rMBP or cMBP?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by epilossi, Sep 26, 2012.

  1. epilossi macrumors newbie

    Sep 26, 2012
    I'm in my first year of university and I've decided that it's time to get myself a MacBook Pro. I've pretty much already decided that I want a 15" because I used something with an 11" screen throughout high school and it was super painful. The main thing is that I can't decide whether or not I should get the Retina MBP. I really really love the thinness of the Retina version and it's my main reason for wanting to get it, but the fact that you can't easily upgrade/replace a lot of things has made me consider going for the cMBP. I'd like something that will last me 4 years, since these things are pretty expensive.

    Thing is, I'm not sure if the difficulty of upgrading is really a big concern, as I'd only really be using the MBP for school stuff and light gaming... I don't really know what I would need to upgrade; I already have a desktop to do my heavy gaming and other stuff on. Although, I am pretty concerned about the fact that the rMBP's battery is glued in -- I'd like the laptop to last at least 4 years and it's cheaper to replace a battery myself.

    Which one should I get? Advice would be appreciated!
  2. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

    Jun 1, 2011
    Not much anyone can suggest unless it's pure opinion based off of their usage or needs.

    You have to decide if you would prefer the thinness of the rMBP or the expandability of the cMBP as you are contemplating.
  3. blahbrah macrumors 6502

    Nov 9, 2006
  4. yauzers619 macrumors member

    May 22, 2011
    As an owner of a rMBP for two weeks the size is the best Feature. I've had 15" MBPs and 13" MBs and MBPs And this rMBP is the best blend of power and portability. Fast enough for Aperture, photoshop, illustrator, and After Effects.
  5. Orlandoech macrumors 68040


    Jun 2, 2011
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Owner of the rmbp for a month now and it's retarded fast.
  6. iEnvy macrumors 65816


    Jun 25, 2010
  7. Eithanius, Sep 26, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012

    Eithanius macrumors 65816

    Nov 19, 2005

    From my point of view.

    1. Retina is nice, but my MBP is always plugged to ext display, and currently no ext disp has Retina, so back to square one.

    2. With high-end 15" cMBP that comes with 8GB that's just nice for now. But if and when I'm comfortable, then upgrade to 16GB. rMBP is pretty much RAM-soldered, so you have to decide 8GB or 16GB upon purchase. cMBP RAM faulty, just swap RAM modules. rMBP RAM faulty, you're SOL... :rolleyes:

    3. rMBP maxed out at 768GB SSD whereas cMBP comes with slower HDD. Point is, you can upgrade to SSD of your choice, up to say - OWC's 960GB Mercury Electra (if speed is unimportant to you), and still make the default HDD an external HDD for system clone or Time Machine backup.

    4. Coming from a third world country where iTunes Store music contents are limited, I still buy CDs and rip them. Later on I can ripped the optical drive out and plonk in another 960GB SSD via OptiBay or OWC's Data Doubler.

    5. I use plenty of legacy FireWire drives, and I occasionally troubleshoot networks via LAN, carrying separate adaptors are.... well you know... :eek::eek:

    6. rMBP is still 1st-gen stuff. If I were you, I'd rather buy cMBP and wait for early adopters to ride out the kinks. After 3 years of cMBP, assuming you buy AppleCare for that, then it's time for the next rMBP as the product matures. By then there could be 1 and only 15" MBP, Apple would have transitioned most if not all Macs to Retina display anyway... :D
  8. Naimfan Suspended


    Jan 15, 2003
    ^ This

    Eithanius is spot on. Note the issues Apple is having with the first generation retinas - do you want to be part of their extended beta testing? Why spend money for the "privilege?"
  9. clyde2801 macrumors 601


    Mar 6, 2008
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    Since you're wanting to keep it four years, (and you presumably don't need or are completely captivated by the retina screen), probably the cMBP due to being able to easily and cheaply upgrade the RAM and storage as needed.


    If you are being captivated by retina mojo, get the base model rMBP with the upgrade to 16 gigs of ram. If you'll need more than the 256 gb of storage, you could use a usb3 external drive for nonessential stuff.
  10. needfx macrumors 68040


    Aug 10, 2010
    macrumors apparently
    what does your wallet tell you?

    if your wallet is ok with any of them bad boys, what does your ego tell you?

    if your ego is ok with any of them bad boys, what does your logic tell you?
  11. releevo macrumors newbie

    Sep 6, 2012
    What does your schoolwork involve?
    If it is not going to get intensive in the next 4 years,
    go for the RMBP for the weight and gorgeousness,
    it should be fine without an upgrade.
    I would even consider an Air.

    However if you are doing 3D graphics, etc. You'd better do a bit of upgrading with an RMBP purchase which can get a bit expensive, if budget limits you just go with a CMBP it's more practical in this sense.
  12. MattyDlotus macrumors newbie

    Aug 27, 2012
    I was debating whether to get the retina or not. I was so tempted by it, but in the end I couldnt justify the extra cost for a fancy screen, when I do all my photo editing on an external display. I also couldnt deal with the lack of upgradability, so opted for the non retina, maxed out the ram and whacked in two ssd's in raid 0. Total cost is less than a maxed out retina and its faster.
  13. stevelam macrumors 65816

    Nov 4, 2010
    too bad none of those besides aperture are actually retina friendly.
  14. whdigital macrumors regular

    Jul 22, 2011
    EVERYTHING they two have said! No doubt the Retina is "cool" but I'll get one after they actually figure out how to make them well and put it in a 13". In the meantime, my 2012 cMBP is the mother of all laptop/desktop replacements!
  15. PlayRadioPlay macrumors regular

    Sep 5, 2007
    The Retina is a no brainer, in my opinion.

    With the $200 student discount, you can get a fully loaded rMBP for about $3700.

    That's 16 GB ram, +700 GB SSD, and 3.7 ghz i7.

    The cMBP with those (similar) specs is only a few hundred bucks cheaper ($200 isn't much when you're buying a $3k laptop, IMO).

    If you like the screen and the cooler form factor (thinner, no CD drive), then go Retina, but I'd probably buy a fully loaded one right off the bat, if I were you. I'm planning on having this rMBP for 4+ years, so I don't mind dropping a pretty penny on it.
  16. bill-p macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2011
    Let's see...

    1) I travel regularly, and the weight of the rMBP makes a really huge difference compared to my old cMBP. It's so much lighter that sometimes I don't notice it there. 4 years of college lugging this thing along all day? I don't think you even needed to ask.

    2) Many have touched upon expandability, but... I think 8GB or 16GB is only a matter of $100 extra. Compared to the cost of the whole computer ($2200 base), that's nothing. Plus if you get 16GB now, you don't have to go through the hassle of having to upgrade it later. Both cMBP and rMBP max out at 16GB now anyway. When 32GB RAM upgrades come along, I suspect Apple would have dropped the cMBP from their lineup.

    3) It is better to store your data on an external drive. Cheaper than paying hundreds more for an internal SSD just so you can litter your computer full of stuffs. Plus... if your computer fails, then you don't have to wait until someone at Apple brings it back to life before you can access your critical school papers again. Trust me, I've been down that road before.

    4) If you get Apple Care, Apple will take care of all of hardware troubles (RAM failure included) down the road. So why do you have to do it yourself?

    5) The screen is a lot nicer than the cMBP, and if you want to, you can freely switch between 1440 x 900, 1680 x 1050, and 1920 x 1200 workspaces, each with their own benefits. You are stuck with native screen resolution on cMBP regardless of which custom option you end up with, and the viewing angle + color reproduction wouldn't be as good as Retina.

    6) Retina has more expansion options, so you can connect up to 5 external displays to do various things. You are stuck with at most 2 displays on cMBP.

    7) If you need to get music, I'm sure Amazon MP3 store is available even in third-world countries. iTunes is not the only source for music. If you really need to back up your library of music that bad, an external drive can be had for relatively cheap these days. Or if you have a different Mac (iMac?) with an optical drive, you can use Remote Disc to grab data from that Mac's optical drive wirelessly.

    8) If you need to troubleshoot LAN, get the $30 Apple's USB LAN adapter. You can plug this guy into either the left or right USB port, so it's actually more convenient than having to deal with the port only on the left side. Been down that road before, too.

    9) I got my Retina MBP fairly recently (August), and I haven't had any major issue with mine, save for software issues that I think Apple will be able to work out before long. I don't doubt that others have issues with their own rMBP, but at the end of the day, I don't think it's generally that widespread. MacRumors gathers mostly people who came to complain about their issues and those who are seeking to solve issues, so of course most of the voices are of those who have issues. If someone is happy with their rMBP? You can bet they wouldn't even bother to come up here to talk about anything. Plus if you have issues with your rMBP, you can just come in to Apple and ask for an exchange. Unless getting a brand new replacement computer is not enough a "solution" for you.

    10) Minor perk, but texts and screen elements on the Retina Screen are very natural compared to cMBP. Your eyes will thank you... especially on those days that you spend hours staring at the screen writing your term paper.

    And that's just the general stuffs. I won't even mention how the thinner body is easier to pick up and hold, how the new vents make cooling much more efficient, how the speakers are enhanced, and how there is only one headphone jack to deal with (no confusion over which is which)... but it still does Optical Audio out.
  17. DaCurmudgen macrumors regular

    Aug 5, 2012
    Couldn't agree more. I was having this same inner-dialog while waiting for the new iMacs to replace my 2005 G5 iMac. If I hadn't decided on getting an MBP, I'd still be waiting.

    Because I do music production, I wanted a CD/DVD drive; you still need to use CDs for mastering and reproduction. You can get an external CD/DVD for the rMBP, but now there's more to carry. I also wanted a bigger hard drive, but didn't want to pay the SSD premium. The cMBP had an option for fast (7200 RPM), conventional hard drives, which I can upgrade to SSD when they're cheaper. The rMBP's Retina display was attractive, especially because I have the new iPad and appreciate the details of the screen. But the cMBP with Hi-Res anti-glare offers 1680 x 1050, which was more than enough for me. Lastly I was uncomfortable that the rMBP RAM was soldered onto the board. Since I did get this to replace a desktop, a 2nd monitor, USB 3.0 hub, and external keyboard have given me the true flexibility of a portable powerhouse, or desktop dynamo. And contrary to another post re: $200 difference between comparably-equipped cMBPs and rMBPs -- my MBP with 16 gig RAM, 750GB 7200 RPM hard drive, and anti-glare screen, was over $1K cheaper than a similarly configured rMBP. If you're going MBP, no matter what you choose, you really can't lose.
  18. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    Wouldn't a desktop be more fitting for your needs? Most people get a laptop to, you know, be mobile. And the difference in mobility between the cMBP and rMBP is huge. Faster/smaller laptop with better battery and better screen for the same money? Yes please! The rest of your arguments are very situational btw. If you still use CDs a lot, sure, than cMBP might be better for you. What does it have to do with the OP however?
  19. EwanMcTeagle macrumors 6502


    Mar 26, 2012
    Lodz, Poland
    Completely agree with DaCurmudgen. Of course it's all up to OP to decide, but I would go with cMBP. Recently got the 15" high res anti glare and I really love it, although I mostly use it with an external display - which was the reason I opted for cMBP. I "glanced" at th rMBP and even considered it for a while, but then came to a few conclusions:
    • using the maxed out resolution on rMBP makes it unusable for me. It would be great for InDesign, but I mostly work with and focus on text and with the max resolution it makes my eyes scream. And then it was the case of the almost new external display that I'd already owned, so using rMBP in closed lid or "high res-cMBP" resolution seemed wasteful.
    • upgradebility - obviously. I'd put an SSD (+750GB HDD) into my cMBP and I don't need to delete anything and I love it. And I can switch the drive for faster next year or in 2 years if I want/need to.
    • serviceability - didn't want to spend additional $ for applecare, which seems like a must for rMBP. As I plan to keep my computer for about 4 years and the cMBP is basically "figured out" and not that expensive to service if anything happens (I mean in terms of upgrading RAM, replacing failed drive, fixing the keyboard etc small stuff) - it was simply the best option for me.
  20. NutsNGum macrumors 68030


    Jul 30, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
    So is a base Mac mini. :confused:
  21. bill-p macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2011
    You know, you can actually set the rMBP to either 1680 x 1050, or 1920 x 1200 resolutions. Both of which are actually high-res 1680 x 1050 (3360 x 2100) and 1920 x 1200 (3840 x 2400) scaled down to fit the 2880 x 1800 of the rMBP, so you get sharper texts and screen elements than the high-res cMBP, but more desk space. Especially more with the 1920 x 1200 mode.

    So it's still the better screen than a cMBP by a good margin.

Share This Page