Retina really matter?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by smitty8202, Jul 21, 2016.

  1. smitty8202 macrumors member


    Jan 18, 2011
    Okinawa, Japan
    I plan on getting a new macbook or macbook pro. trying to stick to a budget so does retina really matter if i plan on hooking my laptop to a monitor. i figured it wouldnt matter too much and could save some coin on the laptop and put it towards a good monitor.
  2. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    It definitely does matter, because if you're buying new, the only non-Retina MacBook Pro hasn't been updated since 2012 and runs terribly.

    The difference between the 13" cMBP and rMBP is (in favour of the rMBP):

    - More RAM as standard
    - Quicker RAM
    - Thinner
    - Lighter
    - 2/3 hours better battery life
    - HDMI & 2xThunderbolt 2
    - Considerably faster storage (PCI-e, at least twice as quick as if you put a SATA SSD in a cMBP)
    - New Force Touch trackpad
    - Better CPU
    - Better GPU
    - Considerably better display

    If you're looking to buy used, you can pick the 13" 2012 cMBP at around 50% off RRP, so that would be a better investment.

    With regards to the Retina display itself, it is gorgeous. Looks like the icons are painted on. Absolutely beautiful balance between colours. I can't praise it enough. And it's not brand-new tech, so more and more people are developing to be optimised for the Retina display. If you're buying a portable Mac in 2016 for longevity, it's just a no brainer to get a non-Retina IMO.
  3. Efrem macrumors regular

    Jul 30, 2009
    keysofanxiety has summarized reasons in favor of buying a computer that happens to have a Retina display, besides the display. The bottom line is that Retina and non-Retina Macs have all sorts of other differences as well. Many of those differences will matter even if you use an external monitor.

    However, if you really want to know if the display matters, isn't there an Apple store in Naha? Just look at the two side by side and decide for yourself. When I did that a while back for a 15" MacBook Pro, in anticipation of the day that my 17" late-2011 MBP finally has to be replaced, I found the Retina display a lot better. The standard one is good, but side by side I found the difference amazing.
  4. Revo Runner macrumors newbie

    Revo Runner

    Jul 4, 2016
    that is so parroted and completely wrong! It has all the updated Software "El Capitan" and hardware except the processor (2.5 & turbo'd to 3.1 Ghz) and ram, everything else has been updated, 3.0 USB, 4.4 Bluetooth etc. Mine was built in May 2016, I paid 899$, installed a SSD 240GB 59$ and 16gig ram 55$, plus without Retina you don't get "staingate" Retina is only good if you use the highest resolution which makes all the text small and the human eye cannot detect all the benefits of Retina it's useless unless you do photo-editing for a living IMO. I got 9hr on a full charge surfing the net, If you buy a new "Retina" MacBook make sure you get the ram you need because you cannot add it afterwards (soldered) minimum 16gig costs is 1600$, I have 1013$ in mine and the higher priced MacBooks cannot do anything this one can't and hardly any faster. The only reason it has "2012" in the discribtion is because the 2012 model is the last one with a DVD/RW installed.
  5. keysofanxiety, Jul 21, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2016

    keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    USB 3.0, yes.
    4.4 Bluetooth, no. It has BT 4.0.
    It doesn't have 802.11ac either.

    New OS doesn't mean it's new hardware.

    No, the only reason it has "2012" in the description is because that is when it was released, and not a single thing inside has changed since then.

    Built in May 2016, using hardware from Mid-2012. Sorry you paid 2016 prices for 4-year-old tech. You're not the first one who's been caught out by this.
  6. 8692574 Suspended


    Mar 18, 2006
    I would get an Air, plenty of performance and f you do not care about the retina they are well worthed!
  7. Revo Runner macrumors newbie

    Revo Runner

    Jul 4, 2016
    When you get the updates the hardware is also updated, sorry about the bluetooth version I was wrong, it is updated to "
    Apple Bluetooth Software Version:5.0" from earlier version 4.4
    you never owned this new model so making the statement "not a single thing inside has changed since then" is wrong. You need to research it, don't go to eBay go to and online retailer that sells the new version 2012 model. I have owned both and returned the Retina because it wasn't worth it to me.
  8. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    Whaaaaa??? The hardware HAS NOT been updated. Your model has identical hardware specifications to a 13" Mid-2012 model. Because it is a 13" Mid-2012 model. That's why it says 13" Mid-2012 in the description. It doesn't matter when you bought it.

    No. Hardware. Has. Changed. Since. 2012.

    You have newer software on it. That is it.
  9. smitty8202 thread starter macrumors member


    Jan 18, 2011
    Okinawa, Japan
    I'm not sure if there is or isn't one as I have only been on island for a few months and haven't really ventured out too much yet. They do sell them at the px so I may have to go in and do a really good side by side.

    When I comes to computers and resolution I'm lost. I mainly use them for Internet email and excel for work. So I don't really know what the best resolution would be. I am mainly looking to get a new one for making apps. I have another thread started over in the iOS programming forum but want to get started making apps for iOS. No prior knowledge of it but whatever monitor/resolution will work with that I'll go for it.
  10. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    Not to worry. You can't really go wrong with any portable Mac (except the non-Retina 13" MacBook Pro).

    - The MacBook Air is a great budget performer with really good battery life.

    - The Retina MacBook prioritises ultraportability over all else, which is why it only has one port.

    - The (Retina) MacBook Pro is the flagship, with all the latest features.

    Personally I'd go for a 13" rMBP, but you can't go wrong with a 13" MBA either. For your usage I wouldn't recommend looking outside those two options.
  11. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    Plus Apple no longer keeps the 2012 MBP (with DVD) in the stores, and it is hard to find one for sale on the apple site. and it only has bluetooth 4.0.

    How in the world could a software update produce updated hardware anyway?
  12. runebinder macrumors 6502a


    Apr 2, 2009
    Nottingham, UK
    I've got a 15" Retina MacBook Pro, personally I'd say yes as the screen is gorgeous. I also agree with keysofanxiety in regards to the hardware.

    Sorry but you are wrong on a few accounts here. It doesn't have all the same hardware.

    The Retina has PCI-E NVME based SSD as opposed to SATA III AHCI SSD on the non Retina. So the storage on the current retina has quicker read and writes with much lower latency as NVME it doesn't require register reads to issue commands unlike AHCI.

    Retina - Intel Iris 6100 Graphics vs non Retina Intel HD4000 graphics. This also means the retina MacBook Pro has a Broadwell CPU and the non Retina has a Ivy Bridge CPU so the Retina will have a more efficient processor built on a smaller nm scale and supports more instructions sets. There are a lot more factors than GHz when comparing CPUs.

    Retina - LPDDR3 1866MHz RAM vs non Retina - DDR3 1600MHz RAM. So faster and more power efficient memory in the Retina.

    Thunderbolt 2 (20Gbps), on the Retina and Thunderbolt (10Gbps), on the non Retina.

    Wireless AC on the Retina and wireless N on the non Retina. If the OP has an Apple Watch and wants to make use of the auto unlock feature in macOS Sierra then they'll need AC.

    So there is big difference between the two hardware wise.

    The bit about Retina only being good at the highest resolution is nonsense. I went from a non Retina 15" MBP to a Retina 15" and due to the scaling the screen estate is the same however the Retina is so much sharper. Also photos are displayed at the higher resolution whilst the editor UI is still scaled.

    About the only thing I can agree with you on is making sure the required amount of RAM is selected as it can't be upgraded later. The same goes for the SSD as they are also soldered in the newest Retinas.
  13. adib macrumors regular


    Jun 11, 2010
    "2/3 hours better battery life" – so that's 40 minutes more of real usage time on batteries?
  14. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    No, Apple are pretty spot on with their times actually. Often they exceed the quoted times. There are lots of threads here about people getting 14+ hours from their MBAs when they were first released. Very impressive.

    They're not like HP where 'up to 8 hours' means 'you might get 8 hours on dimmest brightness with a Word document open'.
  15. macintoshmac macrumors 68030


    May 13, 2010
    Buddy, get your facts right. Really. Software update does not update the hardware. There is a reason it is called hardware.

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