2012 MacBook Pro 15-inch
The June 2012 15" MacBook Pro quad-core Intel Core i7 is an alternative to the MacBook Pro with Retina display, also a 15" model.
Both are the most compelling laptops for photographs and videographers ever produced by Apple. Following on the heels of Apple’s already-excellent quad-core 2011 Macbook Pro, they make further improvement with slightly faster CPUs and the very useful USB3 ports for fast external drives, a key feature for backup and storage expansion.
Price and features
The standard model appears to cost $700 less than the Retina model, but the actual price is more or less the same when configured similarly.
The Retina model offers several key advantages:
- The magnificent Retina display (but watch for burn-in problems, my replacement turned out fine).
- Two Thunderbolt ports (1 in the non-Retina model), but the FW800 and ethernet adapters eat up one or both of these ports unless an external expansion box is used.
- Firewire 800 and ethernet require external adapters via Thunderbolt.
- Two USB3 ports, one on the right hand side.
- 1.1 pounds lower weight.
On the other hand, the conventional 15" non-Retina MacBook Pro offers:
- Choice of hard drive or SSD in a wide variety of capacities, upgradeable with standard 2.5" hard drives or SSDs.
- One or two internal hard drives or SSDs (2nd one requires removal of the optical drive). Thus, RAID-0 striping or RAID-1 mirroring are possible internally, or an internal backup drive, etc.
- Built-in Firewire 800 and gigabit Ethernet.
- Anti-glare screen option.
- Upgradeable memory to 16GB.
The screen on the Retina model is appealing, but the dual-drive capability and built-in FW800 and ethernet are attractive for some field uses. That said, my choice for my own use is definitely the Retina model— I love the screen quality.
|MacBook Pro 15" 2.6 GHz||MacBook Pro 15" Retina Display 2.6 GHz|
|$2999 with Apple 16GB, Apple 500GB SSD|
|Optical/DVD drive||built-in||optional external drive for $79|
|Screen||1440 X 900 glossy screen
1680 X 1050 hi-res anti-glare (or glossy)
|2880 X 1800 Retina display
(settable to 1920 or 1680 or 1440 screen for unmodified apps)
|Memory||8/12/16G, upgradeable at any time||8GB or 16GB. Non-upgradable.
Be sure to order with 16GB.
|Drives||Replaceable with standard SATA 2.5" drive;
can use dual internal drives SSD or hard drives
|Single non-standard slot, Apple offers SSD only up to 768GB.|
|Firewire 800||YES||NO, but optional adapter promised (Thunderbolt to FW800)|
|Ethernet||YES||NO, but fast Thunderbolt to ethernet adapter|
|USB3||2 USB3 ports, both on left side||2 USB3 ports, one on each side|
|Audio||Audio line in + Audio line out||Audio line in + Audio line out
Apparently a combo port (tip, ring, ring, sleeve) stereo out + mic
|Kensington keylock slot||YES||NO|
|Weight||5.6 pounds||4.46 pounds|