We looked at the entry model Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display before with 2.3GHz quad-core and 256GB SSD. This time we turn the lamp on the best with its 2.6GHz processor and 512GB storage. All other specifications are identical, starting with the same NVdia GeForce 650M with 1GB DDR5 and 8GB memory.
Port-wise we find an SDHC card slot, HDMI, two USB 3.0, and two Thunderbolt. Completing the machine are 11n wireless and silky glass buttonless trackpad, HD webcam, and dual microphones. And then there is the ultra-high definition IPS panel with 2880 pixels and 1800 pixels running down its 15.3in glossy screen.
The build quality of this streamlined notebook is unimpeachable. The Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display’s unibody construction comprises a main chassis milled from solid aluminum with sculpted bottom plate precision-set below. Laid down, it is just 18mm thin and weighs exactly 2.0kg.
Potential niggle points for a would-be purchaser amy include the removal of FireWire, optical drive, and even Ethernet. The last two are covered with Thunderbolt adaptors, while DVD drives are already far from mandatory in modern Ps. Business users may balk at the lack of Kensington security slot though.
When we fisrt looked at the Retina MacBook there was no Windows drivers to let us explore our usual raft of benchmark test BootCamp. Apple’s easy-to-run setup for installing Windows on a Mac, has now been updated so we put the Retina through its paces.
The venerable WorldBench 6 suite asserted what the component specification already suggested – this is one fast laptop. A score of 176 points confiemd as the most powerful lptop we’ve ever used. The graphics performance is outstanding too –as it must be just to drive the 5.2MP display.
The NVdia GTX 650M automatically hand sover to integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 depending on running apps, in OS X at least. Running Windows, only the NVdia processor is available and this gave a decent 120fps playing FEAR and 169fps in our low spec Crysis test at 1024 by 768.
We pushed i further with resolution set near-native 2560 by 1600 and Medium detail, leading to a useful 28fps. The even more graphics horsepower would not go amiss though, as the regular OS X interface is not as fluid as it should be evident for example as some slight stickiness while fast scrolling through web pages.
Totalling 95Wh, the massed array of non-removable lithium-polymer internal batteries led to a Windows runtime of 6.5 hours. Back in Lion, we found we could keep this machine through and beyond an 8-hur working day.