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bbales Apr 12, 2013 06:19 PM
New MacBook Pro -- retina or not?
Hi all -- I've read a couple threads and am still conflicted! I'm in the market to replace my late 2008 MacBook (first aluminum unibody).

I WAS going to get the traditional MBPro, with a traditional spinning hard drive, because I like to have my stuff WITH me. Yes, I know I can offload it onto a hard drive, and a lot of my documents are already on dropbox but ... I replaced the original 500 GB hard drive a year ago with a 750 and there are 324 GB left, at the current time. I know I have a lot of music that's not mine (three girls who used the machine until they got their own, in turn), and other things but ... I tend to hoard things.

But everyone said, get the retina! Get the new technology!

So I was ready to pull the trigger, and was going to bite the bullet and upgrade to the 512. But now I read GHPorter, for example, and others advocating for the "traditional" MacBook Pro. Anyone think Apple will phase those out?

Just unsure of what to do, even though a day or so I'd made up my mind.
OreoCookie Apr 13, 2013 09:56 PM
Personally, I'd definitely go for the Retina MacBook Pro. And yes, Apple will phase out the non-Retina Pros very soon. I wouldn't be surprised that as of the next update, you just won't have a choice but to go Retina, but even if Apple decides to upgrade the non-Retina models once more, I reckon it'll be the last update for sure.
ghporter Apr 15, 2013 07:05 PM
I did not so much "advocate" but instead pointed out what didn't fit ME with the Retina model. I still want to be able to lock my laptop down physically, and I would prefer to be able to up the amount of RAM without paying premium prices for (what I consider) just OK devices. Of course I'm still getting by with a 2006-vintage MBP, so maybe when I actually consider replacing it I might have a different opinion...
shifuimam Apr 15, 2013 11:02 PM
It depends entirely on your needs.

The Retina MacBook Pro line is not upgradeable at all. There are no user-serviceable components, which means that if something craps out, you are absolutely SOL once the warranty expires.

If I were you, I'd get a "traditional" MBP while you can - you can replace the hard drive with a standard SATA SSD, the RAM is upgradeable by quite a bit, it has an optical drive, and you can replace the battery once it inevitably stops holding a charge. You can do none of these things with a rMBP.
OreoCookie Apr 16, 2013 01:13 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by shifuimam (Post 4226322)
You can do none of these things with a rMBP.
You can have Apple replace the battery in a rMBP as well. It's not something the user can do by himself, but also for the current crop of non-Retina MacBook Pros, you need a special screwdriver at least.

Plus, many components in a notebook are not (easily) user-replaceable either: if something on the logic board dies (GPU, CPU, WLAN), then you cannot really fix that either (either because a replacement part is too costly and/or too difficult to install).

This choice just like everything in life is a matter of trade-offs. Basically, all of your costs are up-front: i. e. all the money you would spend on upgrades, you should/have to spend right away when you order the machine. And for instance, the 15" rMBP can take up to 16 GB, exactly the same amount that its non-Retina brethren can handle. So if you upgrade to 16 GB right away, a non-Retina MBP will have no advantage here.

The OP said, he doesn't need a lot of internal storage since he has external USB3 hard drives, so at least for the OP, a user-replacable hard drive is not as high on the list of priorities as for others. Ditto for the optical drive. In particular weight is a very crucial point: some people here dismiss the 400 g (about 20 %) of weight difference, but that can be very substantial to some. (To me, it is: my 15" 2010 MacBook Pro is considerably less portable than any 13" or 12" portable Mac, and my next machine will again be a 13" machine.) If I were editing photos (and I do), this would be reason enough to go for the Retina -- even if the CPU is slower.
SVass Apr 16, 2013 02:57 PM
Let me change the subject to watching tv and movies at home and abroad. I have both a retina MacBook pro and a retina iPad both with John Stewart, WatchESPN, HBO Go, et cetera installed. I have two HDTVs and a subscription to Comcast as well as an Apple TV at home. I can both watch (in HD) locally and via wi-fi streaming on trips any of these shows. I can download HD versions of the movies from iTunes as I have Schindler's List and watch it in HD while on an airplane without wi-fi on either device. I even watched NCAA March Madness streaming live in HD on my iPad.
The retina displays are very sharp.
pwfletcher Apr 25, 2013 06:35 PM
Absolutely positively retina yes!
cgc Apr 25, 2013 07:46 PM
Non-Retina unless you NEED the extra resolution, 1440x900 is enough for me and with 1/4 less pixels to push I bet the non-Retina feels faster...snappierâ„¢ even.
jmiddel Apr 25, 2013 08:11 PM
The regular MBP 15.4" can be obtained with a hi res screen that gives you 1680x1050.
cgc Apr 26, 2013 06:58 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by jmiddel (Post 4227820)
The regular MBP 15.4" can be obtained with a hi res screen that gives you 1680x1050.
That's the resolution of my wife's laptop and it's the upper limit for us...we may opt for 1920x1080 for convenience but no need for 2880x1800 "Retina" display (for us).
Spheric Harlot Apr 26, 2013 08:15 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by cgc (Post 4227864)
That's the resolution of my wife's laptop and it's the upper limit for us...we may opt for 1920x1080 for convenience but no need for 2880x1800 "Retina" display (for us).
A retina at 1680 will look *better* than a regular display with a fixed resolution of 1680, due to the fact that Apple generates the retina display image at 3360 pixels (double resolution) and then scales that down to interpolate on the actual 2880 display.

A 13" MacBook Pro retina display running at 1440 has a noticeably better image than a MacBook Air running at 1440, especially for text.
D'Espice Apr 27, 2013 03:40 PM
It's really a bit of a tradeoff. On the one hand there are no user servicable parts at all, on the other hand the display is beyond anything I have ever seen. Your choice, really.
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