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

Which Macbook Pro should I buy?


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laurasaur25

 
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I currently own a Dell Inspiron 1525 that I purchased in 2007 as a freshman in college. I'm beyond ready to upgrade and am definitely going with a Macbook Pro. I really haven't had any trouble with the space on my computer which is smaller than any of the Macbooks, so I don't foresee a lot of importance in the space of my choice. I would be using it for:
- Work, which is online as a Search Engine Evaluator (speed is important, as well as having many tabs open in a browser at one time).

- Photography. Right now my interest is rather entry-level but I will likely be getting a DSLR in the foreseeable future and would then become more involved in editing.

-Normal document creation for grad school eventually (in Counseling so nothing related to graphics/web design)

- Online browsing including the normal social networking stuff and some video like Netflix

- Music (just through iTunes and a meager amount compared to most people).

So, like I said, I don't think space is my main concern considering my current usage. My current specs are here: Dell Inspiron 1525 Specs - Laptops - CNET Reviews

I am more concerned with speed. However, I am not concerned with minute differences that would only matter with things like gaming.

My main question is everyone's opinion on what is more important: the Retina Display or the bigger screen. My current computer is 15.4 so it seems like it would be difficult to lose the size. I would love to have a 15-inch retina but that is just not in my budget. So it seems to me that the choices are either 13-inch Retina or a 15-inch regular MBP.

I am admittedly not the greatest with extremely technical information and am able to do what I need to and that's about it. So any recommendations as far as the technical specifications would be greatly appreciated.
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chscag

 
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You might wish to wait a bit before purchasing a new MacBook Pro. Apple is getting ready to refresh the MacBook Pro line. The new MacBook Pros will have the latest Intel Haswell low power chipset and the newer HD 5000 graphics processor. Both provide long battery life and are much faster than the current lineup.

If you can get along with a 13" retina model MacBook Pro, you can always buy a large external monitor and keep it at home or in the office. Then you can have the best of both.
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chas_m

 
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Actually the *speed* difference between the Haswell and non-Haswell MBP is quite minimal -- the energy efficiency and better graphics are Haswell's big selling point. As for the Retina v non-Retina, I love the Retina display but even I'm not sure it's worth the extra cost at this point.

If you think the 13" would be too small for you (and given your work that's a legit concern), the 15" will do a great job for you as well. Both the 13" and 15" support external monitors with higher resolutions than the built-in screen.
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laurasaur25

 
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Right now I'm leaning toward a 15" non-Retina but I will eventually go into the store to see them in person. Am I correct that the only major difference between Retina and non-Retina is that the Retina does not have DVD/CD drive and is not upgradeable?

Also, does it matter where you purchase as far as warranty or support? It would be nice to go into a store and pin down all the specifications and then buy from Amazon since there would be no sales tax. But I do not want to do this at the expense of any support options.

I'm definitely waiting to purchase and the only deadline is by the end of the year. As an independent contractor I really nailed with taxes (since I don't pay taxes on payday) but I can claim a computer purchase as an expense. I'm hoping the new line is announced before the release of Mavericks, which makes sense since they could market the new line as shipping with Mavericks, but I'm far from an expert.
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chscag

 
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Quote:
Actually the *speed* difference between the Haswell and non-Haswell MBP is quite minimal
Not really true. Because the Haswell chipset includes the newer Intel HD 5000 GPU the overall speed benchmark is substantially higher than the older current MBP and retina machines. You can check that out yourself by going to the MacWorld site.

Quote:
Right now I'm leaning toward a 15" non-Retina but I will eventually go into the store to see them in person. Am I correct that the only major difference between Retina and non-Retina is that the Retina does not have DVD/CD drive and is not upgradeable?
The retina machines can not be upgraded as far as memory is concerned, however, there are expensive upgrades available for the built in Flash Drive. (From OWC)

Quote:
Also, does it matter where you purchase as far as warranty or support? It would be nice to go into a store and pin down all the specifications and then buy from Amazon since there would be no sales tax. But I do not want to do this at the expense of any support options.
Not as far as warranty or support since Apple's warranty and extended warranty is generally good world wide. The best support of course is either in the USA or Canada.
Also, be careful when dealing with Amazon. They recently have agreed to charge sales tax on items purchased from certain states. If your state is one of them you will not avoid the tax.

Quote:
I'm definitely waiting to purchase and the only deadline is by the end of the year. As an independent contractor I really nailed with taxes (since I don't pay taxes on payday) but I can claim a computer purchase as an expense. I'm hoping the new line is announced before the release of Mavericks, which makes sense since they could market the new line as shipping with Mavericks, but I'm far from an expert.
I definitely advise you to wait for the reasons I explained in my first reply. We should see a refresh of the MacBook Pro line in the next three months or so. Of course no one can predict when Apple will do the refresh, but most experts feel that is a good time frame.
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Rperez414

 
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Your needs sound similar to mine. Mostly text document creation, some photography, and not big into gaming. I think you'd fall in love with a 13" Retina MacBook. If you look at text a lot, the extemely sharp letters on the screen and lower glare make this a joy to use for long stretches of time. Alot of the reason people think they need a big screen is because small text on a non-Retina screen is difficult to read.

The screen on the 13" Retina Macbook Pro is so gorgeous it makes me do something I never dreamed of on any other laptop. Reach for it instead of my Retina iPad to read. Why? Mainly because there is much less glare than there is on my ipad, I don't have to hold it up, and everything is just as sharp. This screen is truly a game changer unlike a processor or memory spec which is much harder to appreciate for regular non-techies.

But don't take my word for it. Put a retina machbook next to one that isn't and go to your favorite web sites and compare. The non-Retina screens will seem like a 3GS iphone next to a Retina iPhone. That's what sold me.
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chas_m

 
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Originally Posted by chscag View Post
Not really true. Because the Haswell chipset includes the newer Intel HD 5000 GPU the overall speed benchmark is substantially higher than the older current MBP and retina machines.
I was talking about the processor itself, but yes the graphics (which are generally tested separately) do add to the overall score. Geekbench scores of Haswell processors generally show only slight improvement, but that is because they only consider things like floating-point operations -- not graphics.
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peterbj7

 
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I'd be careful that no software I wanted to run was Windows-only. I run a business and simply could not do it from a Mac' though it's my preferred machine for fun.
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chscag

 
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I can understand that if you're running a business, however, for the person who is a non business owner, you can generally find a like application for the Mac. Of course if you're a dedicated gamer and that's all you do, then a Windows gaming box is probably best.

By the way, a bit of off topic chat.....

Your current location (Belize) is doing a lot of local advertising trying to draw retired folks to go on down there and live. Stuff like their banking, weather, English language, inexpensive living is puffed up in the ads. Is all that true or just hype?
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peterbj7

 
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Sorry for the delay, but here's my off-topic answer! Briefly it's not hype, though it is rather over-egged!

This is mostly about life on Ambergris Caye, an offshore island. People who officially retire here, on the relevant Gov of Belize scheme, get considerable tax breaks. If you're careful you can live quite cheaply here, though the balance of costs is different from many other places. For me coming from England I find food quite expensive (though if you eat "local" it's very cheap), utilities such as water and electricity quite expensive (but cheaper than the physical limitations might make you expect), phone not too bad but internet very costly and low grade. Quite a lot simply isn't available at different times, so when you see something you like you stock up. It's an island, and everything has to be imported.

Life on the mainland is quite a bit easier and much cheaper. Prices for lots of goods are 1/3 of what they are on the island, and fresh produce is maybe 1/10 of the cost here on AC.

Belizean local banking can reasonably be described as abysmal, but "offshore" banking is provided on a full international basis. Business ethics are rudimentary.

The only official language is English, but I wouldn't be surprised if that changes at some point in the future. Belize is a much more pleasant place to live for many people from the surrounding countries, all of whom of course speak Spanish, and in everyday life you'll hear a lot of that language, along with "made up" languages like Creole. And just because someone is speaking English, don't assume you'll be able to understand each other.

Weather is tropical, with all that that implies. You can cope with it or you can't.

Vehicles are mostly used privately by expats, so import duties are heavily loaded. Expect to pay a lot of money if you buy here or if you import, new or used.

The atmosphere here on AC is very salt and humid, and household white goods (washing machines, fridges etc) rust quickly. Some people think to save money by bringing things down from the USA, but American-made white goods rust out very quickly. By far the best ones are Mexican made for the climate - the brand I use is Mabe.

Electronics also fade quickly. Electricity is pretty expensive, and with most houses here the cost of running A/C is prohibitive. You get used to fans only.

Land and property prices can be astronomical, though the recession has depressed many. Most people on AC want to live on the beach and that's limited in scope, so think millions for anything worth having. Off the beach prices drop rapidly. My house is two storey, concrete below, wood above (a very common building style), and two roads away from the beach. I have. or will when I've finished doing things to it, 6 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, and two living areas. It's worth around $150k. By English prices that's impossibly cheap, but from what I know of the US it's about average for decent non-premium areas.

You're in Fort Worth? You can fly here very quickly and if you shop around pretty cheaply. Why don't you come down for a couple of weeks and suss it for yourself?
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laurasaur25

 
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Luckily I live in a state where Amazon doesn't charge sales tax but for some reason they won't sell AppleCare to residents of Florida (my state). Will I have any problem if I decide to buy from Amazon and buy the AppleCare from a different retailer?

Also, how long does it typically take Amazon to get a new line of MBP's? I searched online a little but it seems like it hasn't been discussed in years so hopefully it's improved.
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