10 Replies Latest reply: Nov 22, 2012 10:57 AM by resalg
Dude4 Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

Hi all :)


I'm have some difficulty deciding which MacBook to purchase. I've been waiting until WWDC so the macs will have the newest processors, but because of the new Retina, I can't decide what to pick.


I'm torn between the 15" MacBook Pro (with customisations) or the baseline Retina MacBook. The customisations I would add to the Pro is an extra 4gb ram, to bring the total up to 8gb, and a hi-res screen.


Here's the pricing in GBP £ with education pricing discounts:


Retina: £1660

Other Pro: £1560


Now you'd say it's down to personal opinion and how I'd use it. Well I'm not a professional at all. This would be my home computer and I need it to do everything I need. This computer will need to store my data, music, photos etc, and therefore the 500gb HDD seems an advantage. The optical drive seems practical also as I do often use it to burn cd's. However, the retina does seem nice on the new MacBook. But as I said, I'm not a professional user. I might edit photos and create a video, maybe once a month, maximum. These would only be home-videos, not business related or professional. So is the retina needed? I wouldn't mind having it, but this is the only reason why I like the newer MacBook, and this reason alone. This mac will rarely leave the home, maybe once a week, max. So the thinness isn't really any big deal.


So now it's decision time. The MacBook pro with retina, or without? The other MacBook would have a customised hi-res screen, which may support what I need it for. Are the pixels evident? Can you clearly see them like on some computer screens? The retina display does seem nice, but the MacBook without it seems practical. Who knows, I could just buy a separate SDD and add it in the older mac for the speed in a few years time.


It's only £100 difference and that's why I'm so torn. What do you think?


Thank you all for the help in advance.

  • 1. Re: MacBook Pro - Retina or Normal?
    Bimmer 7 Series Level 6 Level 6 (10,270 points)

    that is an issue that will get a lot of different responses.


    although I like the Retina Version.


    i like the freedom of being able to upgrade the RAM and Hard Drive in the future which is not possible in the Retina Version.


    If you like having the optical drive then go with the non Retina MB.


    If however, portabilty and new technology is what you want, then go with the Retina Version.


    Only you can answer that question.


    Do you want portablity or do you want to be able to upgrade it in the future?

  • 2. Re: MacBook Pro - Retina or Normal?
    jws1982 Level 2 Level 2 (175 points)

    Whatever you choose, you're not going to go wrong.  Having said that, if you're just using it to store music, photos, data, etc...  Then even the base 13" would be enough for you.  The retina screen looks great, but it's not a necessity.  Check out either the base model 13" or 15" non-retina Pro's.  You can then add memory or a larger disk later at your convenience.


    Check out the refurbished macbook pro's as well.   They're just like new, but at a cheaper price: http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/specialdeals/mac

  • 3. Re: MacBook Pro - Retina or Normal?
    Rick Lang Level 4 Level 4 (1,230 points)

    If you go with the Macbook Pro base, you are getting half the video memory (512 MB versus 1 GB) on the graphics card.  That may be important as your uses grow (or if you like gaming).  Otherwise it's the most practical as you suggest and with 8 GB of memory and the high-resolution screen, it will be well equipped to meet your needs today.


    If you go with the Macbook Pro Retina, you'll likely want to buy the external Superdrive, so that's a bit more money to consider.  The external Superdrive now includes DVD-Audio so you may like that anyway to save your music rather than be limited to CDs:



    So you are torn between the machine you need and the machine you want!  Your hear the call of the retina display and it's a siren call that's hard to resist.  Tie yourself to the mast of your ship and sail into an Apple Store.  Nothing wrong with being practical, but... good luck!

  • 4. Re: MacBook Pro - Retina or Normal?
    Dude4 Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    Thank you all for the responses :)


    I'm definitely going for the 15". I'm not just storing media, that was just a suggestion of mine. However, I wasn't aware of the difference in graphic cards. Would the 512mb be good enough as I'm only a 'casual' gamer, as I'd prefer to use a console than a computer. A 512mb would still perform well wouldn't it?


    I think I may have to go to the store and see what the screen looks like. If practicality wins, I'll go for the traditional Pro :)

  • 5. Re: MacBook Pro - Retina or Normal?
    ccshaw Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)

    I'm in a similar position to you, however, as a student, portability is a much bigger factor.  If I were in your position, I would choose the regular MBP (which I almost chose myself) because with the upgraded screen, that's enough pixels to see 720p in full resolution for movie and video watching, and is close to 1080p.  Additionally, you'll have the same processing power as the high-end Retina version, with the added bonus of being able to upgrade your HD and RAM (to 16gb+, which is possible, even though it's not sanctioned by Apple).  Since you seem to need the larger HD for music, photos and video, and don't show a particular need for tons of video editing, the Retina display is nice, but likely not worth the tradeoffs (if I were in your position). 


    I chose to the Retina with the upgraded processor and RAM (which I had hoped to be able to upgrade after the fact, but was forced into this position do to the lack of aftermarket upgradeability).  My needs are similar to yours, but with slightly more high-power use (photos, *gigantic* excel files and a little video), so the lighter weight option was a real deal-maker for me.

  • 6. Re: MacBook Pro - Retina or Normal?
    Dude4 Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    Thanks for the great answer :)


    Portability isn't a big issue for me, as it'll probably just move around the home. Your answer has convinced me to stick with the old MacBook, which I'll order tomorrow morning!


    Thanks again.

  • 7. Re: MacBook Pro - Retina or Normal?
    NVOO Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have the same issue. Have almost the same needs as "Dude4". I would use the mac at home and also at the office.

    I'm hesitating between MBP 13" with i7 2,9 Ghz, 8Go RAM and SSD 256Go and the MBP 15" Retina with standard options.


    Is the MBP 15" Retina really more powerfull than the MBP 13" 'full options'?


    Some advise would be really appreciated.



  • 8. Re: MacBook Pro - Retina or Normal?
    lshelmirAA Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    You have to remember that the 13"MBP even loaded only comes with a dual-core processor, while the 15" models come with quad-core, so adding up the raw processing power you will notice a difference, but how its utilized would depend on what you are using the system for, and what the software is optimized to use.

  • 9. Re: MacBook Pro - Retina or Normal?
    M.Siddique Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    i would go for the retina display macbook pro because apple knows what perfomance is more than we do and they have 30 years of expirience. And before you buy a computer just think for a moment, what your going to do with it.if your going to extreme mutitasking then fine 16gigs is recomended if your just going to do basic multitasking then 8gigs is more than enough ! you can upgrade your ssd, no worrys about that, you can get it here http://www.macsales.com/. Anyways even if your mac has 16gigs of memory when the next mac software update comes after a few years your mac computer most probably will not be supported. All apple cares about is what model your mac computer is , for ex. just Look at the Os x mountain lion the system requirments which are which model mac you have ! Even when retina optimised apps come out it will just look awsome ! Till then you can change the retina setting in the diplay settings ! But always kepp in mind the diplay is the most important thing you will need in a laptop. you can watch movies,play games all of this stuff more beautifully in the retina display in the macbook pro with retina display ! This is just my opinion . So don't get angry at me or anything like that !

  • 10. Re: MacBook Pro - Retina or Normal?
    resalg Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Actually, the specs on the macbook pro 15" say the graphics cards are the same.

    Portability isn't an issue for you.  If you're going to keep the computer for more than 3 years, being able to replace the hard drive inexpensively is a consideration.  The battery will also be less expensive and less time consuming to replace in the old model as well.

    There are external cd drives, even blue ray would be an option I think.  There are also external hard drives with power supplies and wireless capability. This could make the retina a viable option.

    Unless price is a concern, the memory is irrelivant; neither computer will ever be able to upgrade beyond 16gb.

    As has probably been mentioned, with the cd drive, there is an option for using data-doubler to install an ssd drive, which would give you the speed of the newer model and space of the older.  There is even talk about being able to format the two drives together to function as a fusion drive.

    I can keep my laptops working for about 6 years before they become unuseable, and would probably choose the old model if its still available when the time comes.