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2013 MacBook Pro Retina 'Crystal Well'

Last updated 2014-01-03 - Send Feedback
Related: laptop, MacBook, MacBook Pro, Macs, storage

See recommended models.

The late 2013 MacBook Pro quad-core Intel Core i7 with Retina Display is a follow-on to the excellent June 2012 Retina model.

All of the Retina display discussion for the 2012 model applies to the 2013 model.

Highlights of the differences between the 2012 and 2013 model:

  • It is an incremental update but speed gains of 11% to 17% on CPU bound tasks are quite welcome. Gains are large for tasks involving lots of disk I/O.
  • PCIe flash storage is a good thing, but consider that if the prior model flash storage was taking 10% of task time and the PCIe storage is twice as fast, you’re not going perceptually faster (e.g., 10 seconds of which 1 second is I/O, now 0.5 seconds = 9.5 seconds). There are always good exceptions, but in general, the PCIe flash won’t show up as more than incrementally better over existing flash storage for many uses. Still, it’s a lot faster.
  • Claims of graphics performance have little bearing on the photography work I do (and I do a lot of it). However, the GPU speed could show very substantial gains for video applications run on the MacBook Pro, and there can be specialized photography tasks that also benefit. It all depends..
  • Long-lasting battery life is a big plus for some users.
  • Faster Wi-Fi is a big plus in some circumstances, but nothing beats wired internet for solid and reliable performance.

Summary: very nice incremental upgrades, but the gains over the June 2012 Retina model have to be weighed carefully against the near $3000 price tag. It makes sense for those doing serious work on it, but for everyday tasks the gains are likely to be hardly noticeable.

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