Which MacBook should I get?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by dauber, Sep 28, 2015.

  1. dauber macrumors regular

    dauber

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2012
    Location:
    Chicago
    #1
    So here's the deal...I have a 2007 MacBook Santa Rosa model that's starting to get wonky in various ways -- no longer sleeping when the lid is down, batteries (I have multiple) don't always charge, some of the casing is literally falling off, sometimes it takes a while for the user select screen to come up, etc., so I'm going to look to get a new MacBook of some sort around the end of the year, beginning of January-ish. I'm kind of put off by the rather...limited...options for a guy like me.

    It seems to me now that you're given a RAM size and you're given a nonvolatile storage (for lack of a better term for hard drive space, because it's NOT a hard drive!) size, and that's IT. You can't change it. You can't add your own RAM or upgrade the drive storage (at least not without voiding your warranty).

    Right now my MacBook has two SSDs in it (took out the SuperDrive and replaced it with an SSD), drive space totalling 768 gigabytes, probably about 20% of which is not used. Doesn't seem that the current MacBooks can support that without slapping some kind of external storage on it...which kind of defeats the purpose of portability...and yeah, I know, SD and microSD are small enough, but still, "thumb drives" and memory cards and such are not reliable -- several times I've had to reformat due to corruption, which those things are very prone to. (To me they're just temporary storage for transferring from one computer to another.)

    Another thing...I'm a developer for a living, and even when I'm not working I find myself writing code for a personal project or a side project or whatever else have you...so I'm looking for something that will facilitate writing code on the go. So yeah, the 13-inch screen on my current MacBook is fine for NetBeans, and I just wanted to see if anybody has experience developing on a SMALLER screen...

    Which brings me to this: I'm a pretty tall guy...and I fly a few times a year, and I bring my MacBook with me. Problem: because of my height and my long arms, it's very difficult to type if there's someone next to me (and I don't think my wife would like the idea of us flying separately to the same destination!) because my elbow would be in that person's face. And FORGET IT if the passenger in front of me wants to recline. Would a smaller size make things workable?? The only other workaround I could think of was to bring my iMac keyboard on the flight with me and put it BEHIND my MacBook and type that way. I could extend my arms far enough back that way but of course that's just asking for other annoyances.

    What should I do? (And yes, I do need that much storage space, even for a laptop.) I am NOT dealing with a non-Mac laptop again; I'm done with that nightmare.
     
  2. Queen6, Sep 28, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2015

    Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Enjoying Better Things
    #2
    Have you considered the 13" rMBP, with 1TB SSD? or shrink your data to fit the 512 SSD rMB? To me as you have stated a specific need for high internal storage, then the 13" Retina is the way to go, it will give you a massive boost in performance over your old Mac, be more portable, with an option to go for 16GB which is not a bad idea if you are running multiple VM`s.

    The 12" Retina`s storage capacity may be currently limited by it`s design with the SSD compromising of 2 chips on the Logic Board, a 1TB option may simply be not cost effective at present, equally Apple`s next update of the 12" will settle that one. I don't personally "develop" outside of minor items for my own use, equally I do use the 12" rMB in an engineering environment that can and does require reasonable real-estate, being able to "scale" the display on the Retina`s has made a world of difference to me, as I no longer need to carry the 15" rMBP, rather choosing to run the HiDPI panel at "higher" scaled resolution, my own 1.2 MacBook & 13" 2.8 MacBook Pro I keep scaled at 1440x900 permanently, or greater.

    The 12" really excels for those that really want portability over all else, I travel frequently so this is my "goto" Mac, when the field the rMB works as my backup system to the 13"/15" rMBP. The 12" Retina performance is good, unless you are "pegging" the CPU frequently, then obviously throttling occurs. In general the 13" rMBP is a more balanced package and in general represents the best value for money, equally Apple`s upgrades are in generally overpriced as they look to maximise their margins in this area, as ultimately if you need the higher specification, you have no other realistic alternatives.

    Another alternative is the current 13" cMBP, although personally I won't consider due to the low res TN panel, as I deal with a great deal of technical schematics/documents etc. You could once again expand storage significantly (2TB) and add your own RAM up to 16Gb, equally battery runtime, the quality of display and portability will obviously not be a the same level as the Retina`s

    FWIW I have 12", 13" & 15" Retina`s

    Q-6
     
  3. wchigo macrumors 6502

    wchigo

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2015
    #3
    Queen6 basically covered it all. If you really need >512 GB of storage, your best bet is probably the rMBP or the cMBP. The rMBP has the advantage of the brilliant screen, being lighter and a smaller footprint. The cMBP hasn't been updated in ages so it's far from being top of the line, but it allows for user customizability, which you seem to like.
     
  4. SteveJUAE macrumors 68000

    SteveJUAE

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Location:
    Land of Smiles
    #4
    As noted by wchigo, Queen6 covered the points

    However you need to evaluate your storage requirements. If like myself you have a lot of legacy and reference data you only need occasional access to then cloud storage could be a partial solution

    MS Onedrive is a good choice as simply the files in the cloud do not have to be replicated on your MAC, additionally if you have Office365 you get 1T free and even Samsung give 200Gig free with their smart phones.

    I do note getting the files up there can be painfully slow

    Alternatively you could set up your own drive with most of the latest routers, which would be a lot faster when at home but still giving remote access when needed
     
  5. KPOM macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2010
    #5
    Get the MacBook with a 512GB SSD. Figure out what you really need, and put the rest on a 128GB flash drive or a 256GB SSD that you keep at home. Believe me. You'll appreciate it later.
     
  6. dauber thread starter macrumors regular

    dauber

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2012
    Location:
    Chicago
    #6
    Thanks for your suggestions, folks; the 512GB solution just might work. It's going to be pretty costly, but thank God for 1) Apple Store's 0% financing option, and 2) my wife's teacher discount. :)

    Coupla things:

    - Cloud storage is NOT going to work for me. I could go on for pages why I would never trust cloud storage. To me, it's just like storing on a thumb drive, SD card, or other kind of flash storage: its only usefulness is temporary storage, sharing files, transferring from computer to computer, etc. What if your cloud provider has a service outage? (Or, God forbid, goes away completely?) Or if you can't get online? You're screwed.

    - Nobody seems to have addressed my size issue. :) What's the best size MacBook to use when dealing with airline travel for a guy my height, but without making too much sacrifice for, say, dev work?
     
  7. crsh1976 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2011
    #7
    You fly coach? The smaller the better, which means either an 11-inch MBA or an iPad - not what you have in mind.

    I also think the best compromise in your case is the rMBP, it's still thinner/lighter than your current MB, has a great screen and packs in plenty of power for your needs. The MBA would be my personal favourite if Apple would get rid of that awful screen, so in lieu of that I'd go with the 13-inch rMBP.

    As noted tho, Apple killed expandability on all but the 15-inch rMBP (and even then it's not what it used to be) - the MBAs, rMB and 13-inch rMBP are all soldered left, right and center.
     
  8. dauber thread starter macrumors regular

    dauber

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2012
    Location:
    Chicago
  9. garirry macrumors 68000

    garirry

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2013
    Location:
    Canada is my city
    #9
    Well, it's a question of preference. It's not bad, but it's much worse than the rMB or rMBP's display. If you don't mind, then I guess there's nothing wrong with its display. I suggest you go to a local Apple Store and see for yourself which one is better for you.
     
  10. Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Enjoying Better Things
    #10
    MBA has a TN display, versus the Retina`s IPS display. Viewing angles are poorer, as is colour accuracy. Resultantly the MBA display tends to washout when not viewed at the optimal angle, nor can you scale the display so you are stuck with the same workspace area. 13" MBA has a physically bigger footprint than the 13" Retina.

    The Base model MBA`s represent fair value for an Apple product, however once you upgrade the specification closer to the rMB and or the rMBP the pricing escalates significantly.

    Q-6
     
  11. dauber thread starter macrumors regular

    dauber

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2012
    Location:
    Chicago
    #11
    Hmm...yeah, that would be an issue...I sometimes have that problem on my current MacBook (again, from 2007!)...looks like the rMBP 13" will be the one for me. I'll triple-check my space needs and see if maybe I can put up with a smaller drive (although with my 150-gig iPod Classic, that'll take up a good chunk of space...unless I use my iMac for synching, which I don't want to do)...

    Thanks again, all!
     
  12. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2001
    Location:
    Denmark
    #12
    Read a book a few times a year, or talk to your wife. That should fix the flights. ;) Airplanes really aren't accomodating for large people unfortunately.
     
  13. dauber thread starter macrumors regular

    dauber

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2012
    Location:
    Chicago
    #13
    I DO read. :) I WOULD talk to my wife, but SHE'S usually doing stuff on HER MacBookPro during flights. :) (We used to page through the SkyMall catalog and heckle the products, but now that that's gone, there's one fewer thing to do!) She's a teacher, so she's usually doing lesson planning (yep, even during the summer) and stuff, while listening to music...that leaves me to my own devices (literally and figuratively)...and since I'm a developer by profession and also by my own nerddom, that's my default activity. :) During my off hours I'm either recording a podcast, futzing with a guitar, or writing code. :)
     
  14. Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Enjoying Better Things
    #14
    As others have suggested I would work on trimming your data, Cloud services are not "all bad" you just need to be selective with what data you store in the cloud, ensure you have a physical backup. My own cloud service is "point to point" encrypted, only I hold the encryption keys, equally anything I feel is sensitive I encrypt locally prior to any upload, all transmitted over VPN.

    512 is definitely manageable, and lets face it the majority of large files are media; movies, music etc, and there are up to 4Tb 2-1/2" externals, so truthfully I don't see it as an issue.

    Q-6
     
  15. crsh1976 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2011
    #15
    I'm late to the party, but just to add to what the others have said:
    while it's far from being down-right awful, a TN panel at such a low pixel count in 2015 should be criminal.
     
  16. modernaccord macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2015
    Location:
    Seattle, WA region
    #16
    A 12" macbook should serve your needs well - I use it frequently sitting in coach and have no issues at all.

    Developer tools? That's up to you to decide, but I have no problem running and writing extremely long MATLAB scripts on it.
     
  17. dauber thread starter macrumors regular

    dauber

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2012
    Location:
    Chicago
    #17
    Hey, sorry to resurrect this thread, but...I was recently at the Apple Store on Michigan Ave. in Chicago....and they had *none* of the new single-port MacBooks in stock, not even as demos. At all. Period. Except the MBA, which 1) y'all told me to avoid, and 2) have really, really bad resolution so I wouldn't want one anyway.

    Did Apple suddenly decide to go back to multiple ports, or did the Apple Store just plain never receive them?? And when I finally get my new MacBook, will I have to order it online??
     
  18. modernaccord macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2015
    Location:
    Seattle, WA region
    #18
    I think there might have just underestimated the demand for the nifty notebook and failed to produce enough stock. I don't believe there's much of a short supply, but it certainly is possible. Go ahead and order from powermax.com as they will custom order your 1.3 if you like, give you free shipping, and not charge tax. When macbooks were in SUPER short supply, I got mine in 5 days from these guys.
     
  19. dauber thread starter macrumors regular

    dauber

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2012
    Location:
    Chicago
    #19
    Ahh, but will they honor 1) Apple Store gift cards, and 2) my wife's teacher discount? :)
     
  20. modernaccord macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2015
    Location:
    Seattle, WA region
    #20
    No on the apple store gift card, but I am willing to bet that the no tax trumps the teacher discount!
     
  21. pjfan macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 24, 2009
    Location:
    Columbus OH
    #21
    the Spring 2015 rMB still exists. Great online deals are happening, and the store may offer to compete to get you to buy from them (they offered only 10% to me) -- perhaps michigan Ave had a great Thanksgiving weekend. I believe the rMBs are upstairs at that location, fwiw.
     
  22. dauber thread starter macrumors regular

    dauber

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2012
    Location:
    Chicago
    #22
    Heh....no, this was before Thanksgiving weekend. :) (Last month, actually.)

    Actually, I'm eyeing the rMBP -- and now that I take another look, it appears that it's NOT a single-port MacBook at all...which, to me, almost makes it worth the $1800+ I'll be paying (over a LONG time :) )...
     
  23. KPOM macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2010
    #23
    Interesting. They have had demos in the past, and if I log onto the website, it claims I can order one for pickup today at Michigan Avenue. Try speaking to another rep. This time of year they have temps who don't always know what they are talking about.
     
  24. dogslobber macrumors 68020

    dogslobber

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2014
    Location:
    Apple Campus, Cupertino CA
    #24
    You wouldn't want to use Xcode for extended periods on this letterbox screen. It's pretty to look at in the store but when it comes to being functional then you'd need to plug it into a big assed monitor to get usable real estate and not hurt your eyes. If you will be compiling projects on the MB then remember it will heat up pretty quick and throttle the cpu down to snail pace after a short period. It's not a developer's computer IMO.
     

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