To buy or not to buy? (13in MBP non-retina)

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by jmkiska, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. jmkiska macrumors newbie

    Oct 10, 2011
    My daughter will be starting college next September, but she already knows she wants a 13in MBP. I'm insisting that she gets the non-retina model because of it's features Apple stripped out of the retina model, mainly the super drive, and the ethernet port. I know from my son's college experience he needed a wired ethernet port because not all of the buildings were wireless, and some professors distributed materials via CD's. With the retina model you always have to carry adapters and an external super drive. Enough background, now the question.

    Should I buy it now or wait to see what Apple's next generation will be? My concern is that Apple will drop the non-retina model completely, leaving no choice but to buy the extra adapters and external super drive for a retina model. If Apple doesn't drop it, what more could they really do to improve it, faster processor, bigger HD, more RAM? Would that be worth waiting for? I seriously doubt they would add a retina display to a fully equipped model because they could have done that this last time around.

    I know no one can predict what Apple will do in the future, but I was wondering if anyone else has the same gut feel about the future on the fully equipped MBP?
  2. Briguyt4 macrumors newbie

    Oct 30, 2012
    Why not wait it out and then see what happens in a year or so? No one can predict how exactly it'll turn out. If you don't like it (no superdrive or ethernet), then just buy refurb.
  3. robvas macrumors 68030

    Mar 29, 2009
    Just by a refurb next summer if they don't make them new anymore.
  4. LeeM macrumors 6502a

    Jan 1, 2012
    i cnt see them dropping the 13" non retina, its by far the most popular variant due to price. it would price out a lot of people who want a pro but cant afford the retina.
  5. idunn macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2008
    Progress marches on

    Retina is the future; the cMBP will be entirely phased out relatively soon.

    For that matter, ethernet and DVDs are increasingly irrelevant. Some definitely still want that functionality, but wireless and that downloaded are becoming the norm. Why distribute CDs when the data can be accessed via a website, assuming the decent broadband most campuses have?

    Aside from having to use an ethernet dongle and external DVD drive, the only reasons not to opt for a 13" rMBP would be they are currently overpriced and underpowered relative to the 15" models; also as version A models there are still some teething problems one is paying a premium to possibly deal with. Much of this will likely be sorted in future iterations.

    So to wait, for what? There will only be incremental improvements to the cMBP, and then as with the white MacBook it will be gone. The option of buying one new, then refurbished, then only used will exist for years. When only as used on eBay or elsewhere, technology will have marched on, and something retina will be the only practical option.

    Might as well buy the cMBP now, and if possibly interested in a retina in a year or two, then maybe consider the cost savings with a refurbished cMBP (in adding RAM and an SSD oneself to bring it up to speed).
  6. AppleAlfred macrumors member


    Nov 23, 2012
    As a student right now, with a MacBook Air, I can tell you that in my experience your worries are without merit. I have rarely if ever not been in a wi-fi zone at school, and if I am there sure isn't an ethernet port around! Further to this almost all content that professors distribute is now through codes that you redeem online, not these CDs that you speak of (what are those anyways...?).

    Save yourself the extra weight and size and buy an Air or Retina, or at least wait until the next update and play the odds because honestly you can buy an external optical drive and get a thunderbolt to ethernet adapter IF you really need them.

    AND, if all else fails like the others have said you can always buy refurb from apple and get this year's model.

    Seriously though, I too made the mistake of not buying an Air for my first year, thinking a little extra weight isn't that bad. Let me tell you, it is! This year having the air has just made a world of difference, trust me!
  7. michial macrumors 6502a


    Sep 15, 2009
    I love the classic. Mine benchmarks faster than my friends retina. I personally dont need the extra pixels. 1440 by 900 is perfectly fine for me. No complaints. Sure the retina looks better but not several hundred dollars better, at least not on my budget. Sure BMWs are nicer than my Honda Accord but its also three times the price. To each their own. I plan on upgrading mine with an OWC SSD next year and still being under the price of a retina. As long as there is a demand for self upgradable computers the classic will remain for awhile to come. A 13 inch or 15 inch classic will be great for you. But if money and not needing to upgrade isnt a concern go for the retina. I mean I imagine if folks can drop 3k on a retina, upgrading to a new computer every couple years is in their means and no big deal to begin with.
  8. 262Runnr macrumors regular


    Jul 21, 2008
    I purchased my non-retina because they are so easy to upgrade & work on....besides if you get a refurb from the Apple store it is very significant savings over a retina model.
    I considered a 13" MBA and my MBP weighs about a pound more and the footprint is pretty comparable so I don't have a real issue with weight or size.
  9. Hpye macrumors 6502

    Oct 11, 2011
    Dont buy 13 inch rMBP, buy 15, It is more powerful.
  10. T5BRICK macrumors G3


    Aug 3, 2006
    Wait until next summer, maybe even during the back to school sales they usually do, and buy then. If they've dropped the cMBP, you can always buy a refurb. If you've changed your mind about the retina model(you should, even 5 years ago the community college I was attending had WiFi everywhere and nobody distributed materials via CD/DVD), they'll likely have updated it around then.
  11. jmkiska thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 10, 2011
    Thanks for all the great feedback. I'm still leaning towards the high-end 13" cMBP because of it's price and "included" features. We have meetings scheduled in the next few weeks at the universities where my daughter has already been accepted. Based on their recommendations for a computer for her intended major, biomedical engineering, we will make our final decision.
  12. Krazy Bill macrumors 68030

    Krazy Bill

    Dec 21, 2011
    This pretty much sums it up my experience.

    My daughter is in her 2nd year at university. Although the rMBP wasn't available at the time, I too went through the delima of a choosing the 13" pro or the Air.

    My concern was also the ethernet port.

    I selected for her the pro which was overkill. I remember moving her into the dorm and with cable in hand, started looking for an ethernet port. They don't exist. It's all wi-fi and has been that way for a long time :D

    Next I started touring some of her professors. They mostly use old, antiquated PC's and special online websites for her classes. She's never ever used the superdrive.

    I really recommend you look at the MBA. At the very worst, she can park an external superdrive at her desk for the rare occasions she would need it but will appreciate the lightweight form factor of the MacBook Air in her travels across campus.

    You've got the right idea. Ask and investigate the school first.
  13. michial macrumors 6502a


    Sep 15, 2009
    Great idea the classic is way more computer than most will ever need, plus you get all the traditional elements and upgradability and cost factors to boot. To complain about weight and performance of a classic mbp is really quite silly unless you are a frail weak person whose profession demands the highest end for rendering and creating. Good choice!
  14. jmkiska thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 10, 2011
    It's not all wi-fi out there. Here is a clip from the Residence Hall website of one of the universities my daughter is considering attending:

    "Each residence hall room on campus is wired with fiber-optic cable that enables students to have a direct connection from the computer in their room to their Robert Morris e-mail account and the Internet. There is no need to have an ISP such as AOL, Comcast, etc. To use this service, students will need an Ethernet network card for their computer. Although most computers are internet ready, these cards can be purchased at any computer store. Additionally, laptop computer users can take advantage of the many wireless hot spots on campus. Go to Wireless for more information."

    According to this every room has a hard-wired Ethernet port, and there are many wi-fi hot spots around campus, so it's not all wi-fi. When we visit the campus I'll take my iPad along to see how wide spread the wi-fi really is around the campus.

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