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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > First time purchase, Macbook Pro Retina Display

First time purchase, Macbook Pro Retina Display
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Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Aug 2012
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Aug 7, 2012, 01:42 AM
Hello Everyone

I will be buying my first Mac

I'm not sure which MacBook Pro with Retina Display configuration to go for and need some expert help

1) 2.3GHz - 16GB RAM - 256GB SSD

2) 2.3GHz - 16GB RAM - 512GB SSD

3) 2.6GHz - 16GB RAM - 256GB SSD

4) 2.6GHz - 16GB RAM - 512GB SSD

I will be using the computer for general browsing, some photoshop + web dev, watching videos, basic video editing, office work, server admin and running windows in VM.

I have a Ubuntu Server with 4TB of storage for storing my media.

Wanted to make sure I choose the right options so I can future proof for the next three years +

Does an increase in CPU reduce the battery usage?

I'm really excited!
Mac Elite
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Back in the Good Ole US of A
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Aug 7, 2012, 04:15 AM
You're only saving $100 by getting the 2.3GHz processor so I say go with the 2.6GHz. As far as I know, the SSD isn't upgradeable yet so you may as well go with the 512GB, especially since you'll be running a Windows VM.

My boss recently bought one for his wife and I was tasked with getting it setup for her. It's a gorgeous device but I was taken aback by how heavy it felt. I guess I've become accustomed to my 13" MBA.

Mac Elite
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Truckee, CA
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Aug 9, 2012, 06:49 PM
You should be excited! As an images person IMO the retina displays are awesome. However personally I hate the fact that they are still glossy, even though they are marginally less offensive than earlier glossy models

The 16 GB RAM is a necessity, and the +$100 for 13% faster CPU is probably worth it, even though all 2011-2012 CPUs frankly are very fast. If money was tight I would not hesitate to live with 2.3 GHz because on modern MBPs the CPUs are relatively over-strong relative to the rest of the architecture. GPU is the lame part of the architecture.

Currently I run a (non-glossy) 2011 MBP with 128GB SSD and a heavy still images workflow. +$500 to go from 256GB SSD to 500 GB SSD is a tough call. Neither will be adequate for any substantial still or video images workflow, so images folks WILL need external drives. Personally I would not pay +$500 to upgrade 256 GB to 500 GB, but that totally depends on one's personal finances and intended workflow. [Fortunately I do not run Win, so I am ignorant as to the demands of the VM environment.]

As to weight, mine is a 17" MBP that I carry everywhere and find no issues with the weight. I far, far prefer more pixels and screen real estate to saving a couple of pounds. Each step down in size is a huge loss of screen real estate and pixel count.

My 02.

Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: California
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Aug 9, 2012, 08:58 PM
If I were buying a Retina MBP, I'd pay for the 16GB and the 2.6 GHz upgrades. But I'd go with the 256 GB SSD.

My reasons: the RAM and CPU are soldered down, so your only upgrade chance is at the beginning. Also, those upgrades are reasonably priced.

The SSD is a (proprietary) expansion card - there will be 3rd party upgrades for it in the future. The only way I'd pay $500 for a 256 GB upgrade would be if I absolutely needed it *today*. Use an external, and get a 1 TB replacement a year from now for the same upgrade price.
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Aug 13, 2012, 03:34 AM
I have the MacBook Pro Retina display. I also run Windows in a VM.
The CPU really isn't going to be a problem, there are 8 cores!

However, you most definitely want 16GB of RAM, no matter what. Also, rather than just building a standard VM, I went ahead and Boot Camped mine. Parallels and VMWare Fusion can both boot from a Boot Camped volume, and that way you also have the flexibility of booting Windows on the barebones hardware.

It's amazing to boot into Windows Natively and get a 2880x1800 resolution display on the 15"!

Good luck with the purchase. Welcome aboard!

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