For $1200, which 13" Retina MacBook Pro is better?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by dmk1974, Oct 31, 2013.


For $1200, which 13" Retina MacBook Pro is better?

  1. 2013 (early) rMBP 13" ME662LL/A (8 GB RAM/256 GB SSD/HD4000/7-hours)

    29 vote(s)
  2. 2013 (late) rMBP 13" ME864LL/A (4 GB RAM/128 GB SSD/HD5100/9-hours)

    30 vote(s)
  1. dmk1974 macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2008
    Thanks to an educational discount I can leverage from my brother along with an open-box deal at my local Best Buy (like new, has 2 cycles on it), which 13" Retina MacBook Pro is the better buy? Each one is about $1200.

    2013 (early) rMBP 13" ME662LL/A
    • $1214.99 Best Buy (Open Box)
    • i5 2.6 GHz Ivy Bridge
    • Intel HD 4000 Graphics
    • 8 GB RAM
    • 256 GB SSD
    • 7-hour battery (per Apple)

    2013 (late) rMBP 13" ME864LL/A
    • $1199.00 Apple (w/education discount)
    • i5 2.4 GHz Haswell
    • Intel HD 5100 Iris Graphics
    • 4 GB RAM
    • 128 GB SSD
    • 9-hour battery (per Apple)

    Basically, it's a trade-off of the older model with 2x RAM and 2x SSD storage vs the newer model with newer chipset, graphics, and a longer lasting battery.

    Of these 2, which do you think is the better buy? Thanks!
  2. gothamm macrumors 6502a

    Nov 18, 2007
    its been pretty much universally agreed that the ivy bridge rmbp 13 is not a good buy due to the hd4000 in it. it can barely keep up with simple tasks and there is lots of framerate droppage doing simple tasks such as scrolling.

    get the haswell
  3. korndawg macrumors regular

    Feb 10, 2009
    I'd go for the older model, no doubt but it depends on what you use it for.
  4. cheesyappleuser macrumors 6502a


    Apr 5, 2011
    Of those two I'd choose last year's model. The lack of RAM justifies it, specially on a Retina Display.

    However, if you want to consider the 8GB RAM option, it's a totally different story. Being a brand-new product, with much improved graphics and battery life, all things considered I'd go for it.
    If you're looking for some savings you can also get a tax-free option at
  5. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2008
    The RAM is part of the dilemma. I think I can get by with 4GB in most cases, but more is always better. For my use, 128 GB storage is fine and I think benchmarks on the older 256 GB drive write faster than the newer 128 GB SSD.
  6. PDFierro macrumors 68040

    Sep 8, 2009
    Keep in mind you can use the education discount by ordering online. I'd go with 8GB RAM in the Haswell model.
  7. cheesyappleuser macrumors 6502a


    Apr 5, 2011
    Probably not, since the newer model is PCIe
    And, just don't underestimate the importance of RAM, specially in a Retina. 4GB is close to nothing.
  8. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2008
    From some BlackMagic benchmarks I had seen (listed as WRITE first then READ, both in MB/s):

    2012 rMBP 128 GB SD128E: 330/465
    2012 rMBP 256 GB SD256E: 412/481
    2013 MBA 128 GB SD0128F: 310/720

    Read definitely faster in the 2013's, but write faster in some of the 2012's. I believe a 256 is always faster than a 128.
  9. nateo200 macrumors 68030


    Feb 4, 2009
    Northern District NY
    I have like a ka-jillion tabs open on my 15" rMBP with HD4000 graphics on right now. Seriously I have to scroll across firefox to cross into my next section of like 10 tabs and I have no issues. The 15" has 512MB vRAM while the 13" has 768MB vRAM for the HD4000. Not saying the HD4000 is good for the retina but its certainly not terrible. That said I do like a dGPU :D
  10. Starfyre macrumors 68030


    Nov 7, 2010
    Since they are both 13'', both are dual core, I'd pick the late 2013 for a couple of reasons:

    1. 9 hour battery life. That is sooo much better than the 7! This is critical.
    2. Iris Graphics - This is a major upgrade over the Intel HD4000 graphics.
    3. PCIe - The 256GB SSD in the 2013 (early) is based on an outdated interface as Apple has moved to Intel's latest flash standard, PCIe. As others mention, the read and write speeds a so much faster! And it only gets faster if you upgrade to a higher storage capacity in the future. (the 1TB has been benchmarked to have over 1000MB/s write speed.)

    Despite the lower 128 storage capacity, you can buy or use a cheap external hard drive for your files, and most importantly you can upgrade to a higher capacity in the future instead of relying on the outdated PCI standard in the 2013 (early). The late 13'' 2013 will have much better long term prospects (unless Intel decides to release an even faster standard than PCIe in the future, but why worry about anything unknown?)

    I am sure you won't regret the 2013 (late). Especially with Mavericks with RAM compression that gives you 6GB instead of 8GB of ram. (that is only 2 GB away), your better integrated graphics card will help you if you do anything 3D moreso than a system that comes with 8GB or RAM. Even if you were still worried about the RAM, all of the good things about the late 2013 have a much greater impact. Don't forget the thickness of the 13'' is thinner too!
  11. MacModMachine macrumors 68020


    Apr 3, 2009
    having owned the '12 13" rmbp for 9 months i have never seen this "frame rate drop".
  12. burgman macrumors 68000


    Sep 24, 2013
    The Verge website is a good test site for scrolling issues on early rMBP.
  13. MacModMachine macrumors 68020


    Apr 3, 2009
    that doesn't look like much of a credible site.
  14. Rizzm macrumors 6502a

    Feb 5, 2012
    The new base model is a pretty terrible value. The limited RAM and storage are crippling, so I voted for the earlier one.
  15. PDFierro macrumors 68040

    Sep 8, 2009
    Well it's a very busy/complex website. Websites like those are a good way to test for scrolling/lag issues.
  16. zeale macrumors newbie

    Sep 29, 2013
    In that price range, I'd consider getting the Haswell 13" Macbook air with 8gb RAM. The processor clock isn't as high, but trust me when I say it's still *very* fast and the integrated graphics are much better than the hd 4000 from the prior, while having enough RAM to suit your needs when compared to the 13" pro. Also, battery life is significantly better and it weights a lot less. It's $1139 through the education discount from Apple.
  17. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2008
    I currently have the 4 GB version of the 2013 13" Haswell MacBook Air. No issues noticed with only 4 GB RAM (so far), but more is probably better for the future. However, with Mavericks' RAM compression, perhaps 4 GB will suffice?
  18. TechZeke macrumors 68020


    Jul 29, 2012
    Rialto, CA
    I can't recommend a non-upgradeable $1200 power oriented machine with only 4gb of ram in it. I just can't. Maybe an air, because you don't buy an air to do AutoCAD on it.

    I remember several months ago when I was preparing to send off my cMBP to be repaired, I put the stock 4gb of ram in and it was miserable. Never again. Mavericks may be good, but I wouldn't base a $1200 invest purely on future software.

    The base 13" rMBP was clearly just a cut in base specs to reach a price point.

    If it wasn't for the RAM, the 2013 rMBP would be a no-brainer.
  19. PDFierro macrumors 68040

    Sep 8, 2009
    Exactly. 8GB RAM is really the minimum these days. If someone is on a budget here, they are going to be really disappointed. Spend the extra $100-200 for more RAM.
  20. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    I'm not sure if you own the Ivy Bridge 13" rMBP, but none of the units I've used have issues with lag or frame rate dropping.

    In fact I have one here that's a daily photography workhorse and it's never skipped a beat.
  21. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    If you dont need the storage get the new model.
  22. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2008
    Not sure if the 2012 8/256 model uses exactly the same power, but here's some battery performance numbers I recorded using the 2012 8/128 version as well as the late 2013 4/128 model. These are my actual use test results, both using Mavericks, and the conditions described below.

    Battery Health App
    Chrome: AdBlock, FlashBlock, Lastpass
    Chrome, Mail, iMessage, Dropbox
    12/2 dots screen/kb brightness, BT off

    2012 rMBP 13" (Mavericks 10.9)

    1440x900 retina resolution (same lag noticed vs 2013 rMBP)
    40min/13.4% used 4:58 pace
    1680x1050 retina resolution (much more lag noticed vs 2013 rMBP)
    104min/37.5% used 4:37 pace
    1440x900 non-retina resolution (using QuickRes)
    31min/8.1% used 6:22 pace
    1680x1050 non-retina resolution (using QuickRes)
    94min/25.1% used 6:14 pace


    2013 rMBP 13" (Mavericks 10.9)

    1440x900 retina resolution
    228min/55.3% used 6:52 pace
    1680x1050 retina resolution
    322min/82.7% used 6:29 pace
    1440x900 non-retina resolution (using QuickRes)
    144min/29.1% used 8:14 pace
    1680x1050 non-retina resolution (using QuickRes)
    34min/6.3% used 8:59 pace
    1920x1200 non-retina resolution (using QuickRes)
    237min/45.6% used 8:39 pace
  23. Infinite Jest macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2011
    Harrisonburg, Va
    You also should take into account the older one being open box. Is your warranty more limited?
  24. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2008
    I believe the open-box was only about 2 weeks old so it has most of the warranty left on it.
  25. sabbyp macrumors regular

    Oct 26, 2013
    there's also the weight/form factor to consider. The late 2013 mbpr 13" has smaller dimensions than the model before it.

Share This Page