Buying guide: 2012 Macs

By Roman Loyola, Macworld |  Hardware, Apple, computers

The Retina MacBook Pro does not have a SuperDrive, so if you need one, you have to buy an external USB optical drive.

How do I connect stuff? No need to worry about wireless connectivity: The Retina MacBook Pro has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Its the wired connectivity you need to be concerned with. The Retina MacBook Pro has two Thunderbolt ports, two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, and thats it. If you want to connect a FireWire device, you need to use a Thunderbolt-to-FireWire Adapter. Fortunately, you can use USB 2.0 devices with the USB 3.0 ports without a problem.

If you wish to connect to an ethernet network, you need a USB Ethernet Adapter.

How fast is it? The Retina MacBook Pros processors, flash storage, and 8GB of memory combine for impressive performance results. The 15-inch models are faster than the stock configuration of the quad-core Mac Pro, Apples desktop workstation. Both the 13- and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros are faster than the stock configurations of the Mac mini, Apples affordable desktop computer. And the Retina MacBook Pros offer a significant boost over their non-Retina counterparts.

Interestingly, the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro was only about 11% faster than the 13-inch MacBook Air in our testing. But if your work requires a lot of heavy-duty processing, note that the MacBook Air may throttle itself down to keep the temperature at an optimal level, which will affect performance.

Macworlds buying advice: For the most demanding mobile Mac userthat is, someone whose work requires a lot of processing powerthe Retina MacBook Pro is the ticket. The two 13-inch models are identical except for the amount of storage; buy the model with 256GB of storage, if your wallet permits. The $600 that separates the two 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro models is a hefty chunk of change; you do get more machine for $2799, but youre not losing much if you go with the $2199 model. If your work mostly involves Internet access and other productivity tasks, go for a MacBook Air.

Read our complete review of the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro (Late 2012)

Read our complete review of the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro (Mid-2012)

Next page: Mac mini, iMac, and Mac Pro

Mac mini


Originally published on Macworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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