Retina or not?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by pmontanarella, Nov 2, 2012.

  1. pmontanarella macrumors 6502

    Oct 12, 2012
    Vancouver, Canada
    Hi all,

    I am in the market for a new MacBook Pro soon. Up until recently I was sticking to the 13" Retina MBP, however, after reading plenty of reviews, I noticed everyone is saying it is underpowered and that the Intel HD 4000 graphics can't cope well enough with the high-res screen. I therefore turned to the MacBook Pro non-retina model as an option. While weight is a concern for me as I do commute for an hour each day and this machine would come with me, I want this machine to last at least 4 years and to run at decent speeds and from what I've read the 13" Retina MBP doesn't seem to be handling that quite well. Here are the specs and prices for each:

    Retina MBP:
    Intel Core i5 dual-core at 2.5gHz
    Intel HD Graphics 4000
    8GB of DDR3L Ram
    512GB of flash storage

    Non-Retina MBP:
    Intel Core i7 dual-core at 2.9gHz
    Intel HD Graphics 4000
    8GB DDR3 Ram (is this further upgradable or is 8GB the limit for the 13" MB, I mean upgradable by yourself, not Apple Built-To-Order)
    512GB SSD

    The price difference between the two is €100 less for the non-Retina

    Unfortunately the price for the Retina MBP above is the maximum I can do and so I cannot go for the 15" (with 512GB of flash). Please let me know which one you think I should get. Also, do you think the non-Retina MBPs are future-proof? I mean do you think the latest version will still get OS X (and eventually OS 11) updates for a least the next 3/4 years?

    Thanks so much in advance

  2. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    I think it depends on how much you'll stress the CPU vs how much you'll require the higher resolution.

    As a developer, the i7 would be compelling, even more so than the resolution improvements. Also, the RAM is upgradeable in the non-Retina MBP (a plus).

    You can always add an external monitor at home to the MBP, but you can't make the i5 faster, nor can you modify the RAM, and in 4 years, 8GB will seem meager.

    That said, either one will be fine in 4 years, but my opinion is that you will benefit more from the i7 and the upgradable RAM. Still... truly, neither one will disappoint you. You need to make the personal decision about screen resolution and weight vs power.
  3. stevelam macrumors 65816

    Nov 4, 2010
    'lasting at least 4 years' depends on exactly what you're workflow is and programs you currently rely on to do work. since you don't mention a thing about anything you do, its pointless to ask.

    if all you're doing is surfing the web/typing up documents/watching movies/listening to music then it'll be just fine for many years after. if you require the latest photoshop/FCP/cad etc etc, that depends on how they change their system requirements.

    as for OSX compatibility, apple likes to cut off support after 3-4 years. my 2008 macbook is the last of that lineup to support mountain lion.
  4. pmontanarella thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 12, 2012
    Vancouver, Canada
    Yes, I also have the 2008 MacBook and was so happy when I saw the it still made it on the supported list! As for requirements I am still in high school, I type a lot, music, movies, light-gaming, light video editing (iMovie) and Photoshop for photoshop class in school.
  5. renosausage macrumors regular

    Sep 22, 2012
    I'm not sure why people have such a problem with the 13" Retina MBP

    Mine is completely fine and even runs Final Cut Pro X like a charm.

    This laptop will last you 3 to 4 years and you won't have to worry about upgrades making your experience obsolete.

    You have to consider the Retina Display. This is a feature that Apple is trying to move towards with all their products.

    If Apple is moving in the Retina direction then a Retina MBP would be a better choice for you.

    The Retina screen is absolutely beautiful and worth the extra money in my opinion.

    I had an 2009 Macbook Air that ran Diablo 3, World of Warcraft, Parallels with Windows 7, Final Cut Pro X, and Logic Pro!!!!

    So I know if my Macbook Air could run all those programs then your new 13" rMBP will do it.

  6. stevelam macrumors 65816

    Nov 4, 2010
    OT but 2009 macbook air that ran D3? i HIGHLY doubt it. it has the same gpu as my old macbook (9400m) and it definitely does not run D3 in any playable fashion. and you ran FCPx, parallels etc with only 2gb of RAM? please.
  7. coolstuff92 macrumors newbie

    Oct 19, 2012
    Do you badly need a 512GB SSD? I'm not saying you should settle for 256 GB but if you can, then go for the 15". This should come out cheaper than the 13" retina with 512GB. Also, do you know anyone at university? If so then steal their student discount!
  8. Suno macrumors 6502


    Dec 12, 2011
    I bought the non-retina higher-tier MBP just last week. I received it and so far I'm very pleased with the performance. I lug it around with me around college all day everyday and I can tell you the weight is definitely not that bad. Performance-wise, it has slightly better specs than the retina, and the fact that I replaced the harddrive with my own SSD helps. Overall, I know I'll be keeping this thing for the next 4 or 5 years.

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