Which MacBook Pro should I buy?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by louisaF, Nov 9, 2013.

  1. louisaF macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2013
    #1
    I'm trying to decide between the new 13 inch MacBook Pro with retina display, with 8 GB RAM and 256 GB SSD, or the 2012 13 inch MacBook Pro non retina, with 4 GB RAM and 500 GB HDD. I'm a 17 year old student, and my uses are web browsing, watching videos, doing word processing, a bit of gaming, digital art, and photo and video editing. I was going to get the retina because it is newer, has better battery life, better screen, thinner etc. However I'm concerned about the low storage and the lack of user upgrade ability. I've heard that if something breaks, it will be very expensive to replace, and if my macbook gets slow as it gets old I won't be able to swap the hard drive etc to make it faster. I feel like having options to upgrade make it feel like a safer purchase, am I right to be concerned about these things? That's why I'm looking at the non retina MacBook Pro. It's cheaper, and has more memory. But I'm worried about spending that much money on technology that is becoming outdated. It also doesn't have a great screen compared to the retina. Is it still worth buying a non retina MacBook Pro or there no point? Which one should I get?
     
  2. TualatriX macrumors newbie

    TualatriX

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2013
    #2
    In my case, three years ago, I bought an MacBook Air with 13' display, 4GB memory, 256GB SSD, it was the best hardware then.

    Three year later, the memory is not enough for me now. 256G SSD is OK, because I can use external hard driver. I want to buy a new Mac since I can't upgrade my Air's memory, memory is really the most important thing.

    So my advice is, try to buy the new MacBook Pro with retina display and make sure upgrade the memory to 16G, you rMBP will have a much longer life.
     
  3. KeegM480 macrumors 6502a

    KeegM480

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2013
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #3
    Go Retina, if you have the money to do it go for it! I would love to buy a retina but for the specs I need, I can't afford it. If you can dont hesitate! Especially if you decide to do photo editing, movie watching, ext so much better looking!
     
  4. markyr17 macrumors 65816

    markyr17

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2010
  5. sarakn macrumors 6502a

    sarakn

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2013
    #5
    Without a doubt, go retina... it's so pretty :)

    I'm sitting here with my retina MBP and my Dell laptop and the retina is just so amazing to look at. I have an ipad 2 and want an ipad air just for the retina screen.

    Besides the screen, the MB is a powerful piece of work. It's quiet, fast, just a joy to use.

    I just switched from windows to mac after 15+ years and when I go back to my windows laptop, I wonder why ANYONE still uses windows. I mean, just why???

    Anyway, get the recent mac. The screen and the processor justify the cost.
     
  6. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #6
    Retina for the win, but I don't really advocate the 13" because it lacks a discrete graphics card.

    I suggest the base high-end 15" with the 2GB of GT750M and 16GB of RAM. 8GB of RAM isn't enough (in my view, I do lots of photo editing, being a freelance photographer).

    I don't mind a tiny SSD because there's the Promise Pegasus on my desk.
     
  7. themumu macrumors 6502a

    themumu

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    Location:
    Sunnyvale
    #7
    If you can afford it, go retina. If/when you feel like you need more RAM etc, just sell it and get the newer version.
     
  8. Scott7975 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2013
    #8
    I would go with the Retina. I don't think 4GBs Ram is enough for you.
     
  9. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #9
    I sort of agree. The only really important points are how much storage is required and 16GB of ram, both for the photo stuff. The discrete card would play games faster, but if he needed a 15", I would say go refurbished or something. The 650m is a little slower but should be better for games than iris. For the other stuff it won't make a difference. The 2012 13" cmbp is also fine. Ram is 4GB stock, but it's user upgradable. The OP is a teenager. He won't be shooting 2k video or a Phase One IQ. I think he'll be fine with whatever, but games may not be the greatest on any of the 13" models.

    For what it's worth, the iris pro wouldn't affect your uses. You may think photography depends on the gpu, yet its outlined uses are minimal. PS may have a couple modes of gpu use, but they're not very meaningful, no matter what you've been led to believe through benchmarking the few bits of it that are written in OpenCL. Usually to benchmark gpu use, people load liquify and produce some topologically awful mesh, then take note of how OpenCL can power through the overlaps faster. It's a flawed testing method. Lightroom doesn't make any real use of it.
     
  10. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #10
    I'm also a teen, but I've got the gear, mainly because I was lucky and I made some decent money, enough to save up to buy several Macs and photographic gear.

    Teenagers shoot 4K nowadays. Several in my class, along with myself (I'm 18) shoot with the EOS-1Dc.
     
  11. mthos macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2013
    #11
    If the price isn't a factor between non-retina 2012 and retina 2013, go with the retina 2013 in my opinion.

    You said you like to do a little gaming and video editing and the 2013 Haswell processors have Intel Iris 5100 iGPU and are a lot better for anything with graphics over the 2012 Ivy Bridge HD 4000 iGPU.

    Besides that point, I personally feel that 8GB should be the bare minimum people are buying in laptops in 2013 as this should be the standard baseline (dunno why Apple selling 4GB in Pro models, laughable). 8GB will give you more future proofing then 4GB for sure.

    You also brought up you are looking at improved battery, which you would definitely notice with Haswell CPU and an SSD. Speaking of SSD drives, once you go SSD you never go back. They are so amazing. I remember the first time I installed an SSD in my PC and booted it up in like 20s instead of 1.5mm it's an amazing difference.

    Onto the screen once you use a Retina screen, you'll love it and it will be hard to go back to a normal LCD display.

    Onto space. Yes you will only have half the space of the 500GB HDD, but a lot more speed (real world noticeable speed) from the SSD. You can hook up an external HDD if you need additional space for video files, etc as a cheap option (~$70 for 1TB) which would be a lot more space while still keeping all your programs installed on the SSD. Also Apple recently went onto PCIe SSD drives which have around 700mb/s reads/writes, where a 500GB HDD would be around 100mb/s.

    As for repairs, unless it's the HDD or RAM on the 2012 model that dies, most other things are still very expensive to replace, screens, logic boards, GPU, CPU, etc. You can always get AppleCare when your 1 year warranty is going to run out and if you are a student, I think it's only like $225 for AppleCare on a 13" Retina and you don't need to buy it right away, you can budget and purchase it anytime before the first 12 months is up (initial warranty).

    Sorry for long response, hope it helps.

    TL DR;
    2013 13" Retina Macbook Pro 8GB RAM and SSD > 2012 13" Non-Retina Macbook Pro 4GB RAM and HDD unless price is a massive factor.
     
  12. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #12
    That is pretty awesome, but the OP hasn't indicated that kind of use. You were also pointing him at something that was roughly double the proposed budget range. I would certainly not advise someone to spend too much on a notebook gpu for those purposes. Gaming is the one valid area. If it was something like animation, I would say drop the notebook for a desktop. Students typically want notebooks. Otherwise I would also say to consider waiting out the next mac mini refresh, as it should be a decent machine for that kind of use. That also opens up a much broader display range. A mac mini + an NEC can be a very nice setup. On a budget I would say Dell. The really great thing about the retina displays is resolution. In every other category they're just okay, when compared to some of what is out there. Compared only against other notebook displays, they're quite good.
     
  13. Tears Apart macrumors 6502a

    Tears Apart

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2009
    Location:
    Outside Closer
    #13
    Retina. And you don't want a non-SSD disk, even if bigger in size. SSD will give you SO much more performance.
     
  14. louisaF thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2013
    #14
    Thanks for all the replies.
    I would love a 15 inch retina, but sadly I cannot afford it.
    I know upgrading to 16GB RAM would be best, but again, it costs quite a lot to upgrade and I can only just afford it with 8GB. How long will the macbook last me with only 8GB? By the way if I did get the non retina I would upgrade it to 8 or 16GB of RAM.
     
  15. Tears Apart macrumors 6502a

    Tears Apart

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2009
    Location:
    Outside Closer
    #15
    Don't worry, 8GB are way enough for you and they will be enough for more years than you will want to keep your laptop for.
     
  16. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #16
    I'm not sure whether the non-retina supports 16GB of RAM or not, but the integrated GPU is a joke.

    ----------

    I'd say the 13" retinas are relatively hamstrung.

    I think Apple's definition of 'Pro' is getting quite pathetic these days. If a dual-core system is a 'Pro', I don't know what to say.

    On another note, the 8GB RAM issue. Maybe it might last you 2-3 years, and then you'd need an upgrade. Back in 2011, my 15" Sandy Bridge had 8GB of RAM and in 2 years, I upgraded it to 16GB because newer apps are more resource-hungry.

    Keep in mind that RAM isn't upgradeable on rMBPs.
     
  17. Paapaa macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2013
    #17
    Which apps are you using? Have you actually checked how much you spend ram in normal usage? I really guess you haven't...
     
  18. busydating macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2013
  19. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #19
    I run VMware, Logic and Photoshop CS6 concurrently most of the time, and I know all these apps are resource-hungry.

    On 16GB of RAM, I normally have just 2GB of RAM free with these running together. Which is low enough.

    Edit: Photoshop CS5 was less resource hungry.
     
  20. Paapaa macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2013
    #20
    Ok, I stand corrected. Virtual OS definitely eats up resources. But usually I think anyone who need 16GB actually knows it. If the usage is normal (no virtual OS, no heavy video editing etc.) 8GB is more than enough.
     
  21. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #21
    When it starts paging...there you go. With just Photoshop CS6 open, working on a large RAW file, after some time, it starts paging on 8GB of RAM.

    8GB is the minimum baseline for today's standards, IMHO. 4GB is unacceptable (open more than a few tabs in Safari and it starts to lag and keeps paging).
     
  22. Paapaa macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2013
    #22
    That really sounds odd. Could someone test this? How many tabs you really have to open to make OSX swap with just Safari? Chrome uses around 30-100MB per each tab - average being 50MB. (This is easy to verify). I'm sure Safari does equally well or even better if flash is disabled. This means that you can fit 20 tabs/GB of RAM. Do you really have over 60 tabs open simultaneously?

    And very interesting if one single RAW image can eat 8GBs of memory. Sounds like a bug. A 40 Megapixel image using 96bits/pixel translates to 500MB of data. But I trust you if you say it starts to swap.

    Yesterday I was running Windows 8.1 and had opened Spotify, Visual Studio 2012, Gimp with 5 (all 6MP) images, Chrome with 10 tabs and a few Putty terminals. I used 2,5GB of memory. So even 4GB is more than enough for my normal usage.

    OSX Mavericks also knows memory compression which means that you can use more than the physical memory with no swapping.
     
  23. yjchua95, Nov 11, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2013

    yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #23
    The 4GB RAM issue, I tested it with a Sandy Bridge late 2011 13" MBP that I won in a raffle. With a PDF open in Preview, 6 tabs in Safari (JS and Flash enabled), iTunes and Word open, it takes a toll on the machine (typical college student workflow). Note that it's a 2.4GHz i5 model with a 7200rpm drive.

    On the RAW images, yeah I think it's just me, because I shoot with a Hasselblad H4D-200MS (producing 200MP images). If I work on shots from my EOS 5D Mk3, I convert to TIFF after processing with ACR. Then that's when it swells. That's when it starts paging also (on 8GB RAM), because TIFF files are massive.

    You're running Windows? Windows handles resources differently from OS X. So your argument is invalid :)

    All my machines (with the exception of the 13" MBP from the raffle and the Mac Minis at home) have at least 16GB of RAM. The 27" iMac has 32GB and the two Mac Pros in the server rack have 64GB each (my dad's requirements for his work).

    EDIT: Refer to the attachment. With only 4 apps open, it takes up more than half of the RAM of my 15". Now that's starting to worry me. Not sure whether this is how OS X handles compressed RAM though.
     

    Attached Files:

  24. Paapaa macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2013
    #24
    Yes, that is a very special case. If OP shoots 200MP raw images, he really knows it and knows the RAM needs. "Future proofing" is IMO really not a valid point here.

    You are now missing one important thing. "Memory used" is not something you should be watching. Why? Because all modern OS's try to make use of available memory. They use it for various caches. As you can see "File Cache" takes the most and it is NOT needed necessarily. You spend 4,5GB for those caches and the machine would work just fine without them. Your Apps take up a lot less: 3,3GB. (Wired means memory that can't be swapped)

    And the compressed memory starts to kick in only when you are actually reaching the limits.
     
  25. jz- macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2013
    #25
    Remember that professionals can be professionals in fields that don't require a lot of processing power – besides, Apple's 13" Macbook Pros were never particularly powerful, and they've always been dual-core. It's just a form of marketing to upsell people from the Air by making the name sound better.
     

Share This Page