Yes, I bought a non-Retina MacBook in 2015 — and it's awesome

I love the Millennium Falcon. The idea of a junky space ship being faster than all the fancy ones really appeals to me. And in part, I think this is why I love tinkering with my Macs so much.

Recently, my 2012 Macbook Pro started acting up, and I got The Fear. Video glitches, trackpad freakouts, high CPU temps, and random shutdowns. It was clear: I needed to move laptops. And as pretty as the new MacBook is, it's a little too much for my pocketbook right now. Instead, I opted for the thick, "outdated," 13-inch non-Retina Macbook Pro. And I love it.

She's fast enough for you, old man

No, the 13-inch MacBook Pro doesn't have a Retina screen. It doesn't have the fancy form-factor of the new MacBook. It is, by all and rights and means, hopelessly outdated.

But for what I need, this little MacBook Pro is more than enough: For one, it's repairable. I picked up a cheap SSD off Amazon, and replaced the drive myself. Bonus: Now I have a spare 2.5-inch hard drive for backups, and I'm booting off a drive I can remove myself in an emergency.

Another bonus: I can add extra RAM to this MacBook Pro. I put my computer through a lot of RAM-intensive work during the day, and like to have as much available as possible. But were I to go with a machine from Apple's Retina laptop line, I'd have to pony up more than $2000! Instead, I yanked 16 gigs out of an old Mini and this baby was ready to rock — no premium charge necessary.

No Retina does not a piece of junk make

You're probably thinking, "don't you miss all those gorgeous Retina pixels?" Honestly, no. High-density displays are extremely useful on a phone and certainly the future of computing, but they aren't mission-critical for me.

Most of my work is done at a desk with a big monitor, full-size keyboard and an ambidextrous ergonomic mouse / Magic Trackpad combo. (Yep, I use the number pad!) I treat my laptops like Mac Minis that can move between a few different desks depending what I'm working on. And I keep my monitors in circulation for a long time, so the difference in pixel densities would be more of a distraction than anything else.

Am I clinging to a hokey religion that's no match for a good blaster at my side? I dunno. Maybe I could learn to work in coffee shops or on a couch, but this system helps me focus and keeps my wrists in decent condition. After all, we pirates don't get paid when our ship is stuck in space dock.

Who needs hyperspeed?

Understanding what's inside my computer is empowering, and oddly enough, now I feel even more prepared for the future.

Yes, USB-C is coming. But Thunderbolt never really took off, and what's up with the future of Magsafe? I'm on board for our reversible-cables-and-wireless-network future, but right now, I'd rather just use the adapters I own. Not investing in a really expensive computer now means I'm more willing to try the new stuff later.

Now let's just hope I don't break anything when I remove the DVD and swap in a second hard drive...

Rich Stevens

Pixel lover and cartoonist. Still have my original Apple IIgs. See more at or follow him on Twitter @rstevens.