Retina vs non-Retina MacBook Pro

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by episcientist, Feb 15, 2014.

  1. episcientist macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2014
    #1
    Hi everyone!

    I am planning to purchase a new laptop soon and would like to get my first MacBook Pro. I am a student so I can get the education pricing. I had my heart set on the 13" Retina base model ($1199 with discount) until I saw that the 13" non-Retina is much cheaper ($999 with discount). It looks like it is the mid-2012 model. At that price is the non-Retina a good deal or is it too outdated?
     
  2. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #2
    It's too outdated. The 5400rpm drive is also torturous as hell (takes about 45 seconds to 1 minute for boot up. The rMBPs boot up in just 9 seconds).

    The retina screen is also very crisp and sharp. You'll never go back to the non-retina once you use a retina.

    I'd say the base rMBP is insufficient. Go for a 2.4GHz/256GB/8GB model if you intend to keep it for at least the next 4-5 years.

    I suggest you read this thread if you want to know more about RAM usage over time: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1686227
     
  3. JunkyJeff macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2014
    #3
    I am in this same dilemma, and currently testing out both. It honestly depends what your uses are and how important the retina display is to you. The Mid 2012 you are speaking of is thicker/heavier by ~1lb I believe if that is a factor for you. The CPU is nearly identical except you can expect better battery life from the 13" retina(Haswell) which is about 9 hours and 7 hours for the non-retina.

    The speed of the PCIe won't be matched if you throw in a SSD in non retina.(Those are still upgradable and serviceable, meaning you can upgrade ram/HD) The retina is what you get is what you're stuck with. In the end, if upgrading is important to you and you can live with out retina, a lot of people are still pleased with their cMBP (classic macbook pro /nonretina) save some $$ and then then use that later down the road to upgrade. Or if you want the lastest and greatest rMBP is probably what you want. Good luck deciding! I know I am having a tough time too :p
     
  4. BasicGreatGuy Contributor

    BasicGreatGuy

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    Sep 21, 2012
    Location:
    In the middle of several books.
    #4
    I don't think the standard 13" is outdated. I use mine all the time for college and casual use. And as an older college student, the lack of retina hasn't been an issue, much less the stock hard drive. So what, if it takes 30 seconds to boot the Mac instead of 10.

    If I ever want to upgrade the stock hard drive, I can. At this point in time, the drive is running well. Purchasing a new drive to gain 20 seconds of boot time etc., isn't going to make or break my college GPA.

    You can run the same programs on the standard as the retina.

    A computer is a tool not an investment, as so many here treat it as, with their day trading mentality and their constant desire to have the latest so they can brag on a forum, that they have the latest.

    Why spend extra if you don't need to, especially if money is an issue ?
     
  5. gngan macrumors 68000

    gngan

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    MacWorld
    #5
    I am using early 2011 13'' MBP and it's definitely NOT outdated.

    Speaking of which you need...Depends on your needs. I need storage (lots of RAW photos) rather than Retina. I would have saved the money to buy 128 gb SSD and use the HDD that came with it to put it in optical bay or external enclosure.
     
  6. episcientist thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2014
    #6
    Thanks everyone for your input! Looks like I will be going for the Retina model afterall. Best Buy currently has a student deal for $150 off any MacBook. I have an iPhone 5s and Retina iPad Mini so it will be great to not have to compromise screen resolution moving between devices. The only downside I see is the lack of ports, i.e. optical drive and ethernet. Makes sense for the MacBook Air but I would expect the Pro line to have a full set of ports.
     
  7. codo macrumors 6502

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    May 17, 2006
    Location:
    England, United Kingdom
    #7
    I would also consider that you cannot upgrade RAM on an rMBP. I'm hoping the next iteration of the rMBP will bring back user upgradeable RAM, as I'm not keen on buying a new one until then.

    Recently upgraded the RAM in my 2009 MBP from 4GB to 8GB and it's like a new machine. I want the ability to do that in 4 or 5 years with a £1700 machine!
     
  8. leman macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #8
    Then buy the 16GB now. In 4 to 5 years, 16GB aftermarket RAM is not likely to be any cheaper than it is now anyway.
     
  9. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #9

    I think you are not paying attention to the Apple laptop strategy. The push is for all solid state machines that are not intended for owner updates. You don't have to like it. Not liking it will not change Apple's strategy.

    My niece has a 2010 7,1 that has 2GB (a sad joke) and 250GB 5400 HD (another joke). I already jumped up the memory to 8GB (she was amazed at the performance increase) and her 500GB Samsung EVO 840 SSD will be here on Monday. I told her....after that upgrade....time for a new machine. ;)
     
  10. Gregintosh macrumors 68000

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    Jan 29, 2008
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    Chicago
    #10
    I view computers as tools, and as such it makes sense to buy the best available option that makes your life easier.

    For the person who has an older model and is happy with it, that is fine, he already put some time in with that machine. Though if you are buying a new one it makes little sense to get something that hasn't been significantly updated in years (almost 2 years now with no update at all) to save a trivial sum of money.

    I get it that for some people every dollar counts but if you live in the first world then $100 or $200 isn't a big deal for something you'll use daily for several hours over the next 3+ years. Btw, $200 over 3 years is 18 cents per day.
     
  11. princealyy macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2011
    #11
    Sure the decision is made, but the retina screen is great, I was going to get a MBA but decided to do a rMBP just cause the screen and the weight really became a non issue on the new lighter frame.

    Good luck on your decision, Also get the upgraded ram, so glad I did.

    Enjoy
     
  12. episcientist thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2014
    #12
    A quick update - went to the Apple store today and they were able to match Best Buy's student deal of $150 off. So excited to finally own my first MacBook!
     
  13. Intelligent macrumors 6502a

    Intelligent

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    Aug 7, 2013
    #13

    Retina MacBook Pro is superior, the screen is amazing, atleast on 15inch but its the same thing on 13, and the retina has a pcie ssd which is fast.
     
  14. KevinC867 macrumors 6502a

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    Location:
    Saratoga, CA
    #14
    I wouldn't worry too much about the lack of ports and optical drive. The key thing is that it has USB 3.0. That's all you really need. My setup is to have just one USB 3.0 connection from my rMBP 15 to a hub where I connect a couple of hard drives, a Blu-Ray drive and a USB 3.0 to Gigabit Ethernet adapter.

    If you have another Mac or Windows machine with an optical drive, it's simple to access that from your rMBP as a Remote Disk.
     
  15. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    #15
    try to get ed discount on a refurbed unit....and get it on tax free weekend!!!!!
     
  16. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #16
    Congrats, and its nice to see you got them to price match.
     
  17. codo macrumors 6502

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    England, United Kingdom
    #17
    Absolutely, but not building machines I want will stop me from opening my wallet.

    Sure, I'm just one customer, but - in my opinion - it is not an unreasonable ask on on a 'Pro' machine.
     
  18. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    Atlanta
    #18
    indeed, vote with your wallet. That is what an open marketplace is all about....choices.
     
  19. Veradun macrumors member

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    Jan 19, 2013
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #19
    I've had my Retina 15" for just about a year now, and believe me when I say that the screen quality is just phenomenal - I could go back to a non-Retina screen and I could adjust to the lower pixel density. But I can't even glance at a non-Retina screen any more without seeing jaggies and pixels. It's especially noticeable in type fonts.

    The trade-off for this excellent screen is the lack of user upgrades. It comes down to how much you want to tinker with your laptop. If you don't really tinker, go with the Retina 13" and the upgrades you find necessary. The non-Retina may be cheaper by $200 but it's older tech and plus, the screen doesn't even hold a candle to the Retina. To each their own, though.

    In the end, it's all about what you'll use it for. You said you were a student, so a non-Retina will serve you well if you're just taking notes and typing up a thesis. If you're a stronger visual media consumer/producer, consider the Retina.

    Just my two cents worth :)
     
  20. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #20
    It may not be unreasonable, but I think its counter to apple's sealed system approach.
     
  21. leman macrumors 604

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #21
    Makes, sense, but again - what are you gaining from upgradeable RAM besides potentially saving $40? If you need a 'Pro' machine with as much RAM as possible, buy the 16GB model. Its as good as it will ever get with this generation.
     
  22. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #22
    I will say the pro moniker is more marketing then actual design intentions. I understand the desire to have some user replaceable components and I too think that's a good idea but I'd not get hung up on the term pro and expect certain features. Apple added to word pro to differentiate the MBP with the MacBook back in the day.
     
  23. KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020

    KUguardgrl13

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    May 16, 2013
    Location:
    Kansas, USA
    #23
    128 or 256?

    Either way, probably better to go retina or MBA than non-retina these days. Yes, the non-retina is upgradeable for those that care about such things. But in my experience, the SSD and upgraded connectors should hold up much better over time compared to the non-retina machines. I started college in 2009 with the 13" MBP from that year. It did pretty well for the first year and a half, but then it developed a sleep/wake issue and later started burning through hard drive cables. Extremely inconvenient and stressful for a college student! As far as I can tell, it was all due to transporting in my backpack with textbooks. After getting my rMBP, the 09 does just fine after a battery replacement and a Mavericks upgrade from Snow Leopard. No more sleep/wake issue (knock on wood), and the hard drive cable has maintained its connection.

    So suffice to say that if you had gone non-retina, you were running the risk of losing your data because of outdated, more fragile hardware. They did apparently fix the hard drive cable design flaw for the 2011 and 2012 models, but the risk to the hard drive when transporting the laptop is still there. Of course SSDs can still fail (and if they do, there is NO way to recover the data), so backing up or saving to a cloud is still important.

    My recommendation would have been to look at the MBA. Yes, the screen isn't quite as good, and for some the form factor is a turn-off (personally I don't like it). But it's a better option than the non-retina pro if price is a concern. I've also heard good things about the refurbished store, though I've never bought one myself.
     
  24. episcientist thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Feb 11, 2014
    #24
    I went with 128GB since I store a lot of my stuff on the cloud. Now that I've had the chance to use the Retina for a few days I'm so glad I got this over the non-Retina. The display is amazing for reading long hours (which I do a lot of) and the performance, battery life, and aesthetics of the device are far superior to anything I've previously owned. I did take a look at the MBA but preferred the higher resolution of the Retina display. I also liked that the Retina had a full mobile processor instead of the ULV processor found in the MBA.
     
  25. kramjam macrumors 6502

    kramjam

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    Feb 3, 2008
    Location:
    California
    #25
    Non retina isn't a bad deal at all with the education pricing, but the MBP with Retina is just so nice once you're used to it. The boot up time and overall responsiveness is just amazing compared to the MBP. Spend a little extra and get a solid machine to last you longer.
     

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