Shoulf I get a retina macbook pro?


Hi there guys!

Im a beginner, still learning a lot of things and techniques, so I need a machine for general CG purposes.

I cant have a workstation as im about to move away from home to study. It’s gotta be a laptop.

What do you guys think about this retina macbook pro here:

2,7ghz quad core i7 - turbo boost up to 3,7ghz
16 gb ram
256gb flash storage
nvidia gt 650m 1gb ddr5

$ 2500,00

Is it a good machine? Could I get more for less if I choose another brand of laptop? Any recommendations?


ya, it’s a good machine for CG/VFX. i run the previous-gen MBP 17" with Maya, Nuke, Mudbox, ZBrush, etc and it’s great. Dual Thunderbolt is sweet too. You could connect that to two external monitors if you wanted to.

you could get a cheaper PC for sure but that is a nice machine.


One thing ive read at other forums is that due to the high pixel amount in retina displays, the view port would actually get slower cause the gpu would have to process more data. Is that true? That wouldnt be great at all, hate slow view ports!



well, there are more pixels to deal with but it’s not slow by any means. The GPU in the newest MBP is very good and if my 2011 MBP can drive this 2560 x 1440 external display quickly with Maya, you should be fine.


Do pay attention to this generation’s potential retina screen problems. A bulky thread here:

Apple tends to iron out these type of hardware issues by the next generation. Or not. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Hmm damn. I might wait till they release a new revision, or maybe update the current macbook pro line.

However, are there better options? Any recommendations? I really wanted a macbook, but sure, if the problems are not solved, no way im losing that much money.


A bunch of us in the office use them daily including myself and I think only one has had the display problem (his was an LG panel I believe whereas the rest of us have Samsung panels). I’m pretty hard on systems and this thing has been great for all my Maya work, Xcode stuff and various other projects it has held up very well.

My only gripe is I wish I had of gone with the 768gb SSD but I’ve been moving more of my data to cloud storage and streaming my iTunes library as well which has helped free up space.



Been running mine since they were launched, im perfectly happy with it. Rendering speed, my 2.6 almost matches my 4 year old overclocked i7 920 system. Gfx card is about on par with a geforce 560 in a desktop, maybe a smidge slower, but thats fine for a portable machine. And the screen, Ill assume mines a samsung as its perfectly fine. No ghosting etc.


Nice to hear that guys! So theres really no reason to recommend another machine at all?

One last thing I could think of is the screen regarding reflections, as the retina doesnt allow matte surface.

How do you deal with that? Is it bad? Do you use a matte screen protector?


Hasnt been a problem, but then I dont sit outside in the sunshine with it.


I’ll echo Matthew’s statements I haven’t had any issues as far as not having a matte option or the reflectivity of the screen.


I have a dell u2711, known for one of the best and most aggressive anti reflection matte finishes in the universe.
It makes me want to strap kittens to my knuckles and punch clean through it on some days.
Some times I go to work on the balcony with it just so I can justify the stupid coating to myself.

Be thankful you can get a retina WITHOUT the matte finish. In strong light you will be able to shave with it, but you do CG, you’re supposed to be a dark dwelling creature like Gollum!

Seriously, high dpi and antiglare is a pretty bad combination.


Hahaha, k guys. You convinced me.

Now something else I was thinking here, should I get those specs for that price? or they wouldnt actually help a lot and I would end up paying more for something not so efficient for the money?

Take a look:

CPU 2.4 ghz up to 3.4ghz OR 2.7 ghz to 3.7 ghz for +$100
RAM 8gb or 16gb for + $200 (I think theres no scape here since I wont be able to upgrade ram later cause it is stuck to the body).
SSD 256gb or 512gb for + $300

What do you think? It’s ranging from $2200 with 8gb ram to $2800 with all the upgrades I listed above.


It depends on what you do with it, in some cases the CPU hardly does anything of relevance (IE: sculpting in mudbox or painting in Mari) compared to the use experience in a software, in some others ram is capped (ZBrush RAM limit), and in others either or both, especially RAM, can drastically change your experience.

On average use I’d definitely cap RAM, running out of RAM is one of the worst, irredeemable stumbling blocks you could ever trip on.

CPUs is up to you, for a hundred bucks I’d go for it honestly, will make the resale value if you ever decide to higher by the same price you pay for the upgrade for a while anyway.

SSD, given half tera disks are the bleeding edge, and therefore overpriced, and that storage can always be added externally (super fast too on thunderbolt ports), I would cheapen out on and save the 300$ which might come in handy later.


I’d definitely get the extra RAM (16GB is the bare minimum for 3D work IMO) and SSD space. It’s kind of too bad they don’t have an optical drive like my MBP because you can’t swap it out for another big HD drive like I did. I put my system and apps on a 120GB SSD and all my mobile files and stock images/textures are on the 750GB HDD


That can be removed, you know. :wink:


Do NOT buy the ram from Apple in case you were planning on doing that. Get the machine with the stock ram and go buy the ram elsewhere and install yourself. You will save hundreds of dollars.


That would be great except RAM in retina models is glued down to the main body or whatever.


ya, $200 is a lot (way too much) for 8GB more of RAM but there’s not much you can do about that since you’d only save a bit getting it from another manufacturer that makes that special retina MBP RAM stick.


The RAM isnt just glued in, its soldered directly on the motherboard, but the memory upfront, you wont be able to upgrade later.

From your list, Id get all the upgrades, 256gigs storage is kinda tight, 100 dollars isnt bad for that cpu speed boost either.