Macbook Pro Retina vs Macbook Pro Normal

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by MrTennisNinja, Jun 16, 2012.

  1. MrTennisNinja macrumors newbie

    Sep 17, 2011
    I'm deciding whether to choose the normal Macbook Pro normal model vs the Macbook Pro Retina Display Model. Since I will be a CIS major I'm looking for something that will be the best bet based on both GPU and CPU performance. I'm a little tied between both models however, looking back at the benchmarks that posted earlier this week I'm gearing more towards the 15-inch normal 2.6ghz model. I'm probably going to be doing some video conversion, gaming and xcode applications, however, I think that having a built-in drive is essential(for some odd reason). The 15-inch top-end model is ranked much higher than the lower end retina display model based on Geekbench testing . I'm not so concerned about boot speeds rather than overall computer performance and application performance based on how well the processor can handle certain tasks. Which one would be the best bet.
  2. Xcallibur macrumors 6502a


    Jul 24, 2011
    I too am undecided on whether to get the normal 15" base MBP or the retina 15" MBP, I've come to the conclusion that the retina MBP is the best value for money, however its lack of upgradable parts is a little concerning, the other snag is the 512MB VRAM on the base 15" normal MBP which makes the retina MBP a little more appealing.

    The question to ask yourself is, do you value future upgradability? If not and you aren't too fussed in forking out for the retina MBP, then that is the best value for money. Shame really, it would have been nice for Apple to have included an SSD in the base 15" normal MBP :/ or even updated the 13" MBP to a newer IPS screen.
  3. Rizzm macrumors 6502a

    Feb 5, 2012
    I consider resale value to calculate overall value and it's hard to say how resale will be for the new MBPs.

    I'm also on the fence. This has been one of the toughest purchase decisions ever for me.
  4. MrTennisNinja thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 17, 2011
    I would probably go towards the Macbook Pro 2012 normal rather than the updated retina. I'm most likely sure that no one really needs it(other than photographers of course). CPU speeds are faster, superdrive integration, and theres an option for an SSD.
  5. Xcallibur macrumors 6502a


    Jul 24, 2011
    I plan on keeping mine for a very long time, so don't really regard its resale value as being that high on my list of priorities, but I can see how it would be a valid point for others though, if one was to buy the 8GB RAM version, who's to say that it will be enough in 3-4 years time?

    The normal MBP is definitely better for long-term upgrading. Its working out if the 512MB extra VRAM and the higher quality screen is worth the trade-off of the upgradability; a question I don't quite know the answer to. :/
  6. Trey M macrumors 6502a

    Trey M

    Jul 25, 2011
    I wouldn't look too hard at Geekbench ratings. I understand what you're looking for, something that'll last through college and perform well, but when you think about it it's only a .3 GHZ difference clock speed.

    As far as actual application performance goes, I think you'll notice a big difference with a SSD more than you would with a .3 GHZ upgrade. Really when you look at it, you're choosing between a .3 GHZ clock upgrade versus a Retina display and a SSD. Now if storage space is a problem, that's different, but there's always external storage.

    And for the optical disc, I think you'd be very surprised how little most people use it. I used to think the same thing when Apple announced the Air but then I found myself using my optical drive once a year, twice at most. I realize this will vary for different people, but most people most likely have little use. There's always the superdrive as well.

    As a fellow college student, I can tell you portability and weight are great factors for a student. For example, this past college semester I had 2 laptops, an 11 inch MBA and a 15 inch MBP. You would think I'd almost always use the 15 inch MBP as it's much more powerful and practical, but I found myself taking the 11 inch Air every time, simply because of it's portability and weight. Simply said, the 15 inch Retina is a lot easier to carry and a lot lighter and slimmer than the older gen MBP.

    Just giving my thoughts, you'll love both laptops! (But especially the Retina display, it's amazing :D )

  7. mykelala01 macrumors 6502


    May 17, 2009
    I am also debating

    between the Retina and the Normal Macbook Pro. But rule of thumb with Apple products don't be a "early adopter." I learn that the hard way... You pay premium for being the first. But still the performance and technology is half bake. It is true that, the Intel HD4000 struggled with retina display. Try it at the store. Open a bunch of Apps and watch it lag specially switching windows, and using mission control. And imagine if all of your apps are updated to retina enable. Im sure the GPU will struggle to cope up. And after 3 years your MBpro retina will be obsolete. I have a macbook air Rev A got it more than 3 years ago. That thing is unusable specially watching flash. And I got it for a premium price. My Iphone 1st gen got it for premium price after 2 years that thing is unusable. Not like my 3gs, still using it right now. So if you are going to jump to Retina display wait a year or 2 when the technology is up to par with the display.
  8. Suno macrumors 6502


    Dec 12, 2011
    I'm choosing the normal. Here's why.

    1. Retina isn't worth it. Personal opinion obviously, but the premium you pay for a better screen just isn't worth it. I'm sure the screen is beautiful no doubt, but I'll make do with a "measly" 1600x screen.

    2. Non-upgradeable. I mean c'mon, seriously Apple? Pull your ****** together.

    3. The regular Macbook Pro is already thin and light enough for me. I don't get why some people complain about it. It must be nice having first world problems like My $2000 Macbook Pro is too heavy and big.

    Hard drive isn't a big deal because you can always swap it out yourself. Same goes for RAM.

    I would say the only downside to the regular Macbook is lower resale value in the future (I have no doubt in my mind that retina will sell for higher) and the fans aren't the new silent fans (I don't know how effective they are but I heard the old ones can get loud).
  9. Zulithe macrumors member


    Jun 6, 2010
    San Francisco, CA
    Keep in mind that the Retina MBP is a first gen product. It's a good product, but they are sure to address problems in the next version. Look at how much they improved the ipad 2 over the first ipad. It is true that there are improvements EVERY year, but intel is launching their haswell architecture early next year, just in time for apple to include them in their next models. This arch is a much, much better fit for retina-grade laptops.
  10. dergaderg macrumors member

    Feb 9, 2009
    screen real estate

    you said you're going into CIS. for programming you want the most screen space , if you have good vision, you could turn off the HiDpi setting and have 2880x1800 of screen space. that's why i am going with the rMBP.
  11. kurtster macrumors member

    Apr 12, 2005
    I'm in the middle of this dance too.
    The lighter weight of the retina model is a big plus but I wonder whether the retina screen itself would be wasted given how much I use my current Macbook in clamshell mode (with a 30" display).
  12. nfl46 macrumors 604

    Oct 5, 2008
    I played with it in person. The screen was nice but it didn't blow me away like the 3GS > 4 and iPad 2 > iPad 3 screen did when I first saw it.
  13. jonnymo5 macrumors 6502

    Jan 21, 2008
    This was one of the biggest factors for me. I can get a lot more code on the screen.
  14. MikoN2 macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2012
  15. Fuchal macrumors 68020

    Sep 30, 2003
    You don't even need to do that. Just drop the font size down beyond what you normally would... you'll be able to read it.
  16. Philly macrumors member

    May 21, 2007

    Good luck with that.....! Two and a half thousand pound mac and a magnifying glass to see it.

    This question is on a lot of peoples minds right now. I'm upgrading my mac for the first time in seven years and as much as I would like the two thunderbolt and one HDMI ports, the fact that I won't be able to replace damaged RAM or hard drive or battery is putting me off the the Retina Macbook Pro.

    I don't like the way apple is making all their hardware and software 'easier' to use and less easy to customise.

    I'm reasonably fit and strong and do not have an issue carrying a 15" powerbook/macbook around with me and will be buying the new 'standard' model instead of the retina. Hopefully many others will do the same and we won't see the end of a great laptop. Your voting with your purchases.
  17. soulreaver99 macrumors 68030


    Aug 15, 2010
    Southern California
    You know if you think about it, if you have your MacBook Pro plugged into a larger screen, especially the Thunderbolt Display, there is really no point in spending extra for the MBP Retina to take advantage of the resolution. Also, if you have the Thunderbolt Display, you are already getting an awesome resolution of 2560 x 1440.
  18. FastEddiebags macrumors 6502

    Jun 1, 2012
    With what you need it for, you can't go wrong with either. I would also agree on thinking about getting the air and and external monitor for your room.
  19. CUsurfer, Jun 17, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2012

    CUsurfer macrumors member

    Aug 29, 2010
    Please refrain from spreading misinformation. There has already been a thread concerning Apple store machine performance. It is their software slowing it down and causing the lagginess. "I'm sure the GPU will struggle to cope up." is far from a scientific analysis. Sounds more like speculation and conjecture to me. Unless you have any facts to back that up, that is quite the presumptuous statement. I suspect that you are completely false.

    Unfortunately, it does appear that Apple is not quite ready on the software side. There is a definite issue with scrolling in Safari, but it's fixed in Mountain Lion. I bet Chrome will put out a better build in a few weeks as well.

    As far as non-retina apps looking like crap on the new display, well that just the price of being an early adopter. It will take the developers time to update their interfaces. I would not hold my breath on websites out there being updated any time soon (I suspect it will take years), so if you spend a ton of time browsing, and the blurry images will greatly annoy you, that may be a very legitimate concern for you.
  20. MrTennisNinja thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 17, 2011

    I don't think that's something to be concerned about. I'm moreso geared on CPU performance with applications. I know that the SSD will boost startup, applications, and power consumption. I mean, what other benefits are there to the MBP-R? I'm not exactly sure its much of a smart purchase. What I want is a laptop that will run applications smoothly and will hold the capacity to accomplish certain tasks with decent precision and time. Is the SSD assistive towards the performance of an application(disregarding startup)? The only things that concern me with that laptop is

    1. It doesn't have a CD-Drive
    2. It's apparently really hard to fix and impossible to upgrade because parts are saudered into the computer
    3.I'm looking for something to have the capacity to partition for Windows and still have enough space for decent storage on the Mac OS. Now, I understand that I can purchase an external hard drive but I'm not so sure whether it would be an annoyance to carry around if I do need it.
    4. Retina is nice. I have it on my iPad 3 but I'm not so sure I would need it on the laptop, since I don't do much photography or editing. I know it would be good to have in order to view code much better but I'm pretty sure my eyesight is good enough to not make it an annoyance.
    5.SSD is great. But what other benefits does it have other than application startup and boot speed?
    6.Weight isn't a concern.
    7. Does the normal macbook have audio and visual upgrades as well as the Macbook Pro Retina?
    8.How exactly did the Geekbench performance come about? What did it take into account? I just want a computer built for optimization and after looking at the benchmarks I'm a bit concerned.
  21. athletejmv macrumors member

    Mar 19, 2011
    Keyboard ! ! !

    Has anyone considered the difference in the keyboards? I prefer the longer keystroks of the Old tried and true MBP. Also, SSDs do go bad and don't last long when constantly rewriting over them. SSD and HDD combo is the failsafe way to go; just personal preference... SSD for OS and HDD for storage..
  22. cruggles macrumors regular

    Feb 2, 2010
    Failsafe? Regular backups are the only failsafe way to go. Give me an SSD in a laptop any day if it's affordable. I might drop it any minute.
  23. CUsurfer macrumors member

    Aug 29, 2010
    It sounds like you have already done the research. I'm not quite sure what your question is. Only you can decide for yourself whether the pros and cons of the rMBP are right for you. Personally, a lot of the applications that I use require a ton of screen real estate, so I'm very attracted to the Retina display because I can use a higher resolution (1920x1200) than the cMBP is capable of. Also, I like the idea of things looking pretty, crisp and sharp (could take awhile for third-party applications to update, however). The advantage of an SSD is read/write speed. Simple as that. If you are not constantly working with files then it's probably less of a concern for you. I work with lossless audio files, so I require the highest read speed possible in order to increase the application's speed and performance. I cannot use a laptop without an SSD anymore. Once you get accustomed to the immediacy of the SSD you can't go back--it's awesome.
  24. jshbckr macrumors 6502

    Apr 20, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    My only reservation at this point with the RMBP is whether or not the retina display will have an impact in graphics intensive programs like After Effects CS6, where the GPU is processing animations, motion blur, ray-tracing, etc.

    I'd like to see BareFeats or someone do some testing with non-retina and RMBP.

    As for the other commonly talked about points:
    1. I don't use the disc drive. I took it out of my old MBP for SSD/HDD combo.
    2. RAM being soldered. I put 8GB of RAM into my old MBP on day one, which was the physical limit anyway. So this is basically the same thing.
    3. Battery being glued in. You had to pay Apple $130 to replace the last few generations of MBP batteries. This will be $200. Spending $70 extra a few years down the line? I won't lose sleep over that.
  25. Suno macrumors 6502


    Dec 12, 2011
    Played around with the Retina Macbook today.

    As I thought, the screen is beautiful, but nothing ground breaking or jaw-dropping. Just a "ooh" and "aah'.

    I have to admit, the thinness of it really caught me by surprise when I saw it and held it in person. I have to give it to Apple, they really did a good job with making this laptop thin. But with that said, I still stick with my original statement that the 'classic' Macbook is thin enough. I wouldn't pay an extra premium just for a few centimeters shaved.

    Other notes in my unprofessional experience: The keyboard is different. I didn't know what people were talking about until I tried it out in person. I don't know how to describe it but I think I prefer the old keyboard (perhaps I'm biased). There was also a noticeable amount of lag when browsing and using Safari. Scrolling down wasn't anywhere near as smooth as the old Mac's (I believe there was some update to fix this?) and deleting long sentences took a considerably longer amount of time then the normal instant on a regular mac.

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