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MacBook Vs MacBook Pro w/ Retina?

Posted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 2:39 am
by TheDapperDruid
So it's come to the point where I don't feel comfortable relying on my 2012 MacBook Pro for law school exams, etc... So I feel it's time for an upgrade. I'm interested in going for either the MacBook or the slimmer MacBook Pro with Retina Display. Both would be the same price, storage, and RAM, but the real difference comes down to the graphics, the processor, and size. I don't do gaming, but I would like to have the power to use the Adobe suite or AutoCAD if I chose to do so. This being said, which would you go with? Is the processing power of the MacBook enough to handle the aforementioned as well as all law school related work? I love the size and weight of the MacBook, but I'm not sure if the loss of processing power and the lonesome C-port would be a deal-breaker... Any and all opinions welcome :D

Re: MacBook Vs MacBook Pro w/ Retina?

Posted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 2:56 am
by t-14orbust
retina display is awesome

Re: MacBook Vs MacBook Pro w/ Retina?

Posted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 8:12 am
by James.K.Polk
t-14orbust wrote:retina display is awesome


Okay so your lingo is a little confused. You're comparing two retina-class devices here, so don't let that be the differentiating factor. Apple does sell a Macbook Pro sans retina but do not, under any circumstances, buy it.

I've owned both. The display on the 12" rMB is amazing, and honestly nicer than that on my 15" rMBP ("daily driver"). Also... the form factor. Have you carried an iPad? It's like that. The 12" Macbook is an amazing device and if you haven't gone and tooled around with it, I highly recommend doing so. Really impressive engineering. Battery life is solid (though not necessarily better than what I pull with the 15") and the simple portability (airplanes, buses, etc) is really awesome. I also didn't find USB-C to be such as issue save one time I forgot my charger and couldn't find one to borrow. Then I bought a USB-C and power brick for like $15 (compare that to the $75 Macbook Pro charger) and felt better.

Butttttttt let's talk performance. I guess the 2016 upgrade to the Macbook is legit, you can now select from M3/M5/M7 processors. But these aren't i5 or i7 level chips and they may fall short. I recommend you read Anantech or Ars Technica to get some actual benchmarks, or watch MKBHD/the like. I am a 0L, I don't know about law school software, but I am a researcher and I found the 12" Macbook to be pretty slow and stuttery in larger PDFs which I can only assume we will be reading. Heck, in MPEP preparations for the patent bar, the 12" Macbook took way longer to load 100+ page PDFs than my quad-core 15" Macbook Pro.

So! I've written a book here. What's the tl;dr? If you want a laptop that looks awesome and will assuredly make it through law school despite perhaps some chunking, I'd try out the 12" Macbook. If, within 2 weeks, you hate it, you could return it. If you think to yourself this is my next computer until it dies, which I always try to imagine, I'd go Macbook Pro, either 13" or 15," depending on what you can afford. It'll last you law school and well beyond. The quad-core i7 is nice in the 15", but it's overkill.

And after you've made that, I'd urge you to wait a few weeks, because it's possible we'll see some new Macbook Pros at WWDC in June.

Re: MacBook Vs MacBook Pro w/ Retina?

Posted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 9:09 am
by NY_Sea
James.K.Polk wrote:
t-14orbust wrote:retina display is awesome


Okay so your lingo is a little confused. You're comparing two retina-class devices here, so don't let that be the differentiating factor. Apple does sell a Macbook Pro sans retina but do not, under any circumstances, buy it.

I've owned both. The display on the 12" rMB is amazing, and honestly nicer than that on my 15" rMBP ("daily driver"). Also... the form factor. Have you carried an iPad? It's like that. The 12" Macbook is an amazing device and if you haven't gone and tooled around with it, I highly recommend doing so. Really impressive engineering. Battery life is solid (though not necessarily better than what I pull with the 15") and the simple portability (airplanes, buses, etc) is really awesome. I also didn't find USB-C to be such as issue save one time I forgot my charger and couldn't find one to borrow. Then I bought a USB-C and power brick for like $15 (compare that to the $75 Macbook Pro charger) and felt better.

Butttttttt let's talk performance. I guess the 2016 upgrade to the Macbook is legit, you can now select from M3/M5/M7 processors. But these aren't i5 or i7 level chips and they may fall short. I recommend you read Anantech or Ars Technica to get some actual benchmarks, or watch MKBHD/the like. I am a 0L, I don't know about law school software, but I am a researcher and I found the 12" Macbook to be pretty slow and stuttery in larger PDFs which I can only assume we will be reading. Heck, in MPEP preparations for the patent bar, the 12" Macbook took way longer to load 100+ page PDFs than my quad-core 15" Macbook Pro.

So! I've written a book here. What's the tl;dr? If you want a laptop that looks awesome and will assuredly make it through law school despite perhaps some chunking, I'd try out the 12" Macbook. If, within 2 weeks, you hate it, you could return it. If you think to yourself this is my next computer until it dies, which I always try to imagine, I'd go Macbook Pro, either 13" or 15," depending on what you can afford. It'll last you law school and well beyond. The quad-core i7 is nice in the 15", but it's overkill.

And after you've made that, I'd urge you to wait a few weeks, because it's possible we'll see some new Macbook Pros at WWDC in June.

This is pretty much what I was going to say, but said so much better than I would have lol... I have a 13" rMBP from maybe 2014 and it's really a solid machine. Has a 3.0 (maybe) GHz i7, 8GB of RAM and 512 GB of PCIe Flash storage. You want PCIe... It's puts the previous forms of flash storage to shame in every aspect... Idk if Apple uses anything other than PCIe anymore, but make sure whatever you get has it. It works like a dream and I have zero complaints. Nowadays, most dual core processors can turbo boost to at least 3.0 GHz and 8 GB of RAM is the sweet spot for me... Not too little and not too much that you're not even seeing the benefits. That being said, the 12" MB looks so damn nice that eventually I'll probably check it out.

I went from the 15" MBP (Non-Retina) to the 13" rMBP and had serious doubts as to whether the screen would be a good enough size for me. I quickly realized that as much as I loved the extra screen real estate, the portability and lessened weight of the 13" really outweighed the benefits of the 15". I'm happy I made the switch, because if I stayed with the 15", I doubt I would be willing to go to a 12" screen. I have a work computer (Lenovo... Ugh, forgot how terrible Windows is) that I use for the day, leaving my Mac for mainly web browsing and light MS Office stuff. It's never going to beat out any rMBP, but with the new Skylake processors they updated the new MB with, you could easily get by doing that type of stuff. I think using AutoCAD is going to be the sticking point... I don't know how much memory it takes up, since I've never used it, but I would assume you'd rather be safe than sorry in that respect and get a better spec'd machine.

Polk is 100% right when it comes to the design... It's incredible. It's as light as my friend's iPad and just all around compact. Just typing this out is making me want to go get one on lunch lol.

TL;DR: As long as you're not trying to do video editing or work with any crazy big Excel sheets, you're going to be perfectly fine with the 12" MB... Since you want to have the option to use AutoCAD, you want the extra power, so go for either the 15" or 13" rMBP. Follow Polk's advice... Try the 12" MB... If it doesn't perform up to your liking for the programs you use, return it and get the MBP.

Re: MacBook Vs MacBook Pro w/ Retina?

Posted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 9:47 am
by James.K.Polk
NY_Sea wrote:
James.K.Polk wrote:
t-14orbust wrote:retina display is awesome


Okay so your lingo is a little confused. You're comparing two retina-class devices here, so don't let that be the differentiating factor. Apple does sell a Macbook Pro sans retina but do not, under any circumstances, buy it.

I've owned both. The display on the 12" rMB is amazing, and honestly nicer than that on my 15" rMBP ("daily driver"). Also... the form factor. Have you carried an iPad? It's like that. The 12" Macbook is an amazing device and if you haven't gone and tooled around with it, I highly recommend doing so. Really impressive engineering. Battery life is solid (though not necessarily better than what I pull with the 15") and the simple portability (airplanes, buses, etc) is really awesome. I also didn't find USB-C to be such as issue save one time I forgot my charger and couldn't find one to borrow. Then I bought a USB-C and power brick for like $15 (compare that to the $75 Macbook Pro charger) and felt better.

Butttttttt let's talk performance. I guess the 2016 upgrade to the Macbook is legit, you can now select from M3/M5/M7 processors. But these aren't i5 or i7 level chips and they may fall short. I recommend you read Anantech or Ars Technica to get some actual benchmarks, or watch MKBHD/the like. I am a 0L, I don't know about law school software, but I am a researcher and I found the 12" Macbook to be pretty slow and stuttery in larger PDFs which I can only assume we will be reading. Heck, in MPEP preparations for the patent bar, the 12" Macbook took way longer to load 100+ page PDFs than my quad-core 15" Macbook Pro.

So! I've written a book here. What's the tl;dr? If you want a laptop that looks awesome and will assuredly make it through law school despite perhaps some chunking, I'd try out the 12" Macbook. If, within 2 weeks, you hate it, you could return it. If you think to yourself this is my next computer until it dies, which I always try to imagine, I'd go Macbook Pro, either 13" or 15," depending on what you can afford. It'll last you law school and well beyond. The quad-core i7 is nice in the 15", but it's overkill.

And after you've made that, I'd urge you to wait a few weeks, because it's possible we'll see some new Macbook Pros at WWDC in June.

This is pretty much what I was going to say, but said so much better than I would have lol... I have a 13" rMBP from maybe 2014 and it's really a solid machine. Has a 3.0 (maybe) GHz i7, 8GB of RAM and 512 GB of PCIe Flash storage. You want PCIe... It's puts the previous forms of flash storage to shame in every aspect... Idk if Apple uses anything other than PCIe anymore, but make sure whatever you get has it. It works like a dream and I have zero complaints. Nowadays, most dual core processors can turbo boost to at least 3.0 GHz and 8 GB of RAM is the sweet spot for me... Not too little and not too much that you're not even seeing the benefits. That being said, the 12" MB looks so damn nice that eventually I'll probably check it out.


It's true, I neglected RAM - All MacBooks have 8 GB, and the Pros have 8-16 GB. I just checked and my 15" has 16 GB and I have no idea what to do with that so... I think 8 is future proof enough that something else will fail before you'll desperately need more RAM.

I have a 13" rMBP for work and I agree that the portability of the 13" probably outweighs the screen real estate of the 15" but... too late for me to change now. The other advice I'd give when buying into the Cult of Apple is to spend a little more upfront, because these days basically nothing is replaceable. On your 2011 Macbook Pro, you can likely upgrade to an SSD (if you haven't) and maybe even boost the RAM.... You can't do any of that in the new ones. I read that the 2016 Macbook has tamper-detecting screws if you even try to get inside of it. So spend a little extra cash to get a decent size SSD and/or processor and use it til it dies.

Re: MacBook Vs MacBook Pro w/ Retina?

Posted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 10:13 am
by somethingElse
13" rMBP refurbished from Apple is TCR (newest version, I think it's the one released March 2015).

Re: MacBook Vs MacBook Pro w/ Retina?

Posted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 10:25 am
by TheDapperDruid
Thanks for the advice! I'll have to stop by the apple store and check them out; maybe open up some larger PDF's and such to do a dry run...

Re: MacBook Vs MacBook Pro w/ Retina?

Posted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 10:37 am
by somethingElse
That's a good call bro. Couple more points:

1) Take note of the keyboards of the two. IMO the Macbook has a shittier keyboard. This is actually in part (or maybe completely) a result of how thin it is. They had to compensate on things.

2) As was mentioned, I would hold off on purchasing anything - if at all possible - until after the June conference. The refurbished rMBPs will likely drop price after that, or if you wanted to splurge you could grab one of the new ones. Haven't done my research on which processors they will be rolling with, but IIRC the latest intel chips are a pretty nice upgrade relative to the newest MBPs' chips right now.

Re: MacBook Vs MacBook Pro w/ Retina?

Posted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 10:46 am
by TheDapperDruid
somethingelse55 wrote:That's a good call bro. Couple more points:

1) Take note of the keyboards of the two. IMO the Macbook has a shittier keyboard. This is actually in part (or maybe completely) a result of how thin it is. They had to compensate on things.

2) As was mentioned, I would hold off on purchasing anything - if at all possible - until after the June conference. The refurbished rMBPs will likely drop price after that, or if you wanted to splurge you could grab one of the new ones. Haven't done my research on which processors they will be rolling with, but IIRC the latest intel chips are a pretty nice upgrade relative to the newest MBPs' chips right now.


1) Ah, yes. Thanks for pointing that out. I type pretty hard, so I'd likely prefer typing on keys with more vertical travel.

2) I'll probably do that. I don't truly need to get a new laptop until the end of July/beginning of August, so I suppose it'd be silly to rush into it and get a laptop that will immediately become dated.

Re: MacBook Vs MacBook Pro w/ Retina?

Posted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 10:56 am
by Clemenceau
somethingelse55 wrote:13" rMBP refurbished from Apple is TCR (newest version, I think it's the one released March 2015).


Those are $1100, a brand new one can be had for $1170.

Re: MacBook Vs MacBook Pro w/ Retina?

Posted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 11:20 am
by RaceJudicata
Not to hijack the mac thread, but owell, I'm in same situation, but am a PC user. What is a good pc laptop? Not too concerned with price, but am far more concerned with combining portability and performance.

i.e. I don't want a Surface, but I also don't want to lug around a giant archaic laptop.

Re: MacBook Vs MacBook Pro w/ Retina?

Posted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 11:35 am
by RZ5646
RaceJudicata wrote:Not to hijack the mac thread, but owell, I'm in same situation, but am a PC user. What is a good pc laptop? Not too concerned with price, but am far more concerned with combining portability and performance.

i.e. I don't want a Surface, but I also don't want to lug around a giant archaic laptop.


I'd consider a Surface or Asus Zenbook. They're really the only standouts among Windows laptops. The Dell XPS 13 and some of the high-end Lenovos are nice, but I'd feel bad paying a Mac price for a generic Windows laptop.

@OP: The Macbook is everything people hate about Apple: very expensive, function sacrificed to form, basically a flashy status symbol instead of an actual tool. The Air's screen hasn't been updated in 5+ years, so I can't recommend it either. That means you should get either the 13 inch retina Pro or the 15 inch retina Pro depending on how much money you want to spend.

Re: MacBook Vs MacBook Pro w/ Retina?

Posted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 11:46 am
by somethingElse
Clemenceau wrote:
somethingelse55 wrote:13" rMBP refurbished from Apple is TCR (newest version, I think it's the one released March 2015).


Those are $1100, a brand new one can be had for $1170.


Really? I know you can get it down to 1200 with the student discount; haven't seen them any lower than that. But irregardless, refurbished rMBPs from Apple are more or less new machines. Worth the ~100 you save IMO.

Re: MacBook Vs MacBook Pro w/ Retina?

Posted: Wed May 04, 2016 9:22 am
by gator_guy93
somethingElse wrote:
Clemenceau wrote:
somethingelse55 wrote:13" rMBP refurbished from Apple is TCR (newest version, I think it's the one released March 2015).


Those are $1100, a brand new one can be had for $1170.


Really? I know you can get it down to 1200 with the student discount; haven't seen them any lower than that. But irregardless, refurbished rMBPs from Apple are more or less new machines. Worth the ~100 you save IMO.


Agree. My gf got one and it was essentially brand new. No issues and it's been over a year now. Apple does a really good job at refurbishing items.

Re: MacBook Vs MacBook Pro w/ Retina?

Posted: Wed May 04, 2016 11:51 am
by pterodactyls
I love my 13" MBP. I maxed it out and paid probably way too much. But, it will last me at least 6 years so I figure it's worth the investment.

Re: MacBook Vs MacBook Pro w/ Retina?

Posted: Sun May 08, 2016 7:11 pm
by janderson821
What is the consensus on applecare? Is it worth it for the extra two years of protection? I've always gotten it but never used it.

Re: MacBook Vs MacBook Pro w/ Retina?

Posted: Sun May 08, 2016 7:18 pm
by haus
janderson821 wrote:What is the consensus on applecare? Is it worth it for the extra two years of protection? I've always gotten it but never used it.

I generally do not purchase extended warranty products for equipment, but I have had good success with the support form Apple, and even though most of the portable systems that I have purchased have not needed the extended support, I have continued to purchase applecare.

Side note, be sure to check for discounts (education, gov, even some corporations) sometimes it can lower the price for applecare as well.

Re: MacBook Vs MacBook Pro w/ Retina?

Posted: Sun May 08, 2016 7:20 pm
by Jchance
t-14orbust wrote:retina display is awesome


+1

Re: MacBook Vs MacBook Pro w/ Retina?

Posted: Mon May 09, 2016 4:43 am
by kellohitty
Why don't you feel comfortable using your current Macbook? I've had the same Macbook since 2008 (first aluminum unibody model: Intel Core Duo processor 2.0 ghz). A few years ago, I installed a solid-state drive and increased my ram from 2 gb to 4, and it still works like a dream, even as an eight-year-old computer. I use it for exams and have no problems.

Re: MacBook Vs MacBook Pro w/ Retina?

Posted: Mon May 09, 2016 11:46 am
by gamerish
I have both. I actually prefer the shallow keyboard on the 12" MacBook, though I realize I'm probably in the minority on that. I have the 15" Retina so the size/weight difference is substantial between the two and I definitely prefer the footprint of the MacBook over the Retina. The quality in the screen's is virtually the same to my eyes, my Retina obviously being much larger. I'm not really a power-user anymore so the difference in internal speeds is a non-factor since all I really do these days is use the internet, Netflix and various office softwares which I've had no problem with on either. Battery life and portability on the MacBook is substantially better than the Retina which are the main reasons it'll be my main computer this summer and during law school since I'll be on the move quite a lot and I don't want to be weighed down by the Retina or tied to a charger. I also thought the one port thing on the MacBook would be a complete deal breaker, but I've yet to find it to be a problem. I don't really use USB drives or external hardware (keyboards, mice, etc) since pretty much everything I do is cloud-based or otherwise wireless, so all I ever really use the port for is charging which I usually just do while I'm asleep and I'm set for the next day. Photoshop works just fine on my MacBook (though I don't do very taxing stuff when I do use it), but I don't use CAD so I can't speak to that.

TL;DR: If you want portability and battery life, go for the MacBook. If you need power or multiple ports, go for the Retina.

As for AppleCare, I would definitely get it if you plan on keeping the computer for at least 3 years. Over the 4ish years I've had my Retina, I've pretty much had the entire computer replaced (and several parts multiple times) because most of the hardware is soldered together so they can make it as thin as possible. So, if you have a problem with one thing, you have to replace a huge chunk of the computer. That can get very expensive very quickly if you don't have coverage. At least at the stores at my disposal, Apple was always very cool about replacing/fixing stuff when something went wrong. For example, I went in the day before my warranty expired and the Genius sent my computer out for repair for a trackpad issue and noted that they should do a quick run down and replace everything that wasn't perfect since I'd be on my own from them on. Not only did they replace my trackpad, but also my entire topcase, battery and display. So I basically got a completely new computer.

If you're morally opposed to AppleCare for some reason, I'd at least get some type of insurance on it. Squaretrade or your renter's/homeowner's policy or something.

Best Buy also has them all on sale and you can get extra student discounts if you sign up for them (I think the student discount on AppleCare is more substantial from Apple themselves though so I'd buy it from them instead after getting the computer from BB).

If you have any specific questions about differences between the two, feel free to ask.

Re: MacBook Vs MacBook Pro w/ Retina?

Posted: Mon May 09, 2016 12:02 pm
by RationalHeretic23
FWIW, I have an early 2011 MBP and have been itching to buy another computer before I begin law school this fall. I was going to buy the new upgrade to the MacBook, but Apple should be releasing a new MBP this June. I think it's worth the wait... I think it's going to be a really good upgrade. Personally I think the '13 MBP will be lightweight and portable enough for me already, so at that point I really just want as much processing power as possible to ensure everything runs quickly and smoothly. So I guess it's just personal preference but I would recommend at least waiting until they release the new MBP in June to at least compare between the two.

Re: MacBook Vs MacBook Pro w/ Retina?

Posted: Mon May 09, 2016 12:55 pm
by haus
gamerish wrote:Best Buy also has them all on sale and you can get extra student discounts if you sign up for them (I think the student discount on AppleCare is more substantial from Apple themselves though so I'd buy it from them instead after getting the computer from BB).

You might want to check on this. It used to be that you could purchase AppleCare independently (it needed to be purchased and registered within 90 days of system purchase). But this could give you an option to shop for the best deal for the computer and the best deal on AppleCare without conflict. The downside is that you need to actually go to the website and register with your device serial number, vice it being done automagically for you.

Re: MacBook Vs MacBook Pro w/ Retina?

Posted: Mon May 09, 2016 2:01 pm
by RZ5646
I just got the 15 inch MBP as a graduation present and it is a thing of beauty. Totally overkill for taking notes and writing papers, but the programmer in me loves having such a powerful machine, and I plan on keeping it 5+ years.

I tried the Macbook at Best Buy and I like how portable it is, but the keyboard is awful. Idk if I'd even want one just for taking notes. The Macbook confuses me. It's basically a little netbook that costs 5 times what it should.

Re: MacBook Vs MacBook Pro w/ Retina?

Posted: Mon May 09, 2016 6:08 pm
by twokings
Considering how heavy law books are, why has nobody suggested the Macbook Air? I was expecting to have a desktop at home and use the Air for notes in class. Am I on the wrong plan?

Re: MacBook Vs MacBook Pro w/ Retina?

Posted: Mon May 09, 2016 6:40 pm
by gamerish
twokings wrote:Considering how heavy law books are, why has nobody suggested the Macbook Air? I was expecting to have a desktop at home and use the Air for notes in class. Am I on the wrong plan?

The MacBook is lighter than the Air and has a substantially better screen. It's s bit worse off with battery and power though.