Purchasing MBP... Retina or non-retina 15"?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by opticflare, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. opticflare macrumors member

    Aug 12, 2013
    Hi all, long time reader, first time poster. I've had some funds come in and I'm looking to purchase a MacBook Pro this week. I know Haswell models are right around the corner, but I'm wanting to save some money by possibly going to refurbished route from Apple's site. I should be happy enough with a ivy bridge processor as the tasks I'll be doing aren't that terribly demanding. I just don't know if I should go with a rMBP or cMBP.

    I know for a fact I want a 15" model. This is going to serve as mostly a desktop replacement with use in home and will only have occasional travel sometimes to my work and friends houses and various spots around the house. I'll be around a charging outlet a lot, so battery life isn't a huge issue.

    Reason I am considering the Retina model of course because it seems to be current design. The retina display, SSD, more thin profile, and I cannot see myself using the SuperDrive that much or other ports. Apple is selling refurbished 2012 models for $1,599 on their refurb site which seems like a very good deal to me.

    However I have some concerns for the retina display, mainly being the fact that every single one I've used in the apple store felt pretty hot around the keyboard area. Do these models have heating issues? I've also heard of the notorious image retention issues on the LG screens. So I almost feel like I'm taking a gamble on the screen. My biggest concern is I have heard the standard MBPs have more general UI fluidity due to not having such a massive resolution. I get concerned that the Intel HD 4000 graphics isn't enough to drive that massive resolution for day to day use. I've heard web pages scrolling can get choppy and laggy due to the resolution, this also concerns me. It IS also a first generation early adoption, so that's always naturally a concern too.

    Reasons for the cMBP of course is for the fact that I have heard its generally more fluid and you can upgrade the RAM and HD. This is appealing, also I get tempted to push my budget a little bit for a anti-glare model, but I still do like the retina display a lot. I just know by purchasing a cMBP I'm not going to run into much trouble. It's a established product and upgradable, which is a plus. Plus, saving a little bit of money never hurts.

    I think in a perfect world if the retina had no little one-off issues or laggy, scrolling webpages/UI I would definitely go the retina route, but the cMBP just generally feels like a more secure and stable purchase to me, anyone here is welcome to talk me out of that thought.

    I'll be using the MacBook as a general all-purpose computer. Movies/music, office apps, browsing, storing my files, and some very light gaming. (Strong emphasis on light gaming). I have a custom built desktop I use for most of my gaming. I just don't like windows laptops nearly as much and I enjoy the Apple build quality and support. I've owned a G4 PowerBook, 13" BlackBook, and a Early 08 Core2Duo 15" model. They've all by far been my best laptops, so I'm looking to get one again, 5 years later.

    Any input is appreciated. Thanks all.


    Also, any difference between the 15" retina Mid 2012 and Early 2013 models? Both refurbished models are on there, the 2012 model is for $1,599 and the Early 2013 model being $1,850. Am I missing something there? A $250 difference. Aren't they the same model?
  2. lianlua macrumors 6502

    Jun 13, 2008
    There are so, so many threads addressing these questions already.

    No real difference between 2012 and 2013 here. They're the same model, different CPUs. Worth the price difference? Probably not.
    One of many retina vs. non-retina threads here. Either it's worth a lot to you or it's not.
    One of many GPU discussions here.

    All of the information you could possibly need is already posted. What you ultimately should get, only you can decide. There's no clear, best answer.
  3. stumper macrumors newbie

    Dec 29, 2006
    I agree, beat to death. Good links above.

    Realize that the 15" MBPr has the HD4000 + Nvida 650M. All of the "lag" issues have been with the 13" MBPr, which doesnt have the extra video.

    Aluminum pulls the heat *away* from the computer. thats why its hot.
  4. gr8tfly macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2006
    ~119W 34N
    I would heartily recommend the rMBP. The display alone is well worth it. Go with the max RAM you can afford. The difference in CPU clocks probably won't matter too much for your use. The SSD can be upgraded at a later time, if need be (OWC currently sells them, iirc). The first two (RAM/CPU) are not upgradable.

    If you need an optical drive, you can always get Apple's, or a third party USB drive. I wanted to rip some Blu-rays to stream to my Apple TV, so I bought a Samsung Blu-ray burner for about $85 at Amazon. It's bus powered (single cable) and seems to work flawlessly so far. It's not as nice a package as Apple's, but it's not too bad (about disc sized in length/width, but maybe 3/4" thick).

    Haven't run too many battery cycles on mine (I'm home, mostly), but the few times I have run it, I can extrapolate out to 6.5 to 7 hrs. That number is expected to only get better with Mavericks.

    No heating issues for me. Even when it's under full load, the only fairly warm area is the strip behind the keyboard. The palm rest remains comfortable.

    Image retention is a possibility, but in most cases the retention goes away after a few minutes (or blends in with whatever else you're doing). If you end up with a problem display (or anything else), Apple will fix it. I've had mine since Feb., and haven't had any issues (LG).

    As for scrolling lag (or other graphics issues), after a couple of rMBP specific updates, combined with the latest ML and Safari, everything is very smooth. I had originally planned on waiting until the next rev (Haswell) myself, but I can say (especially since those updates have been applied) I don't have any regrets. I'll have enjoyed using this machine for the better part of a year before the Haswell models are available - and, who knows what life will bring? There's always something new. :)

    (15" mid-2012 rMBP, 2.7GHz, 16GB RAM, 768GB SSD)
  5. tgi macrumors 65816


    Aug 29, 2012
  6. sonicrobby macrumors 68020


    Apr 24, 2013
    New Orleans
    Just to point out a few of your issues with the rMBP. There can be a heating issue, but I think thats all user preference. My Asus G73 gaming laptop would change the entire temperature of my room by several degrees, so the heat from the macbook isnt relatively bad to me. But again, this is preference.

    The 1st generation LG screens do tend to have IR problems. Mine did just last week. But even refurb, you have a year of warranty, and Apple will replace the screen for free. I should be getting mine back Friday hopefully!

    Again, the lagginess is all personal preference, I may or may not have it, but if I do, I have never noticed it. You can also change your resolution to a "non-retina" resolution if you feel like it is too choppy for your liking. But regardless, Mavericks is supposed to fix this.
  7. phillyfan9090 macrumors member

    Jul 31, 2013
    does the new 15" feel a lot heavier? portability is important to me but the power of the 15" is nice but im hesitant with the weight
  8. sonicrobby, Aug 13, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2013

    sonicrobby macrumors 68020


    Apr 24, 2013
    New Orleans
    the cMBP is heavier than the rMBP IMO
  9. phillyfan9090 macrumors member

    Jul 31, 2013
    ya i mean the 15" rMBP.. compared to the 13" rmbp
  10. tgi macrumors 65816


    Aug 29, 2012
    The 15" rMBP isn't heavy, it's thinner and lighter than the 15"cMBP.
  11. sonicrobby macrumors 68020


    Apr 24, 2013
    New Orleans
    According to apple the 13" weights 3.57lb while the 15" 4.46lb
    Non retina models: 13" - 4.5lb and the 15" - 5.6lb
  12. pppppenguin macrumors newbie

    Nov 3, 2009
    spent a lot of time in store contemplating this one when I was making my purchase and I certainly think going rmbp was the right option for the below reasons.

    screen res
    looks beautiful at default settings and is useful a higher resolutions for multiple windows, spread sheets, working with images / video.

    feels similar to my mbp 2008 alu yet is 15" vs 13"

    front vents for air intake and when the fans ramp up it's noticeable but not offensive and doesn't make your ears ring

    slim line just seems to fit better everywhere. odd to get used to at first but I'd never go back

    512mb + 650m is weak. the core can put up with more than 512mb of data so give it space to breath. 1GB in the rmbp is constricting at times but it's a better balance than a meagre 512MB

    as standard, no upgrading, shell the cash for the 512GB if you think you will need it further down the line otherwise get the 256GB and make sure you can cope with it. SSD is the way forward for laptops, in terms of speed, drops, reliability, boot times etc. paying nearly the same money for a cmbp and not getting this feels criminal

    optical drive
    or really the lack of. do I miss it? no. have I needed it on the odd occasion? yes. does life go on? yes. it's an old device than needs a good mothballing in my opinion and I'll pay not to have it however shame on you apple for not giving me an extra USB 3 port on that side but I'll forgive you as the immense battery fills the space

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