About 18 months ago I bought a “fully-loaded” MacBook Pro from the Apple Refurb store. It’s a 15″ retina mid-2012 model with 16GB RAM, 768GB SSD, and a 2.7 GHz quad-core i7 chip. It kicks ass!
I was wandering around Fry’s Electronics the other day, which I don’t do as much as I used to, and I noticed there are lots of these “4k” monitors starting to appear. Their prices aren’t very good, typically over $500 still. But I was curious how many 4k monitors my “fully-loaded” MacBook Pro can handle.
I did a bit of research and ended up getting into an online chat with someone from Apple and discovered, much to my dismay, that my “fully-loaded” MacBook Pro cannot drive more than 2250 x 1080 resolutions, excluding the built-in Retina display. 🙁
The day before that, I’d bought a router from someone on eBay that was billed as an AC1200 class router, with the expectation that it would give me faster data transfers via WiFi. I thought, 802.11ac Ethernet wasn’t all that new, so it shouldn’t be an issue.
Well, it arrived and I started messing with it. The first thing I did was load up the specs from the vendor’s site, and there I noticed it was not, in fact, an AC1200 model, but an AC866 class model. Sheesh. It also supports N300. Well, son-of-a-gun … the router it was intended to replace is N600. Crap.
Worse, I dug into the specs of my “fully-loaded” MacBook Pro and discovered … it does NOT support 802.11ac Ethernet protocols. Crap. Crap. Crap.
(The Good News is … the new router at least isn’t any slower than the previous one, and even seems to be a bit faster. Not sure how that works, but at least it’s a Good Sign.)
Then I went onto Apple’s Refurb store and compared MY “fully-loaded” MacBook Pro with the one they’re offering today — which is the “Spring 2014” edition. (They’re “refreshed” them twice since my model was released.) Ok, they appear to be virtually identical, except they no longer offer the 768GB SSD — it goes from 512GB to 1TB. Ok, I’ll suffer with more disk space.
And, yup, there it is … it supports up to two 4k display devices and 802.11ac Ethernet protocols as well.
The price? Strange, it’s the exact same price I paid for my device 18 months ago at $2650. I think I still owe $1000 or so on mine, while I noticed they’re selling on eBay for about $1800.
To confirm all of this, I went into the Apple Store this past weekend and asked them about it. They confirmed all of this. But … they also mentioned that the newest refresh of the MacBook Pro has the newest “Haswell” CPU chip in it from Intel, as well as a PCIe interface to the SSD which makes data transfers go 3x-4x faster. SSD is already freaking FAST, but 3x-4x faster would be something to behold. (With the kind of stuff I do, this sort of tech bump can make a big difference! But for the average user, probably not so much.)
Ok, so I’m going to set my sights on “refreshing” my own system by Christmas, and maybe adding one of those 4k displays to my workspace as well.
It’s nice to see that Apple keeps “refreshing” their technologies behind the scenes on a regular basis, even if those refreshes aren’t part of major product announcements.