Which MacBook Pro to get

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by flightmedic, Jan 9, 2014.

  1. flightmedic

    flightmedic Member
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    I'm getting a MacBook Pro on Saturday and want some advice on which one to get.

    I have a choice between an i5 dual core processor and 750gb of storage or i7 dual core and 512gb of SSD storage.

    The i7 and SSD is $400 more is it worth it?

    I'll mainly be using office apps iTunes and some video photo editing software. No virtual machine or anything like that.

    Thanks for your help

    Jim
     
  2. chris

    chris Administrator
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    I went through a similar buying situation. Which specific models are you comparing? I've done a decent amount of research. The biggest issue with the MacBook Pro laptops is the inability to upgrade. I think the single most important factor comes down to RAM. Where possible, I try to max out the RAM. Apple offers additional RAM on some machines as 'custom' options. I'm not sure if they have those configurations at the store, but I wouldn't be surprised if they did. Adding RAM at time of purchase, when you can't after, seems like it would be popular enough to warrant stocking these at local stores.

    I knew that I wanted a retina MBP, but started with considering the 13" model. For me, I wasn't so concerned with storage, initially thinking that 256GB would be sufficient. I'm using about 270GB already. Now granted that includes a Windows 8 install, but it does not include my iPhoto library, which I'm not even sure I'm going to keep on the SSD. The smaller hard drives force you to think about how you want to manage your stuff, which can be a bit of a hassle.

    In order of importance:
    1. RAM: Max it out.
    2. Storage: How much stuff do you plan to store internally and are you ok with connecting an external USB drive to hold your files, media, etc.

    Graphics are the same across the entire line, save for the 2.3Ghz 15-inch that includes discrete graphics.

    While open box isn't for everyone, I was able to get lucky with my purchase. Best Buy had discounted almost $350 off the initial price and had a 10 percent off open box items to boot. The box was dirty and it looked like it had been through the wringer. The rep wouldn't remove the GeekSquad seal unless I purchased it. I through caution to the wind and happy I did. My laptop had never been used. I cracked the plastic at the store. Once in the car, I pulled out the laptop to match the SN#s, thinking something had to be wrong. Who buys a laptop and doesn't open it. Apparently, someone did just that.

    Let me know if you have any specific questions and what models you are considering.
     
  3. flightmedic

    flightmedic Member
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    I'm actually looking at best buy open box. The i5 with 750gb is an earlier model. That means I can theoretically upgrade the HD to an SSD and increase ram from 8 to 16gb. I found a company that sells docks to replace the disc drive with a second HD.

    The 512GB SSD model is retina model. I will not be able to upgrade that one much.

    Is the retina display really worth it?

    Jim
     
  4. chris

    chris Administrator
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    I'll say this, the retina display is gorgeous, but I use it about an hour a day. The rest of my day, the machine is hooked up to an Apple Cinema Display. I was moving from a Mac Pro 09', so was concerned about power, since it's effectively becoming my desktop computer.

    For me, the added expenditure was for dedicated graphics, double the RAM (which I would have added anyway) and the 512GB to a lesser extent. As it turns out, I've been leaning on that hard drive already and I was initially ok with 256GB. That would have been a big mistake.

    So, this is non-retina to retina. What's the price difference? What would the upgrades cost, assuming you moved to a similar 512GB SSD and 16GB or RAM?
     
  5. flightmedic

    flightmedic Member
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    The non retina is the i5 with 750 HD it's 1300 open box. For another 500 I could upgrade the HD to 512 SSD and add a second hard drive in place of the disc drive.

    The retina with i7 and 512 SSD is 1750. Nothing really I can do with it except for upgrade the RAM.

    After upgrades it would be about the same price. This will be my desktop replacement as I am on the road half the month.


    I just really don't know if the retina and i7 processor is worth it or not.
     
  6. Kadelic

    Kadelic Genius
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    Chris already gave much more of an experienced opinion than I can. I will add what advice I can, most of which was given to me by a very experienced Mac and MacBook owner friend of mine: Go as big as you can afford as far as processor and Drive speed/space. His reasoning was that as future updates of OSX become more and more resource intensive, the higher end machine you buy now will keep up that much longer. I got my mid 2010 15" MPB with the mid-range i5 processor and the faster HDD and added the Hi-Res display to stretch my budget to the max. I did the 8GB RAM upgrade myself and am happily running Mavericks with great results on a 3 year old machine. This is my first Mac and my first laptop to boot, and I use it docked to a 21" monitor about 95% of the time.

    If it's comfortably in your budget I'd say go with the i7 and the SSD Retina. Off board HDD space is relatively cheap and the faster machine will give you plenty of room to grow into. The Retina might not be used much of the time if you dock it to a monitor like I do my Hi-Res MBP but when you do use it you'll be glad you did. It's a balancing act at this point and if you're like me you're hoping to get the longest life out of your MBP before getting a new one. If you're the type that plans on upgrading in 2-3 years anyway you might choose differently.
     
  7. Europa

    Europa Moderator
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    I'd go with the i7 SSD Retina.
     
  8. flightmedic

    flightmedic Member
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    Is the retina really worth it?

    I kind of like the idea of switching out the optical drive for a second hard drive bay but not sold on it.
     
  9. chris

    chris Administrator
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    If you spend a fair amount of time reading webpages or writing, it's worth it. Think iPad 2 to retina iPad.

    You can add hard drive storage in the form of a USB 3 drive . You can't add a retina display post-purchase. ;)

    Not that it's a big issue, but resale on the i7 retina will be higher. Newer and retina will help.

    BTW, I've been real happy with this Anker USB 3 hub and this pearl shell. The shell has flip up stands on the back, which work nice on my desk.
     
  10. flightmedic

    flightmedic Member
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    I have read up on retina. And I upgraded from iPad 1 to
    iPad 3 with retina. And to be honest I was never able to seethe difference.

    I have several external hard drives but would like to have my iTunes library on my hard drive. I have well over 300GB of music.
     
  11. Europa

    Europa Moderator
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    image.jpg
     
  12. Europa

    Europa Moderator
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    In that case, you may as well go with the non-retina.
     
  13. flightmedic

    flightmedic Member
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    LOL. I guess I just never really saw the difference.
     
  14. Europa

    Europa Moderator
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    The difference was...striking.
     
  15. chris

    chris Administrator
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    If you do opt for the non-retina, maybe you don't need to spend all that money on a 512GB SSD. Use the 750GB internal for your stuff and keep a lean, mean SSD for your startup disk, apps.

    Follow this link for more on moving your home folder on a Mac.

    My vote is still for the i7 retina, but I'm biased - well, somewhat.

    BTW, be sure to use Best Buy Reward Zone for your purchase. Not sure if it's still going on, but I was able to score 4X points for my purchase. To my surprise, I'll get a few hundred dollars in gift certificates as a result of my purchase.
     
  16. flightmedic

    flightmedic Member
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    Thanks for the tip on the reward zone points, Chris.

    I'll be moving from a windows 7 machine and hopefully it will be seamless.

    I thought about a smaller SSD to
    Boot from but I think I want my complete iTunes library on my primary drive. I'm not sure why and I don't have a logical reason for it.

    Is there a Bluetooth mouse you would recommend? Some of the reviews for the Apple mouse were less than stellar.
     
  17. Europa

    Europa Moderator
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    I love the Apple mouse. I also have an Apple trackpad that I occasionally use.
     
  18. flightmedic

    flightmedic Member
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    I think I'm going to go with the early 2012 non retina. I plan on upgrading the HDD to SSD and move the primary drive into the optical drive bay at some point. I do most of my streaming via my iPad and on my television so I don't see the retina display as that important for me.

    Thanks for everyone's opinion and assistance.

    Jim
     
  19. rambo47

    rambo47 Contributor
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    As stated above, max out the RAM. Nothing else makes as big a difference in performance. If you do video editing you'll also notice a big performance boost from an SSD. I find the retina display to be strikingly beautiful but that's a subjective call. And truthfully all Mac displays are great. IMHO the 15" screen is the sweet spot in the MBP lineup.
     
  20. flightmedic

    flightmedic Member
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    I ended up getting the i7 with HDD. It had a faster processor and I like the idea of replacing the optical drive with a secondary HDD for storage and upgrading the primary drive to SSD...and Best Buy had already sold their open box retina display MBP.

    I'm really happy with my purchase and to be honest, I can upgrade rather inexpensively. I'm planning on taking the 500GB SSD from my windows machine, reformatting and putting it in the MacBook Pro. So then all I have to purchase is the secondary HDD mount.

    Plus I got a lot of Best Buy reward zone points, so win win.

    Thanks for everyone's advice.

    Jim
     

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