Which MacBook should I buy?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by DeeAre, Apr 2, 2015.

  1. DeeAre macrumors newbie

    Apr 2, 2015
    I know there are probably a hundred such threads floating around lately, but I'm a bit stuck on which MacBook to buy :) I know no one has really used the new rMB, so it's a bit difficult to say too, but I thought I'd get everyone's opinions regardless.

    Here's what I'll be using my laptop for:

    + Regular web usage, e-mail etc. The usual. I should note that I tend to have around 10-15 tabs open at any given time thanks to work.
    + Photoshop work - nothing too crazy, mainly just resizing/batch processing photos, but I will require Photoshop everyday and expect to have multiple images open at any given time.
    + iMovie - I won't be using this very regularly, maybe around once a month. This will be to edit raw videos (which I expect to be around 20ish minutes each) down to 5-10 minutes.
    + Watching movies, TV shows etc.

    I was initially very taken with the new rMB because (I know, I'm shallow) it's so pretty and I'd love a gold MacBook + the idea of having the "latest" laptop :p However, the more I think about it, the more I'm gravitating towards the rMBP (which was what I was going to buy anyway before the new MB was announced) because the specs seem much better. Portability isn't a *huge* issue for me - I do carry my laptop to and from work, but I am okay with the size/weight of the rMBP so I'll obviously be okay with the MBA and rMB.

    To provide a little context, I'm coming from an early 2011 MacBook Pro (2.3 GHz i5 and 4 GB memory) and I've been using it as is for the past four years - I haven't upgraded the hardware at all *and* I'm still running Snow Leopard, believe it or not :) So I know any laptop I get will be a fairly decent upgrade, but I still need help making a decision!

    I don't expect to upgrade for another four years at least, so I also want something that'll hold up well over time.

    Any thoughts? :) I am mostly trying to make a decision between the rMB and the rMBP because I would like the retina screen and new trackpad. So I'm trying to figure out if the rMB will be adequate for my needs, or I should pay the extra $200 (because I'd want 256GB storage) for the rMBP. (However, if anyone really thinks the MBA is the better option for me, I'm willing to hear them out too.)

  2. newellj macrumors 603

    Oct 15, 2014
    Boston, MA, US
    Well, you're right about the first item. ;) I think the discussion in this thread is probably very relevant to your case, and at least for now it's a pretty short and pretty relevant discussion. By the way, what you're describing does NOT make you shallow - really.

  3. Samuelsan2001, Apr 2, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2015

    Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Tough one

    I expect that after the review of the new ASUS Zenbook using an inferior Core M processor the rMB will be fine for your current usage.


    I agree about the Air, everything you do on a laptop is interfacing with the screen and the retina makes it all much nicer.

    However your photography and video needs may well change significantly in the next 4 years (4K?)also screen real estate is a real consideration for photos and video (that 1,.3 inches will make a real difference) and for that reason I'll have to recommend the rMBP.

    I don't really want to that gold Macbook is a pretty little thing and would do you fine.

    But with a lot photography and videos the ability to connect to external screens and storage seems a must, the increased power is always nice and in the long run I think the rMBP is just a better product for you.

    The next version of the Macbook may be all you ever wanted but not right now I think. You can always get the pro and sell it next year for the rMB if that then takes your fancy and is a better fit.
  4. magbarn macrumors 68000

    Oct 25, 2008
    Since you like to keep your laptop for more than the usual 2 years for the average serial upgrader on these forums, I'd suggest you get the rmbp 13 instead. The core M cpu on the rmbp Is about par with a 2010 mbp 15 cpu so the cpu is mostly going to be a side grade (or even a downgrade if your coming from a quad core mbp 15) for you. OTOH, the rmbp 13 broadwell cpu & gpu will be noticeably faster than your 2011 in most tasks.

    Your mbp is still a great machine after you upgrade your ram and swap out the hdd for a ssd. So that's another option.

    This rmb is basically akin to the first gen MacBook air which doesn't get much love these days. I have feeling apple will capitulate and add a 2nd usb c port on the next iteration.
  5. Wahlstrm macrumors 6502a


    Dec 4, 2013
    Go out and buy yourself 16GB of ram and an 256/512GB SSD and use your machine for another 3 years :)

    The rMB is slower than the machine you have. The rMBP is slightly faster but a lot more money than just upgrading the one you have.

    Unless your machine is broken: upgrade :)
  6. Hankster macrumors 68020


    Jan 30, 2008
    Washington DC
    I do everything above in bold. I've done them since my MacBook Air 2010. However, if you're doing batch processing you may have lag. I've used PhotoShop on all three of my MacBook Airs. I've also used iMovie and it's 100% fine.
  7. redheeler macrumors 603


    Oct 17, 2014
    Go with the 13" rMBP. The GPU in either one will be a substantial upgrade from the Intel HD Graphics 3000 in your current MBP, but you will also see a nice CPU boost from the 13" rMBP for iMovie and Photoshop. The rMBP also has a higher-resolution and bigger display for your movies/TV shows.
  8. DeeAre thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 2, 2015
    Thank you all so much for your input, and for having patience with me even though I know everyone's asking the same thing :)

    I've thought about upgrading my current machine because the one I have isn't broken in any way. But I've never done anything like this before and wouldn't even know where to begin. Plus, after all these years, my battery is pretty shot to hell too and doesn't last very long when unplugged. So the battery life on the newer laptops is a pretty big pull, too. (Alllsoooo, I kinda want a shiny new machine. Remember that part where I said I'm shallow? :p)

    Having said that, does anyone know roughly off the top of their head how much upgrading would cost? If I were to go with 16GB of RAM and 256GB SSD? Sorry for what is probably a stupid question, but like I said, I've got no idea!
  9. squirrrl macrumors 6502a


    Sep 11, 2013
    San Diego, CA
    You could just look at the apple website. Also, you'd want to be more specific. Everything on the rMB is soldered so no upgrading from what the options are. Only MBP can be upgraded to 16GB or RAM when ordered. 256GB SSD is standard on rMB, but is $200 on MBA and MBP.

    But you could just see for yourself on the website.
  10. DeeAre thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 2, 2015
    Haha thanks for agreeing about the screen! Most of the people I work with have MBAs (we all use our personal laptops for work) and tell me that it does everything we need to do just fine, but I'm like... if I'm gonna be staring at this all day, I might as well look at the best possible screen, right?

    I agree that my photography and video needs may change over time, which is why I'm leaning towards the rMBP too :) I'm sure that *right now* the rMB will probably work just fine, but I'm also trying to think a year or two in the future at least, and that has me gravitating towards the rMBP more.


    Thank you - that makes sense!

    And A 2nd port would definitely be helpful. I was very on the fence when I first heard about one port, but the more I thought about it, the more I realised that I rarely plug anything to my laptop except for the occasional thumbdrive and my iPhone when I need to sync - and I could easily just pop out the charger for that. But I am interested in seeing what they do with these MBs down the line!


    Oh, sorry, I should have been clearer - I meant upgrading my current laptop (as many people have suggested on this thread) which is an early 2011 MacBook Pro.
  11. redheeler macrumors 603


    Oct 17, 2014
    I see the Retina display and CPU/GPU boost from a new rMBP being worth the extra cost, but an SSD would perk up your current MBP quite a bit.
  12. DeeAre thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 2, 2015
    Thank you, that's very helpful :)


    I think it would be worth it, too :)
  13. crucius macrumors regular

    Apr 4, 2010
    Admit it, you really REALLY want the new Macbook. It will replace the MBA, and it will be regarded as the laptop that changed how laptops were designed (yet again). USB-C will become standard, gradually people will stop using cables (honestly, I think I will only charge and connect it to my CF card reader often, and twice a month to present a keynote using a projector), YOU are going to be responsible, in part, to having brought that change to your workplace, and damn it, the machine is gorgeous. I want it and everybody does.

    Now, performance. How many Mhz the iPhone 4s' processor had? Some of you may know, granted, but many more won't. It doesn't matter. For its time, the iPhone 4s was the best iOS smartphone. And then came along the iPhone 5, and nobody could care less about its processor (again: some of you may have). And then came along the 5s and the 5c, and for the first time customers had to make a compromise: buying previous-gen for a smaller price, buying the top-of-the-line for a premium, or the 5c. Now look at the Macbook. It has a beautiful screen, is innovative (perhaps too much, but that's another discussion), and is fast enough for what most people want it to be. You are not that kind of person? Well, buy a rMBP. Compromises. Specs are unimportant, benchmarks are unimportant. The model is important. You are an ordinary Joe? Buy a Windows PC. You want OS X and can afford it? Buy a Macbook or, if you believe you need power, buy an rMBP.

    Which one's the best? The one that, to you and you alone, has the best balance of compromises.
  14. Wahlstrm macrumors 6502a


    Dec 4, 2013
    Depending on where you shop I would say $200-$300 and it takes about 10 min to do it your self. I used to have the same machine and I even did the same upgrade to my moms old 2012 13" MBP yesterday. :)

    Here is how you do it:

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