Why I might ditch the Retina 15

Buying a new machine has rarely been about money for me. I feel guilty about having an old machine sit on a shelf not doing anything (I’ve never had to replace a Mac because it ‘broke’ – my 2003 12″ PowerBook still runs great). Luckily, my family is large enough that there’s always someone who could use a newer machine than the one they have. This year, it’s my older brother. He has my 2006 MacBook Pro with its bizarre 3GB RAM cap that’s basically unusable today. He’ll be getting my 15″ retina MacBook Pro, and I’ll be buying something announced during the WWDC keynote (maybe).

Performance wise, the retina 15 is an unstoppable machine, but I’m tired of its size and weight. All the games I play work just as well on my 2010 11″ Air with the nVidia 320m so I won’t miss the dGPU if the Intel HD 5000 hype is to be believed. Assuming the retina 13 or 11 retains all the ports (I literally use all of them) I’ll be fine. I’ll miss the quad i7 for renders but I only have a 2.3 GHz so the new minimum should be faster, making the performance decrease not as bad as 50%.

I will miss 16GB of RAM, especially if I have to share some with the iGPU. That coupled with the decreased number of cores will severely limit me during the awful occasions I need a Windows 7 virtual machine for.

I understand WWDC would be soon for an update for the retina 13 so if it doesn’t happen I’ll ride out the difference on my work provided retina 15. I have a feeling Apple would try to unite the cycles of the 13 and 15 (and 11?) since none of the hardware in the 13 was newer than the 15 when it was released.

I’m actually not worried about the decrease in screen real estate because my eyes are good enough to operate this thing in “1X” 2880×1800 mode (using the Eye-Friendly app). Using a 13 in 2560×1200 mode to write code doesn’t worry me.

If there’s a retina 11″ Pro I’ll happily swallow almost any spec limitation. Also, if there’s a retina iPad mini I won’t be purchasing an iPad 5.


Random additional thought: As I mentioned in my hurricane post, the 85 Watts of the 15 is a lot on the 100 watt maximum of my car inverter and my backup battery, causing fans to come on and heat warnings and all that good stuff.