Caffeinate, Create, Sleep, Repeat.

The daunting task of picking which Mac to buy…

Apple have just decided to shave off a couple of hundred bucks from the 13″ Retina MacBook Pro’s price tag and they’ve also cut-down the price for the high-end 13″ MacBook Air. I guess the rumor is true, that come June of this year all MacBooks will be refreshed with “Haswell” 4th-gen Core family processors. That the price cuts were made to boost sales prior to the June “refresh”. Generally this should be celebrated as good news — it’s not so often to hear that MacBook prices are going down — but somehow, these price cuts present me a 1st world problem of sort…

Some of my friends would argue why I shouldn’t waste money on a Mac. Believe me, I have considered moving back to a Windows platform laptop, specifically I was looking at the the new Sony VAIO SVS13A35PGB. Quite a nice rig if I may say, but alas, the salesperson told me that it won’t readily support an OSX dual boot partion. Why do I need OSX? Well I’ve been using a Mac for quite a few years now and my workflow revolves around apps/programs that are specifically designed for the MacOS, and some of them work seemlessly with my other apple devices, specially my mobile phone. In short, I can’t completely drop using OSX, thus the need for yet another Mac.

Eeny Meeny Miny Mac…
Just a couple of days ago, I’ve finally decided (after three-ish weeks of sleepless nights researching, evaluating and re-evaluating my options) that I was going to purchase the high-end MacBook Air with an 8GB memory upgrade. The decision was made considering which Mac made more sense with my workflow.

Fundamentally, I needed a something that I can easily bring with me everyday. I am used to the weight of my late 2009 13″ White MacBook (Specs: Unibody, Core 2 Duo 2.26, upgraded to 8GB memory, running Mountain Lion), so I’m looking at models which have better specs and preferably doesn’t weigh more than my current rig. With this in mind, the likely candidates would be: the 13″ MBAs, the 13″ MBPs, and the 13″ and 15″ Retinas.

Narrowing down the choices…
If I was Donald Trump I would’ve just bought the high-end 15″ Retina model then have it gold-plated. But since I want to purchase something that would be worth every penny I spend on it, I would have to narrow down my choices and balance my needs and wants.

First off, I’m quite undecided about my stand with the new “Retina” screens. I’ve heard bad reviews about it from fellow designers — how HiDPI screens are awkwardly affecting designing graphics for the web. Though I heard the this can be solved by either adjusting to work at 200% view at 72dpi or 100% at 144dpi; or use a normal external display. On the other hand, HiDPI screens are gorgeous and I believe that they’ll be the future of displays. Hmmnn…

Moving on, I definitely want an SSD and need at least 80-100GB of space for my applications, so that means a 265GB SSD should be good enough (all my other “non-daily” files can be archived in a bigger and cheaper external HDD).  An 8GB RAM setup is a must, 16GB would be better but I’m fine with 8GB if that’s not an option.

Graphics card: It’s really sad that the 13″ MBPs don’t have a dedicated graphics card and only has dual-cores, though I’ve seen demos of the MBAs with Intel HD 4000 Ivy Bridge running serious games with maxed out video settings at decent FPS. I guess, I really don’t need a dedicated graphics card since I’ll only be playing DotA and CS:GO on it. So if  I don’t really need that, the S$700 difference between the 15″ and 13″ Retina models would seem excessive. I could actually use less half of that amount to buy a decent external display.

With all that on the table, my choices gets narrowed down to these two models: The high-end 13″ MBA with its memory upgraded to 8GB; and the stock 13″ MBP Retina model.

Besides the retina display and the half-pound weight difference of the two, other notable differences would be an extra Thunderbolt and HDMI slot for the Retina model. I’m not really so fuzzy about the extra Thunderblot slot, but the HDMI slot would’ve been nice for the MBAir considering how ridiculously expensive Apple display cables and adapters are.

So I guess it all boils down to whether the Retina screen would be a further enhancement to the whole Mac experience or would it prove to be too disruptive to my workflow in designing (specifically with web graphics). Honestly if you ask me, I’d want to have a gold-plated high-end 15″ Retina model ;p

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