Should I purchase a base model Macbook Pro Retina Display?

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Hi all,

First of all I'd like to apologize for the seemingly moronic title; I understand that no one here would know better than I if a Retina Display MBP would benefit my lifestyle. Regardless, I'm one of those people who must research a piece of kit such as this until my eyes bleed, before I can consider parting with the cash. Hence I'd really just like to hear your opinions on the matter. Here's a little background info.

I have always been a dedicated PC user, for no reason other than convenience and familiarity. My experiences with Macs have been sporadic and therefore frequently uncomfortable and foreign, up until the latter half of this year where I began a new job in a photography studio. Now, for the past few months I have been using my girlfriends’ base model Macbook Pro 13" for work and my loyalties are at last beginning to sway.

Although I have a custom built PC at home that is sufficient for my work needs, it is not portable, and this is an issue that seems to inflate every year. And my 6 year old Acer laptop just won’t cut it anymore.

Every day of my working life is usually spent between Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, often with both open at the same time for different creative tasks. I also use Manga Studio for my freelance work with a Wacom tablet, which is again regularly open with PS also. I’m relatively sure that 8GB RAM will be more than sufficient, but I could be wrong? I’m never without several sites tabbed, iTunes open, emails, downloads; I recognize all these things add up. It’s important to note that the files I work with can be very large and awkward to move. Though taking into account all the clutter and music I have on my 1TB PC hard drive, it is only just half full.

I know the base model RD comes with only 256GB (non-upgradable) perhaps nearer 200 with everything installed. But is this really an issue with the increasing number of affordable external HDDs available? What I’m asking is, does the speed of the SSD outweigh the need for larger space, with the aid of USB 3.0 surely dropping groups of large files onto an external is minimal effort? Or am I being naive. I’d like to make the bump up to 500GB flash storage, but that just a little too out of my budget. If I’m honest I think the SSD takes priority over the actual display at this moment in time, personally atleast.

Though screen size and quality is key in my career as I often need to cross-reference product photography and match Pantone colors for silkscreen printed clothing. I understand that for printed material matte screens are truer, but how false does that make a gloss RD? Surely the difference cannot be too overt? Having used a gloss 13” MBP for some time now, I’m positive I need a 15” screen atleast, and if the pixel-density can be improved for a few more $100s, go ahead. I’ve read alot about how the retina display is not yet hugely functional regarding web experience (bar Safari) or even Photoshop for that matter, but won’t everything translate to Retina in time?

Lastly, and well.. less essentially. I confess I am an avid gamer, though only casual to PC, I would love a portable platform that could fulfill my desire to play the odd half an hour of Battlefield 3 during my commute. It is not a necessity, but for over $2000, I think it should tick every box.

As a long-time PC user, having probably spent around $2500 (in total) on computer components throughout my life, the price of any Macbook Pro suggests that longevity and dependability is what you’re paying for on top of the hardware. My thoughts are that if I’m already spending so much, then I should target the best version I can afford, so I can procure the value for years to come. This would be a long overdue upgrade; I want to be confident that it’s the right upgrade.

So, with all that in mind. Should I purchase a base model MBP Retina Display?

I’m aware this is probably a very common topic, I just wanted to ask the community what they thought, regarding my own conditions. I hope that’s okay, apologies for the lengthy first post!

Looking forward to your advice / warnings.

Adam

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