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Apple released the MacBook Pro 15" Retina with a new display that has a 2880-by-1800 resolution.

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Need help and tips for buying a new MBP Retina

Hi,

My MBP from 2011 has the known GPU issue. So I want to buy a new MBP. I want to buy it second hand from the internet, because my budget isn't enough for a new one.

I want a retina MBP with 15" screen.

  • I saw on the internet that the most machines are with 8GB memory; is this enough?
  • Is it true that I can not upgrade the memory and HDD like my 2011 machine?
  • Is there a model year that has issues with the GPU, CPU etc? Like the 2011 model? (from what year is the best machine?)
  • Are there other things I need to know before I buy the MBP?

Thanks in advance!

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2 Answers

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Even though the repair program has ended, there are several companies offering to repair this issue.. All else failing you can get a flat rate repair from Apple for $357 tax and shipping included. It's called a flat rate repair.

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@mayer thanks, but I don't want to repair my laptop. Because I'm a graphic designer, I need a better display; retina.

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Uas - One of the companies I service held off going with the retina models as at the time they did not offer the RAM & storage they needed. It's only now the latest model that offers 16 GB of RAM and a larger 2 TB SSD. BTW that is over 300 MacBook Pro's.

To answer your direct questions:

  • Is 8 GB enough? For most it is. For a graphics pro it might be tight if you work on larger or too many multiple items at the same time. Video editing also might be an issue if you work on large projects or have too many windows open with other elements.
  • Can I upgrade the RAM or SSD? Sadly the RAM is soldered so what you get is what you'll have to work with. The SSD can be upgraded but you are very limited on your choices. Either you'll need to find a used Apple SSD or get a OWC SSD. Finding an Apple SSD in the larger sizes will be hard and very expensive!
  • Apple had a rash of dual GPU systems which had issues with some tantalum capacitors overheating which caused the GPU problems. Apple has an extended warranty repair program but the window is getting small. Even still a good board repair outfit can replace the bad caps with better ones.

You may want to look for a 2012 i7 15" MacBook Pro with a hi-res display (1680x1050) like MacBook Pro 15" 2.7 GHz i7 (Mid-2012) Vs making the jump to the retina series. The costs of upgrading the RAM to 16 GB as well as putting in still larger SATA SSD's may make a better buy and offer what you need.

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Thanks @danj but the mid 2012 isn't a retina right? It is the unibody model?

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Well... Apple had both on the market!

The specs above is the non-retina model. And here's the 2012 retina model's specs: MacBook Pro 15" 2.7 GHz i7 Retina (Mid 2012)

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So lets breakdown the internal display options:

- Standard: 1440 x 900

- Hi-Res: 1680 x 1050

- Retina: 2880 x 1800

You'll need to decide how far you need for your work. While I love the retina display most people can't really see that finely (or need it). This is were the hi-res may be enough for you.

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@danj I already got a hi-res display on my MBP (1680x1050). Are all retina models 2880x1800?

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So far the retina versions of the MacBook Pro 15" only offer 2880 x 1800 internal displays. The newer models can push a 4K external display.

Apple's term for retina class display (native res) is not consistent across the product lines! So you do need to keep that in mind. What Apple uses for a reference is how far you will be from the display given its size & function.

So for reference the AppleWatch has a 312x390 display and the iPhone 7 has a 1334x750 and the iPhone 7 Plus has a 1920x1080 all of which are used at a short arm length distance. In the desktops space the 21.5" iMac base mode has a 1920x1080 and the 4K models have a 4096x2304. The larger 27" iMac's had a 2560x1440 and where upgraded to a 5K class display 5120x2880 and are used at a much longer distance.

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