Buying Advice - Retina Woes

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by hoteltuesday, Mar 18, 2015.

  1. hoteltuesday macrumors newbie

    Mar 18, 2015
    Iowa City
    I was waiting for the 12" announcement before buying and now that it has come and gone, I've decided I don't want the 12" and will just get a Pro. So my big question: Because I don't care about retina display but want a ~500GB hard drive, should I purchase a 13" Pro and upgrade the memory from 4GB to 8GB or are the new hardware changes to the RD models significant enough that I should get a 13" RD model?

    I'm shopping in the education store, so the difference will be:

    13" Pro (non-RD) - $1,089
    Processor: 2.5GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz
    Memory: Upgraded to 8GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM — 2x4GB
    Storage: 500GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm
    And of course no new trackpad, etc.


    13" Pro with Retina Display - $1,699
    Processor: 2.9GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz
    Memory: 8GB 1866MHz LPDDR3 SDRAM
    Storage: 512GB PCIe-based Flash Storage
    And of course it has the new trackpad, retina display, etc.

    So clearly the new one is $600+ more expensive, which I'm not sure is worth it. My issue is that I have no idea what a lot of the tech. stuff means, like in the memory, "1600MHz" and "1866MHz" means nothing to me. Or the storage: what is "Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm" and how does it compare to "PCIe-based Flash Storage"? :confused:

    I'm a grad student/TA and think most of my usage is pretty casual (mostly writing and research in Word and Adobe Acrobat, streaming Netflix, Spotify, etc.) so I'm thinking these tech differences aren't a big deal for my needs. The only thing that may matter is that I use Photoshop a bit. If the cost of the RD model isn't worth it, I could always use Photoshop on a library computer though.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated!
  2. simmo0916 macrumors member

    Sep 26, 2012
    South Wales
    I'm not the biggest apple techie, But I have been building windows desktops for many years - and hey, It's all the same.

    To my mind, the biggest difference between the two is the HD. The ATA 5400rpm drive basically means that's how fast the Hard Drive spins up. This has a direct effect on how quickly your mac is able to read/write data.

    The PCIe based flash storage means that there isn't a spinning disc for the computer to read from, Meaning the read/write speeds are MUCH faster. This makes a computer feel much snappier, and much quicker. Probably the biggest improvement in modern computers IMO. But, they are much more expensive than old school spinning discs.

    The jump from 1600mhz to 1866mhz doesnt mean a huge deal. This basically tells you how fast the RAM is. You wont notice much difference with your usage.

    As far as your usage goes, You won't have any problems with either of the two. Photoshop won't be a problem for either, but the retina MBR will run it much faster, due to the flash based storage.
    One thing to note, If you are using PS, the retina screen will certainly make using it much better.

    You could use either machine - My advice would be to get the rMBP, as it's newer, and will last longer (performance wise).

    OR, you could grab the non retina, and chuck an SSD in the place of the standard HD. You will get a huge boost doing that, and it's pretty cheap.
  3. steveyo macrumors regular

    Feb 2, 2015
    You can find better bang for buck elsewhere if you don't want retina
  4. lavrishevo macrumors 68000


    Jan 9, 2007
    For the money, get the non retina 13" but upgrade to the I7 processor. Then buy your ram and ssd from amazon. Better bang for your buck. You can probably put 16gb in. I have it in my 2011. Or just pick up a 15" quad core. Less then $1800 now at Best Buy. I would have a hard time going back to a dual core. Not when the first quad cores from 2011 are still a lot faster then the top of the line new 13".
  5. hoteltuesday thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 18, 2015
    Iowa City
    Thanks! This was super helpful. Upgrading to the SSD costs $585, so it's basically the same price as the retina, but having all this info will help me make my choice.
  6. matreya macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
    You really DO NOT want to be using a MacBook Pro with a 5400 RPM HDD in it, it will be SLOOOOW...

    Get a MacBook Retina with the flash storage, it's 10 times faster to boot up, launch applications, even makes web-page re-loading faster because the browser cache is stored on the flash storage...
  7. jclardy macrumors 68040


    Oct 6, 2008
    My question is why do you need 500GB built in? If it is for photo/media storage you would be better off with a 128GB or 256GB rMBP with an external USB3 HDD. You can buy a 1TB drive that is powered off usb for $60 and just keep it in your laptop bag if you for some reason always need it.

    The speed difference between using the 5400RPM hard drive and an SSD as your main drive is immense. It is the difference between taking 15 seconds to open photoshop to taking less than a second. You will see similar gains for opening every other app.

    The 13" non-retina MBP is really it has been the same price for the past 3 years. 1280x800 display and 5400 RPM HDD is really poor for a $1k laptop today. Plus it is double the weight, has an older wireless chipset (Only 802.11n, versus AC in the rMBP...doesn't matter for most people, but in a few years it will become more common.) You can get a comparable windows laptop for around $500. The rMBP is actually priced according to its hardware.

    Overall though both are a bit overkill for your uses, you may want to look at the refurb store and look at a 2013 or 2014 rMBP which will still give you similar speed (for your tasks) at a bit cheaper price. The non-retina goes for $829 (with only 4GB of RAM though, but you could upgrade it later) which is a much more reasonable price than $1089 and you still get a 1 year warranty and can buy Applecare if you wish. A 13" rMBP can be had for $1359 if you are set on a 512GB SSD.
  8. David58117 macrumors 65816

    Jan 24, 2013
    Argh, do not go with the non-retina version. When the retinas were first introduced in 2012, they made sense to purchase and upgrade. But now the retinas have come down in price, and the hardware has caught up to the screen.

    The non-retina has stagnated and is definitely not worth it. You're 3 years late, unfortunately.

    I would get the 256GB version of the retina, and just use external storage if you need space...
  9. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    Agreed. Do not buy a computer without the SSD. Even if you have to skimp on internal storage space, make the concession.
  10. eurosteve macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2015
  11. BobMcC macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2015
    Central Florida
    +10 on to spend the money on the SSD vs the 5400 rpm hard drive. The difference is night and day
  12. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Buy a refurb retina, you really must have an SSD but it's the screen that counts everything using it is nicer.
    But for me it's all about text online and PDF's etc they look like print it makes reading on your laptop so much nicer, plus the antiglare is good the viewing angles amazing etc etc etc...

    Thunderbolt 2 and AC wifi and Bluetooth 4.0 mean your connectivity is all up to date too.

    That 2013 Haswell at $1359 for the 512gb makes far better sense than 3 year old tech.

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