rMBP 13" - waste of money?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by NickPhamUK, Sep 4, 2013.


Is rMBP 13" a waste of money?

  1. Yes. MBA for casuals or iMac/rMBP 15" for heavy users

  2. No.

  1. NickPhamUK macrumors 6502


    May 6, 2013
    Imo the Mac which has the best performance/price right now is MBA 13" (i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD). Why?

    First of all, having owned an MBP 2008 and MBA 2011, I'd say that at least 256GB of storage is no-brainer. You shouldn't make do with an ext HDD and install apps on them, making them running slower than usual. If you need bootcamp or VMWare, Parallel etc. then 128GB won't cut it. About RAM, 4GB is enough for most of casual users but 8GB will ensure that the machine will stay for 3-5 years. It'll also help when you need to run virtualisation programs which demand much RAM. i7 IMO is not needed because it provides an extra 10% or so of performance, for a hefty price of $150, and you'll run into a risk of slightly compromising the battery life. If you want power, then consider an iMac or rMBP 15" instead.

    Now, I'm going to compare the said MBA model ($1399) with rMBP 13" (i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB, $1699).

    The only selling point of the rMBP 13" is its gorgeous retina display. Its performance is weak for such a pricey laptop. The rMBP 2012 model is weaker than the MBA 2013 according to some trusted benchmarks, and I doubt the rMBP 2013 will be significantly more powerful than the MBA. If anything, powerhouse users will need the quad core chip and dGPU/Iris 5200 of rMBP 15", not the lacklustre performance of the rMBP 13", and for casuals like me the MBA will suffice.

    Back to the point about the retina display, I think it is without a doubt beautiful, but so is the display on the MBA. Whilst 1440x900 looks awful lot on paper, it's actually quite nice in reality. In addition, not so many applications right now support the retina display, so the only retina resolution you'll stare at is the desktop wallpaper, Apple-made apps and a few others. Even in a few more months, more retina-supported apps will be released, I don't think rMBP 13" can run them decently (especially games).

    The MBA on the other hand, is thinner and lighter, has an amazing battery life and costs $300 less. I could buy the 2TB WD ext HDD for $129.99 (on sale), a mouse and a nice sleeve, and still have $100 left to invest on applications. Or on my lunch for a whole month.

    To sum up, I think the rMBP 13" is not worthy for the price you pay and the performance you get. MBA 2013 and iMac/rMBP 15" is the way to go for casual and heavy users, respectively.

    Nick :)
  2. PDFierro macrumors 68040

    Sep 8, 2009
    Not really. The MBA is powerful enough for my needs, but I'm going with the 13-inch rMBP and the screen is a huge reason why. You can't put a price tag on that.
  3. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    I use my 13" rmbp for real time work including Logic X. with the 500GB SSD and 8GB of RAM it fly's along and this is a guy who came from the real estate that a 17" cMBP offered...I just don't miss that screen, and I certainly don't miss all that weight!
  4. nateo200 macrumors 68030


    Feb 4, 2009
    Northern District NY
    Sorta a waste of money but not quite. I honestly think Apple needs to consider putting discrete Graphics and quad core's in the 13" MBP's....I would have considered a 13" with a retina display (or at least 1440x900p) if it had the power under the hood to handle FCP X like I wanted...compared to my 2010 13" MBP however my new 15" rMBP is just a beast and I love it. One bad thing about the rMBP's of any type though is that the screen just spoils you! It ruins every other monitor not on par with it! My power was out 3 days ago and my rMBP's battery was at 20% so I closed it up since I didnt want to run the battery out completely and opened up my 2010 13" MBP and it looked straight up ugly! I personally think that no computer screen should be lower than 1440x900 anymore and if possible should be 2K+ in resolution. Editing full resolution 4K or footage from the Arri Alexa (which happens to have a native capture resolution of 2880x1620! fits perfect on the 15" rMBP's 2880x1800 display!) is beautiful, I don't have any 4K cameras but I have had the priveledge to edit samples from RED and Arri Alexa cameras. And editing stills on the retina screen shows the full image so well. But back on topic...I think the 13" rMBP needs to have a discrete graphics card, my ideal wish list for the 13" rMBP would be two lines like so:

    -13" MacBook Pro with Retina, Dual Core i7 2.5GHz with Intel 4000 HD Graphics 384MB's and discrete NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M 512MB's. 256GB SSD. 8GB RAM

    BTO Options:
    -12GB's RAM

    -13" MacBook Pro with Retina, Quad Core i5 2.2GHz with Intel 4000 HD Graphics 512MB's and discrete NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M 768MB's. 256GB SSD.

    BTO Options:
    -16GB's RAM
    -Quad Core i7 2.3GHz
    -512GB SSD

    Give or take a little that could be a good option. Maybe make the entry 13" with the Dual core i7 not have a discrete GPU unless you BTO it. The retina MBP line should be geared towards graphics people, whether that be web designers who don't need crazy CPU/GPU's to editors that deal with very high resolution video and need all the power they can get...choosing the 13" model shouldn't dent performance as much as it currently does...some people may say "WHy would you want a smaller screen?!" and I get that but the 13" does offer a slight portability advantage for some...personally I find my 15" rMBP to be just as easy to carry but the 13" IS smaller...and don't get me started about IMO the need for a 17" rMBP with unique functions or hell while we are at it an 11" rMBP :D :D
  5. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    Well, the 13" cMBP is certainly waste of money ;) Currently, the Air is arguably a better option then the rMBP, but this is likely to change with the refresh.
  6. dumastudetto macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2013
    There is no Mac in the current lineup that can be described as a waste of money. They are all phenomenal computers each meeting the needs of different people.
  7. Keniutek macrumors 6502


    Oct 6, 2011
  8. ka-spot macrumors 6502a

    May 23, 2012
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    I vote YES, 'cus don't want to disappoint you ;)

    My previous mac was MBP 13", now I have Air 13" and I'm going for the retina 13".
  9. Stef4n macrumors regular

    Feb 14, 2011
    Yes, at the moment it is stupid to buy one. Either you go for a 13'' air or if you need the gui performance you go for a 15''. Still the next rMBP Update changes the situation.
  10. nateo200 macrumors 68030


    Feb 4, 2009
    Northern District NY
    How do you know that? That sounds like a fruitless statement...unless they add discrete graphics and/or quad-core CPU's to the 13" its not going to "change the situation". If they add features like I list above I could see that though.
  11. Stef4n macrumors regular

    Feb 14, 2011
    +++ Integrated Graphics 5xxx
    ++ Battery life time
    + SSD Speed

    This is the minimum to expect and especially the graphics in combination with the retina screen, the optical sound out make it more interesting than the Air for me.
  12. ShaneBunting Suspended

    Aug 10, 2009
    United Kingdom
    I think the best performing Apple Notebook atm is the Retina 15" Pro..

    REAL graphics card, technically higher resolution and bigger display (not always preferred, but from this POV, 'better')

    The Retina 13 is the future, like it or not. Right now, it comes at a cost, and is the luxury option. Tomorrow, it will be the standard when we forget what CD Drives and Ethernet are lol.

    I agree, right now, it might be seen as a waste as it's got the same processor, graphics and stuff, but don't forget, the screen is an expensive thing to manufacture, and is superior to standard displays. It's also a BIG part of the experience, so it's worth the money. The SSD, while offering less space for the price, is far faster though, and helps achieve better performance (even with the same processor)! But then, it's cheaper to upgrade the Non-Retina 13" with an SSD etc..

    All depends on how you look at it. Hopefully this offers an alternative viewpoint :)
  13. fskywalker macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2009
    Certainly not! I just sold my 2012 Max out (2.7/16/768) 15 inch rMBP and bought a 13 inch max out 2012 rMBP (2.9/8/768) and am very happy with my decision. I don't needed the extra size, raw power or weight of the 15 over the 13 and got some money back in the process!

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