I thought I'd share my reflections on why, after weeks of deliberation, I decided to go for the maxed out 15" rMBP. TL;DR: Even though investing in a top of the line laptop is expensive, the returns it gives on user experience, quality of life, and workflow make the investment well worth it and make future purchases of laptops in the same line way more financially accessible even if your future self is financially struggling. It all started when my beloved 11" MBA (Mid-2011 Model) endured screen damage. The LCD basically cracked in multiple places which were at first invisible. However, as pixels around the cracks began dying, my computer began to look as if it had bruises. So I knew it was time for a new one. When I bought the 11" I basically wanted to combine my desire to budget wisely with my desire for a computer that was as fast as possible. And so I bought the 128 GB MBA 11" with maxed out RAM (4 GB) and and a maxed out processor (1.8 GHz Intel Core i7). I'm the type of user who probably mimics other students with any Apple computer: I have multiple desktops dedicated to various frequently used programs (Word, Pages, Preview for PDFs, Notes, Reminders, Calendar, Messages, Safari with several tabs, and of course Finder). I also tend to use Aperture frequently, as well as music software not unlike Logic on a rarer occasion. I thought the Air was handling all this pretty well, but when it broke and I was forced to buy a temporary 13" rMBP with even 8 GB RAM and the 2.4 GHz processor, I noticed how much snappier everything was. All my documents opened and loaded quicker, Safari is now like a rocket, and my overall user experience is that much better. Also, having a bigger screen allowed me to make better use of my space in all my various desktops, and so I have been a way more efficient student than I was on the 11". And so after toying around with various configurations, I figured I might as well go with a maxed out 15" even if I am not a graphics designer or video editor working with intensive software all the time. After all, it was just a slight jump from the configurations I had been toying around with before. My experience is so much smoother, and I am so much more organized, that this technology almost pays for itself in terms of quality of life. In part this may have to do with my having ADHD (the real deal kind) and my struggles with organization and my mesmerization with big flashy things like a 15" retina screen, but the point is this new computer really gets me in an excellent work flow. The other way I have thought about this is that, even though it was indeed expensive (~$3,000 on the student discount) I have basically jumped up to Appel's upper tier of laptop offerings and made it tremendously easier to buy newer models in the same price range as they come along, so long as I sell my current 15" around the release of its newer rendition and keep it in top notch shape. I was already doing the same for my Air (before the Air I had a Macbook), usually selling the older model and having to pay $200 or less for the most recent edition. In addition, I had never bought a $1000 laptop before and had nothing I could sell to make that kind of money. So I simply worked until I had the money and made the investment. From then on, I never failed to sell that $1000 for an amazing price (~70-80% of its original value), so I decided that I should try to replicate this process in the upper tier of Apple computers and make another big investment. I don't know how much I'll be able to sell a maxed out rMBP for, but it will make future laptop purchases much more accessible since I will only have to pay a fraction of the total cost to make up any cost difference. With certain types of technology getting cheaper (I noticed SSDs dropped in cost a bit this year), this small gap might even close itself. In the meantime, I have the privilege of enjoying a top-performing machine that really does even the simple task of browsing, loading a 200 page Word document, or even the occasional intensive photo, video, music, or graphics editing session better. I understand that there are very important economic and status implications that come into being when one buys a laptop like this, but for me what is at stake is simply quality of life. By no means do I hope such a purchase to come off as pretentious, though I know some will inevitably interpret it as such. However, As a very not well-to-do student in a field not known for its financial return (humanities), I nonetheless hope that this new tool will help me do what I do better. The quality of work and life that it brings makes the initial investment well worth it.