Lab Tested: 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro benefits from flash storage
Posted 24 October 2012 - 04:39 PM
PS: I was going to return 15" if the 13" works.
Posted 24 October 2012 - 05:28 PM
Posted 24 October 2012 - 05:30 PM
I've tried the Metro betas a number of times and I just do not understand it. I got the impression that it is pretty meaningless without a touchscreen. I'd be interested to see what the surface is like.
Posted 24 October 2012 - 05:50 PM
Also, how does this new antireflective coating compare to the matte screen option on the non-retina 15" MBP? First time I saw the 15" retina in an Apple store it was sitting next to a Matte Screen 15" MBP and I was shocked how much glare the retina display had.
Also, shouldn't the comparison to the MBA been with 8GB of RAM in the Air?
Aside from the retina display and possibly wireless card speed can the current 13" MBA with the 2 GHZ core i7 and extra MB of cache using 8 GB RAM and 256 GB SSD match the 13" retina MBP in the above tests if you have access to a Air with this configuration?
Thanks for the great article.
Posted 24 October 2012 - 09:12 PM
1 Macbook Air 2.0GHz Intel Dual-Core Core i7, $1,699.00
2 Macbook Pro with Retina 2.5GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5, $1,999.00
3 Macbook Air 1.8GHz Intel Dual-Core Core i5, $1,299.00
Use: Office, movies, browsing and some gaming.
Option 1 and 2 have 256 GB Flash as compared to 128 GB flash for option 3.
Comparison between Option 1 and 3:-
I presume that i5 and i7 both are ivy bridge dual core processors so the difference in performance would not be huge ?
Another difference is the flash drive. Is 128 GB enough as I carry an external hard drive around or would it not be sufficient considering that the OS and other software would gobble up a major proportion of space.
Comparison between option 1 and 2:
As far as I can see, the difference is the retina display and the width is actually slightly lesser in pro. If I opt for the 128 GB flash storage then I can get the retina display Pro for the same price as Air (256GB storage). However based on the performance tests above, I can see the performance of air is on par with the retina pro.
Could you please elaborate on the performance parameters of the above including i7. I feel that option 3 may be an economical and optimal option. (if the storage is not an issue) but not sure if the retina display would matter too.
Posted 25 October 2012 - 12:44 AM
First - I'm assuming by the price points that you are talking about the 13" models for both the MBAs and rMBP?
Second - also by comparing the price points you have listed, I'm assuming you are opting for the upgrade to 8GB of RAM for both MBAs?
My advice would be to go with Option 3 - the 13" MacBook Air 1.8GHz Core i5 with 8GB of RAM.
Your assumption of the small performance increase in the upgraded CPU between options 1 & 3 is correct (see this article linked from MacWorld, it does a great job of explaining:
http://arstechnica.c...he-extra-juice/). Unless you are doing some really CPU intensive tasks with this laptop, or running top line games, then I don't think you will get much "bang for your buck" by opting for the additional CPU power for either the 2.0GHz MBA or the 13" rMBP. And if you do require that extra horsepower, you would be much better off spending a little more and opting for the 15" rMBP to get the Quad-Core CPU and desecrate NVIDIA graphics (or possibly going with iMac if you don't really need a laptop?).
Now, there may be other features of the rMBP that may worth the extra $$$ for you (ie. the retina display!, but also extra I/O ports)… that's for you to decide
I currently am running the 11" MacBook Air, 1.7GHz Core i5, 8GB RAM and 128GB flash hard drive. From what I can tell, our needs are fairly similar - I use my laptop primarily for office/school related tasks (mostly MS Office, iWork suite, Scrivener, etc.), streaming movies/music and some *light* gaming. I do also currently run Windows 7 via Parallels Desktop without issue.
I opted for the 11" over the 13" because the added portability for my daily commute was essential, although when at home I do wish for just a bit more screen size. On the bus/train/airplane however, this is a good as an iPad!
I STRONGLY recommend sticking with the 8GB RAM upgrade (if my 2nd assumption above is correct), not so much that I have found I am often utilizing the extra memory, but more that it is a good investment for the longevity of the device since the memory can not be upgraded down the road.
The toughest decision for you, in my opinion, will be whether to go with the 128GB flash storage, or upgrade to 256GB. I can tell you in my experience, 128GB has been plenty so far. I am currently only using approximately half of my HDD's storage so far, with over half of that going for applications. The key for me is that I stream ALL my iTunes music from iCloud (no native files on my Mac HDD) and stream all my movies from either Netflix or my NAS.
Keep in mind that the flash storage IS something that you can upgrade down the road too, if you go with the 128GB and find that it's just not enough. OWC for example, offers flash upgrades now for the 2012 MBAs (up to 480GB currently). The aftermarket flash is actually more expensive per GB to upgrade over the factory option (go figure!!), but you do have the option to go for even more than 256GB of storage if needed.
I hope this helps!
Posted 25 October 2012 - 12:59 AM
Also, I was wondering how you guys track the FPS in games while doing your tests?
Posted 25 October 2012 - 08:52 AM
Posted 25 October 2012 - 10:01 AM
Yes, and also be aware that if the SSD is at or very near capacity, that will slow down the flash drives performance (ref: macworld comparison of 64GB SSD and 128GB SSD 11" MBAs). Back to my point, that in your situation, the money is probably more well spent on HDD capacity than CPU speed. (If you can't tell, I've recently been through this analysis for myself). I opted for portability/price and utilize cloud based storage on the go as well as external/network storage at home.
Posted 25 October 2012 - 10:11 AM
I have the 11" Air with the 2.0 GHz i7 and 8 GB RAM. I see no reason whatsoever to move from a similarly equipped Air to a 13" Retina other than the screen. At 13" I would probably go for the retina over the Air, but the 11" Air is in a class by itself.
Fortunately I have the best of all worlds, 11" Air for travel, 15" Retina MBP for work and play when not on the road.