rMBP for school

Decelerate

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 19, 2010
11
0
So I am facing a bit of a dilemma here. I need to buy a new computer for school and my school is saying that Mac is not officially supported. This means that parallels running windows 7 is an absolute must. Based off what some people are saying, Microsoft office and Windows7 have some issues displaying correctly on the retina display.

Are these issues bad enough to render the rMBP effectively handicapped relative to the regular MBP?
Would certain Microsoft programs be completely unusable on the retina display?

The lighter weight of the rMBP makes a compelling case in the portability department. But is this enough to overcome potentially debilitating display problems with windows...

I am oscillating between the regular MBP and the rMBP, but Microsoft office/ windows7 display issues and portability are weighing heavily on my mind...

Any insight would be greatly appreciated
 

rockyroad55

macrumors 601
Jul 14, 2010
4,152
59
Phila, PA
I think you would be better off running Bootcamp. From what I have read here, the text is somewhat fuzzy on the Windows display, but that should not stop any program from running effectively.
 

illini71

macrumors member
Dec 28, 2010
70
0
I plan to use mine this semester with bootcamp running win7. I could get by with most things using pages, but i need visual studio. I would highly recommend using bootcamp in case of a VM crash.
 

stevelam

macrumors 65816
Nov 4, 2010
1,215
3
horrible idea to get rmbp if your main use is windows, which definitely isn't retina friendly in bootcamp or parallels. a 'workaround' is to set it at ridiculous resolution of 2880x1800 and increase the dpi to 150%. but if thats what i had to do just to get windows working decently i'd be annoyed as hell.
 

beamer8912

macrumors 65816
May 30, 2009
1,137
1
Mac isn't supported by your school? That's interesting. Most schools have adopted macs.

Bootcamp is probably your best bet. I'd also look into the 512GB option as partitioning your drive for bootcamp won't leave you with a whole lot of room. Otherwise I'd highly suggest an external drive and develop some file management skills.
 

Queen6

macrumors 604
Nothing is insurmountable, yet to be frank save yourself or your parents a significant cost, go with a Windows PC as this is clearly your schools preference. If you absolutely, utterly, unreservedly must use a Mac a base 13" MacBook Pro or a high tier 13" Air will suffice, this will be more than powerful enough for your needs, and offer the portability you want.

The Retina MacBook Pro is a phenomenal portable system, that being said unless you are at the end of higher education, requiring a system that offers extreme performance for specific engineering, creative purpose, or working towards a PHD the Retina MacBook Pro is very much unnecessary for the average educational purpose. The cliched answer is "if you need to ask, you likely don't need...

There is a a great deal to be said for using "the right too, for the right job" ;)
 

Drask

macrumors regular
Feb 3, 2012
228
0
horrible idea to get rmbp if your main use is windows, which definitely isn't retina friendly in bootcamp or parallels. a 'workaround' is to set it at ridiculous resolution of 2880x1800 and increase the dpi to 150%. but if thats what i had to do just to get windows working decently i'd be annoyed as hell.
Bootcamp at 2880x1800 with 150% dpi looks fantastic, what do you mean with "if thats what I had to do"? it's just to clicks from the desktop to change it. Parallels on the other hand doesn't look as good as OS X, but I guess it will in time.
 

Decelerate

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 19, 2010
11
0
I have been using Mac for over 4 years so a pc is out. Basic uses will be word processing and Powerpoints. I mainly need windows for those rare cases where Mac stumbles and Internet explorer or some other program will be needed to properly view something. So as long as as Microsoft office 2010 will work, I should be in business.
 

heisenberg123

macrumors 603
Oct 31, 2010
6,498
9
Hamilton, Ontario
I have been using Mac for over 4 years so a pc is out. Basic uses will be word processing and Powerpoints. I mainly need windows for those rare cases where Mac stumbles and Internet explorer or some other program will be needed to properly view something. So as long as as Microsoft office 2010 will work, I should be in business.
is office for mac not cross compatible for windows? unless your using some windows only software im lacking to see the issues with your mac being compatible
 

rockyroad55

macrumors 601
Jul 14, 2010
4,152
59
Phila, PA
I have been using Mac for over 4 years so a pc is out. Basic uses will be word processing and Powerpoints. I mainly need windows for those rare cases where Mac stumbles and Internet explorer or some other program will be needed to properly view something. So as long as as Microsoft office 2010 will work, I should be in business.
For this, I'd say either go with a 13" MBA or a cMBP 15.
 

stchman

macrumors 6502a
Jul 16, 2012
671
2
St. Louis, MO
So I am facing a bit of a dilemma here. I need to buy a new computer for school and my school is saying that Mac is not officially supported. This means that parallels running windows 7 is an absolute must. Based off what some people are saying, Microsoft office and Windows7 have some issues displaying correctly on the retina display.

Are these issues bad enough to render the rMBP effectively handicapped relative to the regular MBP?
Would certain Microsoft programs be completely unusable on the retina display?

The lighter weight of the rMBP makes a compelling case in the portability department. But is this enough to overcome potentially debilitating display problems with windows...

I am oscillating between the regular MBP and the rMBP, but Microsoft office/ windows7 display issues and portability are weighing heavily on my mind...

Any insight would be greatly appreciated
Is your school telling you that you need to have certain Microsoft specific software (Office, Visual Studio, etc.)? If no then you can use either OS X or Linux.

If they want you to have a word processor then LibreOffice is a free office suite that saves files in Microsoft Office format. Netbeans and other development software are usually cross platform as well. There are options.
 

stevelam

macrumors 65816
Nov 4, 2010
1,215
3
Bootcamp at 2880x1800 with 150% dpi looks fantastic, what do you mean with "if thats what I had to do"? it's just to clicks from the desktop to change it. Parallels on the other hand doesn't look as good as OS X, but I guess it will in time.
it makes it more useable but it definitely doesn't look 'fantastic'. its just the only way to actually make windows not look like **** on the RMBP. it still breaks certain window/text sizes in certain apps which is the part i'm annoyed about, not the actual clicks it takes to do it.
 

beamer8912

macrumors 65816
May 30, 2009
1,137
1
I have been using Mac for over 4 years so a pc is out. Basic uses will be word processing and Powerpoints. I mainly need windows for those rare cases where Mac stumbles and Internet explorer or some other program will be needed to properly view something. So as long as as Microsoft office 2010 will work, I should be in business.
Office for Mac is compatibile with Office for Windows, it's been that way for a while now.

I can't recall the last time IE was needed by a program, but then again it's been a while for me.

If that's the ONLY scenario in which you need a PC, just use the computer labs at school. Unless you have an application that is specific to windows that you will use all the time, I wouldn't bother with bootcamp or parallels. Not worth it.

Just curious, what will you be studying?
 

Scuba-EMT

macrumors regular
Apr 19, 2010
162
3
Solomons Island, MD
I use a rMBP for my PhD (Business Administration concentrating in Program Management). 90% of my work is done on the Mac side (Office, research, ect). I am also running Parallels with Win 7 Pro, within the VM I use MS Project, MS Visio, AutoDesk Inventor Suite LT and a required online tool for school that does not behave well with Safari. I have had no issues thus far. But I am only a week in, and if it matters I have the 2.7 GHz, 16GB RAM and the 768 GB SSD.
 

Drask

macrumors regular
Feb 3, 2012
228
0
it makes it more useable but it definitely doesn't look 'fantastic'. its just the only way to actually make windows not look like **** on the RMBP. it still breaks certain window/text sizes in certain apps which is the part i'm annoyed about, not the actual clicks it takes to do it.
Have you tried it? Like have you installed it and worked in it for hours? I did, in Visual studio, Netbeans, and other development environments. It obviously doesn't look like OS X, but it's certainly better than my $1.3k 15" Sony vaio machine, plus the real state even at 150 dpi is a plus.

Better than any pc laptop I have previously owned, so, to say "it's a horrible idea" it's just an opinion, I'm just making mine based on what I experienced so far.
 

terraphantm

macrumors 68040
Jun 27, 2009
3,740
552
Pennsylvania
Office for Mac is compatibile with Office for Windows, it's been that way for a while now.

I can't recall the last time IE was needed by a program, but then again it's been a while for me.

If that's the ONLY scenario in which you need a PC, just use the computer labs at school. Unless you have an application that is specific to windows that you will use all the time, I wouldn't bother with bootcamp or parallels. Not worth it.

Just curious, what will you be studying?
Is it possible there are some Windows-only VPN programs that he'd need to access the school network? That's the only reason I could think of there being a blanket statement not to use a mac..

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it makes it more useable but it definitely doesn't look 'fantastic'. its just the only way to actually make windows not look like **** on the RMBP. it still breaks certain window/text sizes in certain apps which is the part i'm annoyed about, not the actual clicks it takes to do it.
The OP's in college. Chances are he's young enough that he could use 2880x1800 without having to strain his eyes too much. So even 100% DPI should be okay.
 

ZacT94

macrumors regular
Jun 25, 2012
196
0
If you're planning on getting a Mac just to use Windows, forget about it, much cheaper to go PC. I'd recommend Asus.
 

beamer8912

macrumors 65816
May 30, 2009
1,137
1
Is it possible there are some Windows-only VPN programs that he'd need to access the school network? That's the only reason I could think of there being a blanket statement not to use a mac..

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The OP's in college. Chances are he's young enough that he could use 2880x1800 without having to strain his eyes too much. So even 100% DPI should be okay.
It'd help if the OP weighed in on what programs are going to be on the laptop.
 
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gokart mozart

macrumors 6502
Jun 20, 2011
256
1
I have been using Mac for over 4 years so a pc is out. Basic uses will be word processing and Powerpoints. I mainly need windows for those rare cases where Mac stumbles and Internet explorer or some other program will be needed to properly view something. So as long as as Microsoft office 2010 will work, I should be in business.
Office 2011 runs fine on the retina Macbook Pro, it is just ugly. It will get updated eventually. Firefox, which would be the best IE alternative for compatibility issues (though Chrome is no longer far behind) also needs to be updated for retina. You can use it, but like Office it is also ugly. Chrome itself runs at retina resi but has a bug that causes kernel panics. I'm just gonna suck it up and use Word and wait for updates. Never got into Pages and iWork.

My advice: get a non retina Macbook. Either the 13" Pro or the high end Air. You don't need the power of the retina display or the quad-core processor for your purposes. Plus you'll save a lot of money, and Office works fantastic on the non retina Macs.

My school prefers Windows, but they have a huge collection of Macs in the library for general use and multimedia editing. They also only sell Macbooks in the book store. Hell, my school even gave me Office '11 and CS6 for free, so I got to download and test drive them on the retina display without having to regret a single penny. Go figure. Some schools support Macs a lot more than they may lead you to believe. My sister goes to Xavier and they told her that her MBP wouldn't work for her on campus. She just finished freshman year without a hitch. Best part is that she had the easiest time getting on school wifi out of all her suite mates.

Unless they need you to run a program that isn't Mac compatible, there is no reason not to go with your OS preference.
 
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DrFate09

macrumors newbie
Jul 25, 2012
21
0
IN, USA
If you're planning on getting a Mac just to use Windows, forget about it, much cheaper to go PC. I'd recommend Asus.
Agreed, plus the graphics card will always use the discrete GPU which in turn lead to terrible battery life compared to a regular Windows PC.
 

gokart mozart

macrumors 6502
Jun 20, 2011
256
1
Just to give you an idea of what Word looks like on the retina display, here is a screen caption. I left a bit of Safari open so you could see its proper retina font for comparison.

If you wanna see any other apps, feel free to ask. I am running at the 1920x1200 resi. I like the extra real estate for multi tasking. I think the 1440x900 "best for retina" resi actually makes Office look worst, so there's that too. But my main reason for the 1920 resi is the real estate.

The big issue is that Office looks pixelated of "fuzzy". Especially the UI elements, and the font to a certain degree. This issue can be seen in Firefox, Powerpoint and Excel as well. Outlook's font seems to retina optimized but not the UI elements like the buttons. I prefer Mail anywho.
 

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ZacT94

macrumors regular
Jun 25, 2012
196
0
Agreed, plus the graphics card will always use the discrete GPU which in turn lead to terrible battery life compared to a regular Windows PC.
Exactly. Reviews have shown that battery life is at least 2 hours shorter on Windows than on Mac OS for any Macbook.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
65,473
31,513
Boston
Personally, if you're planning on using windows full time on the MBP, I'd recommend a dedicated windows machine over the MBP. I love my rMBP but you're paying a premium and you'll not be getting the most bang for your buck in this case.
 

dusk007

macrumors 68040
Dec 5, 2009
3,386
61
Battery life on Windows sucks. Drivers aren't perfect and the 650M is always active.
A real Windows notebooks doesn't need a 95Wh battery and will net you more battery life.
Windows on a Mac is great for Gaming when you have it plugged in anyway, but for everyday school work it is only tedious and worse than actual Win Notebooks with proper Touchpad drivers and such.