Is the 13" rMBP worth the extra $325 over the same 13" uMBP?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by dmk1974, Jan 21, 2013.

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Is the 13" rMBP worth the extra $325 over the same 13" uMBP?

  1. Yes

    83 vote(s)
    56.5%
  2. No

    64 vote(s)
    43.5%
  1. dmk1974, Jan 21, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013

    dmk1974 macrumors 68000

    dmk1974

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    #1
    I had previously decided to wait for a 2013 rMBP because of the lag that many experience, but I was thinking...is a 13" rMBP really worth the extra $325 over an upgraded 13" uMBP with also 8 GB RAM and a 128 GB SSD (self-upgraded of course, not by Apple)? Is the retina screen, 0.9 lb less weight, and thinner form factor really worth it?

    2012 uMBP 13" i5 2.5 8/128: $325 less, upgradeable, Superdrive, Firewire, Ethernet
    2012 rMBP 13" i5 2.5 8/128: Retina display, thinner, 0.9 lb lighter, Magsafe 2, HDMI
     
  2. chrise2 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2012
    #2
    The screen is awesome. 1 lb. less is awesome. Worth it for me but I'm not really a good judge as I convinced my job to buy it for me.
     
  3. Laco macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2008
    #3
    To me it is not worth the $500. I bought a mid 2012 uMBP in August and I am extremely happy with it. I use it with an external monitor about 90% of the time so having a retina display would be pointless the vast majority of the time FOR ME. I also like having the option of a dvd drive which I occasionally use.
     
  4. monkeybagel macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2011
    Location:
    United States
    #4
    What is a "uMBP?" No reference on Apple's site that I can locate.
     
  5. Laco macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2008
    #5
    unibody
     
  6. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68000

    dmk1974

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    #6
    cMBP: Classic MacBook Pro
    uMBP: Unibody MacBook Pro
    rMBP: Retina MacBook Pro
     
  7. robvas macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #7
    First time I have ever heard 'uMBP'

    The 'cMBP' is the current MacBook Pro sans Retina display
     
  8. Erasmus macrumors 68030

    Erasmus

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2006
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    Hiding from Omnius in Australia
    #8
    Only if you disregard MBPs manufactured before mid 2008.

    Which I guess in most cases is fair enough. Very few people keep a computer for 5 years.
     
  9. robvas macrumors 68020

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    Mar 29, 2009
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    USA
    #9
    Plus many of the original Macbook Pros have been killed by video card issues.
     
  10. Erasmus macrumors 68030

    Erasmus

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2006
    Location:
    Hiding from Omnius in Australia
    #10
    True, although in all fairness, my 2007 classic MBP has recently been revived, and is now being used by my parents, after their G5 iMac died a week ago. It had its motherboard replaced for free, after the 8600M partially failed. Still works fine now though.

    P.S. FWIW, I think if the OP is considering going for the 13" rMBP over the 13" uMBP, they should consider the 15" rMBP. It is around the same weight as the 13" uMBP, but is a vastly superior machine, and not all that much more money.
     
  11. el-John-o macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2010
    Location:
    Missouri
    #11
    Actually MBP or "MacBook Pro" is the current MacBook Pro sans Retina display. Per Apple anyway. cMBP for Classic MBP was a moniker some years ago to refer to pre-unibody models.

    It's pretty confusing, I think we should just leave it at what it is, a MacBook Pro, and a Retina MacBook Pro.

    As to the OP; depends on what you need it for. Upgradability is where the value in the non retina model is. If you'd like a 512GB SSD, for example, it's substantially cheaper to buy and install a 512GB SSD vs upgrading the SSD in the retina model. Also, if it matters to you, the RAM is capped at 8GB for the retina model, wheras for under a hundred bucks you can get 16 gigs of RAM for the non-retina. Useful for VM's or certain applications, but most folks won't need that.

    tit-for-tat though, stock model vs stock model, there's a lot of value in the retina model. The extra thunderbolt port and HDMI port is super nice for running multiple monitors. I have a non retina model and have two beautiful (non thunderbolt) displays, but can only use one because I have only one video output port! (In this case one TB port currently acting as a miniDP port).

    The deciding factor for me though, ultimately, was upgradability. I wanted at least 512GB of SSD storage, I also wanted 16GB of RAM (though that wasn't a dealbreaker). Running a 512GB SSD on a 13" Retina really spikes the price and put it out of reach for me. A $1200 MBP + $400 for a pair of 256GB SSD's configured in RAID 0 was a better deal, for me anyway. As a matter of fact I was able to add 16 gigs of RAM into that mix, an optibay, and an external superdrive enclosure and still make it out a couple hundred bucks cheaper.

    If I had an unlimited budget, I'd go for the retina with a 512GB SSD though! If for no other reason than the multiple thunderbolt ports + HDMI.

    By the way one of these threads pops up about once or twice a day, it's worth a read to scroll down a bit and see some of the other people asking about retina vs non-retina and see a lot of comments, and where those users ended up going.

    Form factor is a concern too though. It's not just weight, but it's footprint. There are some absolute performance advantages to the 15" model, but the 13" is 'fast enough' for many users today, and folks like me really really really prefer the 13" form factor, and find the 15" a little more unwieldy and a little less portable. It's not just the weight, but the amount of space it takes in a bag/lap/desk/table/etc.
     
  12. KPOM macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2010
    #12

    Exactly. The 13" rMBP actually has a smaller footprint than the 13" MacBook Air although it is thicker and weights 20% more. I came from an 11.6" MacBook Air, so even going to the 13" model took some getting used to (I'd like to see an 11.6" with a Retina Display, whether in Air or Pro form).
     
  13. robvas macrumors 68020

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    Mar 29, 2009
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    USA
    #13
    I have an 11" Air and a 13" rMBP - I was pleasantly surprised to find them almost the same width.
     
  14. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

    Joined:
    May 20, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #14
    No, it's not worth it. You have one of the only two machines that have retina on them, and thusly, very little in the way of apps and web content will be optimized for your spiffy screen. The thinness is silly; if you need a thin computer, get a MacBook Air; The MagSafe 2 adapter brings about the worst of both generations of original MagSafe adapters, yay! As for HDMI, I can't knock that, it's a legitimate plus, but is it worth a glued battery, soldered on RAM, and proprietary SSDs? Not a chance!
     
  15. bushido Suspended

    bushido

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    Location:
    Germany
    #15
    sad old mbp owner?

    all my apps are updated besides "caffeine" and they look AWESOME. i also love the highter screen resolution, more space to work with and yes the thinner size does matter.

    i have both and i would never go back to a "regular" mbp
     
  16. Ploki macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    #16
    13" doesn't have glued battery.

    I also have both my old classic and retina at the moment, 15"... So happy I got the retina.
     
  17. mslide macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2007
    #17
    No. Now you're up to $1700 for a laptop with a dual-core processor, integrated graphics, 8GB RAM (without the option of 16 which will be a big deal in a few years) and a tiny HD. Then again, I don't put any value on the retina display since I often times have my MBP hooked up to an external monitor. It's just a nice-to-have feature. Plus, I don't consider it to really be any more portable than the cMBP.

    I'd consider paying $300 extra if it had better integrated graphics, 16GB RAM and a 256GB HD.
     
  18. KPOM macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2010
    #18
    The Retina screen is one of those things that is difficult to quantify. It's a little like asking whether a silk scarf or cashmere sweater is "worth it" over a regular wool or cotton equivalent that will keep you just as warm.

    The lighter weight is noticeable. Plus, the rMBP is physically smaller than the cMBP. The 13" rMBP is narrower than the 13" MBA and just slightly wider than the 11.6" MBA.
     
  19. el-John-o macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2010
    Location:
    Missouri
    #19
    Ding ding ding.

    It's all subjective, and it all depends on what the user needs from their computer.

    For example, I, too, am not happy about the 'glued batteries' as I tend to hang on to my laptops (even if I replace them, I don't stop using the old ones), so in a couple years I probably will buy a new battery for my MBP. But there are plenty of others who never ever replace a battery, will upgrade in two years anyway, and sell the old one on eBay. So, they wouldn't benefit from an upgradable machine anyway!

    That's it ultimately. There is no 'right' answer to the constantly asked 'retina vs non retina' question. Every user has different needs. It's kind of like the Mac vs PC discussion. If all I need is to check facebook and it'll be plugged in 100% of the time, a cheap PC netbook will do it just fine! (Or an iPad for that matter). I use an old Windows machine as a home server, I didn't run out and spend several hundred bucks on a new mac for it! I don't need that. But if you need a solid, reliable machine with a long battery life and an excellent OS, then you may want to consider the Mac! If battery life is of no concern but you absolutely must game on a laptop, and being 9 pounds and 3 inches thick doesn't matter, you're back to a Windows laptop! (Though I, personally, don't understand why you want to do that! They are not portable, and you can get a more powerful gaming desktop for the price! But there are those who want that!)

    Just figure out what your needs are and get what fits it!
     
  20. PatriotInvasion, Jan 22, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013

    PatriotInvasion macrumors 65816

    PatriotInvasion

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #20
    First of all, when you configure a 13" cMBP with 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, it comes out to $1,499. That is just $200 less than the $1,699 price tag of the rMBP (to all of those do-it-yourself RAM and SSD upgraders: know that the masses have little interest in tearing open their $1,000+ machine to add aftermarket parts).

    So for an extra $200 (when you compare apples to apples), you get 4x the resolution in a thinner, lighter, and more modern design. That was worth it to me for sure. After staring at the retina display, go look at the cMBP and be prepared to cringe at that non-IPS pixelated screen. It's like holding and iPhone 3G up against an iPhone 4 or 5.

    By purchasing the base 13" cMBP now, you are essentially buying a computer that came out in October 2008 sans a better Intel chip. Go retina and be happy.
     
  21. el-John-o macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2010
    Location:
    Missouri
    #21
    Absolutely, for the screwdriver-shy it becomes a much better value.

    However, it's worth mentioning that upgrading the non-Retina isn't the James bond secret job some people think. In fact, instructions on replacing RAM and upgrading the hard drive are included in the manual for the standard MBP. It's very much supported by Apple and super, super easy. All it takes is a screwdriver.

    Adding a second drive to the Optibay or replacing the battery requires special screwdrivers and is mildly more complicated, but Apple has made replacing RAM and replacing the hard drive a piece of cake. Takes seconds once you remove the bottom panel (which is just a bunch of screws and it lifts right off)

    In fact my MBP has been the easiest to upgrade laptop I've ever owned!
     
  22. Ploki macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    #22
    True, HP Pavillion series is just awful to take apart.

    Retina ruins all other screens for you.
     
  23. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68000

    dmk1974

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    #23
    Taking off the bottom plate of the uMBP and replacing the HDD with and SSD and replacing the 2 sticks of RAM took me less than 5 minutes. Very easy to do.

    8 GB RAM was $30 and 16 GB was $50 when I bought the sticks. The 128 GB SSD was $70 and I also have a 256 GB SSD that was $150. That's where I figure the self-upgrade to 8/128 is just $100 additional to the cost of the 13" uMBP. The ability to even go to 16/256 would then be $200. Both FAR below the Apple upgrade prices.
     
  24. el-John-o macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2010
    Location:
    Missouri
    #24
    Yep. I went with 512GB worth of SSD (two 256GB drives in RAID 0) and 16 gigs of RAM. Two SSD's along with the Optibay were $400, 16 gigs of RAM was about $80.

    So for the price of an 8GB/128 Retina, I got a 16GB/512GB non-retina, combined with read speeds (due to being RAID 0) faster than possible on a retina model (because it's actually faster than a single SATA III 6gbps connector can handle, the only way to presently get these speeds is two drives on two SATA III connectors saturating both as much as possible, in a striped RAID).

    Again, that's me and my uses though. If I could've afforded a 512 retina I might have done that. But, for the price, I could afford a base model retina, or what I got in the non-retina. 128GB isn't enough storage at all, within a week I exceeded that just installing software. I really needed 500 gigs or more. So that left only one option for me!

    But even WITH the opti-bay installation, which is fairly complicated as you have to remove the speakers, etc. to get the optical drive out; it took me about 10 minutes. Then I just re-installed OSX after establishing the RAID, and have been ecstatic ever since!
     
  25. maratus macrumors 6502a

    maratus

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2009
    Location:
    Canada
    #25
    Choose 13" rMBP over 13" cMBP, I would. But much better investment I think, 15" rMBP is. Yes, hmmm.
     

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