Macbook Pro Retina -vs- Macbook Pro 17"

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by wiseoak1, Jun 20, 2012.

  1. wiseoak1 macrumors member

    Jun 20, 2012
    Hey all, I tried to check the forum and read as much as possible but I still wonder about some things.


    First of all, some quick background info:
    - I've been working +3 years on a macbook pro 17inch (unibody, 2009 March).
    - I'm using the Macbook Pro full-time as a webdesigner. I create websites, digital experiences and sometimes video's as well.


    I ordered the Macbook Pro Retina last week but I'm a little worried about the web graphics. I've been reading the website graphics (images, visual material) look quite bad on the retina display. I understand why, but I would love to see / hear some comparison. I would love to get my hands on one in a local Apple store, but they only arrive in about 3-4 weeks, the same time my order will arrive.

    My two questions:

    — How does a website look like on a Macbook Pro Retina screen (1920x1200) compared to a Macbook Pro (1920x1200)?

    — As a graphic/web/video-designer, would you recommend getting the Retina screen or would you go for the 15"inch non-Retina model with higher resolution (1680x1050)?

    Thanks in advance. Looking forward to your replies.
    Cheers from Belgium!
  2. Ishimaru macrumors 6502a

    Jun 18, 2009
    Los Angeles
    I have a 2011 17" and while I miss the screen real estate, things look far better on the rMBP than the 17"; albeit a tad cramped. Not everything looks as bad as people are saying. The majority of the sites I visit look just fine. Nothing looks "terrible" as people are saying. Terrible means that you just can't look at it. Does it look as good as retina? No, but that certainly doesn't make it "terrible". Scaled 1920x1200 is a bit of a performance issue, at least on the build of Mountain Lion I'm using. Maybe it's better on Lion, but Apple does say there will be performance issues.
  3. infernohellion macrumors 6502

    May 14, 2006
    I am on the same boat as you and have also ordered the rMBP. After trying the beast in Apple Store a few times before receiving mine here's my opinion:

    - The 1920x1200 looks great on the rMBP though the text is a bit smaller but it won't be giving you headaches or eye strains at all that's one thing for sure. While websites that do not have images optimized for HiDPI, you will see images don't look as sharp. I don't know how much that would affect your work.

    - I will still recommend you to get the Retina machine "in the long-run". It's truly the replacement for the 17" for sure. If you go for the high-res normal 15" now, you'll be forced to use 1680x1050 and trust me, coming from the 17" with 1920x1200 it's a pain in the butt.
  4. stevelam macrumors 65816

    Nov 4, 2010
    from a graphic designer standpoint, yes it does look terrible. this issue is solved if you use an external monitor anyway (which i'm assuming every designer uses) so you get the best of both old and new worlds.

    basically i would never use the rmbp on its own for design. throw in an external monitor though and it would be perfect.
  5. wiseoak1 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 20, 2012
    Thanks for your reply!
    I'm running 1920 resolution right now, if I click retina screenshots on this world wide web... they all open at 2880px, so I don't have a clue how it would look & feel like in real life. Do you run your retina at 1440 or 1920?
    And how many performance do you lose?

    I tend to use a lot of Adobe programs at the same time: Photoshop, Illustrator, After effects. Maybe some Cinema4D 3D renderings...


    I seem to be falling out of the boat here, since I don't own an external monitor.
    What would you use your Retina macbook pro screen for? Curious...
  6. Ishimaru macrumors 6502a

    Jun 18, 2009
    Los Angeles
    I run in 1440 "retina" mode. The 1920 essentially renders at 3840x2400, so it's a lot harder on the GPU. Performance is "ok" at that res. I just miss the desktop space more than anything. But I have a 27" monitor for that.
  7. wiseoak1 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 20, 2012
    Thanks for your input. And if you put the Macbook Pro Retina resolution to 1440, would the images look bigger and even less sharp than it would on the 1920 resolution? Correct?


    Oh I see. Are you a webdesigner?
    For example, how would this website look like (on Retina 1440)?
    Could you make a screenshot and how should I view the screenshot like in real life, since I'm running 1920? Thanks in advance!
  8. stevelam macrumors 65816

    Nov 4, 2010
    besides just the general benefits of a retina screen (same reasons why i like it on my iphone and ipad), it'd definitely be super useful to make high res retina assets (if you're designing for retina devices) as well as previewing ipad apps in full retina without having to scroll up and down like you do now.

    the screen itself is a nice bonus but its the actual specs of the machine thats also a huge draw for me (coming from a 2008 aluminum macbook!) which is actually cheaper to get with the retina display than it is for the non-retina macbook pro with similar specs.

    personally, i don't think i could use the retina macbook entirely on its own though especially for design. the most obvious point being there are no productivity apps outside of the few that apple have updated that are retina friendly yet. i think photoshop might be ready by the end of the year? at least coda has been updated but i see no real benefit to coding and retina display.

    but i also use an external monitor at work and at home at all times anyway so i'm covered for running 'legacy' non retina apps as well as being able to design for most non-retina screens today.

    of course these are the benefits that i'm telling myself as well. i haven't actually purchased a retina macbook yet and am still debating it as well cause its definitely some big $$$.
  9. wiseoak1 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 20, 2012
    Interesting! Well, I've experienced the change of websites, being more and more mobile & responsive. I'm sometimes a little shocked when I see those blurry images on ipad 3 screen.

    — Would this be almost the same effect if watching websites on Macbook Pro Retina screen?

    — So basicly, you recommend Retina combined with an external screen and rely on both?
  10. Hemanthmalli macrumors newbie

    Dec 3, 2014
    In my view both are same there is no difference in these images.
  11. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Holy thread ressurection

    This thread is 2 years old....

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