Retina vs. Regular

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by sap12690, Mar 5, 2013.


Which model do you think would be best?

  1. 13" Macbook Air

    13 vote(s)
  2. 13" Macbook Pro

    42 vote(s)
  3. 13" Macbook Pro Retina

    89 vote(s)
  1. sap12690 macrumors 6502

    Jan 5, 2011
    So Im buying a macbook and ive been comparing some models and trying to decide what i should go for.... Any help would be greatly appreciated. I need it for school and all im probably going to be doing on it and is working with word documents and working in photoshop and illustrator.

    Im still debating on three models:

    13" Macbook Air
    13" Macbook Pro
    13" Macbook Pro RETINA

    My biggest concern is having enough storage and that's where I keep going back and forth, is 128 GB enough? (Both Air and Retina have a 128gb). Is paying more for the retina display worth it?
  2. Orlandoech macrumors 68040


    Jun 2, 2011
    Salt Lake City, UT
  3. Applefanboy8153 macrumors regular

    Sep 3, 2012
    I use a 128 SSD with my rMBP, it is more than enough, also if I move all my media files to an external HDD, i am left with almost 55GB free space!
  4. Laco macrumors 6502

    Apr 23, 2008
    For me it is not enough. My previous laptop was a white Macbook with 120 and it was always full. In addition I also had to store many files on an external drive. Constantly, running out of space and having to move files back and forth from an external hard drive made me extremely angry. That's why I decided for the 13 Pro. Sure an HDD is slower than an SDD but for me size matters much more than speed.
  5. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    I pulled the trigger on a 13" maxed out rMBP last week...Deliver Monday...I'm hoping it's going to be capable of the work I do. I was torn between the 15" and this one, but I guess if I find that the real-estate really isn't compensation for the Retina aspect, I can return it and buy the bigger one.
  6. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I think the 13" rMBP out of the selection you provided is the best. My 15" rMBP is great and so my opinion is to get the retina display if you can.
  7. Costino1 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 1, 2012
    I own the Macbook Pro Retina 15" 2013. Love issues with capacity. If I'm at home, I just utilize the HD attached to my Airport Extreme.

    I have a Mac at home which I use as my 'base station' and just need this computer to do tasks on the road or entertainment. No problems.
  8. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    That's reassuring...Many are saying the same. My aim here is to have a small form factor laptop which is capable of being a work tool as well, so I went for the 512MB SSD and the 3GHZ CPU. from what most have said, and from my own experience with retina, albeit only on my iPad, I think the 13" is going to fit in perfectly.
  9. urkel, Mar 6, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013

    urkel macrumors 68030

    Nov 3, 2008
    A few years ago with the MacBook Air I tried to live within the constraints of 256GB SSD by using an HDD connected to my Time Capsule but the speed disparity was so huge thatit always felt like a superglued temporary fix rather than an actual solution.


    Thats why the rMBP is such a mixed bag of "awesome" and "disappointment". The machine can do so much, but its also so limited by the storage solutions Apple offers. And thats most disappointing when you consider that Apple created the Fusion Drive solution yet didnt equip the hardware to actually implement it.


    I'm still deciding on whether or not Retina is worth it. If based purely on the screen then I'd say yes. But based on the storage options you lose by choosing a Retina screen then I think I lean more towards getting a standard 13" MBP. Its cheaper, easy to upgrade and has the highest resale value of Apple's entire lineup.
  10. Sean76 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 10, 2013
    I have a rMBP with 128GB glued (very hard) to

    For my needs it works fine, the screen is plain beautiful, and I'm able to run Parallels on it without a hitch.

    Will I run out of space in the Future? Maybe down the road in about two years or so, and if that happens I'll either grab an external drive, or replace my machine for whatever is new and current that has more storage on board.

    The way I feel, I'll jump off that bridge when I get there. For right now, tomorrow, next week, month, year...It's fine for me!
  11. Rocketpaul macrumors regular

    Aug 3, 2012
    I think one of the biggest limitations with the retina will be the storage. You can't afford to horde a tonne of files.

    I got the 256 13" after having a 500gb HDD laptop. I thought it would be a tight fit, but when i came down to it, i figured a lot of stuff on my 500gb laptop were old files that i didn't need. Obviously this won't be the case for everyone but i must admit most of my HDD was filled with films that i had already watched etc.

    if you can get over the storage limits then the retina is the way to go
  12. maxosx macrumors 68020

    Dec 13, 2012
    Southern California
    This situation is where it really pays to have a home network. With an array of drives, NAS, and a solid backup routine, one doesn't need a huge HDD or SSD in their laptop. :)
  13. chrisrosemusic1 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 31, 2012
    Northamptonshire, England
    ACTUALLY, the SSD is user replaceable but will void your warranty - OWC sell an 'Aura' drive to replace the 128 where necessary. Go on Youtube, it looks very simple to swap out.

    I am very happy with the rMBP. The form factor is amazing and you still get the punch of the i5 2.5 over the Air's.

    The screen is beautiful and over time more and more apps will support it.

    Using the 13" MBP I had after I received this was almost laughable. The weight, bulkiness, and poor screen resolution just made it feel so dated by comparison.

    That's gone now and I'll never look back. I partitioned an external 500GB for a 128 Time Machine backup and 370 for any large files. I have my entire iTunes library on my SSD and any apps I use.

    Very happy with my purchase.
  14. idunn, Mar 6, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013

    idunn macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2008
    Storage and other considerations

    Some can live with 128GB of storage happily, others would never consider it. So enough—enough for what?

    It depends in part on not only what your uses will be, but how you prefer to work. With Photoshop, for instance, RAW picture files tend to be rather large. If you only ever deal with a few, and a modest photo library, then you may need relatively little space. If exceeding that (and if not today, then in time), then how happy will you be transferring files from (what is likely to be) a slower HDD external, or just working from files on that slower drive? Generally, and of course this individually subjective, one would prefer to have all that commonly accessed on the internal drive. All the more if it is SDD, and the external not.

    One exception would be where video is involved, as it could be near impossible to have a large enough internal drive to deal with all of it. Even if you never work with it, just one HD movie from iTunes can be in the neighborhood of 5GB alone. That adds up. Files such as that can almost by necessity end up on an external, and in that case no big deal as iTunes can access them automatically once moved.

    You may wish to pass on the Air for graphic design, as, even with a higher resolution, its screen is not all that good. That of the MacBook Pro is decent and satisfactory, with better color gamut, for one, than the Air. The retina is obviously the best. Look at them all side by side in a store and you'll quickly see the difference.

    Would these all be purchased new? If not, then aside from GHz and anything else, consider the GPU. If you are not dealing with video or gaming, then not as much an issue. Otherwise, make sure it is new enough to have the Intel HD 4000. Even the Intel HD 3000 is a big step down in performance. The 13" retina comes standard with the Intel HD 4000, but only the newer models of the MacBook Pro or Air.

    Whether the retina display is worth its price premium only you can decide. One might rationalize its need due graphic design use, although a lot of fine work has been done with the cMBP and monitors of similar quality. In my estimation the 13" retina, even with Apple's recent price reduction, remains over priced and under powered. It lacks the quad core ability of its larger 15" sibling; also without dedicated graphics, so relying solely on the Intel HD 4000. Which by most accounts seems just enough to get the job done with all those many more pixels.

    There are also reports of these retinas developing serious image retention problems, this often appearing only months after purchase. In short, one is rolling the dice to an extent with these expensive Version A models. Even as otherwise tempting.

    All the more if you could buy one at a discount. There are none presently available from Apple, but only a couple weeks ago a refurbished 13" retina, with 8GB RAM/256GB of storage, could be had for $1,359. That comes close to equivalency in what a refurbished 13" cMBP would cost if one then added a SSD and more RAM themselves. That could be a harder decision, or perhaps one not at all if really wanting a retina in the first place.

    One caution, though, if opting for a cMBP with an upgraded SSD. Apple only supports TRIM on its own SSD's, not any third party as one would install on their own. With the retina this is decided, as it comes with one and you cannot later change it. So the advantage of the cMBP in being able to easily swap out the HDD for any size SSD you like. Or, also the option of adding 16GB of RAM, versus the limit of 8GB with the 13" retina. But back to TRIM, being generally advisable. Some feel they can live without it. There are other workarounds to enable it with third party SSD's. But with any software update by Apple, you may have to reenable it. Not to mention the hassle of dealing with SSD firmware updates. Buy the internal SSD from Apple and either of these potential problems is a non issue. But it will cost you. And possibly in other ways down the road if you opt to handle this on your own.

    So where and what? With the advent of Haswell this year—likely seen introduced in the retina models, Air, possibly cMBP, in Q3, or autumn of this year—one may well wish to wait until then, if able. Particularly with the 13" retina, Haswell should decidedly improve both its battery life and graphics performance. The Air would also benefit from this, and may as well see some significant changes to its overall design.

    Thus it seems inadvisable to buy any Air model presently, unless happy with what will shortly be superseded by something more tempting and powerful.

    The cMBP in some respects the only safe bet, as a known quantity. It will be discontinued, possibly with this next model cycle. Those wishing the option of upgrading RAM and the HDD on their own will prefer it. Others not, as it will surely be soon discontinued and so somewhat dated. Although also currently representing the most power possible for the money in an Apple notebook.

    And the retina? The future. If one off to a not always solid start in its first iteration. A lovely screen (if remaining as such, or then dealing in having it fixed under warranty), but not really penciling out on a cost per performance measure. If a refurbished unit at the right price, then an all the more tempting and harder decision.
  15. kdoug macrumors 6502a


    Jun 2, 2010
    Iowa City, IA USA
    Good Post.
  16. Acorn macrumors 68020


    Jan 2, 2009
    well this poll is in the macbook pro section so naturally there will be more macbook pro votes in the macbook pro thread.
  17. skaertus macrumors 68040


    Feb 23, 2009
    It seems so.

    But the retina MacBook Pro is the best of the three. No contest. It is more expensive, but that is another story.
  18. sap12690 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 5, 2011
    thanks for all the advice!!! It is greatly appreciated. Money is tight, so i am looking for the best, most affordable option.
  19. MBPDiva, Mar 6, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013

    MBPDiva macrumors regular

    Nov 1, 2008
    on Orion's Belt
    I just ordered a 15 inch cMBP today. I considered the 15 inch retina MBP but I read so many poor reviews about retina. So I ordered the MBP 2.7GHz, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD HD with 15 inch hi-res glossy monitor. My old MBP (which I'm typing on now) is a 2008 15 inch 2.5Ghz, 4GB RAM, and it still rocks! The only reason I'm upgrading is to get more RAM to handle my CPU intensive Graphics programs. But I intend to continue using my little workhorse MBP '08. :)
  20. xShane macrumors 6502a


    Nov 2, 2012
    United States
    I'd recommend the 13" MBP unless you want to pay through the roof for maxed out 16GB RAM on the rMBP.
  21. urkel macrumors 68030

    Nov 3, 2008
    Thank god theres not comma police, because, you'd get a life, sentence. ;)

    Anyway, I bought an open box 15" cMBP and rMBP to use for a few days and decided that the existence of Retina makes it hard to own a non-retina. So I sold the cMBP and am now trying to live life with 256GB and an amazing retina screen.
  22. Mr MM macrumors 65816

    Mr MM

    Jun 29, 2011
    look for promos there are tons of places now that sell the 256gb version at 1500ish
  23. Sean76 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 10, 2013
    Poor reviews?

    I've heard nothing bad from anyone I know that has the 15 inch variation. If were talking about the web not being 100% prepared for the retina screens technology, that's a whole different convo!
  24. adjeff8 macrumors 6502


    Nov 18, 2012
    I think that you are going to find that the display is not as sharp and defined as on you 2008 model. I have the 2009 15" MBP and I bought the 2012 "15 and I returned it for another then returned THAT one because the displays were inferior to my old MBP. Unacceptable. I have store credit now and will buy the 15 inch retina when Haswell comes out
  25. uiop. macrumors 68020


    Jul 22, 2008
    Grand Rapids, MI
    The Retina display is worth it alone. I'm a student, so there are MacBooks all over the place, and the difference in clarity is night and day. When I go to use my friends' MacBooks, I literally feel the need to squint. Text looks so fuzzy on regular MacBook Pros.

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