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New Retina MBP Unrepairable
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Clinically Insane
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Jun 20, 2012, 03:39 PM
 
Ugh...

The Retina MacBook is the least repairable laptop we’ve ever taken apart: Unlike the previous model, the display is fused to the glass, which means replacing the LCD requires buying an expensive display assembly. The RAM is now soldered to the logic board — making future memory upgrades impossible. And the battery is glued to the case, requiring customers to mail their laptop to Apple every so often for a $200 replacement. The design may well be comprised of “highly recyclable aluminum and glass” — but my friends in the electronics recycling industry tell me they have no way of recycling aluminum that has glass glued to it like Apple did with both this machine and the recent iPad.
The New MacBook Pro: Unfixable, Unhackable, Untenable | Gadget Lab | Wired.com


This isn't necessarily criticism of Apple, but still... Ugh.
     
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Jun 20, 2012, 04:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Ugh...



The New MacBook Pro: Unfixable, Unhackable, Untenable | Gadget Lab | Wired.com


This isn't necessarily criticism of Apple, but still... Ugh.
That's why I got AppleCare.
If anything breaks in the first 3 years, it's covered.
After 3 years, I either pay for it or get a newer Mac.
I could care less about not being able to open it up and fiddle around inside.
I've got work to do.
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Jun 20, 2012, 04:38 PM
 
But it means that if you want to keep your laptop for longer than your Applecare coverage that repairs to very simple things like a bad stick of RAM could get very expensive.

The environmental part of this is less than ideal too.
     
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Jun 20, 2012, 04:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
But it means that if you want to keep your laptop for longer than your Applecare coverage that repairs to very simple things like a bad stick of RAM could get very expensive.

The environmental part of this is less than ideal too.
True dat.
But in nearly 30 years of owning PCs and Macs, still waiting for a bad stick of RAM.
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Jun 20, 2012, 04:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by msuper69 View Post
True dat.
But in nearly 30 years of owning PCs and Macs, still waiting for a bad stick of RAM.

Really? I've had one or two.

I've had display issues on my laptops as well, and the battery in my current MBP probably needs to be replaced since I'm getting Service Battery warnings (the charge is still good though), I guess with this model I couldn't just take it into an Apple store?
     
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Jun 20, 2012, 04:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Really? I've had one or two.

I've had display issues on my laptops as well, and the battery in my current MBP probably needs to be replaced since I'm getting Service Battery warnings (the charge is still good though), I guess with this model I couldn't just take it into an Apple store?
I've had a few hard drives go belly-up but no RAM.

Apple has a program for easy replacement of batteries (the removable-of course, or the permanently installed variety).
Not terribly expensive (IMO), like $129 or so.
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Jun 20, 2012, 04:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by msuper69 View Post
I've had a few hard drives go belly-up but no RAM.

Apple has a program for easy replacement of batteries (the removable-of course, or the permanently installed variety).
Not terribly expensive (IMO), like $129 or so.

But can't you just take in your laptop to an Apple store for this replacement?

Maybe you can do the same with the Retina, but with an entire case replacement it sounds more involved.
     
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Jun 20, 2012, 05:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by msuper69 View Post
I've had a few hard drives go belly-up but no RAM.

Apple has a program for easy replacement of batteries (the removable-of course, or the permanently installed variety).
Not terribly expensive (IMO), like $129 or so.
For the RMBP, battery replacement is $200 (see beginning quote.) No longer quite so trivial.

With the RMBP, Apple is adopting the iPhone model: if something fails under Applecare, they aren't going to try to fix it. You get a refurbished RMBP with your data transferred over.
     
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Jun 20, 2012, 06:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by amazing View Post
For the RMBP, battery replacement is $200 (see beginning quote.) No longer quite so trivial.

With the RMBP, Apple is adopting the iPhone model: if something fails under Applecare, they aren't going to try to fix it. You get a refurbished RMBP with your data transferred over.

You gotta wonder how this will be cost effective for Apple.
     
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Jun 20, 2012, 06:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
You gotta wonder how this will be cost effective for Apple.
Same way the iPhone replacements are: Collect defective devices with defect description, put into container, ship to China for disassembly/remanufacturing/refurbishing.

Simple.
     
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Jun 20, 2012, 08:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by msuper69 View Post
That's why I got AppleCare.
If anything breaks in the first 3 years, it's covered.
After 3 years, I either pay for it or get a newer Mac.
I could care less about not being able to open it up and fiddle around inside.
I've got work to do.
Well, I've got work to do too, and can't do it without my machine. So I either lug the thing to AppleStore where it will stay for a while, or hopefully I just pop it open and put a new drive in, RAM has never failed me, HDs have. It makes me uncomfortable to know I can't repair my computer, although I do realize that I can't repair any i-devices, or my fridge. So I'll just keep my heavy MBP 17", I was hoping to get something lighter and still able to display at 190x1200.
     
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Jun 20, 2012, 09:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
This isn't necessarily criticism of Apple, but still... Ugh.
It's the price you pay for miniaturization. Hardly surprising.

-t
     
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Jun 20, 2012, 09:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Same way the iPhone replacements are: Collect defective devices with defect description, put into container, ship to China for disassembly/remanufacturing/refurbishing.

Simple.

How that can be cheaper than making a machine where you can just slap in a new stick of RAM (or whatever part is needed) without shipping the thing all the way to China is beyond me, but I guess that's the world we live in.
     
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Jun 20, 2012, 10:01 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
It's the price you pay for miniaturization. Hardly surprising.

-t

I think that's the price you pay for bleeding edge miniaturization, but relative to the world of electronics a Macbook is pretty miniature, yet it isn't hard to replace RAM, the HD, battery, etc. providing you have these parts.
     
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Jun 20, 2012, 10:46 PM
 
Bad RAM? There are plenty of chips in a modern laptop. Why worry about RAM and none of the rest?
     
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Jun 20, 2012, 10:59 PM
 
Because RAM has been the only user-serviceable chip in a laptop for a while now? It would be nice if the video card could be replaced too, but I think most people have come to accept that onboard video isn't going anywhere.
     
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Jun 21, 2012, 08:36 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I think that's the price you pay for bleeding edge miniaturization, but relative to the world of electronics a Macbook is pretty miniature, yet it isn't hard to replace RAM, the HD, battery, etc. providing you have these parts.
That was yesterday, with the MBP.

The MBP Retina is even smaller and lighter. Something's gotta give.
Since the battery makes up most of the volume (size), Apple specially designed the battery into the MBPR, using unconventional layouts for the battery real estate. This would be impossible with easy, user-replacebale batteries.

-t
     
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Jun 21, 2012, 10:15 AM
 
Originally Posted by chabig View Post
Bad RAM? There are plenty of chips in a modern laptop. Why worry about RAM and none of the rest?
RAM is a big use of circuit real estate, and in the past it's been user installable.
     
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Jun 21, 2012, 10:24 AM
 
Yes. It has been user installable in the past. But my point is that it's just another piece of silicon. We're OK with all of the other pieces being soldered in. Perhaps we can get used to RAM being soldered in. In fact, it's likely to be more reliable when soldered than when socketed.
     
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Jun 21, 2012, 10:39 AM
 
I think the biggest change here is that Apple will be able to control the quality of what goes in. I don't think I've ever had Apple RAM go bad on me. I've had 3rd party RAM go bad on me several times though.

Apple RAM DOES go bad from time to time, but I think it's probably at a rate that is much lower than the industry average, if you include all the user-installed 3rd party RAM in the mix.
     
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Jun 21, 2012, 11:23 AM
 
I had a look at these in store the other day. The screens are still quite glossy, not that it bothers me but I know some are interested. If thats something you don't like then these new ones will not allay your rage.

The thing that struck me was the height of it when using the trackpad. Because its thinner, resting your hand on the table in front of it to use the trackpad is comfier than the previous models. Surprisingly so.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
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Jun 21, 2012, 12:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by chabig View Post
Yes. It has been user installable in the past. But my point is that it's just another piece of silicon. We're OK with all of the other pieces being soldered in. Perhaps we can get used to RAM being soldered in. In fact, it's likely to be more reliable when soldered than when socketed.
Except that Apple usually installs barely adequate RAM in the base model, then gets you to pay Apple RAM prices for the next RAM step up.

My early-2008 MBP came with 2 GB RAM (barely adequate--should've been 4 GB) but I was able to upgrade to that amount with reasonably priced 3rd party RAM.

No way to future proof your purchase because you can't upgrade the RAM.
     
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Jun 21, 2012, 12:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
I think the biggest change here is that Apple will be able to control the quality of what goes in. I don't think I've ever had Apple RAM go bad on me. I've had 3rd party RAM go bad on me several times though.

Apple RAM DOES go bad from time to time, but I think it's probably at a rate that is much lower than the industry average, if you include all the user-installed 3rd party RAM in the mix.
Apple just uses Micron, Samsung, etc. for their RAM, as you can easily see if you take a stick out of a Mac that has user-accessible RAM and look at the brand name. It's the same stuff that you can get online — there's nothing magical about it.

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Jun 21, 2012, 01:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
I think the biggest change here is that Apple will be able to control the quality of what goes in. I don't think I've ever had Apple RAM go bad on me. I've had 3rd party RAM go bad on me several times though.

Apple RAM DOES go bad from time to time, but I think it's probably at a rate that is much lower than the industry average, if you include all the user-installed 3rd party RAM in the mix.

Probably pure luck. So-called Apple RAM is not actually made by Apple, right?
     
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Jun 21, 2012, 01:10 PM
 
Bottom line is that the new MBPs are evolving to be much more expensive:

• Must buy maximum RAM from Apple only, and only at time zero.

• Batteries and mass storage require Apple to deal with, and Apple is much more expensive.

• The above are effectively forcing folks into buying AppleCare, which at $349 is ridiculously expensive and non-cost-effective (meaningless anecdotal experiences notwithstanding) for simply warranting years 2 and 3 of a laptop, no coverage of theft or damage.

The new boxes have been made into very poor value.

The really bad news is that the retina MBP displays absolutely rock, so we will be buying the overly expensive new MBPs. Through a photog's eyes, side-by-side a 2011 MBP high-rez display looks absolutely fuzzy compared to 2012 MBPR.

Anyone seriously dealing with images on a laptop will want the retina display. Unfortunately still lots of glare, so folks like me will have to either add aftermarket anti-glare film or learn not to be unsettled by glare.
( Last edited by SierraDragon; Jun 21, 2012 at 01:16 PM. )
     
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Jun 21, 2012, 01:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by CharlesS View Post
Apple just uses Micron, Samsung, etc. for their RAM, as you can easily see if you take a stick out of a Mac that has user-accessible RAM and look at the brand name. It's the same stuff that you can get online — there's nothing magical about it.
Nothing magical about it, but it's good RAM.

Much of the RAM out there that people put in their Macs isn't necessarily always of the same calibre in terms of QA. eg. Mushkin, OCZ, Patriot, OWC, noname, etc.
     
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Jun 21, 2012, 01:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by amazing View Post
No way to future proof your purchase because you can't upgrade the RAM.
It just means paying Apple's prices for max RAM on day zero. Very expensive but doable.

Of much more concern to me is that Apple often sells just half what the box is capable of. E.g. even if I had paid the $600 Apple premium (or whatever it was) to max RAM in my Q1 2011 MBP it still would only be maxxed out to 8 GB RAM, and after one year I am already paging out 8 GB of RAM with an Aperture/Photoshop workflow.

Fortunately in 2011 boxes third-party RAM is still an option so I can upgrade to 16 GB RAM.

The point is that Apple may not only be screwing us on cost, worse still we may actually have less max RAM available. Potentially a very very big deal for folks at the high end.

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Jun 21, 2012, 10:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
Nothing magical about it, but it's good RAM.

Much of the RAM out there that people put in their Macs isn't necessarily always of the same calibre in terms of QA. eg. Mushkin, OCZ, Patriot, OWC, noname, etc.
Whereas other brands that people put in their Macs are actually the same brands used by Apple. And these brands usually aren't even that much more expensive.

RAM that is every bit as good as Apple's can be found easily, and cheaply, just by searching Newegg. Not a large undertaking.

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Jun 21, 2012, 10:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by CharlesS View Post
Whereas other brands that people put in their Macs are actually the same brands used by Apple. And these brands usually aren't even that much more expensive.

RAM that is every bit as good as Apple's can be found easily, and cheaply, just by searching Newegg. Not a large undertaking.
It seems you have totally missed my point, which was that people do put other brands of RAM in Macs that aren't up to the same calibre, which is why it would make sense to blame 3rd party RAM.
     
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Jun 21, 2012, 10:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
Bottom line is that the new MBPs are evolving to be much more expensive:

• Must buy maximum RAM from Apple only, and only at time zero.

• Batteries and mass storage require Apple to deal with, and Apple is much more expensive.

• The above are effectively forcing folks into buying AppleCare, which at $349 is ridiculously expensive and non-cost-effective (meaningless anecdotal experiences notwithstanding) for simply warranting years 2 and 3 of a laptop, no coverage of theft or damage.

The new boxes have been made into very poor value.

The really bad news is that the retina MBP displays absolutely rock, so we will be buying the overly expensive new MBPs. Through a photog's eyes, side-by-side a 2011 MBP high-rez display looks absolutely fuzzy compared to 2012 MBPR.

Anyone seriously dealing with images on a laptop will want the retina display. Unfortunately still lots of glare, so folks like me will have to either add aftermarket anti-glare film or learn not to be unsettled by glare.

Exactly!

I wonder how much it will cost to go from 8GB to 16GB after day zero?
     
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Jun 22, 2012, 03:39 AM
 
Huh? Considering that the RAM is soldered on, it would cost whatever a new main logic board costs.
     
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Jun 22, 2012, 05:13 AM
 
Which is what, over $500 at least?

It would suck to order the 8GB model and later desperately need that extra 8 gig.

The retina model looks great, but I'm hoping that these problems are temporary, because it sucks to have to make these sorts of tradeoffs while shelling out this kind of money in the first place. Maybe it's best to hold off on a purchase to see what they do with the next rev.
     
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Jun 22, 2012, 05:58 AM
 
They're not going back to socketed RAM.
     
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Jun 22, 2012, 06:58 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
They're not going back to socketed RAM.

Why do you say that?
     
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Jun 22, 2012, 07:34 AM
 
After going through the trouble of shaving those extra mm off their designs, what makes you think that they'll go back to socketed RAM?
     
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Jun 22, 2012, 08:07 AM
 
the idea of a non repairable laptop that costs that much just leaves me with a bad feeling. and five years from now and out of warranty i sure wouldn't consider it. has anyone thought of the potential resale value?
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Jun 22, 2012, 08:19 AM
 
The best way to retain resale value in my experience is to buy the cheapest lowest spec'd model (as long as it's within reason), and to sell it earlier rather than later.
     
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Jun 22, 2012, 03:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
They're not going back to socketed RAM.
You're absolutely right. Having soldered RAM takes up less considerably space and it increases reliability (because there are no contacts to corrode or go bad in other ways). Furthermore, it has been shown that *most* people don't upgrade any aspect of their machines after buying them.

Look what happened to batteries: remember how we used to carry around a spare for long trips? Apple increased both the capacity and the life of these batteries (and saved space) by making them non user-replaceable.

I regret the lack of upgradability, but it's clearly the way Apple is going.
     
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Jun 22, 2012, 03:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
The best way to retain resale value in my experience is to buy the cheapest lowest spec'd model (as long as it's within reason), and to sell it earlier rather than later.
That may be correct but it means that one is forever using the cheapest lowest spec'd model. Personally I prefer the modus operandi of buying the top model and using it until I need a new one. It has always been cost-efficient enough for me, and it means always using top end hardware rather than always using bottom end hardware.

One small example: I have used EC/34 to great advantage for 6 years now while lower end MBPs lacked EC/34. I did not set out to necessarily buy EC/34 boxes, but it turned out to be a useful consequence of buying the high end.

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Jun 22, 2012, 03:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by Le Flaneur View Post
...it has been shown that *most* people don't upgrade any aspect of their machines after buying them.
Interesting. I have never had a box that I did not upgrade something. Hard drives for sure on every box; RAM fairly often.

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Jun 22, 2012, 03:48 PM
 
At least if they aren't going to make RAM non-upgradeable they are pretty generous with what comes in the base model. 8 gig should suffice for the life cycle of the laptop, I'd think.

What I was getting at with my question to Spheric though is the customer/press feedback. There might be enough outcry over the environmental implications of the machines for them to explore some other way to make these in the next rev, and there might be enough customers bitching about the high cost and/or inconvenience of replacing stuff that goes wrong that they look for a better compromise there too. Or, neither could happen and this could become the next precedent in mobile computing.

Apple better hope, for its sake, that there aren't a flurry of problems beyond year one that require expensive replacements that would make customers ornery, or a flurry of problems within the warranty period that are unsustainably costly for Apple that they have to raise prices.
     
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Jun 22, 2012, 04:34 PM
 
Who exactly asked for ridiculously thin gadgets? Ok, add the retina display, but why make it thinner and less expandable/environnementally-responsible? Weight is important for a laptop, but I don't think thinness matters that much.. And I don't remember anyone whining about their laptop to be too thick, especially if this came with a huge trade-off.. I think they're doing it for the sake of it and to auto-congratulate themselves on their prowess..
     
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Jun 22, 2012, 07:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by FireWire View Post
Who exactly asked for ridiculously thin gadgets?
Just about everyone? Or at least, if not ultra thin, then ultra light weight.

Weight is important for a laptop, but I don't think thinness matters that much.
In general, the thinner the laptop, the lighter the weight... unless you reduce the screen size.
     
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Jun 22, 2012, 08:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
Interesting. I have never had a box that I did not upgrade something. Hard drives for sure on every box; RAM fairly often.

-Allen
Same here. Every machine I own has been ram doubled, at the least. If the RAM and HDD are going to be non-upgradable it better be maxed out, IMO. Especially a machine marketed as 'high end'.
     
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Jun 22, 2012, 08:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by FireWire View Post
Who exactly asked for ridiculously thin gadgets? Ok, add the retina display, but why make it thinner and less expandable/environnementally-responsible? Weight is important for a laptop, but I don't think thinness matters that much.. And I don't remember anyone whining about their laptop to be too thick, especially if this came with a huge trade-off.. I think they're doing it for the sake of it and to auto-congratulate themselves on their prowess..

that's the direction they're going these days but it also doesn't make sense to me. at what point do they get so thin that potential customers are turned off because they look flimsy?
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Jun 23, 2012, 12:01 AM
 
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
That may be correct but it means that one is forever using the cheapest lowest spec'd model. Personally I prefer the modus operandi of buying the top model and using it until I need a new one. It has always been cost-efficient enough for me, and it means always using top end hardware rather than always using bottom end hardware.

One small example: I have used EC/34 to great advantage for 6 years now while lower end MBPs lacked EC/34. I did not set out to necessarily buy EC/34 boxes, but it turned out to be a useful consequence of buying the high end.
Are you keeping your computers for 6 years, because if so, you definitely aren't using top end hardware.
     
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Jun 23, 2012, 12:14 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
After going through the trouble of shaving those extra mm off their designs, what makes you think that they'll go back to socketed RAM?
I dunno about that — they have a history of going back on these things if enough people complain about them. Look at the original unibody MacBook that lacked FireWire.

The retina MacBook was already going to be a lot thinner than the old one just for ditching the optical drive. I really doubt that putting socketed RAM in there would affect the thickness all that much. Heck, the SSD is already on a socket, and it looks slightly larger than a RAM SODIMM anyway from the pictures. I dunno; we'll see.

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Jun 23, 2012, 03:12 AM
 
I don't think that 16GB is an unrealistic RAM requirement for a high end pro machine within say 24months from now, given the uptake in megamega pixel pro cameras and the increased use of HD and 4K for video.

Apples problem is that they physically can't offer a 16GB option as the chips just aren't available. That the form factor of the rMBP makes future upgrades impossible really means that Apple have just misnamed the Machine. Just like the older 13in MacBook Pro, which was really just a MacBook with firewire, this is a MacBook Air 15. I suspect Apple marketing were more concerned with the PR generated by the machine. The actual MacBook Pros are right next door on the store, yes they are heavier but you will be able to upgrade the RAM and get better priced SSD's for them, AND still burn a DVD if you need to.

The real tragedy is that I suspect rather than keep these as a real Pro line, Apple will ditch these machines at the next round of products.
     
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Jun 23, 2012, 09:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by Doc HM View Post
I don't think that 16GB is an unrealistic RAM requirement for a high end pro machine within say 24months from now, given the uptake in megamega pixel pro cameras and the increased use of HD and 4K for video.

Apples problem is that they physically can't offer a 16GB option as the chips just aren't available. That the form factor of the rMBP makes future upgrades impossible really means that Apple have just misnamed the Machine. Just like the older 13in MacBook Pro, which was really just a MacBook with firewire, this is a MacBook Air 15. I suspect Apple marketing were more concerned with the PR generated by the machine. The actual MacBook Pros are right next door on the store, yes they are heavier but you will be able to upgrade the RAM and get better priced SSD's for them, AND still burn a DVD if you need to.

The real tragedy is that I suspect rather than keep these as a real Pro line, Apple will ditch these machines at the next round of products.
You can buy a 16 GB MBP:TNG right now for $200 more than the stock model. That's a 9% price premium. I really don't see the problem if that is your main money-making productivity machine.

As for optical, meh. If you really care that much you can get an external burner. Apple WILL scrap the other Pros in 1-2 years, and I think it makes perfect sense. In 2012, optical is not a Pro feature. In 2012, optical is a legacy feature... which the machines will still support via an inexpensive add-on, just like with Firewire 800.

The addition of built-in HDMI will help a lot more professional users than built-in optical.
     
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Jun 23, 2012, 12:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
At least if they aren't going to make RAM non-upgradeable they are pretty generous with what comes in the base model. 8 gig should suffice for the life cycle of the laptop, I'd think.
I think Apple is finally admitting that 4 GB base RAM is untenable in "professional" laptops.

For the RMBP to have any credible life-cycle whatsoever, 16 GB should be the minimum.

8 GB RAM is like putting a 4-cylinder in a Porsche...
     
 
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