maxed out non-retina vs maxed out retina?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by luke465, Aug 8, 2014.

  1. luke465 macrumors newbie

    Aug 8, 2014

    13" Non Retina $999.00
    2.5 Ghz i5 $0.00
    2.9 Ghz i7 + $135.00
    4GB Ram $0.00
    16 GB Ram + $144.99
    500 GB HDD $0.00
    1TB SSD $500 + $500.00

    Total $1,779.00

    Save $730.01



    13" Retina $1,699.00
    2.8 Ghz $0.00
    3.0 Ghz i7 + $180.00
    8GB Ram $0.00
    16 GB Ram + $180.00
    512 GB SSD $0.00
    1 TB SSD + $450.00

    Total $2,509.00

    I am on the fence about buying a new 13" retina Macbook or buying the non-retina Macbook and putting a 1TB SSD and 16 GB of RAM in it. That would save $730 but would sacrifice the retina display, new processor, and lighter form factor.

    You can get a 2.9 Ghz i7 processor in the non-retina, is that much slower than the 4th generation 3.0 Ghz option in the new 13" retina?

    If apple is going to release something completely new in the next 6 months then I would get the older non-retina since I have use of a retina 13" at work. I like to keep my files synced so need the large HDD.

    The other option would be to buy the 13" retina with a 128GB SSD and use an external HDD to hold my data and upgrade when OWC has the option.

    I did not included the air because it seems that after you spend the money to upgrade the air you might as well get the retina.

  2. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
    At nearly every task, the late-2012 MacBook Pro is slower than the 2014 MacBook Pro.
  3. Gman021 macrumors regular

    Aug 21, 2012
    Go with the retina. You would be crazy not to.

    Surely I don't know your needs and I'm not going to question them, but make sure you will truly utilize a fully maxed out pro and not spending hundreds more to "future proof" your machine.
  4. meson macrumors regular

    Apr 29, 2014
    If you have the need for the computing power of a maxed out 13" and are willing to drop over $2500, why not go with a 15" model? You could probably go with a base model 15" bump to the 1TB of storage, have significantly more computing power, and come in at or under your 13" budget.

    As far as choosing between the 13" models, I was on a very tight budget this spring, and went with the non-retina base knowing that I could bump it to 8-26GB of RAM and a 256 GB for hundreds less than I could get a comparable retina model. I've found it to be a very serviceable machine, even in base form, and will be adding the upgrades in a couple weeks. I can't wait to see what this machine can do with a couple upgrades.

    I would suspect that you are talking about a 10-12% difference in processor benchmarks between the two models you are considering, and I'm not sure it would even correlate to that much difference in the real world. Only you can answer if it is worth $700 to get that extra computing power and a pretty display.
  5. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    What is the point of maxing out the CPU? What kind of work do you do?
  6. kupkakez macrumors 68000


    Apr 4, 2011
    If you're willing to spend $2500 I'd probably go with either the base 15" or the 15" with the dGPU...
  7. TechZeke macrumors 68020


    Jul 29, 2012
    Rialto, CA
    Screen - Retina display defaults at showing 1280x800 anyway, although you can scale all the way up 1680x1050, albeit with a performance hit. The quality of the screen is significantly better, but if you are fine with non-retina displays, the non-retina still has a nice display.

    RAM - Same

    Processor - The i7 in both are nearly identical in performance.

    SSD - This is where the retina will trash the non-retina(besides the screen). A 1 TB PCIe will get 1gb/s Read/Write. The non-retina gets half that. With that said, you won't really notice the difference in everyday use.

    GPU - This is a little tough. The Iris is noticeably more powerful than the 4000, but the 4000 only has to run at a quarter of the resolution the Iris has to. Here I think in any smoothness in performance would be unnoticeable except in games, where you can turn the resolution down.

    As other's have mentioned, I'd look at a 15".
  8. capathy21 macrumors 65816


    Jun 16, 2014
    Houston, Texas

    Do you really need 16GB of ram and a 1TB SSD?

    I would go with the retina model regardless of configuration.
  9. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    You have to state what you do with your MacBook otherwise it's just guessing and general talk.
  10. 556fmjoe macrumors 65816


    Apr 19, 2014
    Since I don't know your uses and needs, I will base my answer off of mine.

    Getting the Retina would be a colossal waste of money. There is nothing that makes it worth $730 more for me, and quite a few things that make me specifically prefer the non-Retina, such as a replaceable battery, replaceable RAM, cheaper and more available aftermarket internal storage options, and an optical drive.
  11. luke465 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 8, 2014
    I am trying to future proof a bit. I am replacing a 2006 white macbook that still works. I was able to keep it so long because I got new computers at work but I could still keep all files synced on both machines.

    I will definitely get the 16GB ram with the retina since it is soldered. I thought getting the better cpu made sense for future proofing but perhaps it doesn't? If I had to, I could wait for aftermarket retina compatible SSD's to get cheaper and just use and external USB HDD for now. Just have to be vigilant with backups.

    I need the portability and use a connected 24" monitor when at a desk so screen real estate is not a problem most of the time. I guess that means I should get the even more portable retina.

    I just put 16GB in another early 2011 non-retina with a SSHD (8GB Flash buffer) and it flies.

    Is it really only 10-12% difference or will I also miss out on newer 64bit or other processing needs in the future?

    Nothing extraordinary, the Adobe suite, Sketchup and Maya, occasionally run Mamp for web design.

    It would save money to go with the cheaper retina CPU but figured it was something I couldn't change so should get the highest one.

    Would this affect the non-retina's ability to drive a second monitor?

    Thank you for the help and information.


    I keep thinking the same thing. The option of replacing the optical drive with a second SSD make it even more enticing. I am just worried about not being able to take advantage of future OSs and other software since it is 2 years old.
  12. thunng8 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 8, 2006
    They are both 64bit processors. Performance diff is less than 10% ..around 5.5% according to geekbench3. So CPU performance is not a reason to go with the retina model.

    Main reason to go retina is for the much better screen, and it is about 0.5kg lighter
  13. luke465 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 8, 2014
    Thank you for the clear differentiation. It does seem that the reason to buy the retina is 1. the screen, 2. the smaller form factor, 3. the extended battery life.

    Now I have to ask my wallet what it thinks about that.
  14. meson macrumors regular

    Apr 29, 2014
    I'm glad to hear that the upgrades are working well in your 2011 model. My upgrades when come after I receive payment for a recent project, and I can't wait.

    Additionally, the only other significant hardware limitation that the non-retina version has is the wireless n vs. ac. Both are Bluetooth 4.0, so I really don't see the 2012 MBP being left behind in terms of hardware limitations anytime soon.

    With the added translucency, animations and such in Yosemite, I can see the Core2Duo machines being left behind due to iGPU limitations sometime in the next couple of revisions of OS X, but the Core i* series machines will likely hang around for some time yet.

    By using dual SSDs in a 2012 MBP, you could configure them in a RAID0 configuration and achieve read/write speeds comparable to the higher end PCIE SSDs in the retina model.

    Oh, and in case it matters to you, the retina drops the IR receiver. I use the IR receiver regularly in lectures and talks, so I wasn't ready to drop that feature yet. Of course, you could use an iOS device as a remote, but I would much rather accidentally leave behind a $20 remote as apposed to a several hundred dollar iPhone.

    Good luck with your choice.

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