Converting to Mac, non-retina/retina?

MacAttackMark

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 19, 2013
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I've had my dell inspiron for a little over 4 years now and had no problems till earlier this month, seems like the screen on my laptop is dying/fading. I hate the new windows 8, and haven't used a mac in a little over 10 years now... so this will be interesting.

I feel that it's a pretty good time for a laptop upgrade. I'm currently a college student, so I'm looking for a nice durable sleek (it was a huge pain luggaging that inspiron from class to class) laptop, with a great battery life. Though, I don't like the flimsy feel on the airs so pro it is.
I've heard great things from friends and other colleagues about MBPs, and I'm looking to buy a 13 inch pro. Although I'm stuck between choosing the older 2012 model or the new retina version.

For the most part, I'll probably be using word/office creating essays, graphs, and power points. I'm also a huge internet surfer so battery life would be essential as I can barely get maybe 2 hours if I'm lucky on my insprion. Along with your usual music/video player.
I'm not a photographer/designer so little to no photo editing.
I didn't plan on doing any spec upgrades for either, but I wouldn't be able to on the retina due to the price (though the hardrive space on the retina disheartening)

I keep switching back and forth, care to share some advice? It will keep me occupied while I hold my breath in hopes for apples B2S sale.
 

kbt1020

macrumors regular
Feb 15, 2010
138
1
I think the MBA is pretty good, but if you can afford it might as well go for a 13" rMBP. Some decent price in the refurb too.
 

Stetrain

macrumors 68040
Feb 6, 2009
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I would recommend either the 13" Air or the 13" retina at this point, unless you really need the built-in DVD drive.

The Air was recently updated with new processors, better graphics, and a lot longer battery life. The main downside of the Air is the screen, which has worse colors and viewing angles when compared to the Macbook Pro line, and is of course lower resolution than the retina models.

You mention the flimsy feel, have you checked a recent one out in person? They seem pretty sturdy to me.

It is pretty likely that the 13" retina will be updated in the next few months just like the Air was. If you can wait until then that might be a good idea.

If you want to buy a 13" retina now, take a look at Apple's refurbished store:

http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/specialdeals/mac/macbook_pro/13

You can get a 13" retina with the 256GB storage option for $1359.
 

KUguardgrl13

macrumors 68020
May 16, 2013
2,485
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Kansas, USA
Honestly the non-retina machines are still excellent. I've had my 2009 through 4 years of college. I haven't used a retina so I can't really speak for them. In terms of portability the 13" non-retina is still very portable. My campus is rather hilly, and mine is pretty easy to carry as long as I don't have too many textbooks. Certainly the solid state drive is more durable than the traditional hard drive, but 500 gb is pretty awesome. Being able to upgrade the RAM will extend the life of your machine. Lots of people on here will tell you to max out the specs on the retinas. Obviously you mentioned that cost is an issue. So if I were you, I'd get the base model non-retina MBP. You're getting a proven design that will serve you well :)
 

Stetrain

macrumors 68040
Feb 6, 2009
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If you do get a non-retina Macbook Pro, definitely upgrade it to an SSD, either through Apple or on your own (it's a fairly easy procedure). Solid state storage is really the biggest advance in daily computing performance over the past couple of years.
 

MacAttackMark

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 19, 2013
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I can afford the retina, but I still wonder is it worth the extra bucks?
I do like the idea of having a snappier and faster laptop, but I can't get over the fact that it's only 128 GB of space, and to upgrade it to 256 is pretty pricey.

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I would recommend either the 13" Air or the 13" retina at this point, unless you really need the built-in DVD drive.

The Air was recently updated with new processors, better graphics, and a lot longer battery life. The main downside of the Air is the screen, which has worse colors and viewing angles when compared to the Macbook Pro line, and is of course lower resolution than the retina models.

You mention the flimsy feel, have you checked a recent one out in person? They seem pretty sturdy to me.

It is pretty likely that the 13" retina will be updated in the next few months just like the Air was. If you can wait until then that might be a good idea.

If you want to buy a 13" retina now, take a look at Apple's refurbished store:

http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/specialdeals/mac/macbook_pro/13

You can get a 13" retina with the 256GB storage option for $1359.
Its nice to have, as I've used quite a bit of DVD sources in essays and reports last semester. I would be willing to wait, but not too long, I was hoping to get my mac by the end of July as I start classes in August and I would like to have a feel for my laptop before going back.
I have, I just don't like the feel for airs.
Another Personal preference, but I'd rather buy a new one rather than a refurbished one.
 

KUguardgrl13

macrumors 68020
May 16, 2013
2,485
109
Kansas, USA
I can afford the retina, but I still wonder is it worth the extra bucks?
I do like the idea of having a snappier and faster laptop, but I can't get over the fact that it's only 128 GB of space, and to upgrade it to 256 is pretty pricey.


You can always get a non retina now and put in an SSD and increase the RAM later on. Of course you can buy a retina and supplement storage with external drives. It's always good to have a place for time machine backups anyway. I like Western Digital personally.
 

MacAttackMark

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 19, 2013
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0
You can always get a non retina now and put in an SSD and increase the RAM later on. Of course you can buy a retina and supplement storage with external drives. It's always good to have a place for time machine backups anyway. I like Western Digital personally.
I'm not a huge gamer nor do I use programs that dreadfully lag like Photoshop, so I wasn't planning on upgrading RAM, then again I'm completely lost when it comes to computer tech, and very true! Though I'm pretty inconsistent when it comes to backing files up, I end up just letting them accumulate on my laptop, hence why I personally like HD since I'm use to having all that space, but the performance I've been reading does sound tempting.
 

macsforme

macrumors regular
Mar 16, 2007
106
65
Another Personal preference, but I'd rather buy a new one rather than a refurbished one.
While this is clearly a matter of personal discretion, I would urge you to reconsider this one. Of the four or five laptops I've ordered from Apple over the years, every one of them has been refurbished, and every one of them arrived with zero signs of wear and tear from former users (including all accessories). They they were indistinguishable from new machines. With the same warranty as new machines and discounts often around 15%, you have little to lose by opting for a refurbished model of a current generation Apple laptop.
 

gngan

macrumors 68000
Jan 1, 2009
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MacWorld
Retina/non-retina? Depends if you can afford it or like it.

For your use, you will be fine with previous MBA! Upgrading MBPA to 256gb actually cost less than rMBP 128gb.
 

leman

macrumors G4
Oct 14, 2008
10,290
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I add my voice to the 13" MBA. Its a better machine for the money than the 13" Pro (for most users, anyway). You get the best battery life in the industry, with ultimate mobility and faster SSD than money can normally buy :)
 

majkom

macrumors 65816
May 3, 2011
1,374
662
retina is not faster then nonretina, thx to retina screen and little overheating, retina mb seem less snappy (or, more laggy) than non retina equivalent - go check by yourself in apple store...
 

MacAttackMark

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 19, 2013
44
0
While this is clearly a matter of personal discretion, I would urge you to reconsider this one. Of the four or five laptops I've ordered from Apple over the years, every one of them has been refurbished, and every one of them arrived with zero signs of wear and tear from former users (including all accessories). They they were indistinguishable from new machines. With the same warranty as new machines and discounts often around 15%, you have little to lose by opting for a refurbished model of a current generation Apple laptop.
I'll keep that in mind, but I've had problems in the past buying refurbished items, I'm not saying Apple's refurbished products are horrible, but with past experiences I've had, I'd rather buy a new laptop.

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Retina/non-retina? Depends if you can afford it or like it.

For your use, you will be fine with previous MBA! Upgrading MBPA to 256gb actually cost less than rMBP 128gb.
I can afford a basic retina, but I'm not exactly sure I like it? I mean the screen is amazing from what everyone has said, but it seems like that's the only thing the retina's got going?

then again I'm not exactly too sure, so please inform me if I missing some other major pros

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I add my voice to the 13" MBA. Its a better machine for the money than the 13" Pro (for most users, anyway). You get the best battery life in the industry, with ultimate mobility and faster SSD than money can normally buy :)
I've been getting that a lot now haha, not sure why, the weights seem pretty much the same and I really don't like the super thin design of the air. Though I am a bit curious now as to how great they are...
 

wabbit42

macrumors regular
Jun 25, 2012
148
0
I'll add my voice to the thread. Last October I bought my 13" cMBP. I have taken it into college (I'm in the UK, so not university) occasionally for some work that needed to be done there. The battery life is OK, not great but not as bad as others, I'd say I can get about 5-6 hours of internet surfing/office based tasks on a full charge.

It is a little heavy but not unbearable. If I were you I would pony up the extra for the retina to save on the weight a little and get the screen. Although if you need lots of storage and a DVD drive, cMBP if the best option.
 

Stetrain

macrumors 68040
Feb 6, 2009
3,548
17
I can afford the retina, but I still wonder is it worth the extra bucks?
I do like the idea of having a snappier and faster laptop, but I can't get over the fact that it's only 128 GB of space, and to upgrade it to 256 is pretty pricey.
Here's a new (not refurbished) 13" retina with the 256GB drive for $1479:
http://www.macmall.com/p/Apple-MacBook-Pro/product~dpno~9418688~pdp.iadfdbh

Also keep in mind that external hard drives are cheap and small these days. Go with the built-in hard drive if you really need the space, but it's really a performance bottleneck.

Its nice to have, as I've used quite a bit of DVD sources in essays and reports last semester.
You can keep one of these in your bag or on your desk at home:
http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-External-Drive-SE-208DB-TSBS/dp/B009QBIZ60/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1371731439&sr=8-1&keywords=usb+3+dvd+burner

I would be willing to wait, but not too long, I was hoping to get my mac by the end of July as I start classes in August and I would like to have a feel for my laptop before going back.
I have, I just don't like the feel for airs.
Another Personal preference, but I'd rather buy a new one rather than a refurbished one.
As others have said, really reconsider the refurbished thing. Apple Certified Refurbished computers are basically just like buying new. Same 14 day return policy, same 1 year warranty, same ability to add the AppleCare extended warranty. The main reason to go refurbished when buying a retina model is that with an update coming so soon it would take some of the sting out if you got yours at a really nice discount.


I can afford a basic retina, but I'm not exactly sure I like it? I mean the screen is amazing from what everyone has said, but it seems like that's the only thing the retina's got going?

then again I'm not exactly too sure, so please inform me if I missing some other major pros
The screen is obviously a major plus for the retina. The 13" non-retina has a fairly low resolution screen by modern standards (1280x800). Even the 13" Air has a higher resolution (1440x900), and many new 13" PC ultrabooks are coming with 1920x1080 screens.

The 13" retina comes with solid state storage and 8GB of RAM as standard. These are upgrades you can do yourself to the non-retina model as well.

The other major plus for the retina model is weight. You say you're a college student who will be carrying this around with you all of the time. The non-retina model weighs 4.5lbs, the retina model weighs 3.57lbs. That's an extra pound out of your backpack every day.

If you really really want a spinning hard drive, a built-in DVD drive, and the ability to upgrade the machine yourself, then go with the non-retina.

Also I know you've said that you don't like the form factor of the Air, but if you end up buying before the 13" retina gets updated, the current Air has faster graphics (HD 5000) than either current model of the 13" Macbook Pro (HD 4000). An updated 13" retina will probably have the yet faster HD 5100 graphics, but there's no guarantee as to when that update will come.

Definitely go to a store and compare the form factors and screens in person. There are a lot of personal preference calls to make there.
 
Last edited:

MacAttackMark

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 19, 2013
44
0
Here's a new (not refurbished) 13" retina with the 256GB drive for $1479:
http://www.macmall.com/p/Apple-MacBook-Pro/product~dpno~9418688~pdp.iadfdbh

Also keep in mind that external hard drives are cheap and small these days. Go with the built-in hard drive if you really need the space, but it's really a performance bottleneck.



You can keep one of these in your bag or on your desk at home:
http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-External-Drive-SE-208DB-TSBS/dp/B009QBIZ60/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1371731439&sr=8-1&keywords=usb+3+dvd+burner



As others have said, really reconsider the refurbished thing. Apple Certified Refurbished computers are basically just like buying new. Same 14 day return policy, same 1 year warranty, same ability to add the AppleCare extended warranty. The main reason to go refurbished when buying a retina model is that with an update coming so soon it would take some of the sting out if you got yours at a really nice discount.




The screen is obviously a major plus for the retina. The 13" non-retina has a fairly low resolution screen by modern standards (1280x800). Even the 13" Air has a higher resolution (1440x900), and many new 13" PC ultrabooks are coming with 1920x1080 screens.

The 13" retina comes with solid state storage and 8GB of RAM as standard. These are upgrades you can do yourself to the non-retina model as well.

The other major plus for the retina model is weight. You say you're a college student who will be carrying this around with you all of the time. The non-retina model weighs 4.5lbs, the retina model weighs 3.57lbs. That's an extra pound out of your backpack every day.

If you really really want a spinning hard drive, a built-in DVD drive, and the ability to upgrade the machine yourself, then go with the non-retina.

Also I know you've said that you don't like the form factor of the Air, but if you end up buying before the 13" retina gets updated, the current Air has faster graphics (HD 5000) than either current model of the 13" Macbook Pro (HD 4000). An updated 13" retina will probably have the yet faster HD 5100 graphics, but there's no guarantee as to when that update will come.

Definitely go to a store and compare the form factors and screens in person. There are a lot of personal preference calls to make there.
All very true, though this just seems like a lot of extras to buy to compensate what it's lacking for me, as I've stated I can afford a rMBP, just no extras with it as I'd already be pushing my budget with apple care alone. I've also just noticed there isn't an ethernet on either the air or rMBP and seems another extra to buy. I've stated I'm not a huge gamer/photographer/designer, so 4GB of ram should satisfy me, so I doubt I'd even need 8. Although, Don't get me wrong, I would like a newer updated snappier model, but at how much my paying for doesn't seem worth it?

I would love to try one out, but nearest apple store is out of my reach. At my university the store is less than 20 minutes away and I've tried an air and pro out before, that's probably where I got my preference for the pro than the air. So I'm hoping to get as much info from other before making a move. (all posts have been greatly appreciated!!)
by the way, approximately when do you think a retina updated model would come out? I was hoping to have my choice by the end of July if not a little sooner to get accustomed to using a mac.