPAD / iPhone development and Photoshop.

The reason for the PC idea is because I really want to run dual monitors and there are many times where I wish I had an always-on pc to do large downloads, etc. These are rare, but would be nice.

The price would eventually be the same between the two solutions. Another hidden option is just to buy another thunderbolt display and run dual displays on the rMBP (I did this at work and it works really nice actually). Thoughts?
 

Jhowland

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Apr 18, 2012
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ɐıןɐɹʇsnɐ
The reason for the PC idea is because I really want to run dual monitors...

Another hidden option is just to buy another thunderbolt display and run dual displays on the rMBP (I did this at work and it works really nice actually). Thoughts?
Someone correct me if I'm wrong but I believe you can run up to 3 non thunderbolt displays from the retina MacBook Pro (both thunderbolt ports and the HDMI port) 2 of which can be up to 2560x1600 (the 2 thunderbolt ports)
 

aloshka

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Aug 30, 2009
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You are correct. But I don't want to hook 4-5 cables to do this. I plug/unplug my laptop a lot. Even with dual thunderbolt it's still just power + tb cable into laptop since the displays are daisy chained.
 

Jhowland

macrumors member
Apr 18, 2012
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ɐıןɐɹʇsnɐ
Fair enough, I just didn't know if you knew. I would probably stay with the retina MacBook Pro unless you have no preference for OSX over windows or have no problem hackintoshing.
 

Tankmaze

macrumors 68000
Mar 7, 2012
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Get the custom pc + mba.

The current mba with 8gb ram is plenty to work with xcode and photoshop.
 

SpitUK

macrumors 6502a
Mar 5, 2010
521
132
East Yorkshire, UK
Stick with the retina and get another display. The retina provides great portable power and you will miss that with the Air. I have just moved from the PC+AIR to the retina for that very reason, you just have more flexibility.
 

aloshka

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Original poster
Aug 30, 2009
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Stick with the retina and get another display. The retina provides great portable power and you will miss that with the Air. I have just moved from the PC+AIR to the retina for that very reason, you just have more flexibility.
Thanks for the advice. Exactly what I did and happy. Using dual monitors is perfect, but I always have the option go work anywhere else.

After working with retina for a while, every other screen looks washed out. Even the apps that are pixelated look better than they do on the air.
 

Yebubbleman

macrumors 68030
May 20, 2010
2,941
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Los Angeles, CA
I was one of the first few people to order a rMBP. I maxed it out minus the 768gb drive. Now I'm wondering did I do the right thing.

My work goes as follows. I have 5 virtual machines all running windows 7 that I used consistently running Visual Studio, etc. I use the mac side to run PS 6 and iPhone/iPAD development. I currently hook my rMBP into a thunderbolt display.

I'm wondering would it be a better solution to build a custom power-pc and run all the windows on that box, and use the air to remote into the pc when mobile, and use the air for iPAD / iPhone development and Photoshop.

The reason for the PC idea is because I really want to run dual monitors and there are many times where I wish I had an always-on pc to do large downloads, etc. These are rare, but would be nice.

The price would eventually be the same between the two solutions. Another hidden option is just to buy another thunderbolt display and run dual displays on the rMBP (I did this at work and it works really nice actually). Thoughts?
I'm assuming you got 16GB of RAM on the rMBP. This is perfect for VMs; though a PC desktop that you can outfit more than 16GB of RAM is only that much more ideal. Personally, if you're looking to sell the rMBP to build such a PC and then buy a Mac to use secondarily for iOS development (as Photoshop will be just as good on a Mac as it would be on a PC), instead of getting a MacBook Air, I'd recommend either a high-end 13" MacBook Pro or a low-end 15" non-Retina MacBook Pro, simply because your expansion options aren't limited like they are on the MacBook Air. Also on the low-end 15" non-retina, you still have a discrete GPU, whereas you don't otherwise. And yes, the price disparity between the low-end 15" non-retina and the retina you have is pretty substantial. But that's just me. If you do go the Air route, max it out (512GB SSD, 2.0GHz Core i7, 8GB of RAM) as you can't do it later.
 

aloshka

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Original poster
Aug 30, 2009
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I'm assuming you got 16GB of RAM on the rMBP. This is perfect for VMs; though a PC desktop that you can outfit more than 16GB of RAM is only that much more ideal. Personally, if you're looking to sell the rMBP to build such a PC and then buy a Mac to use secondarily for iOS development (as Photoshop will be just as good on a Mac as it would be on a PC), instead of getting a MacBook Air, I'd recommend either a high-end 13" MacBook Pro or a low-end 15" non-Retina MacBook Pro, simply because your expansion options aren't limited like they are on the MacBook Air. Also on the low-end 15" non-retina, you still have a discrete GPU, whereas you don't otherwise. And yes, the price disparity between the low-end 15" non-retina and the retina you have is pretty substantial. But that's just me. If you do go the Air route, max it out (512GB SSD, 2.0GHz Core i7, 8GB of RAM) as you can't do it later.
It turns out it's cheaper to just keep the rMBP + with dual thunderbolt displays then building out a PC with dual monitors and buying another laptop.
 

Yebubbleman

macrumors 68030
May 20, 2010
2,941
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Los Angeles, CA
It turns out it's cheaper to just keep the rMBP + with dual thunderbolt displays then building out a PC with dual monitors and buying another laptop.
Frankly, I don't think that's a course of action you'll be all that disappointed with, seeing as that's a solid computer, and those are solid monitors. Windows 7 I think even supports half the DPI that OS X does, though that might've changed for the better recently. I don't know about Windows 8; my guess is that Microsoft will further that seeing as retina displays on laptops is a very obvious future for laptop technology.
 

aloshka

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Original poster
Aug 30, 2009
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Frankly, I don't think that's a course of action you'll be all that disappointed with, seeing as that's a solid computer, and those are solid monitors. Windows 7 I think even supports half the DPI that OS X does, though that might've changed for the better recently. I don't know about Windows 8; my guess is that Microsoft will further that seeing as retina displays on laptops is a very obvious future for laptop technology.
I tried windows 8 in Parallels and i'm surprised it runs a bit faster than Win7 in parallels. Parallels updated everything to make it work with Win 8 and i'm impressed. Just little changes made it work like the title bar doesn't show up immediately so you can do the gesture crap.

I'm still itching for a mac pro or something else and I don't understand why. Realistically, there is no way I can share my work between the two since my VMs are over 60gb each and I have 5 of them now. Copying will be impossible or keeping them in sync a problem. Not sure why I really want the Mac Pro other than I think it might somehow perform faster (6-core 3.33). Realistically, this is the fastest computer I have ever had.

I guess my worry is having everything in one location. What if it breaks?
 

aloshka

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Aug 30, 2009
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Been a while, still on rMBP. Great solution
 
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