Suggestions/Input for my 1st macbook purchase

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Spinit14, Apr 12, 2014.

  1. Spinit14 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2014
    #1
    Hello guys, new poster here looking for suggestions for my first macbook purchase. I will be upgrading from a 2007 Dell that I bought when I went to undergrad. I will be using this computer while finishing up my masters degree so I'll be using microsoft office, blackboard, web surfing, etc. I will also use this computer to watch film and edit film on HUDL. I think I'm set on 8GB Ram but I have some questions on the models. Should I go with refurbished or buy new with my education discount? The discount price is only a hundred dollars or so more than refurb. Is the Apple USB superdrive an essential? Does the macbook not come with a CD/DVD equipped? What are some of the essential accessories? Thanks for all of the help!

    I have been looking at this model,
    Refurbished 13.3-inch MacBook Pro 2.4GHz Dual-core Intel i5 with Retina Display
    Originally released October 2013
    13.3-inch (diagonal) Retina display; 2560-by-1600 resolution at 227 pixels per inch
    8GB of 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
    256GB Flash Storage1

    What's the difference going to be in 256 GB flash storage and the 512 GB flash storage? Is it worth upgrading? The 2.4 GHz vs the 2.6 GHz?
     
  2. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #2
    Refurb models are pretty good and are like new. The only thing differentiating them from brand new models is the box that they come in.

    Refurb models have been tested by Apple to make sure that they meet the same standards as new ones and also come with the standard one-year warranty. You can also choose to buy the 3-year AppleCare.

    In fact, refurb models may even be better than new ones because faulty parts have been replaced to make sure that it performs like new.

    Retina MBP do not have a CD/DVD drive slot (that's the reason why it's so thin as well compared to the non retina model).

    It's not worth upgrading the processor because the performance increase isn't noticeable.

    512GB allows you to store double the data compared to the 256GB drive.

    If you go for the 256GB drive, keep in mind that you're playing the SanDisk/Samsung lottery, with the SanDisk variant being 150MB/s slower in writes than the Samsung. While most people won't bother, it bothers me personally because it irks me to know that I can probably get an inferior product even though I pay the same price for either variant.

    Besides, 256GB may be pretty constrained for your storage needs if you intend to keep all your images and movies in the internal drive.

    I recommend the 512GB variant because:
    1. It's Samsung-only (Samsung is the sole supplier for 512GB and 1TB)
    2. You don't need to have the hassle of lugging an external drive around.

    Meanwhile for memory/RAM, I suggest you go for 16GB because the RAM is soldered to the logic board, so it's not upgradeable post-purchase. For most tasks, 8GB is fine but if you intend to keep this machine for more than 3 years, you may want to consider future-proofing it to 16GB. It can also bring a higher resale value if you want to sell it.
     
  3. Spinit14 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2014
    #3
    Thanks for the valuable input yjchua95, I wasn't aware that the rMBP didn't come with the CD/DVD drive. Thank you for explaining the risk involved with 256 GB flash storage, again I wasn't aware of that. Are there any specific accessories you recommend? Do most people put a protective case on theirs? Are people using screen protectors on the rMBP?
     
  4. Stevi macrumors member

    Stevi

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2012
    Location:
    Whiteshell Provincial Park, Mb, Canada
    #4
    Retina models do not come with a cd/dvd drive. I bought the superdrive (I have an iMac and MacBook so it does double duty). I have an exhaustive or excessive depending on your perspective, collection of CDs and DVDs. I have converted all the CDs but not the DVDs so it is a project in progress. Your needs might be very different. There is nothing stopping you from buying it later if you need it or buying another compatible drive that is likely a lot less expensive. 99% of your apps will be downloadable and almost none would come on a disk.

    Most of the things you plan to do do not require a maxed out machine except the video editing, that can be RAM intensive and you might be better adding more RAM to 16GB. The RAM cannot be upgraded at a later date so if you need it, you have to order it that way. I am a photographer and I chose 16GB RAM so I could edit large photographs.

    Flash storage is where you'll store your files. Basically the 512GB is twice the size of the 256GB drive. If you run out of space you can always use an external drive - but then you are carrying extra stuff. Video files can be quite large so bear that in mind when you make your choice. An HD movie can be 6GB or more so a large movie collection can fill up a drive very quickly.

    I bought a BTO (built to order) as I wanted features I couldn't get otherwise. Refurbs are a great way to buy and it isn't unheard of to get more in the box than the specs say on the outside. Refurbs have the same warranty as new and many folks have posted how happy they are with refurbs. Certainly if what I needed was available as a refurb I would have ordered one.

    Hopefully I have helped.

    Stevi
     
  5. KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020

    KUguardgrl13

    Joined:
    May 16, 2013
    Location:
    Kansas, USA
    #5
    That's a good model to buy new or refurbished! I bought mine new in October. My uses are pretty much just websurfing and Office though. The video editing you want to do may make 16gb of ram worth it for you. 256 vs 512 just means the hard drive space except that it's flash. Faster and no spinning disc to get damaged :)

    I would recommend an external hard drive for backups if you don't have one already or using something like Dropbox. Even flash storage can fail and lose your data.

    Good luck with the purchase!
     
  6. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #6
    For specific accessories, I don't recommend any except the Apple SuperDrive if you need it.

    Yes, most people put a protective casing on their. Generally, buy a hard case that suits your taste (call me superstitious, but I bought a light blue one because the feng shui blokes said that for 2014, Earth element colours are lucky colours :D )
     
  7. dmccloud macrumors 6502a

    dmccloud

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    Location:
    Anchorage, AK
    #7
    The SuperDrive (external DVD) is a good option, as is an external mouse (a lot of people have the Apple-branded mouse, but I went with the Logitech Ultrathin Touch Mouse - smaller, has a rechargeable batter with quick recharge time). Also, a lot of people get the Speck cases (or a similar brand) for their machines, although I haven't seen anyone using a screen protector on their MBP/rMBP. I've always had the clear case in the past, but I went with a blue one for this new rMBP for a change of pace. Even with a hard shell on the machine, you'll want a good bag if you plan to carry it around with you.
     
  8. magnumpi macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2012
    #8
    Go for the refurb one and invest the extra cash either on RAM or on an external storage (RAM better if you can stomach it). Much better than overpaying for a merely extra 256 GB of internal storage.
     
  9. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #9
    I don't think it's overpaying. The 512GB is 170MB/s faster than the SD0256F in writes, and about 50MB/s faster than the SM0256F in writes. Besides not everyone likes lugging an external storage around. It's cumbersome and doesn't look nice, aesthetically speaking.
     
  10. magnumpi macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2012
    #10
    Benchmarks always look good on paper. Those speed differences won't make much of a difference when it comes to small files or launching apps and when it comes to large files you are going to be hold down by the transfer speeds of your external storage, USB, network, SD card and such. Granted the benefits are there I'm just not sure they are worth the extra cash.

    You are already carrying the laptop, a tiny HDD shouldn't be a issue plus you don't need to have it plugged all the time, only when you need it.
     
  11. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #11
    How about I/O intensive tasks such as video editing? The OP specifically mentioned that as well.

    The large SSD will still be beneficial that way. Also, considering that it's not replaceable (yet), the OP could also increase the resale value of it if he sells it off in the future. 256GB is already small by today's standards. Three years down the road, it'd be considered tiny.
     
  12. magnumpi macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2012
    #12
    It will be better ofc, that's not debatable. The key point is how much better and if it is worth the money.

    That's a very valid point unless you are overpaying for features arguably needed in the first place. Personal choice though.

    I think the rule of thumb is to focus on the amount of storage to carry on your daily tasks comfortably.
     
  13. robE89 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2011
    #13
    By which standards ? Apple standards? You realize that most laptops have like 8/16GB of SSD? I don't see 256GB being tiny in the future as we go more and more to cloud storage and so on. I think storage is an user preference, if he needs more, he will buy more and there are people like me who aren't bothered to use external drives but i know that there are people who doesn't like the hassle or simply don't have time...i think OP should know how much he will need and choose accordingly.
     
  14. Barney63 macrumors 6502a

    Barney63

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    Jan 9, 2014
    Location:
    Bolton, UK.
    #14
    The real life speed differences of the SanDisk vs Samsung are indescribable, I have the SanDisk and it flies.
    I am also sure I have read a report somewhere that the base model have the best return when it comes to resale, so speccing up for a better resale is false economy.
    I got the mid range rMBP new with the education discount in the UK with 3 years applecare thrown in, if I had got the refurb it would have been a few £s cheaper but I wouldn't have got the AppleCare.
    A Speck case is a good idea for keeping it in pristine condition (copies are available on ebay for £10)

    Barney
     
  15. Spinit14 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2014
    #15
    Stevi, thanks for your response, after hearing from the first two posters, I am considering upgrading to 16gn of ram. I'm looking at this model for $1,579.
    2.4GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 2.9GHz
    16GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
    256GB PCIe-based Flash Storage

    ----------

    Thanks KUguardgrl13, I actually use dropbox some now, do you have a preference for an external hard drive?

    ----------

    Thanks dmccloud, I have heard from several posters that the speck cases are popular so I will consider that case.

    ----------

    So what I'm hearing from most posters is to upgrade the ram to 16GB if I think I'll need it in the future. Here is my next question, I'm playing around for the different models and this is what I currently have for $1,579

    2.4GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 2.9GHz
    16GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
    256GB PCIe-based Flash Storage
    Backlit Keyboard (English) & User's Guide

    ----------

    When I select the 512 GB model the only option is this which comes to $1,879.

    2.6GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz
    16GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
    512GB PCIe-based Flash Storage
    Backlit Keyboard (English) & User's Guide

    I guess my question is how much of a difference is the 2.6GHz compared to the 2.4GHz?
     
  16. KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020

    KUguardgrl13

    Joined:
    May 16, 2013
    Location:
    Kansas, USA
    #16
    I like Western Digital My Passports, but I've heard good things about Seagate too. Any one that is USB3 and can be formatted for Mac should be fine. No need to get one specifically labeled "for Mac" (they're usually more expensive). Just look for the Mac Finder logo on the packaging or someone where it says compatible with Mac or OS X.
     
  17. Spinit14 thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 12, 2014
    #17
    Ok thanks!
     
  18. Stevi macrumors member

    Stevi

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2012
    Location:
    Whiteshell Provincial Park, Mb, Canada
    #18

    I concur. I bought a 1 TB (1000GB) My Passport for $69. A 500GB (half the size) pre formatted for Mac was $79. It took no time at all to format and I use it for movies (which I have backed up somewhere else) and to back up the MacBook.

    Stevi
     
  19. DanGoh macrumors 6502

    DanGoh

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2014
    #19

    I just got my late 2013 13" 256GB MacBook Pro from Best Buy 2 days ago. How do I check if the SSD is a Samsung or SanDisk?
     
  20. Spinit14 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2014
    #20
    So what I'm hearing from most posters is to upgrade the ram to 16GB if I think I'll need it in the future. Here is my next question, I'm playing around for the different models and this is what I currently have for $1,579

    2.4GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 2.9GHz
    16GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
    256GB PCIe-based Flash Storage
    Backlit Keyboard (English) & User's Guide

    ----------

    When I select the 512 GB model the only option is this which comes to $1,879.

    2.6GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz
    16GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
    512GB PCIe-based Flash Storage
    Backlit Keyboard (English) & User's Guide

    I guess my question is how much of a difference is the 2.6GHz compared to the 2.4GHz?

    Or I can go the refurbished route with thi for $1,529.
    Refurbished 13.3-inch MacBook Pro 2.6GHz Dual-core Intel i5 with Retina Display
    Originally released October 2013
    13.3-inch (diagonal) Retina display; 2560-by-1600 resolution at 227 pixels per inch
    8GB of 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
    512GB Flash Storage1
    720p FaceTime HD camera

    I have also considered this one, with the 15.4" screen for $1,699
    Refurbished 15.4-inch MacBook Pro 2.0GHz Quad-core Intel i7 with Retina Display
    Originally released October 2013
    15.4-inch (diagonal) Retina display; 2880-by-1800 resolution at 220 pixels per inch
    8GB of 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
    256GB Flash Storage1
     
  21. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2011
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #21
    2.4 vs. 2.6 GHz: Not worth the money...

    256 GB vs 512 GB: It is a quite expensive upgrade. For myself I decided that I don't need that amount of storage. But videos can take up a lot of space, so maybe you would benefit form the 512 GB option

    8 GB vs. 16 GB: I'm not convinced that it is necessary to go for 16 GB to "future proof"


    My personal view: I'd rather spend $1.5k than $2k. The machine will be fine for 3+ years in either case. And who knows what new technology will be available then... so it is hard to really "future proof." Just imagine you had bought a Mac in 2011. Yes you could upgrade with a SSD and 16 GB RAM, but there is no way to get USB 3, TB2, retina display, PCIE storage, a/c WiFi without buying a new machine. So all "future proofing" can only get you so far.


    PS: The 15'' machine is also a nice option. It is somewhat less portable, but much more powerful. My 2011 15'' quad core still has more computing power than my new 13'' rMBP.
     
  22. Barney63 macrumors 6502a

    Barney63

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Location:
    Bolton, UK.
    #22
    Go to System Information > Hardware > Storage > and look at Media Name.
    SD0256F is Sandisk
    SM0256F is Samsung

    Although the benchmark programs show the Samsung to be a little faster in Write Speed, in normal use it is unnoticeable, don't worry about it.

    Barney
     
  23. Spinit14 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2014
    #23
    Thanks Thundersteele, I appreciate the response.
     
  24. DanGoh macrumors 6502

    DanGoh

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2014
    #24

    Just checked, didn't win the lottery, SanDisk SSD :(

    Thanks Barney.
     

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