Pining for a new MacBook Pro with Retina display? You’re not the only one. The new MacBook Pros are powerful and most anybody I know who’s worked on the previous generation loves the screen quality and the thin size. There are a few things to take into consideration when getting a Retina MacBook Pro: screen size, memory, storage, and let’s not forget… the all important work/backup external drive.
The 13” model comes in 3 base options:
- $1,299.99 – 2.4 GHz i5 processor, 4GB memory, 128GB Solid State Drive
- $1,499.99 – 2.4 GHz i5 processor, 8GB memory, 256GB Solid State Drive
- $1,799.99 – 2.6 GHz i5 processor, 8GB memory, 512GB Solid State Drive
The 15” model comes in 2 base options:
- $1,999.99 – 2.0 GHz quad-core i7 processor, 8GB memory, 256GB Solid State Drive
- $2,599.99 – 2.3 GHz quad-core i7 processor, 16GB memory, 512GB Solid State Drive
Essentially the price increases among the models get your more memory and a larger SSD. Memory is soldered to the motherboard, which means you can’t upgrade later, period. SSDs on the other hand can be upgraded in the future if you find yourself in need of more storage later. We’re working hard on providing an SSD upgrade that’ll allow you to expand your Retina later on, as we currently offer SSD upgrades for the 2012 Retina models, and plan to offer upgrades for the new ones as soon as we can.
13” $1,299 model
The base MacBook Pro for $1,299 offers only 4GB of memory, and that’s rarely enough for most Pro user needs. Our mantra of “more memory = a faster Mac” applies to these new Retina MacBook Pro models just as it does for every Mac out there. And we recommend upgrading to the maximum amount of memory so your new Retina MacBook Pro will last a lot longer and not limit you in the future. If you choose this model, the 8GB memory option for $100 is a no-brainer, and the $300 16GB option is recommended. Apple offers no SSD upgrade option in this model.
13” $1,499 model (the sweet spot)
This model provides a 256GB SSD and provides a good amount of memory at 8GB, but I’d recommend shelling out the $200 and get the memory upgraded to 16GB. That’ll make for a $1,699 MacBook Pro that should have enough power in the future. Apple offers no SSD upgrade option in this model.
13” $1,799 model (the ignore this model option)
This model mainly provides a 512GB SSD over the $1,499 model, and if you need the space it’s the ONLY reason to get this model. This is also the only model that Apple lets you upgrade the SSD size. You can step up to 1TB for $500 more. I’d recommend spending the $200 more over this 13” model to step up to the $1,999 15” Retina model. That $200 will offer a tremendous amount of upgrades with a bigger screen, much faster processor, and a more robust graphics system. That’s $200 spent wisely.
15” $1,999 model (the sweet spot of the 15”)
Like stated above, this 15” packs in much more power than the 13” and is the MacBook Pro to consider. Simply stated, if your willing to spend $1,799 on a 13”, you should just get this model instead. If you’re stepping up from the 13” and this model is just on the edge of your budget, the 8GB of memory should be fine. If you can spend $200 more for the 16GB memory option… do it. You can also step up to 512GB SSD for $300 or a 1TB SSD for $800 more. More on storage options later, but you may be able to save on storage.
15” $2,599 model (updated)
This model gets you a slightly faster processor, 16GB memory, 512GB SSD, and a discrete graphics card (which you may or may not need). But if your buying this as it’s base configuration… don’t. Just get the $1,999 model and add the 16GB memory and the 512GB SSD option, and you’ll save $100 because that works out to be $2,499 instead of this model’s $2,599 price tag.
I’d just max out the $1,999 model with whatever options needed and ignore this model altogether unless you’ve determined that your needs would be best suited by the discrete video card. Let’s face it, the integrated graphics are getting really good, even during Apple’s keynote they sounded like it wasn’t needed by Phil S. Will you see an improvement? Most likely yes. Will it be dramatic? We’ll see. Is it worth the extra $100 to step up this model from a maxed out $1,999 15”? That’s a call you’ll need to make as only you know what your needs are and if your workflow would benefit from it. It’s just something to take into consideration.
Hey, I Didn’t Talk About the Processor Upgrade Options!
And to that I say… so what. Skip ’em. The speed gains will be negligible and really won’t offer the most bang for your buck. It’s only when jumping from something dramatic like from the 13” models’ dual-core processors to the 15” models’ quad-core processors that you’ll notice the major difference in demanding apps. Otherwise, save the money on something that matters like external drives.
External Drives – The Must Have Mac Accessory
Let’s face it, if you’re using your MacBook Pro for pro work, chances are you have a lot of files, and if those files happen to be media, they take up a lot of room. Add in life’s photos, music and movies, and the onboard storage can fill up. It’s OK. We have great options and suggestions for you.
One. You should be using an external drive for a Time Machine backup no matter what Mac you have. It’s simply the best and easiest way to come back from a catastrophic computer failure, or worse, your beloved laptop gets lost, destroyed, or stolen. But don’t just rely on any old external for backup. You can get a portable or desktop drive that can provide more than enough room for backup, but also can be a solid workhorse to do some heavy data lifting for any of your work/life’s needs. Heck, you can even mix and match… grab a portable drive for when your out and about, and use a desktop drive if you need capacities in the 4TB – 16TB range. You can even partition a larger external so it can serve as both your Time Machine drive and workhorse drive.
OWC’s external drives are among the most trusted in the A/V industry and are perfect for pro and everyday use and come backed by our great U.S.-based customer support.
Save on Apple Accessories with OWC
Don’t pay street prices for great Apple accessories. Grab a great Apple Magic Mouse, Apple Keyboard, and an extra MagSafe Adapter to charge your new Retina in multiple locations without having to take the adapter with you wherever you go. Save money with OWC.
I hope you absolutely love your MacBook Pro with Retina display. If you need even more from it, or to see what’s possible, just call on OWC.