As anyone who works with me will tell you, I’m overdue for a new laptop. My current workhorse, an early 2007 17” Core2Duo MacBook Pro is on it’s last leg. It has served me well for 5+ years but it’s deficiencies are really starting to become problematic. Besides the obvious speed differential, one of the biggest things prompting my need to upgrade is RAM. Mine is one of those models that only can use up to 3GB of RAM and the tools I use are pretty RAM hungry now-a-days: IntelliJ, VirtualBox, large Java compilation and application running, not to mention iPhoto and Final Cut and iMovie on the home side of things.

Enough of the justifications though, here’s the config’s I’m considering for purchase some time this fall:

MacBook Pro Retina
(2.6 Ghz + 512GB SSD)
$2,799 15-Inch MacBook Pro
2.7Ghz i7 Upgrade $250 2.7Ghz i7 Upgrade $250
16GB RAM Upgrade $200 HiRes (1680x1050) Glossy Display $100
ThunderBolt Gigabit Ethernet Adapter $29 16GB RAM
(Corsair Kit from
OCZ Vertex 4 256GB SSD
2nd OCZ Vertex 4 256GB SSD
Total 512GB RAID-0
OWC Data Doubler $65
Total: $3278 Total: $3220

As you can see, if I’m willing to sacrifice the Retina display, super sexy slimness, the HDMI and a Thunderbolt port, I can have a faster machine with upgrade possibilities and a replaceable battery.

Alternatively I could put a pair of 512GB SSD’s in RAID 0 and for about $720 more have a full 1TB of ridiculously fast storage. Then again, I could wait for SSD prices to come down more and do the same in the future, something not possible on the Retina one.

Honestly, I’m torn on this one - I played with the Retina model at the Apple Store today and I’m somewhat smitten with that screen. Especially for iPhoto/Aperture work, it is simply amazing. If I had to buy it now I think I’d go for the non-Retina setup, but if the Java VM get’s retina updated and/or someone comes up with a way to upgrade the “drive” in it I think I’d lean towards it.

Opinions / advice welcome.


OWC just blogged about the same RAID setup I am talking about and they got 1000 MB/s read and 900 MB/s write speeds!!!!

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17 June 2012


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