Non Retina MacBook Pro 13" v.s. Retina MacBook Pro 13"

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by woeiskevin, May 4, 2014.

  1. woeiskevin macrumors member


    Dec 30, 2011
    This wednesday i will be buying a new laptop but i wanted to know if the 13" retina macbook pro is so much better then the non retina one. What's the pro's and con's of picking one over the other? Any advice? Thanks!:D
  2. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    Non-retina cMBP:
    Pros: User-upgradeable RAM and HDD/SSD, has built-in FW800 and Ethernet, has SuperDrive.
    Cons: Intel HD 4000, no TB2, no 802.11ac, no retina display, much heavier, bulkier, older Ivy Bridge chipset, no integrated HDMI port, no 4K support

    Retina MBP:
    Pros: Intel Iris 5100, much faster PCIe SSDs (cMBP can only take SATA3 SSDs), retina display (once you go retina you can never go back), thinner, lighter, longer battery life, 802.11ac, 4K display support, integrated HDMI port, two TB2 ports, Haswell CPUs.
    Cons: All components are soldered (except SSD), no built-in FW800 or Ethernet, no SuperDrive.
  3. The Mercurian macrumors 68000

    Mar 17, 2012
    Yes the retina is miles better, what are you even thinking man ?

    Apart from the obvious - retina display is miles better than non-retina.
    The non- retina has not been updated in 2 years, the retina is current as of 2013.
    The non-retina has a slow HDD, the retina has blistering fast SSD
    The non-retina has an old processor, the retina has modern processor.
    The non-retina has a 7 hour battery life, the retina has a 9 hour battery life.

    The only two things of note that the non-retina has that the retina does not are the DVD drive and an ethernet port. You can get a USB DVD drive if you absolutely need one, and you can get an ethernet-thunderbolt convertor if you absolutely need a hardline connection.

    There is basically no good reason to get the non-retina model - you would be better to get a current macbook air. Also Apple are expected to drop the non-retina model this year.

    Edit: Ok one reason - so you can upgrade RAM and drives in future.
  4. Cassady macrumors 6502a


    Jul 7, 2012
    I'm terribly old-skool.

    The thought of my next (laptop) upgrade not allowing for user-upgrades, has me hoping to delay the upgrade for as long as possible.

    I have the 2012 cMBP. It now has 16GB of RAM, and a (soon-to-be) 750GB HDD for my media and archived materials, a 240GB SSD (that I might upgrade to a 480GB towards the end of the year) for my OS and regularly used programmes - and a 64GB Nifty drive - for very specific and miscellaneous items, that I store there.

    To replace that model with a new rMBP, with 16GB of RAM, and the maximum storage space (i.e. a rMBP Ultimate) - is going to cost me an arm and a leg. And it still won't come close to the same amount of storage space.

    Now I know the easy answer to this, is to go external/cloud based. But I already do that. I have 2x 1TB drives, that serve as a CCC and TM backup to my current system. It's quick and easy. Plug in - backup. No worries about carrying extra drives etc. around. One at home, one at the office.

    The Retina screen is no-doubt amazing. The rMBP, as pointed out, is lighter, faster, and its battery life is brilliant. If those are your most important factors - then it remains a no-brainer.

    If internal storage and upgradeability is something that remains important to you, then the cMBP offers you the perfect alternative.

    Make a call on the above, and get the machine that suits accordingly. Easy. :p
  5. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Realistically how often do you think people upgrade their laptops. I think many people like the idea of upgradability but almost never upgrade. Its a comforting thought to know you can extend the life span by upgrading the ram/storage.

    Now most people are not MacRumors members and so we're not your typical consumer :)

    I will say that if you plan out your purchase and future proof it, you'll not have to worry about upgrades. I think the spending 1,100 dollars on a cMBP being such old technology is not a good use of funds when for a hundred dollars more you get a more current spec'd machine.
  6. tallpaul macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2009

    I was thinking of changing recently to either 13 MBA, top spec. 512GB SSD, 8GB ram, bought one of apple site and ended up giving it to my wife for Xmas.

    Then I looked at 13 MBP retina, gorgeous machine, et battery life, lightness etc

    But in the end I kept my 2011 MBP 13, I put a samsung 2TB 9.5mm drive in my optibay which works great along side 256GB SSD and I put in a new battery and it works superb.

    Only thing left to do now is get 16Gb of ram(don't use Final Cut Pro as much lately so might wait a while)

    Having upgraded my 2011 13 MBP myself over the years I've actually become quite attached to it!

    Plus it does everything I need, work email, Excel on OSX and Excel on Windows 7, Ableton Live 8 for djing and production etc.

    Only cost me €800 new in 2011 and I've spend another €300 on it over the years, superb value
  7. nando4, May 4, 2014
    Last edited: May 4, 2014

    nando4 macrumors regular

    Mar 21, 2009
    If keen on a cMBP for it's upgradability over the rMBP and are not OSX-centric then consider there are still some PC notebooks with upgrade/features beyond the cMBP, eg: CPU upgradability. Eg: IVB 12.5" HP 2570P (in sig) or Haswell 14" Dell E6440. Both can have CPU performance effectively doubled by installing a i7-quad via their CPU sockets. Cost can be significantly less than a Macbook too and have other features like expresscard slots, bootable e-SATA port, superfast RAID-0 storage.
  8. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    I think it is not even worth comparing machines. I wouldn't spend $1200 on a machine with outdated tech:

    - 1280x800 screen: This was already low resolution before the retina screens arrived - the 13'' Air has a higher resolution since 2010.
    - the CPU is from 2012. It is still fast, but less power efficient and the GPU is quite a bit slower than what is available currently
    - a 5400 rpm HDD - sure you can upgrade to a SSD, but that costs extra money and you are limited to SATA 3.
    - the WiFi is "n", a/c is standard now on Macs.

    Now assuming you can get this machine at a discount (e.g. $999 in the edu store), need or want a DVD drive, want OSX, and you would rather purchase upgrades later than right now, then it might make sense to buy the 2012 MBP.
  9. woeiskevin thread starter macrumors member


    Dec 30, 2011
    OK I should ask have anyone ever used the baseline rmbp for audio work with just 4GB of ram? if so how did it work when using a lot of vst/plug-ins?
  10. richwoodrocket macrumors 68020


    Apr 7, 2014
    Hamburg, NY
    Go retina. You won't regret it. It will be supported long after the non retina MacBook Pro.
  11. mccjim12 macrumors regular

    Sep 23, 2012
    Stamford, CT
    Some excellent advice in this thread. I am in the same situation as the op and was considering a cMBP but now will consider a retina, as much as I love having an optical drive.
  12. Saint.Icon macrumors regular

    May 11, 2014
    As someone who was in the same position about a month ago, I vote for retina.

    The thinner, lighter design, flash storage, gorgeous retina display, and Haswell chipset makes it a no brainer.

    As far as "upgradability" goes, yeah. You lose it. But so what? If I want to upgrade, I can sell the MBP for close to what I paid for it in a year or two, and upgrade to a new model that'll have everything upgraded, rather than just the RAM and hard drive. In a year or two you'll be hard pressed to sell a cMBP to anyone for a good amount, and the upgrades you spend more money on aren't going to translate into more value.

    The only downside I see the the rMBP is storage. To remedy that, get a cheap portable hard drive. I picked up a nice, little 1TB Seagate drive for $60. Nifty also makes SD expansion adapters that are pretty awesome to boost storage as well.
  13. cruzmisl macrumors regular

    Nov 10, 2012
    The refurb 8gb/256gb 2013 MBPr is such a good deal right now. You get enough future proofing and some really good specs. I have a cheap external USB dvd drive if I need it, but never do.
  14. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
  15. meson macrumors regular

    Apr 29, 2014
    A month or so ago, I had to make the choice. I ended up going cMBP.

    Here was my logic.

    The largest consideration was upfront cost. For a variety of reasons, I needed a new mac on a budget. My previous MB died a sudden death, and I couldn't afford to throw money at the solution.

    With the cMBP, I was able to buy the base configuration, and as budget constraints will allow, I can upgrade to SSD and either 8 or 16GB of ram. 8GB should be plenty for me. The ability to make these changes later were important to me, or I would have ended up with a PC running Linux (not necessarily bad, but not my preference).

    The next consideration was portability. I don't keep an excessive amount of data locally, but I am growing to the point where a 128GB SSD isn't going to cut it. I use the laptop both at home and in the office, and I do not like lugging extra drives around when I don't need to. Additionally, I would have had to buy extra dongles for connectivity that I use regularly.

    In order to get a machine to meed my needs and budget, I had to compromise a bit on some amenities. A retina display is great, but I don't see it altering the way I use my screen real estate significantly on a 13" machine. I had to take a slightly more power hungry CPU, and a hit on the GPU, but I'm not big on video/audio editing or gaming, so those things were of minor importance to me.

    Additionally, I got to keep the DVD drive. Granted I don't use one often, but I do often enough at this point to miss it if it weren't there.

    Resale value is of little concern to me, as I'll be using the machine until it dies.

    The bottom line is that you need to think carefully about what your needs and budget constraints are in a computer. If I had the money to throw at the problem, the retina would have been the way to go. Since I did not, I went with a machine that will serve me well for a number of years, especially after some minor upgrades.
  16. MacFoYoAzz macrumors newbie


    Apr 15, 2014
    On yomomma's Mac TX
    Up until last year, I did full blown music productions on a 2006 13" MacBook 1.83 Core2duo with 2 gigs of ram or a CoreSolo 1.5ghz MacMini 2 gigs of ram.
    Both worked great. Running Logic Pro 7. Of course I used various external pro audio interfaces.

    Music Link

    You be the judge. 70% of the posted music was done in my apartment. The Freedom Fusion stuff was done on a Mac Pro G5. That was done with Protools

    Hope this helps.

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