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So I've managed to land a new job in Vancouver and will be relocating there shortly, because of this, and the fact I'll be moving around a bit in the next year while I get settled there (staying with family while I find a place to rent, and eventually buy a place) the portability factor has just become MUCH more important to me.

So advice on which MacBook to switch to? I'm leaning towards a regular non-retina MBP, but I KNOW there is an update coming soon for these, my bet is sometime between when the back to school promo ends and Mavricks comes out. I can wait a few more weeks to see if it get's updated but I'm going to need to pull the trigger by the end of September.

I've considered a 13" air, but I would NEED an external monitor as I'm coming from a 27" iMac. So I'm thinking I'd be better off with a 15" pro and am wondering if the upgrade to a retina display is worth it. Any opinions?
 

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Congrats on the new job! :)

The Retina is wonderful. I had a June 2012 15" high-resolution matte screen MBP and since I spend the entire summer at the cottage (the downside of working from home is that the work moves with you!) I was using it exclusively - I don't bother moving the Mac Pro. I was trying to edit photos on it and going nuts - every little shift in angle of the screen or my head affected how the photo looked and it was impossible to determine what was "right."

Meanwhile, son #2 is departing for university and we were trying to decide what to get for him, especially as the new MBPs never materialized in June, as we'd expected. Sooo....he said HE didn't care about having the latest and greatest and was quite happy with the current offerings. And then the solution for both situations occurred to me - I could get a refurb Retina (maxed out RAM and SSD) which would solve my display issues, and he could take my "old" MBP off to university.

My initial resistance to the Retina had been largely cost, and the fact that it didn't have any user replaceable parts or an optical drive. But with the refurb, the cost of the maxed out model had dropped hugely, I realized that I hadn't actually USED the optical drive in my MBP for anything and I was less worried about the non-user-replaceable/swappable parts.

I love the display on the Retina - it's actually made me go back and re-edit some photos for some of my websites! And the SSD makes it fast to start up and that combined with USB 3 makes it faster to copy files etc. My only complaint about it is that after some weeks I'm seeing some of the jerky scrolling in Safari that many others have noted and nobody's really found a cure for, other than changing the resolution to something other than "best for Retina." This only started a couple of days ago and I haven't had time to look into any fixes in any depth - I've got a son to send of to university this afternoon. ;)

If you can, I'd recommend waiting for the new models now - there have been lots of rumours that they'll all have Retina displays and of course, the improved battery life etc. of the Airs. If the new models are too late in coming - get a refurbed Retina. Then, if the new models are so stupendous that you absolutely have to have one, you can always trade up with less of a loss than if you'd paid full price for one.

The 2.7GHz model is available now in the refurb store for $2619: Refurbished 15.4-inch MacBook Pro 2.7GHz Quad-core Intel i7 with Retina Display - Apple Store (Canada)

So is the 2.8GHz model that came out in Feb. - for $300 more. Not sure that it's worth it; you'd have to look at the benchmarks etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the input!

I think that pretty much decides it in favour of the retina. I just hope they are updated for the launch of Mavericks (seems like a fairly safe bet to me) the only question is how soon is Mavericks coming out. Hopefully they'll at least announce a date at the rumoured upcoming iPhone event next week.
 

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Tell you what, I just picked up a used mbp 2011 17" i7 quad and this thing screams! Actually lasts 4 hours on battery with a standard brightness. Its quite impressive and likely half the price of a retina. The 17" actually has 1920 x 1200 resolution.. Not too far off from a retina hah.

You'll be happy with whatever you choose, but your coming from a i7 quad 27".. Don't skimp too much on processing power on your purchase.. You'll be dispappointed!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Also as a follow up, any suggestions on resale value of my iMac? (Specs in my sig) my guess is $1200, but not all that sure.
 
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