Should I Switch to rMB?


macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 10, 2011
I'm currently on a late 2012 15'' rMBP.

2.3 GHz Intel Core i7
16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M 1024 MB

I bought the computer mostly because I thought I would be doing a ton of video editing, but that never happened. Usually I do word processing, document design in Adobe InDesign (occasional small logos in Adobe Illustrator), lots of email, and small apps like Tweetbot or Omnifocus. I do a ton of web browsing and watch mostly 1080p video.

Here's the deal, I've been with my rMBP for 3 years now and I'm no longer satisfied with the heft of the computer. I've got screen ghosting and a few white spots (areas with brighter pixels). The screen has been replaced 3 times and I'm now way out of warranty. I could absolutely suck it up and survive another year, but I'm thinking hard about the new Macbook. I purchased an iPad last summer to do most of my work on but found that not having a keyboard with an amazing trackpad just didn't cut it. I'm going to experiment with multi tasking on the iPad Air but I'm still not a fan of reaching up and tapping the screen to do anything.

What I would like is to have my rMB, do the things I'm doing currently and hook it up in clamshell mode to a 28 inch, SST UHD display. says its possible:
If you want 60Hz [4k] on the new 12-inch MacBook, you’ll need an SST display, DisplayPort cable, and OS X 10.10.3. Although you’ll also need to get an adapter in order to go from the 12-inch MacBook’s 1 USB-C port to DisplayPort on the display— like this one.
From Apple...
Supports full native resolution on the built-in display and up to 3840 by 2160 pixels on an external display
I've used the trackpad and keyboard extensively in the Apple Store (spent an hour on a machine doing some work stuff), live pretty much all in either Dropbox, Google Drive, or iCloud respectively, never use the webcam (except for occasional FaceTime calls), and only have ever plugged my rMBP into a display.

This article made me rethink the switch (I wasn't going to before I read this).

Everything being said, I'm worried about the speed. I've heard mixed reviews from most but it seems like people general seem ok with it. As long as it works and I don't notice the processor, I'm happy. I don't do gaming or video editing or anything like that.

What do you guys think?

EDIT: this guy seems to have good feelings about the speed. Anyone tried using AI or inDesign?

EDIT 2: I noticed iMore had a Geekbench profile so I did one on my machine. Looks like each core is relatively the same. Really then I'd be going from a quad core to a dual core.

rMB 2015 --> rMB 2015.jpg?dl=0
rMBP 2012 --> 2012.png?dl=0
rMBP 2015 -->

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macrumors G3
Buy and try, you can always return it. and see how the rMB holds up. Applications that are CPU intensive are a "no go" other than that I would only be concerned about running duel screen. Alternatively you can look at a 13" Retina MacBook Pro as this by far is Apple`s most balanced & versatile portable Mac.

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macrumors 68020
Oct 25, 2008
My wife has a rMB. We took it on a recent trip and it could no way replace my two rMBP. If someone forced us to give away 2 of our 3 apple MacBooks I would give away the rmbp15 and rMB, then keep the rMBP 13. It's the best blend of course power, battery life, and weight
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Dark Void

macrumors 68030
Jun 1, 2011
Given that a lot of users are reporting UI lag on the 12'' screen of the MacBook itself, I'm not sure how much luck you will have driving that display. It doesn't sound like it will be a smooth experience.

I second the post above - have you considered a 13'' MBP?


macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 10, 2011
Thanks for the feedback guys. I have considered the 13'' rMBP but haven't seen any reason to move to it just for the size. I could wait a year or two with the 15'' rMBP and simply loose a bit of transportability.

As for processor heavy apps like inDesign, my rMBP rarely gets close to a full processor load. Usually less than half which seems to be right about what the maximum of the rMB would have.

I'm wondering about the UI lag myself. When I used it in the store I had 0 issues, even when exporting and process a Final Cut Pro File. When I opened a bunch of other apps at the same time, then I started noticing that glitch. If  says it can support it, wouldn't you think it'd be possible? I plan on running in clamshell so maybe that'll make things smoother?

Here is a quote from the article that makes me think...
You shouldn’t expect anything incredible out of the new MacBook — rendering video is probably not a good idea — but it’s a good all-round performer. For those, like me, that don’t do much on their computers outside of internet, writing, document editing and a little photo editing, it’s great.

In fact, I tried to push it to the edge and found it was good enough at most tasks that you’ll probably get away with it. I compiled a few apps I’m working on in XCode, watched HD movies and did my Web development like I normally would… just don’t try to do them all at once.
Buy and try seems to be the only real option for me lol.


macrumors 68020
Oct 25, 2008
Even though it's adequate for those tasks it's still noticeably slower than my 3 year old rMBP in daily tasks like surfing and reading PDFs


macrumors regular
Oct 12, 2014
Coming from a 2015 13" MBPr, there is a very noticeable drop in performance speed. However, it's very usable as long as you're not taxing the CPU. Some of the applications you're looking to run will more than likely slow the rMB down.

13" MBPr is the perfect blend of portability and power right now. Even the base configuration i5 is substantially more powerful than MacBooks of years past.

Buy & Try is always a great option. And now that Apple stores are beginning to have stock, you might actually be able to walk out of a store with one.


macrumors 68020
Mar 19, 2011
Yeah, I am going to agree with those above. While the rMB might be basically ok for these uses now, you're not going to get any longevity out of the machine for these use cases. If you are going to be one of those that upgrades annually going forward, you will be fine, but I wouldn't expect to get 3-4 years out of the rMB with your use case.

If you were doing only web based and office productivity/coding then you could easy get that longevity out of it. But you want to mostly dock it to a 4K monitor and use Adobe Creative Suite Apps, and you're going to be disappointed.


macrumors 68000
Aug 31, 2009
England, UK
Extensive Adobe Creative Suite, 4K external monitors and clam shell mode are exactly the opposite of what this MacBook was made for.

I do a lot of InDesign work creating very visual, professionally designed presentations. At work, we are each provided with a 2013 27" iMac and a 2014 13" rMBP. I've also just bought the 12" rMB for travel and sofa use.

The performance difference between the iMac and rMBP is somewhat noticeable for my usage. The difference between the rMBP and the rMB is hugely noticeable.

That 'max CPU' you're talking about on the rMB is only achievable for a few minutes or even seconds. Thermal throttling will limit that sucker to 1.1-1.3GHz very quickly.

Simply put; you're buying the wrong machine for your needs.

You're using demanding, "pro" applications and high-end, professional peripherals. As the name suggests, the MacBook Pro is better suited to you.

Go for a 13" rMBP, or wait another 10 months.
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