Should the rMBP 13" be my first Mac?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by vcash, Oct 26, 2012.

  1. vcash macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2012
    #1
    I have always been a PC user and my last laptop was a 15.6" Dell Inspiron 1520 - A computer that has lasted me for the past 5+ years. The reason I am ditching the Inspiron is because I am in Grad School now and my computer goes everywhere with me so I need something lighter and more portable than the 6.5 Lb Dell.

    I was in the market for a Windows Ultrabook and realized that I am spending around $1200 for popular models and since I have always been curious about the Mac experience, I decided to play around with a friend's cMBP and really liked OSX. I almost bought the 13" MBA last month but decided to hold out for the 13" rMBP instead. I never really considered the 15" rMBP, not so much for the size and weight (Which, for me is not such a big difference over newer 13" laptops) but for the price - $2200 is out of my budget.

    Now, I have also recently lucked out and a friend of mine who works at the Apple Store has offered me their 15% F&F discount. With the discount, I can get the 13" rMBP for around $1450. At this price would you recommend that I get the rMBP or am I better off with the MBA which post discount is $1100 (With 8GB Ram and 128 GB SSD).

    I typically average 6 hours a day on my laptop and I do a lot of web research, make presentations on Prezi \ Sliderocket, use Excel, Word and Balsamiq for 2D Wire Framing. On the entertainment side, I like to stream HD movies from my NetFlix account and 1080p videos of YouTube \ UltraViolet.

    My priorities are good keyboard for typing, good screen real estate for wireframing (Websites and Apps) and a nice HD screen since I spend so much time on the computer. I do not game at all but the one thing I want from my computer is snappy response - i.e. no lag while working on regular (read not intensive activities).

    HD4000 is not a deal breaker for me nor is the lack of 16GB Ram or a quad core processor since I do not use the computer for graphics and processor heavy lifting activities.

    My one gripe with the base 13" rMBP is the standard 128GB storage. I do have an external hard drive that I back up all my data to that I don't use on a regular basis, but it would be nice to have a bit more storage on the computer. As of now on my Windows Vista System - OS and software programs take up around 60GB and all my documents, music and photographs take up another 60GB. So my current use case is around 120GB of storage. On the content side, this could grow by another 40 to 50 GB over the next 4 years (I plan on keeping the computer for at least this long).

    Now, I realize that I can upgrade to the 256 GB model, but honestly, that would be pushing my budget into an uncomfortable territory and also at that point, I will start questioning myself on whether to spend an additional $170 and get the rMBP 15" for $1870 which again leads to budgetary constraints.

    This makes me come to another point - Can a SDXC card be used as additional storage for content. So once I start out to fill up capacity on the SSD can I buy a 64GB or a 128 GB SDXC card and use that as storage - This option seems cheaper than springing for a 256GB SSD right now and does not compromise on portability or weight - I just wanted to know what the technological downsides are of this.

    Thank you for reading through my post and I look forward to your suggestions.

    Cheers,
    V
     
  2. CausticPuppy macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    #2
    Regarding the 128GB base storage, here are a couple things to keep in mind.


    1) iFixit's teardown indicates that we may be able to use standard aftermarket SSD drives in the 13"-- there is an empty space below the trackpad where a slim drive will most likely fit. Then we just have to wait for OWC to produce a cable for it. :)

    2) A fast USB3 thumb drive will work nicely for extra storage for stuff that you don't need all the time


    As for me, I'd be fine with 128GB since it's not my primary machine, though the (possible) room for an aftermarket SSD is intriguing. Even if that's not a possibility, you can always upgrade the SSD card later when the prices come down.
     
  3. Naimfan macrumors 68040

    Naimfan

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    #3
    You realize, of course, that doing so voids the warranty, right? There are no user-serviceable parts inside.
     
  4. vcash thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2012
    #4
    Thanks for the information - This would be my primary and only machine - I am not keen on cracking open the case for an after market SSD especially while the computer is under warranty (I plan on getting Apple Care).

    I like the idea of a USB 3.0 drive as well - Out of curiosity, do people use SDXC slots on a more regular basis (Other than simply swapping those cards in and out from Digital cameras)?

    Also how much space do you estimate that OSX + a few basic apps take on the system (Office 2010, Spotify, VLC, Chrome, etc.)

    Cheers,
    V
     
  5. CausticPuppy macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    #5
    False. Upgrading the SSD will not void your warranty; however, Applecare obviously will not cover any damage you do to the machine as a result of the upgrade. So yeah, if you're not careful and you break something critical to the machine, you're SOL.

    But if you upgrade your SSD, and everything works fine, and then your display stops working down the road, your Applecare is still valid.

    The moral of the story is you can upgrade the SSD, but you need to know what you're doing.
     
  6. Naimfan macrumors 68040

    Naimfan

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    #6
    Good luck with that.

    Part of my work is with warranties. Opening a rMBP and changing anything inside it constitutes unauthorized modification, which allows Apple to void the entire warranty.
     
  7. CausticPuppy macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    #7
    That sounds nice and vague....
     
  8. Naimfan macrumors 68040

    Naimfan

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    #8
    Your point?

    Oh, right - you don't have one.

    ;)
     
  9. CausticPuppy macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    #9
    Part of my work is with computers. I can be vague too.


    If I needed warranty work I'd naturally put the old SSD back in first. ;)
     
  10. Maczor macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2012
    Location:
    LU, Switzerland
    #10
    @OP: Since one of your priorities is "good screen real estate", then I don't really understand why you're looking at the 13" rMBP? Of course, you can scale it up to 1680x1050, but you'll still have that resolution on a 13" screen... which, well, will make things quite tiny. To me, it seems that you'd be better off with the 15" rMBP instead.
     
  11. Naimfan macrumors 68040

    Naimfan

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    #11
    Funny, part of my work is with computers too.

    So you concede the point by admitting you'd put the original storage back in. Right.

    So glad you could admit you didn't have a point to begin with.

    ;)
     
  12. CausticPuppy macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    #12
    Oh, I understand. You're one of those people that likes arguing on the internet.

    Probably early to mid 20's, and a job in retail.
     
  13. Naimfan macrumors 68040

    Naimfan

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    #13
    Heh. Groundless speculation is clearly not your forte . . .
     
  14. vcash thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2012
    #14
    Thanks Maczor - Main problem with bumping up to the 15" is the cost factor involved. That is why I thought a trade off would be to go with the smaller 13" at a higher resolution - Sacrifice font \ graphics size for real estate. This is also the reason why I originally looked at the MBA over the cMBP - The higher resolution on the MBA should give me additional more desktop space. Right now, with Balsamiq on my 1280 X 800 screen - I have issues getting web page layouts to fit.

    Also, later on after I graduate, I can see myself getting an external display as well.
     
  15. InlawBiker macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    #15
    Apple seems good at getting you to spend "just a little more" to step up. Before too long you can easily talk your way up to the Retina 15".

    I would just simplify by saying, the Air is probably just fine for what you want to do. It's easy to carry, fast and tiny. Maybe there's a way to offload some of your data. 60gb of documents is a lot.

    SDXC cards are getting cheaper but it'll be poking out the side of your computer all the time and probably get bumped. They don't insert flush with the side of the case, if I recall correctly.
     
  16. vcash thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2012
    #16
    Exactly. I think my outer stretch is 1500. When I had done my budgets at the beginning of the year, I had settled on 1350 for a computer. I def don't want to step up to the MBP 15. I think I am going to go to the Mac store tomorrow and test drive the Air and the Retina 13 side by side and take a call. Hopefully some professional reviews will also be out by then.

    60 GB is content - documents, PDFs, photographs and some music.
     
  17. dubels macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    #17
    60gb of content is not bad. I have a MBA and going in I thought the 128GB storage would not be enough. But using dropbox and other things to keep my documents together has saved on document space, and itunes match has also helped. But for me I still have another laptop that is connected to externals for movies and local storage of music.

    Its a hard choice but I think the regular MBP 13 is ok for your uses. The extra resolution wont mean much on such a small screen. I go from my MBA to my 15 MBP and I rarely feel like I need the bigger screen for my graduate school studies.
     
  18. JD92 macrumors 6502a

    JD92

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2005
    #18
    I'm pretty sure modifying anything inside either the Retina MacBook Pros or MacBook Airs can void your warranty unless you're an Apple Authorised Service Provider.
     
  19. Irock619 macrumors 68000

    Irock619

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2011
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #19
    I think you are wrong and are thinking about the cMBP. With the cMBP's apple provides instructions on how to remove and install the HDD and RAM. There is no such instruction for the rMBP, therefore removing these parts would void the warranty.
     
  20. RussellJones macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    #21
    these are coming out sometime soon

    http://theniftyminidrive.com/

    a little expensive, but cheaper than apples ssd upgrade for sure, and with a 64gb micro sd card in, that'll cover you docs.
     
  21. vcash thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2012
    #22
    Are you saying that I should look at the cMBP? Would'nt the Air be a better bet? I don't need the optical drive.

    Like I said, rMBP is out of my budget, by a lot. And I don't want to over extend myself (Unless I was considering the 256 GB rMBP 13"). Any reasons, why you thing the 15" is better suited for my needs?

    Fantastic solution. I actually really like this and could see myself buying additional storage down the line via this method - the 128 should be fine for now.
     
  22. RussellJones macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    #23
    yh, i love these, i will probably get one at some point, i came down from 750gb to 256, and its easier than you think, i have all my music on the ssd and an external drive for school work and docs
     
  23. dubels macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    #24
    If you think that the storage is sufficient in the MBA then go for it. I love mine and its about a year old now. For general studying and other general leisure activities the MBA is perfect. My MBP just sits on a desk connected to some externals and a monitor. I rarely use my MBP because the MBA is perfect for 95% of my uses. I just wish this the SSD was easily replaced with a larger unit so you could have a cheaper alternative to Apple.

    I had bought the 15 MBP because I wanted an upgrade from my old original Macbook and since the 15 inch was the same weight as my original Macbook it seemed like a no brainer (My Apple employee discount helped a lot too). I was surprised when I got my MBA that the 13 inch screen was enough, but I jumped on it because of the outrageous Amazon/Kindle deal. When on the go, I can easily read a PDF and have a word doc open on one of my documents and type up citations and other things with out straining my eyes. It definitely has not held me back in my studies. If you ever need to do work and are at home you can always plug it into a monitor. But for on the go work I find it perfect. Depending on what you are studying you wont want to be carrying around extra weight. Books and other crap is enough to worry about let alone a heavy laptop.

    If you don't game, don't do intensive video or photo editing the MBA is perfect. I still think the perfect OSX combo would be a 27 iMac and a 13 MBA. But since I am in school it just seems excessive.
     
  24. JohnDoe98 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    #25
    You work in warranty and yet you don't even know the parameters of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act? Sounds negligent to me or fishy to me...

    ----------

    False. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act grants you protection. Now don't go messing with your batteries, any tampering with that is a potential biohazard risk so they are not obliged to service your computer. But as far is changing removable components inside the machine, like hard-drives, knock yourself out, just remember the MMWA doesn't protect you when you cause accidental damage to your machine.
     

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