MacBook Pro Retina vs Macbook Pro Non-Retina

Deep12

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 13, 2015
7
0
hey guys so i am planning to buy a macbook pro but i cant decide between macbook pro with retina version or macbook pro without retina. The 2 options I have are. MacBook pro retina with the specs of 8gb ram i5 256gb ssd. The second option is Macbook pro without retina with specs of 8gb ram i7 128gb ssd. My main use for the laptop would be for studying purposes and will need to run high end software in the field of engineering. Any help would be appreciated

Thanks in advance
 

TechZeke

macrumors 68020
Jul 29, 2012
2,377
2,030
San Antonio, TX
At this point, retina all the way. There is very little reason to get a 13" non-retina macbook pro in 2015, especially since retina models can be found for at similar price points. Unless of course, the upgradability of the RAM and SSD in the non-retina is desirable.

Size, weight, screen, and the 256GB PCIe SSDin the retina will destroy the 128GB SATA III SSD.
 

redheeler

macrumors 604
Oct 17, 2014
7,659
7,493
It is debatable why the non-retina is still being sold, but it makes a very poor buy for the average consumer due to the reasons TechZeke mentioned. It's three year old technology and should be treated that way.
 

Natzoo

macrumors 65816
Sep 16, 2014
1,267
138
hey guys so i am planning to buy a macbook pro but i cant decide between macbook pro with retina version or macbook pro without retina. The 2 options I have are. MacBook pro retina with the specs of 8gb ram i5 256gb ssd. The second option is Macbook pro without retina with specs of 8gb ram i7 128gb ssd. My main use for the laptop would be for studying purposes and will need to run high end software in the field of engineering. Any help would be appreciated

Thanks in advance
Definitally a mac book pro retina. For around 200 more dollars you are getting an excellent display, better graphics, better processor, and even 4 more gb of ram (8gb total). Some things you will loose is a superdrive(not used now days), and a bunch of useless stuff. I had a 2010 MacBook Pro for the beginning of high school and last year i got the late 2013 15' retina with dual graphics. I have friends in college who have the retina and barely need the use of a super drive. Ill go with the mac and comment if you need help with anything!
 

KUguardgrl13

macrumors 68020
May 16, 2013
2,491
123
Kansas, USA
hey guys so i am planning to buy a macbook pro but i cant decide between macbook pro with retina version or macbook pro without retina. The 2 options I have are. MacBook pro retina with the specs of 8gb ram i5 256gb ssd. The second option is Macbook pro without retina with specs of 8gb ram i7 128gb ssd. My main use for the laptop would be for studying purposes and will need to run high end software in the field of engineering. Any help would be appreciated

Thanks in advance
Definitely the retina. The Haswell i5 and PCIe flash storage will smoke the old Ivy Bridge i7 and SATA III SSD. Plus the non-retina is from 2012 and hasn't been updated since. The retina got a small update in 2014 and could get a bigger update in the next few months with the Broadwell processors coming. Not to mention that the i7 processors in the 13" are still dual core. Only the 15" has quad core processors. For engineering, I'd suggest trying to get a 15", even a lower spec'd one. If you can afford the extra few hundred, you could do very well with the base model 15". But the 13" retina you're looking at is also a good machine. I have the late-2013 version, and it's great for my college work (education).
 

TRC-WA

macrumors regular
Sep 26, 2014
199
0
Definitely the retina. The Haswell i5 and PCIe flash storage will smoke the old Ivy Bridge i7 and SATA III SSD. Plus the non-retina is from 2012 and hasn't been updated since. The retina got a small update in 2014 and could get a bigger update in the next few months with the Broadwell processors coming. Not to mention that the i7 processors in the 13" are still dual core. Only the 15" has quad core processors. For engineering, I'd suggest trying to get a 15", even a lower spec'd one. If you can afford the extra few hundred, you could do very well with the base model 15". But the 13" retina you're looking at is also a good machine. I have the late-2013 version, and it's great for my college work (education).
Agreed... I just got the base 15" last week and AutoCAD is so smooth... It was on sale at BB and I used a mover's coupon... paid $1709.99 + tax.
 

TechZeke

macrumors 68020
Jul 29, 2012
2,377
2,030
San Antonio, TX
Agreed... I just got the base 15" last week and AutoCAD is so smooth... It was on sale at BB and I used a mover's coupon... paid $1709.99 + tax.
I'm a civil engineering major and my base late-2013(8/256/Iris Pro) eats through AutoCAD for breakfast. Can't go wrong with the 15", especially since they now come standard with 16GB of RAM.
 

TRC-WA

macrumors regular
Sep 26, 2014
199
0
I'm a civil engineering major and my base late-2013(8/256/Iris Pro) eats through AutoCAD for breakfast. Can't go wrong with the 15", especially since they now come standard with 16GB of RAM.
I upgraded from a 2013 MB Air...

4GB? i5 1.3? non-retina?

So yeah... this upgrade was so worth it... I can actually bring drawings home from work now... and sold the Air for $500 too. :D
 

JJayguy23

macrumors member
Jun 28, 2006
62
29
I say retina!

I have a rMBP 15" and it is the greatest computer I've ever owned. The screen is so gorgeous, the quad core is a beast, and the design is stunning. I love everything about it. Go retina, if not for anything else but the screen!
 

meson

macrumors regular
Apr 29, 2014
160
55
Are you configuring the non-retina in the Apple Store? It looks like it since the 2 configurations you are looking at end up being the same price in the Apple Store.

The non-retina is still a great machine, and very capable, but I don't use CAD software. However, if you go that route, buy the base model and upgrade it yourself. For the $300 you are paying them for the upgrade, you could bump the ram to 16BG and the SSD to a 256 GB buying the components elsewhere, as they are user serviceable parts in this machine.

It's very likely that you won't work on a project large enough to really hit limits with the 13" machine while in school, but it wouldn't be fun if the machine becomes a bottleneck. It would be wise to see if it would be feasible to save up a few hundred extra and get the base 15" machine. Talk to some upper-classmen and faculty in your program to be sure you can get by with the 13" machine, or if you really need the 15" machine.
 

BoneDaddy

Suspended
Jan 8, 2015
527
964
Texas
I'd have to agree with these folks. The only thing you will lose, that is worth mentioning, is the ability to run two drives. To me, that's more of an upgrade on an older machine, more than anything else though. The bad side to NOT getting a retina, is losing thunderbolt 2 and USB 3.0.

If I were in the market for a Macbook NOW, I would wait till the newer model comes out. If you NEED one NOW, buy used. For studies, even a mid 2010 model would be fine. Mine runs "high end" software but is limited to things that have come out within the last year. If you can hold off for a few months, I really think buying a used, for around 3-5 hundred is the smart thing to do. Then, when the newer ones come out, and if you've taken care of a used one, you can get almost all of your money back on resell, depending on what you get.

Between my mid 2010 and my late 2014, I'm confident you'd do fine with a used, until you can see what new features may be on the ones that haven't come out yet. I'm gonna kick myself in the ass if the new ones have USB type C, seeing as though I bought my new one in November and specked it out (13"). So resell isn't going to be that great because nobody is going to want to pay close to what I did, for the sake of 1tb PCIE. I'm a musician who needs to work on the go at times, so 1tb was a must. The libraries and plugins I use the most, take up over 500gb and it was worth it to not have to worry about carrying a drive around.

That's my opinion though. It all comes down to what you NEED and WHEN.
 

JHUFrank

macrumors 6502a
Apr 16, 2010
645
54
If this is your first macbook, definitely go rMBP. However, there is a huge core of folks who cling to the Macbook Pro because of the ability to upgrade it with memory and dual drives. My wife is one of these. Pull her MBP out of her cold, dead hands.
 

Crugga

macrumors regular
Nov 25, 2010
112
0
Get the retina and an external usb3 drive if you need more space. Presuming US prices will be cheaper you can get a decent 2tb portable drive for £70, 1tb for £45.
 

Deep12

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 13, 2015
7
0
Hey Thanks for the reply everyone. In terms of performance between the two, won't the one with i7 be faster ? Regardless, since the retina one has i5
 

meson

macrumors regular
Apr 29, 2014
160
55
The newer Haswell i5 could be faster than the Ivy Bridge i7 in the older model. You would have to look up the benchmarks, but the performance gap between the processors is a few percent. The difference between the base i5 processors may be over 10% different now, after the retina got a speed bump. Personally, when I looked at the benchmarks back when I bought my machine, the difference in performance vs. the cost wasn't worth the processor upgrade. If you are coming from a machine with a spinning hard drive, either machine with the SSD will feel incredibly fast. The only time you may need extra horse power is for long calculation work, or large renderings.

Also, keep in mind that you don't loose USB3 with the non-retina. Before I put my SSD in the 2012 machine, I ran a test on it, and the difference in speed for the SATAIII drive over USB3 was about 10% slower than the internal SATA. With the older machine, you do loose TB2, but it is up to you how much that matters, as it seems that any peripheral with TB support carries a steep premium. With the non retina, you get wireless n rather than ac, but you do get to keep FW800 and ethernet w/o dongles, as well as the optical drive that can be replaced with extra storage. One other thing is the non-retina needs a dongle for HDMI, in case that matters to you.

Either machine will serve you well, but it is up to you what your needs are, and how you expect to use it.
 

AFEPPL

macrumors 68030
Sep 30, 2014
2,644
1,570
England
In terms of the processor, i have both i5s and the latest i7 - the difference in performance is not noticeable day to day. If you intend to do PS or video editing or maybe run a few VMs you get more back for your buck with additional memory.
 

Deep12

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 13, 2015
7
0
Hey Thanks again. I Will be running Windows as well along with Mac, so keeping that in mind, which one would be a better choice ?
 

JHUFrank

macrumors 6502a
Apr 16, 2010
645
54
I run Windows in VMs on my rMBP, and in that high of resolution, windows is pretty stunning. Performance wise, Windows really fast on my rMBP.

Hey Thanks again. I Will be running Windows as well along with Mac, so keeping that in mind, which one would be a better choice ?
 

Deep12

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 13, 2015
7
0
I run Windows in VMs on my rMBP, and in that high of resolution, windows is pretty stunning. Performance wise, Windows really fast on my rMBP.
hey whats your specs for your rMBP? will 128gb SSD will be enough for Windows in VMs
 

snaky69

macrumors 603
Mar 14, 2008
5,904
484
hey guys so i am planning to buy a macbook pro but i cant decide between macbook pro with retina version or macbook pro without retina. The 2 options I have are. MacBook pro retina with the specs of 8gb ram i5 256gb ssd. The second option is Macbook pro without retina with specs of 8gb ram i7 128gb ssd. My main use for the laptop would be for studying purposes and will need to run high end software in the field of engineering. Any help would be appreciated

Thanks in advance
High end software, in engineering? I'm a mechanical engineer myself and would not consider running anything less powerful than the 15" with the nVidia card.

The tiny screen size and lack of quad core and a decent graphics card would be simply crippling.
 

Deep12

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 13, 2015
7
0
Hey I am in electrical/computer engineering. I got to know from upper years that I will be using IDES and matlab mostly. Sometimes AutoCAD. Will the 13 inch version be enough then ?
 

yjchua95

macrumors 604
Apr 23, 2011
6,725
231
GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
hey whats your specs for your rMBP? will 128gb SSD will be enough for Windows in VMs
Nope. You're crippling yourself with a tiny SSD.

Get at least a 256GB.

If you always run Windows use Boot Camp.

Personally I'd get at least a 512GB.

----------

Hey I am in electrical/computer engineering. I got to know from upper years that I will be using IDES and matlab mostly. Sometimes AutoCAD. Will the 13 inch version be enough then ?
It should be enough if you don't do anything heavy.

But if your computer engineering involves a lot of AutoCad and Matlab, then get nothing less than a 15" with NVIDIA GPU.

Even if you can't afford it get at least the base 15". The extra screen estate is really crucial when working with a lot of code. The 15" is also far more powerful with a quad core i7.
 

redheeler

macrumors 604
Oct 17, 2014
7,659
7,493
Nope. You're crippling yourself with a tiny SSD.

Get at least a 256GB.

If you always run Windows use Boot Camp.

Personally I'd get at least a 512GB.
256 GB is perfectly fine for storing a Windows VM, but I do agree that 128 is pushing it close.
 

Deep12

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 13, 2015
7
0
heyy i will be only using for school purposes, my media(music, pictures , videos) will be on cloud. so technically the computer will only be filling with documents and few applications. so i will probably have so much space left
 
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