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Upgrades make Retina MacBook Pro a better bargain

James Galbraith | Feb. 22, 2013
In the latest update to the Retina MacBook Pro, some models got price cuts, some received slightly faster processors, and some got a healthy bump in the amount of RAM. Anyone who purchased a Retina MacBook Pro prior to this refresh shouldn't kick themselves for making the leap, but the reduced cost for the 13-inch models and faster performance for the 15-inch models make these thin, light, and fast laptops a better deal than ever.

Despite having twice the amount of RAM and slightly faster processor, the new high-end 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro was just 3 percent faster than the previous high-end 15-inch model that had the same graphics and flash storage. The new high-end model was 5 percent faster overall than the new base 15-inch Retina model. When comparing the performance of the new low-end 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro and the new high-end 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, you see a very large difference between the two, with the 15-inch model being 47 percent faster overall. In both Portal 2 and Cinebench's OpenGL tests, the discrete graphics in the 15-inch model displayed more than twice as many frames per second as the 13-inch model's integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000.

Bottom line

The new Retina MacBook Pros represent a subtle refresh to the line of beautiful, ultra-high-resolution portables introduced last year. The price reductions for the 13-inch models make them a better bargain than before, while the 16GB of RAM in the high-end 15-inch MacBook Pro might help take the sting out of the $2799 price tag.


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