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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

Macbook Air/Pro/Retina?


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olives

 
Member Since: Jul 23, 2012
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I'm looking for opinions to help me select a new Macbook - I cannot decided between the air, pro, or the new pro retina. I heavily use photoshop, as well as video editing applications like imovie and final cut pro on the go. Portability is important to me, but not as important as power. I currently have an '08 MBP with 2.4GHz, 2GB Ram, and 200 memory, and it's just not cutting the mustard - at all! While I'd like to go with the Retina because I know it's the mac-daddy (no pun intended), I am looking to spend as little as possible. The 13" Macbook air with the SSD drive looks like a nice balance between lower price, speed, and portability. It seems to me the regular MBPs are becoming outdated. Knowing all this, what you you get?
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Nethfel

 
Member Since: Feb 25, 2009
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I personally have already made my choice - non-retina MBP. Upgradeable, has DVD rom, although lower res screen is - it's available in matte and the GPU is more capable of driving it at a consistent frame rate.

Everything is personal preference though. I'd say go look at them at a Apple store and judge for yourself which will fit your needs the best. The CPU on the air is the weakest of your options (as is the GPU which will hurt you to a degree while doing FCP work especially if you do a lot of special effects or motion or color adjustments, etc.) The regular MBP has near identical specs to the retina MBP (only real differences are different cooling, rMBP configuration is fixed at order (no upgrades later on, SSD might be eventually if a third party comes out with a compatible one), higher res screen on rMBP, 1 extra thunderbolt port on rMBP (may or may not be important), lack of superdrive on rMBP)

Although I'd prefer to have a lighter weight MBP, I felt for me the non-retina MBP was my best option for current and future expansion.

My Macs: Late 2013 rMBP w/ 750m; Mac mini G4, 1.25 GHz, 512m ram (server); Late 2011 11" MBA, 1.8GHz i7, 4Gig Ram, 256Gig SSD, HD3000; Powerbook 12" G4 1.33GHz running Debian as a server; Apple TV (1080p version)
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olives

 
Member Since: Jul 23, 2012
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anynamewilldo,

Going 13" or 15" MBP not retina display, which upgrades would you make? Max out the RAM? Would you upgrade to an SSD drive or not?

nethfel,

Would you agree that by the time I make upgrades to a standard MBP that it would cost nearly the same as just going with the Retina?
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chscag

 
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We really haven't received much feedback on the new Intel HD 4000 integrated GPU so before writing it off, give it some time before making up your mind.

The other points above made by members are definitely valid, however.
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Nethfel

 
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In terms of cost / upgrades - it's not a matter of doing it all at once (actually the non-retina MBP ends up being a bit more expensive then the rMBP) - it's the fact that you can do it at all and have the option to buy less now and upgrade in the future as you need it. If you wanted to be as future proof with the rMBP, you'd need to buy the max config as that's all you're going to have and that makes it VERY expensive VERY fast (maxed out everything SSD, RAM, CPU + external super drive is >3,800 if you don't have an educational discount).

If you want to be future proof with the non-retina, the most you'd have to buy right now is the max CPU since the CPU isn't socketed in the non-retina MBP it's the only real upgrade you'd have to do initially (which would cost ~2499 for just the max CPU model if you don't have an educational discount) - RAM and storage are both upgradeable and if you really want to you can even remove the optical drive and put a second drive in the MBP (I do believe that this level of change would void the warranty though).

In terms of the HD4000 - I'm not a fan of the intel GPU's, I never have been, and for intensive video work using FCP - although the integrated GPU will work I personally prefer (and have had better experiences with) dedicated GPU's.

My Macs: Late 2013 rMBP w/ 750m; Mac mini G4, 1.25 GHz, 512m ram (server); Late 2011 11" MBA, 1.8GHz i7, 4Gig Ram, 256Gig SSD, HD3000; Powerbook 12" G4 1.33GHz running Debian as a server; Apple TV (1080p version)
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Nethfel

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anynamewilldo View Post
You can always "undo" it if you need to send it in for warranty issues.
You could - but you'd have to be very careful - if you damaged your internal hardware in any way with regard to the mounting where they could identify that something had happened they could potentially refuse a claim.

My Macs: Late 2013 rMBP w/ 750m; Mac mini G4, 1.25 GHz, 512m ram (server); Late 2011 11" MBA, 1.8GHz i7, 4Gig Ram, 256Gig SSD, HD3000; Powerbook 12" G4 1.33GHz running Debian as a server; Apple TV (1080p version)
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olives

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethfel View Post
The CPU on the air is the weakest of your options (as is the GPU which will hurt you to a degree while doing FCP work especially if you do a lot of special effects or motion or color adjustments, etc.) The regular MBP has near identical specs to the retina MBP (only real differences are different cooling, rMBP configuration is fixed at order (no upgrades later on, SSD might be eventually if a third party comes out with a compatible one), higher res screen on rMBP, 1 extra thunderbolt port on rMBP (may or may not be important), lack of superdrive on rMBP)
Can you explain to me the difference between the CPU/GPU/FCP?
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Nethfel

 
Member Since: Feb 25, 2009
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CPU = Central Processing Unit - this is basically the brain of your computer. All instructions are run through and acted on by the CPU. Faster CPU's tend to be able to process more in the same period of time as slower CPU's (there are caveats, but that's beyond this basic description). CPU's range from single core and up. In Mac's these days they range from dual core up to quad core for the mini, iMac, air and Macbook Pro and from quad to 12 in the Mac Pro. To learn more about CPU's see: Central processing unit - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - what level of CPU you need is really heavily dependent on what you do and what the software you are using requires and/or recommends to get a quality user experience.

GPU = Graphics Processing Unit - these are specialized cores designed for graphics / display rendering. They allow for hardware decoding of video, 3D graphics acceleration, displaying your desktop, etc. There are two major kinds of GPU's - integrated (on the motherboard or CPU) like the HD3000 or HD4000 and dedicated like the 650M. There are also hybrid systems that have both integrated as well as dedicated GPU's and have the capability of switching between the two depending on the workload given to it. Dedicated GPU's tend to be more powerful (detailed description on why they are more powerful is beyond this basic description) and have dedicated high speed RAM that allows for higher frame rates, faster rendering, etc. than their integrated counterparts that will share system RAM (for example, a current (this year) Macbook Air with 8 gigs of ram will share 512megs of it with the integrated HD4000 GPU, this sharing of system RAM can negatively impact graphics performance in higher demand applications (real time rendering, real time effects in video editing done in FCP, gaming, etc.)). To learn more about GPU's see: Graphics processing unit - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - people who tend to worry about higher end GPU's are those that either need the rendering capabilities for work or play; average users usually don't require super high end GPU's.

FCP = Final Cut Pro - the professional grade video editing tool from Apple. Current release on the App Store is Final Cut Pro X. The previous version was version 7 which was part of the Final Cut Studio 3 suite. To learn more about Final Cut and its history see: Final Cut Pro - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

My Macs: Late 2013 rMBP w/ 750m; Mac mini G4, 1.25 GHz, 512m ram (server); Late 2011 11" MBA, 1.8GHz i7, 4Gig Ram, 256Gig SSD, HD3000; Powerbook 12" G4 1.33GHz running Debian as a server; Apple TV (1080p version)
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