rMBP vs. regular ivy bridge MBP for software development

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by 73CortinaV8, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. 73CortinaV8 macrumors 6502

    Sep 4, 2006
    Palo Alto, CA
    So I'm looking to replace my developer laptop. It's down to a rMBP or a MBP.

    Am I missing anything or am I off-base with these pros and cons? I'd probably get the rMBP without hesitation if it had the same keyboard as the MBP. But since I type a lot, this is a big deal for me. I tried them both and I can definitely tell the difference. Not sure if I would get used to it or not...

    -dat screen
    -light and thin
    -keyboard not as good as MBP
    -$3000 for a usable configuration (16GB + 512GB)

    -easily upgradable
    -a-mazing keyboard feel
    -2nd internal hdd for a vm or whatever
  2. Slivortal macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2012
    rMBP has a solid state drive. Also, you do have to pay for your upgrades - even though you're buying the RAM, second HD yourself - it still adds up.

    Also, unless you get the higher end MBP, you're looking at 512 MB VRAM instead of 1GB VRAM like you'd find on the MBPR or the higher end MBP.
  3. Auzburner macrumors 65816


    Apr 11, 2008
    Syracuse, NY - USA
    You'll get used to it. I have over the past few weeks moving from a 2010 MBP. I'd go for the Retina, but you may call be biased. The display will certainly benefit a developer.
  4. themumu macrumors 6502a


    Feb 13, 2011
    Purely for software development I would pick rMBP. I don't see how storage space can become a concern if you don't put a huge media library there.
  5. ivoruest macrumors 6502


    Jul 12, 2010
    -Screen Real Estate??
  6. Cypther macrumors member

    Jan 15, 2012
    What's wrong with the rMBP keyboard?
  7. 73CortinaV8 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 4, 2006
    Palo Alto, CA
    shorter key travel. Hard to explain. The MBP keys have more of a bounce to them that makes the keyboard feel lively.


    these are good points. If I got a MBP, I would probably go out and buy a 3rd party SSD right away.
  8. Habakuk macrumors 6502a

    Jul 10, 2007
    Vienna Austria Europe
    I am typing 250 hits/min (blind, ten fingers) and had a MBP3,1 before. With my rMBP10,1 I made the experience that the new keyboard is much better for me. Faster, smoother, quieter, more elegant. For those who have to look for the letters: Easier to see (white on black).

    I am very happy with the rMBP keyboard.
  9. Netquity macrumors newbie

    Mar 10, 2012
    I agree, I could feel the noticeable difference but I actually prefer it. rMBP all the way. Looking at code and text all day the extra dpi is just so much easier on the eyes. Really if you take all of the upgrades to make a cMBP the same as an rMBP the difference isn't that big (assuming your upgrades are all through Apple direct).
  10. psynth macrumors newbie

    Jul 19, 2012
    OP is right, the keyboard on the retina model travels less and feels different.

    That said, you should definitely go for the retina if you are planning on doing software development.

    I do software dev by day and I don't know why any dev would go for the cMBP over the retina.

    1. The screen is gorgeous. Code just looks so freaking sharp on this screen. It's a pleasure to code on for hours and hours a day.

    2. Screen Real-estate when you need it. It's a 15 inch panel with a native resolution of 2880x1800. THIS IS INSANE. THIS CHANGES THINGS. It makes using "just a laptop" so much more reasonable.

    3. Super easy triple monitor-support. Getting dual monitor support on the cMBP is a pain because you can really only daisy chain TBDs and those things are pricey/glossy. The retina gives you two thunderbolt ports and an HDMI. You can technically use usb to hook up additional monitors to a MBP, but the lag is a serous PITA.

    And coming from a MBP, I was initially disappointed by the shallow feel of the keyboard. It's different. But after a day or two of use, it's a non-issue for me. If you can't get over it get an apple wireless keyboard.

    Out of curiousity, what kind of dev do you do?
  11. sofianito, Jul 19, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2012

    sofianito macrumors 65816


    Jan 14, 2011
    * If you spend a lot of hours coding then get the classicMBP (cMBP) with hires antiglare. Your eyes will thank you :). The rMBP has a very nice screen and resolutions but in the long run it will tire your eyes because of the glare which is still present and noticeable... Many rMBP owner believe that ML will fix all retina issues, but I think that the technology need to improve both at hardware and software level. I believe the next revision of rMBP will be much better, although not upgradable...

    * If you do a lot of write operations on your disk, like using several VMs, using application servers/web servers, outputting a lot of debug/info logs, then all these frequent write operations should be better done on a spindle disk in order to preserve the lifespan of your SSD. Hence, the best would be a combination of SSD for fast read operations like booting and loading applications, and a spindle HDD for write operations where you will store your VMs, logs,... etc. cMBP allows you to have this combination of drives :cool:

    * Apple forg :rolleyes:t completely to add a security lock to rMBP, which is a serious issue for people who use it in public places...

    * Apple could have offered the rMBP base model (2.3Ghz, 16GB RAM) with a 512GB disk but they didn't. A$k your$elf why? :roll eyes:

    * rMBP is not that much thinner and lighter than cMBP. With the new design you lose the dvd drive and the ethernet port...

    * You better get the 3 years Applecare with the rMBP. If not, any issue with it could cost you a new laptop.

    * With rMBP, changing the battery or upgrading the disk is not cheap...

    * The only cons in MBP is its price. With the same specs, cMBP costs equal or more than rMBP. Apple did it intentionally to promote the retina model and its "buy and throw your rMBP every 3 years" selling/marketing strategy...

    * Last but not least, a crisp screen doesn't make you a smarter or better developer, and if you have bugs in your code, retina won't make them easier to detect :D
  12. JeffAC macrumors newbie


    Jul 19, 2012
    I just got my rMBP today.

    I, too, am a developer. I've installed Xcode and am downloading documentation sets as we speak.

    Dealing with many small source files, I believe, will be improved greatly with an SSD. I've not done any coding on this machine yet to know for sure, however.

    Also, the extra screen real estate offered by the rMBP's scaling modes is very exciting to me. Xcode is a screen real estate hog, and it'll be nice to have a roomier coding environment. As a plus, a retina MBP makes it easier to work with retina graphics (I do iOS dev, primarily, and have to work with retina graphics often).

    As an independent developer - while I primarily code - I also do spend some time doing design and asset creation work. Graphics, sound, etc. Graphics, in particular, will benefit from a higher resolution screen.

    I'm also an amateur photographer, and the benefits of this machine for that are pretty obvious - but even if I weren't, I'd probably get the rMBP anyhow.

    - Jeff
  13. pancakinator macrumors newbie

    Jul 12, 2012
    Been coding for the past few days on my rMBP. The screen makes it all worth it (Sublime Text is awesome on this screen).

    The keyboard is fine - sure it has less travel, but hasn't affected my typing at all. You probably won't notice it after a few days. Software development usually means looking at a lot of text, and text on this screen looks amazing. To be honest, I prefer coding on this than on my Dell U3011 monitor - everything is clearer and just looks better.
  14. M5RahuL macrumors 68030


    Aug 1, 2009
    One of the things I like on the rMBP over the MBP is the Keyboard!

    I love how it's so easy to type on it! The less key travel actually made me type much faster. Also, the keys feel more sturdy [ as opposed to some wiggle on the cMBP ] and the back-lighting is better on the rMBP.

    Just my opinion!

    I, personally, opted for the cMBP with High Res + Anti-Glare Screen!

    Absolutely love it!
  15. Queen6 macrumors 604


    Dec 11, 2008
    Land of the Unexpected
    I have both Late 2011 15" 2.4 MBP and base 2012 2.3 rMBP and the Retina is the better machine by a fair margin. The key travel you will adjust to in short time. As for the above it`s coming from someone with a four year old machine and likely never used a Retina outside of the Apple store. The Retina in general will be faster, more portable, more reliable, hold a greater value, reduce eye strain (it`s not too difficult to control your lighting conditions) offer greater viewing angles, and just like my Early 2008 15" Classic MBP will offer several years of solid service.

    The 2.3 rMBP base or BTO 16Gb will likely fit your needs unless you have a huge amount of data, even than with todays fast USB 3 drives it`s not a deal breaker
  16. FluJunkie macrumors 6502a

    Jul 17, 2007

    You can defeat a Kensington-type lock with a scrap of cardboard from a toilet paper roll. If this is what you're relying on for security, you're not nearly as safe from laptop theft as you think you are.
  17. Drask macrumors regular

    Feb 3, 2012
    1.- The rMBP while coding/reading will be actually better than the cMBP, the glare it's all about where you're working at and personal preference, so let him decide that. I do agree the next version of the rMBP will be much better, but so will be the next one after that, and the next one... it will never stop. If he needs it know, let him get it now.

    2.- A review of AnadTech said that the lifespan of the SSD is greater than an HDD, you can Google it. The only thing better is the cheaper capacity, but at lower performance. You can always get an external or a cheap USB 3.0 to save media etc. (coding doesn't take that much space)

    3.- I think it wouldn't fit, but you're right about that one.

    4.- They will find (if they haven't yet) a way to replace the SSD in the rMBP since its not soldered.

    5.- how is 25% not that much? As a programmer how ofter do you think you need a CD drive? or an Ethernet port?

    6.- Applecare applies to any of apple's laptops, it's not like if you burn the cpu or the gpu in the cMBP replacing it would be cheaper.

    7.- 130 for CMBP to 199 for rMBP, once every 3 years? :rolleyes:

    8.- cBMP had that price before the rMBP, how was it intentionally? If any what they did was matching the price of the cMBP.

    9.- Neither will a cMBP.
  18. TLewis macrumors 65816

    Sep 19, 2007
    left coast, US
    It's a deterrent, and is better than nothing. Most thieves will grab and walk/run away, and generally aren't smart enough to do anything more.

    Many (most?) common locks are "insecure" against knowledgeable thieves, but that doesn't mean people should stop using them. (Hint: a knowledgeable teenager can probably open your home's front door lock in under a minute -- and possibly in seconds -- using information found on youtube, and some easily made tools.)
  19. TLewis macrumors 65816

    Sep 19, 2007
    left coast, US
    Given the ifixit teardown, I have a hard time believing the rMBP battery replacement can be done on a "while you wait" basis. In all probability, the rMBP will have to be mailed to some location, which means that you'll be without a rMBP for some days. With the cMBP, the battery can be quickly replaced by a knowledgeable user or Apple genius.
  20. Drask macrumors regular

    Feb 3, 2012
    Oh of course, I didn't mean that it was something positive, but to be honest, how often do you change your battery? Once every 2 or 3 years? Is that a deal breaker for you to not get the rMBP, I mean $70 more and a couple of days (maybe a week) without it?

    I get your point though, it's still a downside.
  21. TLewis macrumors 65816

    Sep 19, 2007
    left coast, US
    Hehe, true, very true. :D

    I say this as someone who is coming from an HP laptop to the rMBP. Surprisingly, my HP laptop is generally quite good: it's small, light, cool, quiet, and decently fast. However, the POS battery dies once a year or less, and I'm farking tired of replacing it. :eek:
  22. Nozuka macrumors 68020

    Jul 3, 2012
    If its iOS Developement then i think you should definitely go with the rMBP.
    The better resolution helps alot with IPAD3 App Optimization.
  23. sofianito macrumors 65816


    Jan 14, 2011
    No sir. If your are doing iOS development then you first have to get an IPAD, an IPhone, an IPod and then get an annual developer subscription ($199 if I'm not wrong) in order to deploy your apps into those devices. Without the subscription you are stuck to the simulator.

    Conclusion: You must be foolish and rich in order to jump into IOS development :D


    For those who want to type fast, change your keyboard's layout to DVORAK :D. It has been invented a century ago and is much faster than more popular layouts such as QWERTY and AZERTY...
  24. tillsbury macrumors 65816

    Dec 24, 2007
  25. melterx12 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 22, 2010
    Not sure what you're talkIng about. My rmbp's keyboard Looks and feels identical to my 13" 2011 cMBP

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