Will the 2nd-gen 13" MacBook Pro with Retina Display be my perfect laptop?
After a long amount of consideration, I've settled on a MacBook as my choice of laptop for college.
I find my current 13" laptop (a Dell XPS M1330) to be a tad smaller than I'd like it, but a 15" Pro seemed to large to me when I played with it once, so I'm left with the 13" models. After eliminating the Air (I don't care that much for the added lightness and portability, at least not more than raw power), I'm left with choosing between the two MacBook Pros, one with and the other without the Retina Display.
With the recent price drops, coupled with the availability of (by the standards of the product itself, of course) dirt-cheap refurbished models (which I have been given reason to believe are not a bit worse than new ones; the cheapest one goes for $1270!), the Retina Pro isn't the afterthought it was at launch.
But I found a few things lacking in the first-gen, which I need to see fixed before I go out and buy the one laptop to take me through at least 4 years of engineering. I'm gonna list the major ones here, and I'd like your thoughts on whether or not any or all of them can possibly be fulfilled in the 2nd-gen version.
That display quite obviously needs more power to push all those millions of pixels. Something way more powerful, as Nilay had made clear in his review of the laptop. Although something along the lines of the GTX 650M found in its elder brother might be more suited to such a display and may give other factors for one to differentiate the Retina Pro from the Air (the display, thickness and clock speed are the only things that I can find that differ now), for some reason I can't exactly enunciate or understand, I don't think Apple will do that. And actually, with Haswell's GT3 graphics promising leagues of improvement, they have all the more reason to leave out discrete graphics. While I would prefer something from NVIDIA myself, the battery drain due to the lack of good drivers in Bootcamp which makes Windows ALWAYS use both GPUs is a worry for me if that happens, since I'm going to be using Windows a lot too. I wouldn't mind either as long as it is enough to carry the display to thick and thin. And this nicely brings me up to my next need.
GREAT BOOTCAMP DRIVERS
Yes, despite having full knowledge that it's a Mac, I, like quite a few others, intend to use Windows on my future Mac. From what I've heard here, the drivers for Windows 8 are really bad. Not an option for me. At least not if it guzzles battery like hell, prevents me from using the otherwise fantastic touchpad to its fullest extent and hinders my overall experience.
Also, I'd like to know if installing Windows disables any exclusive functions of a Mac. Can I still use my Apple-only peripherals? Can I still mirror my display through an Apple TV? Does my Windows separation also get backed up via Time Capsule? Also, with regards to Time Capsule, can I use it as an external drive and save stuff (music and video) I want to delete from my Mac? 256GB, the most expensive model I can afford, is nowhere near enough for me. Which, again, brings me quite nicely to my next point.
To me, Fusion Drive seems like the best bit of tech that Apple introduced in the second part of last year. In the busy half loaded with iPhones, iPads, iPods, iMacs, Mac minis and MacBooks, the Fusion Drive still seemed to stand out to me. And why not? It does the thing that I'd have done manually anyway, moving stuff to the drive, fast or large, where it makes most sense, eventually proving me with over a terabyte of near SSD-speed storage, at the cost of a quarter of that. But what didn't make sense was its debut on iMacs and Mac minis. With the existence of literally thousands of ways to extend their storage without hindering their primary function, such a system made more sense to me on laptops, where carrying an external drive around with a laptop made specifically for portability makes the portability factor redundant.
Plus, look at the damn costs that Apple levies on non-upgradable SSDs in its devices. 256GB surely isn't enough for me, but the price reaches a mind numbing $2199 for the i7 ($200) + storage (a "meagre" $300 cost for the jump from 256 to 512 GB, against the $500 they were asking for earlier + $200 for the 128 to 256 GB jump, which, again, I find to be a bit too high) updates, and that is without AppleCare!
Although two drives would seemingly drive up the size of this beast closer to the "ordinary" Pro, Apple could implement the same software on a conventional hybrid drive and use the same space too.
Fusion Drive looks like it was made for the MacBook, and for me, this would be the "killer feature" that people normally look for, if Apple finally got it where it belongs.
MORE RAM, PLEASE!
I don't know about the others, but 8 GB of RAM surely doesn't seem enough to me. Right now, 8 GB is surely more than enough, but I need this machine to last a full four years on me, and 8 GB doesn't seem to future proof. And again, why Apple should not give me the option to upgrade my thereafter un-upgradeable RAM to 16 GB is not at all clear to me. Also, like I've said earlier, something other than that display needs to be added to justify the "Pro" name against the almost identical (on paper) Air. Although not for now, only 8 GB of memory is making me sceptical about whether this laptop is one for the future.
This is about it, from me, I guess. What does the Core think about these things? Will we see any, or hopefully all of these being implemented in the 2nd-gen Retina Pro? Lay down your thoughts in the comments.
P.S.: I had copied this all over from Word and I just noticed that apparently the fonts for the headings have been altered and aren't the same. Is it possible to use fonts other than the default ones, cause I seem to remember a few posts doing so? Any help? Or can any mods correcti it (to Futura) for me?