I have a non-Retina 15" version - purchased in March of 2012, about 3 months before the 2012 models were announced. I am quite pleased with it and just won't buy a Retina display until they get to the 2nd-3rd generation (if then - depends on what Apple is selling in 2015, as I have AppleCare until then and don't intend on upgrading until I'm out of warranty).
If you're primarily interested in the 'portability' factor, then the Retina model may be for you - but you pay a real price difference when upgrading the storage capacity and RAM on the Retina models. Up to $4K for a fully tricked-out 15" Retina. Not worth it, from my point of view. And that's probably the #1 thing that I don't care for in the Retina model - the lack of user upgrades. I've put a 512GB SSD in my machine and 16GB of RAM, at a fraction of what I would have paid for a Retina model similarly equipped.
If you can take the one-pound or so difference between the Retina models and the non-Retina models, I would encourage you to go with the non-Retina. You can always add more RAM and a SSD/larger HD in the machine if you find that you want or need it.
Maybe someone else, with a Retina model, will come along with their buying advice. To me, right now, the slim and trim Retina just isn't worth it for pure portability.
Good luck in your quest!
The only reason that a 'stock' Retina model would be faster than a 'stock' non-Retina model is because of the flash storage (just a 'naked' SSD). You can always take the money that you'd spend on a Retina model and purchase your own 16GB of RAM and a SSD. That would certainly even the playing field. Same processors, same GPUs are used in the non-Retina as the Retina - the only difference being that there is no option for a spinning drive in the Retina and, if you order the maximum RAM in each, you can only get 8GB (from Apple) in the non-Retina but can get 16GB in the Retina (which, if you DIY, would cost you about $85 in the non-Retina).
I'm sure that there are some GeekBench benchmarks that pit a maxed out Retina with a maxed out non-Retina (with 16GB of RAM and an SSD) and I'm sure that the two would be strikingly close in speed.
I'd tend to agree with Clinton's last post.
I recently bought a non-retina 2.9GHz Intel Core i7 MBP (mid 2012) at a significant discount. Upgraded it to 16GB memory and swapped the HDD for a 512GB SSD (both from Crucial). From a user perspective it is now an extremely fast machine. I use it primarily on the road with Photoshop CS6 and LightRoom 4.
so which one is better??
should i take the non-retina with 512GB SSD or go for the retina MBP
it really make me confused
i have seen so many review and videos on the internet
some of them said better go with the non-retina and some of them said the retina is much more better
i think that the non-retina model is really good
but in my case, the problem is portability
if i choose the non-retina, it means that i just buy the new laptop with the same weight with my current laptop
when i choose the retina, it will be more portable but cost me a lot
i'm on dilemma
I believe the weight of the retina and non-retina MBP models are the same, maybe you are thinking of the Macbook Air?
I bought a mid-2012 13" MBP non-retina that I was able to upgrade to 8GB memory. The memory upgrade option isn't available for the Air or retina models.
I would suggest a refurbished non-retina MBP from the Apple store.