Why does the non-rMBP cost more than the rMBP?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by ratfink, Aug 27, 2012.

  1. ratfink macrumors member

    Feb 11, 2012
    I don't have much need for the Retina screen. Normally I use an external monitor/monitors for my laptop. And I'd also like the ability to replace the RAM/HD when I wanted to. But I'd feel like a chump paying more for a normal MacBook Pro with the same specs.

    Retina MacBook Pro 2.6 with 8GB memory and 512GB flash: $2799.

    MacBook Pro 2.6 with 8GB memory and 512GB flash: $3099.

    Anyone have any idea what justifies this price for an identical setup minus the Retina display?

    Now, I know Apple charges roughly twice as much for RAM/HD upgrades as anywhere else, but this is silly. Even using Newegg for the SSD results in the same price as the Retina MacBook Pro.
  2. Ricanlegend macrumors 6502a

    Apr 21, 2009
    You can always go for 13 pro and replace the ram and add ssd
  3. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Its more money because you're paying a premium for the apple upgrades. If you upgrade the ram and SSD yourself it will be cheaper.
  4. BiscottiGelato macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2011
    It's called economies of scale. Standard optioned rMBP is going to be way cheaper than one off BTOs.

    My advise? Just buy the rMBP fully decked out. @ 16GB of RAM, 512GB SSD and an external HDD/NAS, I don't see any reason for upgrade for at least 3 years, if not 5.
  5. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    I think Apple's actually taking lower margins on the RMBP and its upgrades than they are on the standard MBP. They aren't giving away the notebooks or the upgrades by any means, but the upgrade prices are fairly reasonable for OEM build-to-order options, especially the 2.6Ghz, 16GB, and 512GB SSD options.
  6. Prodo123 macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2010
    1. You're making a stupid mistake of buying Apple's 2.5" SSDs. Since Apple actually makes its own blade SSDs, they are a lot cheaper than its outsourced 2.5" SSDs. This is the main reason why it is much more expensive. Buying an aftermarket SSD will bring the price down a lot.
    2. The uMBP is user accessible. Meaning, you can swap out parts with ease. This privilege comes with a cost, I would assume.
    3. The uMBP has a much better graphics performance than the rMBP, due to its lower resolution. Even with a hi-res display, the uMBP outguns the rMBP.
    4. Another thing is that the uMBP display panel is of a higher quality than the rMBP; Apple has made sure that the Retina Display can exactly reproduce the sRGB color gamut, or the bare minimum for any reasonable computer display. Any lower and the colors are not accurate. The uMBP can show even more colors, around 75-80% Adobe RGB. This means color accuracy is much better than the rMBP. Also, the uMBP is 100 nits brighter than the rMBP, which was quite a visible drop when I compared the two.
    5. Material cost. The uMBP uses more aluminum than the rMBP, so it makes sense that it costs more. Also, the cost of a bigger motherboard with more ports and mPCIe slots could be contributing to that factor.

    I guess for the average user these reasons aren't really justified, but to technophiles and professionals these are very important factors in what makes up a laptop.
  7. haruhiko macrumors 601


    Sep 29, 2009
    Spot on. Apple is taking less margin on both the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro with Retina Display - due to SSD being used.
  8. DVD9 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 18, 2010
    The same thing that justifies any of Apple's egregious prices, supply and demand.

    The craptop manufacturers certainly help Apple with their touchpads that do.not work and the washed out screens that seem to get worse every year.
  9. ratfink thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 11, 2012
    Not sure what you were trying to say in #1.

    #2, well yes, extra removable sockets might have some minor extra cost. But then again these are components that Apple has been using for years.

    #3. It's the same components, the Retina GPU just has to push more pixels. I don't think that would explain a higher cost unless Apple was using a higher quality battery or bus, which they aren't to my knowledge.

    #4. You've gone over my head with this one so I'll have to trust you. The display for the normal MacBook Pro, regardless of colors, must still be cheaper than the Retina display. Don't you think?

    #5. I doubt the size of the motherboard has much of an effect on cost, though the loss of the FireWire and such might have some minimal impact on cost. Not enough to make it cost more than the Retina display, IMHO.

    Anyways, I think what others have said is right. Apple is just accepting lower margins for the Retina Macbook Pro. Maybe I should just go with that in the hopes that resale value will be much higher in a few years.
  10. ivoruest macrumors 6502


    Jul 12, 2010
    Buy it with the cheapest HDD possible and get an SSD for your self. Samsung 830 is highly recommended by a lot of people and it is a better buy than Apple's upgrades.
  11. heisenberg123 macrumors 603


    Oct 31, 2010
    Hamilton, Ontario
    because apple charges $900 for a SSD upgrade you can do yourself for about $400 on the cMBP
  12. pjcdesigns macrumors newbie

    Aug 22, 2012
    Simple, efficiency of production. It costs Apple less money the fewer options there are, and the more common each configuration is selected. By making it such that the rMBP has way fewer options (really all you can do is increase the size of SSD, RAM, and chip speed; versus the uMBP also having screen option, HDD vs SSD, RAM, and so on and so forth) they make more of each possible unit, and it is easier for them to make the change in their production run (it costs a lot of money to stop making one configuration and start making the next, both from lost production time, but also potential for added equipment costs).

    You see this a lot in automotives, especially Asian companies (Kia and Hyundai do it very well)... by having the base model of a trim class well equipped, and only having a few extra options, they are able to give you more car for less money.

    So, simply put, it costs them less to make each rMBP equipped that way than an equally equipped uMBP (beyond components used) because it is also a much more efficient production model and method.
  13. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    Not at 512GB capacity. Serious cash still for those.
    The ability to show more color space has nothing to do with how accurate the reproduction of color in that space is. You can have a display show 105% of Adobe RGB and have all of it wrong. I'd take any IPS panel over a TN that is corrected to its limits by Apple. If you ever try to professionally profile a uMBP screen it's limits become apparent pretty quickly. They are acceptable for a laptop. Nothing more. The rMBP screen is in another league. Sorry, I like my uMBP but it ain't even close. Brightness is also a killer for color accuracy. Not a good thing. 120nits - 200 is where you want to be not 350. At least for color critical work. You also require less brightness on the rMBP thanks to it's improved reduction in glare. No more "power of the sun" to fight reflections.
  14. heisenberg123 macrumors 603


    Oct 31, 2010
    Hamilton, Ontario
    not anywhere close to $900 that apple charges
  15. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    Correct. But I thought we were comparing oranges to oranges cMBP and rMBP. Getting them equaled out. 512GB rMBP vs. 512GB cMBP (any SSD) to tell the price difference.
  16. heisenberg123 macrumors 603


    Oct 31, 2010
    Hamilton, Ontario
    cMBP= $2199 +$400(give or take for 512SSD)=$2599 also come with the stock 750GB you can put in the optical drive spot or use as external drive.

    rMBP = $2799
  17. Prodo123 macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2010
    #1, a 3rd-party component (Toshiba SSD) sold under Apple (through its BTO option) is applicable to the Apple tax. This is why the 512GB SSD in the uMBP is more expensive than the rMBP, whose SSD is made in-house by Apple and is not under the Apple tax. An aftermarket SSD like the Crucial M4 costs less than half what Apple charges ($400 vs $900), and that evens the price completely.

    #2, they're also components missing from the rMBP. It's also not the sockets that affect the price, it's the controllers for those ports that do.

    #3, it's not the component cost, it's the marketing of higher performance which drives up the price.
    (although Apple seems to be lost in emphasizing the mediocre graphics performance of the rMBP)

    #4, it is a debatable topic, and I'm just offering my understanding of the display workings on this one. The backlight and display assembly has a more efficient assembly on the rMBP, which might also contribute to its ease of construction. This has too many components in price to conclusively say whether or not it affects the price in a major way, but probably if it does have any effect it is very minor.
    As for the gamut factor that I have discussed, it's not the display panel itself but the quality of the backlighting that is the issue.

    One would be surprised as how cheap making a high-density display is, especially when color accuracy is not a factor.

    #5, it does have a big impact. A bigger motherboard means more transistors and more circuitry, which drives up production costs and labor fees. This ultimately affects the cost of the laptop.

    There's more to the cost of the laptop than the physical aspect of production.
  18. Abazigal macrumors G3


    Jul 18, 2011
    The way I see it, this discrepancy in price is because the cost of upgrades is overly inflated to begin with. So when you opt for multiple upgrades (say both ram and ssd), you are basically paying twice the margin. Compared to when they assemble a laptop, calculate the costs and add on the profit margin only once.

    So if apple were to offer a stock Mbp with those exact specs, it would be cheaper than the final upgraded cost.
  19. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    What I am doing soon enough. When needed. Right now Spotify is keeping my SSD pretty bare. No need.
  20. terraphantm macrumors 68040

    Jun 27, 2009
    To be fair, the rMBP display isn't cheap to make. It's IPS, which already costs quite a bit more than TN displays. The resolution is significantly higher, and it has an A-TW polarizer (at least the LG screen does - not sure about the Samsung... in the past A-TW polarizers were only found on $1500+ LCDs). A lot of people here don't take that into account at all.

    Anyway - my rMBP is a 2.6/16/512 model. I believe it retails for $3k (I paid a little less with the student discount).

    A cMBP with a 2.6 CPU is $2200. A Samsung 512GB SSD is $550 on Amazon. 16GB RAM is about $80. So to make a cMBP comparable in performance to an rMBP using aftermarket parts, you're still looking at $2830 or so. Not a whole lot less than the rMBP.

    Sure you get an extra 750GB HDD and an extra 4GB memory... but neither of those items are worth a whole lot. So I think the rMBP is still good value for the money. Also worth mentioning that the rMBP has a faster GPU.
  21. ratfink thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 11, 2012
    My comparison was between the MBP with 8G RAM and the Retina MBP with 8G. The only difference should be the SSD being an add-on and the Retina display itself, as far as I know.

    Does the Retina MBP have a different GPU? The summary page in the Apple store says they both have the same combo of Intel 4000 and NVIDIA 650M. If they're different then that would explain it... and I'd feel pretty foolish.


    I think you're kind of agreeing with me in your first paragraph. I would expect the Retina display to be much more expensive given its qualities and "newness" for production. That's why I didn't quite understand why the old MBP with normal LED panel is more expensive given the same specs.

    I wish the 13" display was an option for me. I just don't see any way I could fit XCode into that tiny screen and still have it be readable.
  22. Dreamer2go macrumors 6502a

    Jun 23, 2007
    Check Anandtech's review... and other source I forgot where found in macrumors....
    rMBP's graphics is actually better than uMBP due to being overclocked.

    Edit, here http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1393606&page=6
  23. Liquinn Suspended

    Apr 10, 2011
    I prefer the meat to my aluminum of my Macbook Pro. I guess next year I"ll be forced to go retina,
  24. Tea-Aholic macrumors 6502


    Dec 8, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    I'm sorry, but that is so wrong. The rMBP has a much better display

    rMBP is a IPS vs. cMBP is a TN
    - Black is almost AMOLED like, it blends in with the border of the display.
    - Viewing angle is 178 degrees. I can read e-mails from the side of the display.

    2880x1800 vs 1400x900/1680x1050. Need I say more?

    rMBP can show 99% sRGB. Yes the cMBP can display more in terms of AdobeRGB but it's useless because it's skewed off the sRGB charts.

    I don't know about you but over half brightness, my eyes get blinded by the brightness of the LED backlight. How bright do you need your display to be? I find the darkest setting too bright in certain situations and wish it could go darker.
  25. ohbrilliance macrumors 6502a


    May 15, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia
    Is there something wrong with your 2012 MBP?

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