Upgrading from 4 year old black Macbook, would rMBP be overkill?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by ieani, Aug 5, 2012.

  1. ieani macrumors 6502a

    ieani

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    Jan 3, 2006
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    the states for now
    #1
    I am a graduate school in psychology and want a lightweight (relative to my current MB) laptop that will not mimic a jet engine when it encounters flash, has decent battery life (not the 1hr im down to now), and can run windows seamlessly.

    Would I notice a substantial performance gain with just a Macbook Air or is the rMBP a sensible investment?

    I will primarily use the computer for internet, word processing, data analysis and web application development. I will be commuting with the laptop by bike, but didn't notice too much of a weight difference at the Apple store.

    I will be using an education award to purchase the laptop so cost is not a major factor.
     
  2. leman macrumors 604

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #2
    Both the Air or the rMBP will be so much faster than your current laptop that its not even funny :) In the end its your decision. Do you want to spend some more money for the rMBP with its insanely good display or get the lighter Air? BTW, if you get the Air, you should go for at least 13" with 256GB SSD.
     
  3. FastEddiebags macrumors 6502

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    #3
    Get the Retina, since cost is not a factor.You will benefit from the increased screen real estate and the quad core processor.
     
  4. mjn298 macrumors regular

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    #4
    If you do a lot of statistical analysis/graphing/etc I would get a 15" screen

    retina or not depends on your preferences.
     
  5. polotska macrumors 6502

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    #5
    Although the Retina MacBook Pro weighs less than your black MacBook, its dimensions might make it more awkward in transit.

    Either would be a substantial upgrade. If size and cost aren’t an issue, I’d go with the Retina MacBook Pro.
     
  6. retinarob, Aug 5, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2012

    retinarob macrumors regular

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    #6
    Went from a 2007 MBP to a rMBP. You won't find much of anything to complain about, and with 16GB of RAM it should last another 4 years. The versatility of the screen would be great for data analysis--opening up your work space, and typing on it just looks so much better.
     
  7. ieani thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ieani

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    #7
    I somehow did not consider the importance of screen real estate when graphing but that makes a lot of sense and has essentially sold me on the retina.
     
  8. mjn298 macrumors regular

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    #8
    Ya running at max resolution will give you a ton of available space.. it's honestly absurd. I was amazed in the store. Especially if you have good vision and like small text (which I do).

    What kept me from it is the fact that I'm a hardware nerd and opening up my computers and doing stuff myself brings me a lot of joy that I wasn't ready to give up yet. It's inevitable that things continue in this way, though, and I'll have to restrict my hardware work to desktops.
     
  9. PS65 macrumors 6502

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    #9
    What are you on about? How do the dimensions make it more awkward to transit?

    This place never stops amazing me.....never used to be like this....
     
  10. clyde2801 macrumors 601

    clyde2801

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    #10
    It's thinner, but wider and longer.
     
  11. PS65 macrumors 6502

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    #11
    But then why compare a 15" to a 13" machine for being awkward? I'd say a rMBP is the best to carry, excluding the Air.
     
  12. gentlefury macrumors 68030

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    #12
    Based on your usage I would say that the 11" MBA would be pretty perfect. I used mine all the time in meetings and on the go. I recently got the 15" rMBP and I LOVE IT...but I wouldn't be able to lug it nearly as far as I did my Air.

    As for the jet engine using flash, you are going to have to take that one up with Adobe. I haven't heard any excessive spin on my rMBP using flash since I got it...but I also haven't used it for any extremely lengthy period (I use click to flash to block it)

    On the rare occasion I had to use flash on my MBA it would spin up full blast and crank my battery down to 1 hour.
     
  13. mjn298 macrumors regular

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    #13
    yeah the thing has a gorgeous form factor

    and i can't think of any bag that won't accommodate it


    i wish i didn't need firewire and ethernet very frequently

    really miss the PCI slot

    (though I would feel like an idiot if i bought a computer w/ a great form factor and was constantly carrying adapters)

    UGH it's so nice
     
  14. Dangerous Theory macrumors 68000

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    #14
    Are you being awarded a laptop or money towards one? If the former, of course choose the retina one :p otherwise, anything out there is going to blow away the performance of your plastic macbook. With cycling, the Air would definitely help out a bit to cut down mass.
     
  15. mjn298 macrumors regular

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    #15
    as someone who works w/ databases and stats a lot i really urge you to get a 15".

    Retina or not, whatever. But it makes a big difference to have the extra space.
     
  16. polotska macrumors 6502

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    Sep 23, 2007
    #16
    As the next poster mentions, the rMBP is wider and longer than both the old MacBook and MacBook Air. Weight and depth aren’t the only considerations for transport. This can be especially true for bicycle commuters.

    The rMBP doesn’t fit well in my preferred bag, for instance, whereas the smaller width and length of something like an old MacBook wouldn’t be an issue.

    It may or may not be a deal-breaker but I think it bears mentioning.
     
  17. recharge23 macrumors regular

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    Seoul, South Korea
    #17
    i went from an early 08 black macbook to the rmbp. best decision ever!
     
  18. rockyroad55 macrumors 601

    rockyroad55

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    #18
    I would go with a maxed out 13" Air and an external monitor for when you are at home. Portable, fast, light.
     
  19. Rajpdx macrumors regular

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  20. BeachChair macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    Since cost is not a factor, I'd say go Retina. The screen real estate and extra power will help a lot with stats software, possibly virtual machining, and reading scientific articles.
     
  21. ieani thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ieani

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    #21
    My gf has the 11" and the screen is far too small and performance not a noticeable huge jump, although it is much easier to travel with.

    The black Macbooks are notorious for not running flash very well, but really do hope that HTML 5 replaces flash soon.

    ----------

    Good to hear! How is having only 256GB? I have about 30GB free at the moment, but have conditioned myself to delete, delete, delete. Not sure I want to still have to do that.

    ----------

    I considered this but the price difference and size difference is minimal, while performance gains are quite high. Plus I would need a large screen both at home and at my University's lab.
     
  22. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #22


    I agree on the 11" display being small. The 13" is a bit small too. I have no idea if they're noisy, but your gf's experience would be a better reference there. I need to caution you about treating performance as a one dimensional thing. When technology takes gargantuan leaps, it's easier to do this. You buy a new one. It comes with twice the specs in every aspect and simply performs better. It sounds like you're working with lighter computing loads, so a good question would be how you define performance or where you feel it's lacking. Most of what you're doing sounds like it could be accomplished on any given computer. Any of these will be a step up from Core2 era hardware, but if a task runs in perceptibly real time, faster at that point becomes fairly meaningless. If you look at what Apple focuses on, they rarely go wild with specs as modern hardware is quite fast.

    On the rMBP, there are probably many people who buy it for the display alone. I'd expect display upgrades to trickle into the rest of the line. Their default display options are quite dated at this point in terms of resolution. They should really come with the high resolution option by default, and their ssd upgrade pricing this generation is asinine. They've essentially maintained their pricing from the prior year even when ssd pricing has dropped significantly overall.
     
  23. gentlefury macrumors 68030

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    #23
    I personally loved my 11". The screen size was perfect for me! I just needed power, or else I would have kept it!
     
  24. terraphantm macrumors 68040

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    Pennsylvania
    #24
    I used to be on a 13" Air before getting my rMBP. It took me a few days to get used to the extra real estate, but now I really love it. 15" IMO is a pretty ideal size - especially since the rMBP still weighs < 5lbs

    The performance benefits are huge. The SSD + 16GB RAM basically makes the everything load near instant
     
  25. ieani thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ieani

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    Location:
    the states for now
    #25
    Well for me the rMBP's screen and ability to run many programs seamlessly is what entices me, since I often am multitasking various work and creative projects. While my "needed" usage is for grad school, I also am getting into software development, help out a non-profit with web and graphic design, make short films, write, and am involved in various other multimedia projects.
     

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