2012 MacBook Pro Retina
Update: the late 2013 'Crystal Well' model is a definite performance upgrade over the 2012 model.
The June 2012 MacBook Pro quad-core Intel Core i7 with Retina Display is easily the most compelling laptop for photographs and videographers ever produced by Apple. Following on the heels of Apple’s already-excellent quad-core 2011 Macbook Pro, it offers a terrific blend of new features at the right time.
Readers know that this site favors the Apple Mac Pro for serious work (which has not changed), BUT the new MacBook Pro Retina offers a compelling choice for many users, if only for its Retina display and fast CPU.
Key features, especially for photographers:
- The stunning Retina display, with 25% more pixels than even a 30" desktop display for photo-realistic images. 5.1 million pixels!
- The fast (up to) 2.7 GHz quad-core CPU.
- 16GB of memory (be sure to buy the 16GB model, not upgradeable).
- Up to 768GB of flash storage (SSD).
- Ultra thin at 0.71" (18mm), at a reasonable 4.5 pounds.
- Ports: SDXC card slot, two USB 3 ports, dual Thunderbolt ports, HDMI, headphone port.
- Intel HD Graphics 4000 and NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 1GB of GDDR5 memory and automatic graphics switching.
- Supports up to two 2560 X 1600 external displays.
- 720p FaceTime HD Camera.
- Optional external DVD drive.
- Optional Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet adapter.
- Optional Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter.
- 802.11n Wi-Fi wireless networking.
- Up to 7 hours wireless web, 30 days standby, 95-watt-hour LiIon battery.
It really is a shame that it does not contain built-in support for internet over a cell phone network.
The top-end model is on order for review here at MPG.
The Retina display models are 15" only. Configurations include:
- 2.3 GHz / 8GB or 16GB / 256GB
- 2.6 GHz / 8GB or 16GB / 512GB or 768GB.
- 2.7 GHz / 8GB or 16GB / 512GB or 768GB.
The 2.7 GHz options adds a < 4% increase in clock speed with 8MB on-chip cache vs 6MB. In most cases, this will be a barely-noticeable difference. Users with any budget limits are far better off putting that money into 16GB memory and/or more storage.
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The following pages explore more of the 2012 MacBook Pro Retina.