Eight months after first upgrading the MacBook Pro with Retina Display, Apple moved to the Intel Haswell chipset in October 2013.
The MacBook Pro with Retina Display (a.k.a. Retina MacBook Pro) remains the thinnest MacBook Pro at 0.71″. That’s MacBook Air thin, but unlike the Air, this model doesn’t have a wedge design.
Also like the MacBook Air, the Retina MacBook Pro does not have a built-in optical drive and uses SSD instead of a traditional hard drive.
As with newer MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models, it has built-in USB 3. The improved USB specification is over 10x as fast as USB 2.0 and has half the bandwidth of Thunderbolt. There are a lot of USB 3 drives on the market, and they are far more affordable than Thunderbolt drives. Best of all, Apple uses the same port for USB 2.0 and 3, while the standard in the PC world is separate ports for each protocol.
There’s also a built-in 720p FaceTime HD webcam that supports today’s widescreen displays.
The base model runs a 2.0 GHz quad-core Core i7 processor (with Turbo Boost to 3.2 GHz) and has 8 or 16 GB of system memory and a 256 GB SSD with a $1,999 price tag, while the “better” version increases speed to 2.3 GHz (3.5 GHz with Turbo Boost) and includes a 512 GB SSD.
Apple offers a number of build-to-order options: Upgrade system memory from 8 GB to 16 GB (because memory is soldered to the system board, you cannot upgrade memory after you buy your Retina MacBook Pro), choose a 512 GB or 1 TB SSD, and boost the faster model a bit further with a 2.6 GHz quad-core i7 (3.8 GHZ Turbo Boost).
This is the first MacBook to use Intel Iris Pro Graphics, and it’s coupled with Nvidia GeForce GT 750M graphics. As before, it automatically switches between GPUs on the fly. The Intel GPU uses 384 MB of system memory, while the GeForce GPU has 2 GB of dedicated video memory.
Ports on the Retina MacBook Pro.
The Retina MacBook Pro splits the ports between the right and left sides, something earlier MacBook Pro models could not do because of the built-in optical drive.
The new model uses a MagSafe 2 power adapter (which has a smaller plug than the original MagSafe), is rated at 7 hours of battery power, and uses Bluetooth 4.0 along with 802.11ac WiFi for wireless connectivity.
The Late 2013 MacBook Pros shipped with OS X 10.9 Mavericks and can run all later versions of OS X, which are free upgrades.
Closed Lid Mode: All Intel ‘Books support “lid closed” (or clamshell) mode, which leaves the built-in display off and dedicates all video RAM to an external display. To used closed lid mode, your ‘Book must be plugged into the AC adapter and connected to an external display and a USB or Bluetooth mouse and keyboard (you might also want to consider external speakers). Power up your ‘Book until the desktop appears on the external display and then close the lid. Your ‘Book will go to sleep, but you can wake it by moving the mouse or using the keyboard. The built-in display will remain off, and the external monitor will become your only display.
To resume use of the internal display, you need to disconnect the external display, put the computer to sleep, and then open the lid. This will wake up your ‘Book and restore use of the built-in display.
Battery life is claimed to be 8 hours of wireless productivity.
- introduced 2013.10.22 at US$1,999 (2.0 GHz quad-core i7, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD) and US$2,599 (2.3 GHz, 512 GB SSD). 2.6 GHz build-to-order option.
- Model no.: A398
- Part no.: ME293, ME294, ME874
- ships with Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks
- AirDrop is supported.
- Power Nap is supported.
- CPU: 2.0/2.3/2.6 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7
- Level 2 cache: 6 MB shared cache
- Bus: 1066 MHz
- RAM: 8 GB, expandable to 16 GB but only as a build-to-order option when you buy the computer
- Performance (2.0/2.3/2.6 GHz)
- Speedmark 7:
- GPU: Intel HD Graphics 4000 and GeForce GT 650M with automatic graphics switching
- VRAM, Intel HD: uses 384 MB of system memory
- VRAM, Nvidia: 1 GB
- Video out: Thunderbolt port, which is backward compatible with Mini DisplayPort (VGA, DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort supported with optional adapters)
- display: 15.4″ (38 cm) 16-bit 2880 x 1800 220 ppi color active matrix
- supports 1920 x 1200, 1650 x 1050, 1280 x 800, and 1024 x 640 pixels at 16:10 aspect ratio
- allows mirroring to external display or extended desktop mode
- supports two external displays to 2560 x 1600 resolution
- Hard drive: 256/512 GB solid state drive (SSD) standard on 6 Gbps SATA bus, 768 GB available
- optical drive: external only
- Thunderbolt: 1 port
- USB: 2 USB 3 ports, only 1 high-powered device device allowed
- FireWire 400: optional via Thunderbolt adapter
- FireWire 800: optional via Thunderbolt adapter
- Ethernet: optional via Thunderbolt adapter
- WiFi: 802.11ac AirPort Extreme built in, three antennas support up to 450 Mbps bandwidth
- Modem: No longer offered by Apple
- Bluetooth: BT 4.0 built in
- ExpressCard/34: none
- SD Card Slot: 1 SDXC slot
- expansions bays: none
- IR receiver: none
- webcam: FaceTime 720p HD camera
- battery: 95 Watt-hours, 8 hours of wireless productivity
- AC adapter: 85W MagSafe 2
- size: 9.73 x 14.13 x 0.71″ (247 x 359 x 18 mm)
- Weight: 4.46 pounds (2.02 kg)
- Best online 15″ Retina MacBook Pro deals.
- Mac Notebook Value for the College Student, Charles W Moore, ‘Book Value, 2009.08.20. “…Apple ‘Books represent the best long-term value for money spent, not to mention user experience….”
- Finding the Best Values in Apple’s MacBook Matrix, Charles W Moore, ‘Book Value, 2009.07.21. With prices ranging from $999 to $2,499, speeds from 1.86 to 2.8 GHz, and sized from 13 to 17 inches, what’s right for you?
- Protect your notebook against loss, theft, data loss, and security breaches, Charles W Moore, ‘Book Value, 2009.08.25. 10 percent of laptops are lost or stolen every year. Tips on preventing theft, securing your data, and recovering from a lost, stolen, or broken notebook.
- The perfect Mac: MacBook Pro or iMac?, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2009.08.11. The 15″ MacBook Pro with antiglare could be the perfect Mac, but the iMac also has much to commend it.
- Optimized Software Builds Bring Out the Best in Your Mac, Dan Knight, Low End Mac’s Online Tech Journal, 2009.06.30. Applications compiled for your Mac’s CPU can load more quickly and run faster than ones compiled for universal use.
- Low End Mac’s Safe Sleep FAQ, Dan Knight, Online Tech Journal, 2009.06.15. What is Safe Sleep mode? Which Macs support it? How can you enable or disable it? And more.
- The Safe Sleep Mailbag, Charles W Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2009.06.15. Safe Sleep mode is enabled by default on modern MacBooks. How it works, and how to change how it works.
- Mac ‘Book Power Management Adventures, Charles W Moore, ‘Book Value, 2009.05.19. If your ‘Book won’t power up, shuts down while your working, or has other power issues, resetting its internal power manager may clear things up.
- Ubuntu Linux and Boot camp make it easy to create a triple boot Mac, Alan Zisman, Mac2Windows, 2008.12.24. Boot Camp makes it easy to install Windows on Intel Macs, and Ubuntu now makes it easy to install Linux to a virtual Windows drive.
- Notebooks and blackouts, Charles W Moore, ‘Book Value, 2008.12.23. When the power goes out, a notebook computer with long-lasting batteries lets you keep working for hours and hours.
- New MacBook trackpad takes some getting used to, Alan Zisman, Zis Mac, 2008.12.22. The large glass trackpad is a joy to use in many ways, but it can be frustrating for longtime notebook users and has issues with Boot Camp.
- The ‘Better Safe Than Sorry’ Guide to Installing Mac OS X Updates, Charles W Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2008.12.16. Most users encounter no problems using Software Update, but some preflight work and using the Combo updater means far less chance of trouble.
- Why You Should Partition Your Mac’s Hard Drive, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2008.12.11. “At the very least, it makes sense to have a second partition with a bootable version of the Mac OS, so if you have problems with your work partition, you can boot from the ’emergency’ partition to run Disk Utility and other diagnostics.”
- Software to keep your MacBook cool, Phil Herlihy, The Usefulness Equation, 2008.11.25. Heat is the enemy of long hardware life. Two programs to keep your MacBook running cooler.
- Just right: Papa bear, mama bear, and baby bear MacBooks, Charles W Moore, ‘Book Value, 2008.11.20. Some people like small and light notebooks, others prefer huge desktop replacements, but the best value tends to be in the middle.
- Kensington Ci95m Wireless Mouse: Great battery life, smooth performance, Charles W Moore, ‘Book Value, 2008.11.13. Kensington’s slim wireless mouse is well built, works smoothly, has great battery life, and avoids Bluetooth pairing and wake-up issues.
- Debunking the Apple Tax, Frank Fox, Stop the Noiz, 2008.10.31. “…no one else is offering the quality of computer construction that Apple offers in the same price range.”
- One OS to rule them all, Frank Fox, Stop the Noiz, 2008.10.29. With Fusion or Parallels letting you run Windows at full speed, Mac OS X gives you the best of both worlds.
- How to clone Mac OS X to a new hard drive, Simon Royal, Tech Spectrum, 2008.10.07. Whether you want to put a bigger, faster drive in your Mac or clone OS X for use in another Mac, here’s the simple process.
- Apple Trumps Microsoft in Making the 64-bit Transition Transparent to Users, Frank Fox, Stop the Noiz, 2008.09.18. To use more than 4 GB of RAM under Windows, you need a 64-bit PC and the 64-bit version of Windows. On the Mac, OS X 10.4 and later already support it.
- Does running OS X system maintenance routines really do any good?, Charles W Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2008.08.26. Mac OS X is designed to run certain maintenance routines daily, weekly, and monthly – but can’t if your Mac is off or asleep.
- Tricking out your notebook for superior desktop duty, Charles W Moore, ‘Book Value, 2008.07.29. For desktop use, you don’t need to be limited by the built-in trackpad, keyboard, and display or a notebook’s compromised ergonomics.
- Free VirtualBox for Mac now a virtual contender, Alan Zisman, Mac2Windows, 2008.07.21. A year ago, the Mac version of VirtualBox lacked some essential features. Over the past year, it’s grown into a very useful tool.
- Win the depreciation game by buying on the low end, Charles W Moore, ‘Book Value, 2008.06.24. The worst depreciation afflicts high-end models. By buying a less powerful version, choosing certified refurbished, or picking up a used computer, you’ll come out ahead.
- 16:9 computer displays: Let’s not go there, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2008.06.17. “…there’s no reason our computer displays should match the proportions of our television displays.”
- SheepShaver brings Classic Mac OS to Intel Macs and Leopard, Alan Zisman, Mac2Windows, 2008.05.20. Mac OS X 10.5 doesn’t support Classic Mode. Neither does Leopard. But SheepShaver lets you emulate a PowerPC Mac and run the Classic Mac OS.
- Windows on Macs: Three paths for integration, Jason Packer, Macs in the Enterprise, 2008.05.14. Mac users have three routes for running Windows apps: Run Windows using Boot Camp or virtualization, or use a compatibility layer such as WINE.
- Where’s the best MacBook value: Top, bottom, or middle?, Charles W Moore, ‘Book Value, 2008.04.29. When it comes to MacBook and MacBook Pro value, the top-end model is usually the worst value, but which model holds the sweet spot?
- Restore stability to a troubled Mac with a clean system install, Keith Winston, Linux to Mac, 2008.01.15. If your Mac is misbehaving, the best fix just might be a fresh reinstallation of Mac OS X – don’t forget to backup first.
- We need more than 2 USB ports in MacBooks, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2008.01.14. There’s something wrong when you can’t plug a flash drive, mouse, and printer into a notebook computer at the same time.
- Does a college freshman need to run Windows on a MacBook?, Al Poulin, My Turn, 2007.07.24. While you can run Windows on today’s Intel-based Macs, is there any reason most college students would want to or need to?
- 1 core, 2 cores, 4 cores, 8: How Much Difference Does It Make?, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2007.04.10. Geekbench scores make it possible to compare the newest 3 GHz 8-core Mac Pro with the 1.5 GHz Core Solo Mac mini – and all the models in between.
- Simple ergonomics for the road warrior, Ed Eubanks Jr, The Efficient Mac User, 2007.01.16. The benefits of external keyboards and mice, laptop stands, typing gloves, and anti-RSI software for notebook users.
- To AppleCare or not to AppleCare?, Charles W Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2006.11.20. Consumer Reports, which generally recommends against extended warranties, says AppleCare makes sense. But does it?
- Better laptop performance: What’s the best upgrade?, Andrew J Fishkin, The Mobile Mac, 2006.10.09. Memory, CPU, bus speed, and hard drives all impact performance and battery life. Which upgrades will give you the most up time in the field?
- Drive matters, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2006.06.14. There’s more to picking the right hard drive than size, spindle speed, buffer size, and price. But how can a 5400 rpm drive ever outperform a 7200 rpm drive?
- Power strategies for using your ‘Book in the field: Batteries and AC adapters, Andrew J Fishkin, The Mobile Mac, 2006.06.05. One or two extra batteries and at least one spare AC adapter can be essential when you’re traveling and need to get hours and hours of use from your ‘Book.
- MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Late 2013) – Technical Specifications,
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