1st Retina Macbook Pro 13 (Macbook 10,2)

This post will reflect the Late 2012 ‘Retina’ MacBook Pro & the Early 2013 MacBook Pro, the 13″ model of course. I believe this is the main model of the MacBook & even Apple line up. There is the MacBook Air in 11″ and 13″, the small MacMini, the Macbook in 13″ and then 15″, the iMac in 21.5″ and 27″ and then finally the Mac Pro, which was the big aluminum desktop which got phased out for the trash can Mac.

Skip the middle of the page to get into ebay prices or parts pricing.

Good day everyone! I have a friend who is a photographer and videographer who has been using the famous DankPad T420s with an M14x Alienware display that I lent him.

He said he’s ready to buy a newer laptop, and he wants to go Mac.
The 13″ MacBook is a suitable contender against the ThinkPad T430s & X1 Carbon (1st gen).
For the time, this mac hardware was actually modern & competitive, unlike how they used to hold onto having Core 2 Duos for years after the Intel i5 have came out.

On this post we will be checking the prices of the first two models, the Retina 2012 which came out alongside the Mid 2012 Macbook pro of the same size. The Retina model is much much more slimmer than the previous MacBook, albeit Apple disliked the competition from the emerging Ultrabook market that Intel pushed & supported OEM manufacturers.

Retina Macbooks have key downsides or features different from the previous MacBook.

  • Soldered RAM which means…
  • You’re stuck at 8GB of RAM, while previous units could be upgraded to 16GB
  • Battery glued onto the keyboard frame
  • Proprietary mSATA SSDs
  • THIN AS HELL

I have yet to mess with any Retina MacBook Pros, so SSD upgrading I have no clue on what works and what doesn’t. EveryMac and OWC look to have detailed information about this, and it looks like these SSDs compatible each other (r 2012 & Early 2013 only). However they are not compatible with any other models despite having an identical form factor (macbook air, MBP 15″ of similar time). So if you’re buying an SSD to upgrade, research it yourself or ask other mac pros, not me.

 

O V E R V I E W

Looking at everymac, these macbooks are basically the same other than a .1GHz of difference.

  • Retina 2012 – 2.5GHz i5-3210m with 3MB cache, or 2.9GHz i7-3230m with 4MB cache
  • Early 2013 – 2.6GHz i5-3520m with 3MB cache, or 3.0GHz i7-3530m with 4MB cache
  • Both have Integrated Graphics – Intel HD4000
  • All of the ports are the same, display is the same, keyboard & battery all the SAME! But SSD & price were slightly different
  • The Retina 2012 had 128GB SSD as the entry level option, but the Early 2013 had only had a 256GB SSD as the entry level option
  • Apple sold the Retina 2012 (i5 and i7) 128GB models alongside the Early 2013’s (with 256gb), but ‘old’ models had a price decrease of $200 for the i5 and $400 for the i7.
  • They got rid of the 256GB option for the 2012’s, so you’d have to CTO a 512GB or 768GB SSD if you wanted something bigger, or get a base Early 2013.
  • Was the slightly more expensive $200 or $400 difference worth 128GB of space & .1GHz of performance? Perhaps.
  • Apple also dropped the prices of SSD upgrades in 2013 as well, so it might of pissed off early & hype buyers. I feel they did this because production costs of SSDs went down.
  • Other than knowing the Retina display is super fucking nice, it’s display output is 2560 x 1600 compared to the 15″ display with 2880 x 1800 pixels.
  • For graphics, you’re stuck with Intel Graphics, there are no discrete GPU options (on 13″ models since the retina) unless you pay up for a 15″ machine.

P O R T S

The Retina MacBook (makbuk) started a new path for the a e s t h e t i c s movement with even more simplicity.
Apple had never implemented a docking function so if you have a desktop you will need a USB hub/dongle from a third party to solve your issues. After using Dell, Lenovo, IBM, HP, Panasonic & Sony business laptops, most of them have docking ports or USB dock solutions. Looking at the third party designs, nearly all of these docks are cumbersome, expensive and/or non-expanding, all for the gimmicky aesthetics.

There are only ports to the left and right of the macbook. None in the back because of its hinge design and none in front because… its not a mac thing since the iBook?

Left Side:

  • MagSafe 2 Charging Port – 65W needed, ‘long port’, magnetic because Steve Jobs patented Chinese rice cooker plugs
  • Two ThunderBolt Ports that double as mini Display Ports aka mDP
  • One USB 3.0 Port
  • Headphone Jack – Not sure if it can use a mic headset.
  • Dual Microphones – Literally why on the left of the fucking laptop and not near the webcam.

Right Side: (incoming banter because drunktard)

  • One USB 3.0 Port – Good for wired mouses :3
  • HDMI port – Forsure Apple got cucked they couldn’t do something proprietary here
  • SD Card Slot – A MUST HAVE for photographers, when Apple removed this in 2015, photogs still kept with Apple because of hivemind and the presumption that they wouldn’t be taken seriously in the Professional world.

B A T T E R Y L I F E

Results are unshamesly taken from NoteBook Check:

Idle – Low brightness, Radios off – 16 Hours
WiFi Surfing – Almost 7 Hours
Load & Max Brightness – 2 Hours

For me, I’d probably get 6 hours, with shitposting, di.fm playing, & the occasional youtube vid.

 

P E R F O R M A N C E

Bootup – 15 Seconds
Shutdown – 5 Seconds

Passmark Scores:

Graphics – Intel HD4000 – 454

  • Worse than (desktop) nVidia GeForce GT620, ATI Radeon HD 4650, nVidia Quadro 510
  • Worse than (laptop) nVidia GeForce GT610m, ATI Radeon HD 7470M, nvidia Quadro…???
  • Better than nvidia GeForce GT420, ATI (mobility) HD 4670, nVidia Quadro FX 4600m

Processor:

2.5GHz i5-3210m (3.1GHz Turbo) 3813 Passmark & 1521 Single Thread
2.6GHz i5-3230m (3.2GHz Turbo) 3931 Passmark & 1578 Single Thread
2.9GHz i7-3520m (3.6GHz Turbo) 4530 Passmark & 1784 Single Thread
3.0GHz i7-3540m (3.7GHz Turbo) 4640 Passmark & 1827 Single Thread

Given that the i5 has 3MB of Cache, and the i7’s have 4MB of Cache, really the difference between the two processors is about 500 ‘points’ in the Passmark scoring for each year.

Tough to say, which I recommend because it comes down to price, SSD size & condition of the laptop. I’d say get the 2.9GHz 2012 i7 model, but if the 2.6GHz 2012 i5 is $150 cheaper, then get that? I had happily recorded video and played League of Legends in 1080p 60fps with it’s 2.5GHz i5 & Intel graphics. For photo editing realistically all of these are great to use, even with big photos. If you are messing with 10+ layers at 3K or more, with many effects, then MAYBE consider a newer or bigger laptop.

For video editing my guess is pretty vague, so I would think if its a 10 to 18 min clip @ 1080p 30FPS with some text & scene transferring, it would be fine, maybe 40 min to render. Anything longer, for a laptop you should need a quadcore i7 and dGPU.

I will be searching for ‘Retina 2012 MacBook Pro 13’ & ‘Early 2013 MacBook Pro 13’ on eBay. There are people who don’t write retina, or the year their macbook is, when they sell their mac. Due to this, their pricing can be off, because they are dumb or need the cash and rush their listing. If you can identify it is a 2012 (or later) and get it at a lower price than I posted, good for you! I’ve gotten very good deals on people who aren’t critical on details, so if you get a good deal & want to resell, use this as a reference.

Warning:

Beware of bullshit keywords

  • Rare
  • Vivid
  • EXCELLENT
  • BEST MacBook
  • High End
  • Last model with DVD
  • Pre-Retina
  • 2008 – 2012 OSX
  • 2009 – 2012 OSX
  • 2010 – 2012 OSX

I’ve just noticed these asshats putting ‘pre retina’ in the title which fucks up my search results
In addition they’ll say their old shit Macbooks are ‘better than retina’ which is speculative
Oh, heres the kicker, THEY CALL THESE RARE!!! like holy fuck it is not, three dimes a dozen.
They also do some bullshit like 2012 – 2016, 2017, 2018
Why the later years? Because they put the OSX of that year in the title BECAUSE MAC BUYERS ARE FUCKING IDIOTS, AND EVERY FUCKING MAC LOOKS THE SAME SINCE 2006.
You can make a lot of money dumbing down and making the buying look easy to people.
I literally fixed overheating Core 2 Duos machines sent by people who got them because ‘macs are good and it is using high tech OSX’.
Be smart, don’t be gullible.

eBay sellers in the FUCK OFF, overpriced & LAST RESORT list:

  • macfulfillmentservices
  • legitimac-store
  • quality-macs (cheaper if you walked into their San Diego store)
  • verimacstore
  • I say this because its buy it now overpriced warranty bullshit
  • Buy these if you want (((reputable))) and care less about price.
  • Macs have a 90% higher chance of dying due to water and being stepped on than any other laptop.
  • Macs are not cheap to repair, because of the obsessive hype they have.

E B A Y P R I C E S

2012 Retina Macbook Pro 13 – $430 – 620 // 850 MAX ~ 109 listed Vs 203 sold

By Processor

2.5GHz i5-3210m – 2012 rMBP 13 (MD212LL/A)
29 listed, 86 Sold – General Pricing for all conditions

  • Low – $430
  • Mid – $600
  • High – $800

As Is – $205 – 440 // 500 ~ 6 sold
Used – $445 – 550 // 700 ~ 66 sold
S-Refurb – $520 – 625 // ?? ~ 6 sold
M-Refurb – $580 – 800 // 900 ~ 8 Sold (Seller refurbs with THEIR warranty, not AppleCare) LMAO at their not subpar 99% feedback.

By Storage

128GB – $445 – 550 // 725 ~ 31 sold
256GB – $500 – 620 // 700/800? ~ 20 sold
512GB – $627 ~ 1 sold

2.9GHz i7-3520m – 2012 rMBP 13 (BTO/CTO)
9 listed, 53 sold – General Pricing

  • Low – $511
  • Mid – $640
  • High – $950

As Is – $175 – 275 ~ 2 sold (Black screen)
Used – $410 – 500 // 800 ~ 43 sold
S-Refurb – $700 – 1380 (AUS) ~ 2 sold
M-Refurb – None, but sellers such as legitimac-store, tekreplay, & macexpressoutlet all sell ‘Manufactuer refurbished’ with no packaging, no OEM warranty & also write ‘pre-retinas’ that are ‘best Macbook Pro ever made’ actually no.

By Storage

128GB – $366 – 530 // 600 ~ 4 sold
256GB – $570 – 630 // 795 ~ 22 sold
512GB – $600 – 700 // ??? ~ 7 sold

My synopsis from these two is that the i7 model does ask for a little bit more if they are refurbished. However if selling used & an auction, the i7 doesn’t necessarily get more than the i5 model. There seems to be more models with the 512GB SSD on the i7 than the i5, but honestly I’d recommend the 2.5GHz i5 with 256GB SSD.

 

Early 2013 MacBook Pro 13 – $470 – 625 // 900 MAX ~ 6 listed Vs 66 sold
Main difference in .1GHz in boost & 256GB SSD is standard.
Search modifiers -2015 -late -2.4 -2.8

By Condition:
As Is – $240 – 400 ~ 3 sold (Cracked LCD/Non booting)
Used – $530 – 620 // 650 ~ 27 sold
Refurb – $470 – 580 // 640 ~ 6 sold

By Processor

2.6GHz i5-3230m MacBook Pro 13 (ME662LL/A) ~ 3 listed, 33 sold

  • Low – $500
  • Mid – $650
  • High – $800
  • Original MSRP – $1699

3.0GHz i7-3540m MacBook Pro 13 (BTO/CTO) ~ 4 listed, 20 sold

  • Low – $480
  • Mid – $590
  • High – $900
  • Original MSRP – $1899

By Storage

128GB SSD (Retrofitted) ~ 1 sold!

  • Mid – $600

256GB Base SSD ~ 11 Listed, vs 50 sold

  • Low – $540
  • Mid – $670
  • High – $820

512GB Optional SSD ~ 12 Listed, vs 31 Sold ($300 upgrade when new)

  • Low – $570
  • Mid – $750
  • High – $910

786GB Max Upgrade SSD ~ 0 listed, 0 sold ($700 upgrade when new)

  • None available, but there are SSDs sold by themselves for upgrade & replacement

The Early 2013 asks for a little bit more than the late 2012, partially due to the 256GB SSD. Though some of the 512GB options are a lot higher than the 2012 model, I still think you can snag one of these for the equal price. I had done a more detailed price breakdown with the 2012 model, but when I was looking at the Early 2013 model, I had gotten less results. I had to do some search modifiers due to eBay putting 2015 listings in there & seeing the late 2013 models which have a decent upgrade & higher price.

 

P A R T S 

Not always the laptop you buy off of eBay is in daily driver condition. You might need to replace a part or upgrade a component. Sadly there aren’t many parts for these macbooks, so you’re most likely looking for a replacement. I don’t have any guides of how to replace or upgrade parts, but I am sure there are thousands out there to do so. For me, upgrading the SSD, or doing a full lid swap are cost effective, but replacing the motherboard/processor or battery aren’t going to be cheap.

New Addition – Retail Prices
Retail will mean prices you will see at PC replacement parts & specialty Mac stores. These will be by companies who don’t use eBay to sell their items and have their own reputation. Stores like iFixit, Other World Computing, PowerBook Medic, Mac of All Trades, Newegg & Amazon will be priced here.

Storage – Proprietary mSATA-ish SSD
These prices reflect for 13″ & 15″ models for Retina 2012 & Early 2013 models. Disregard Air, & 2013 – 2015 compatible SSDs, they will fit but they wont work bc whitelist)

128GB ~ 18 listed vs 31 sold

  • Low – $50
  • Mid – $80
  • High – $95
  • Retail – $115 – $140

256GB ~ 54 listed vs 95 sold

  • Low – $75
  • Mid – $160
  • High – $250
  • Retail – $200 to 290

512GB ~ 36 listed vs 106 sold

  • Low – $150
  • Mid – $275
  • High – $380
  • Retail – $288 – 450

768GB ~ 4 listed vs 28 sold

  • Low – $190
  • Mid – $230
  • High – $290
  • Retail – $300 – $470

1TB (OWC/Unofficial) ~ 9 listed vs 6 sold

  • Low – $400
  • Mid – $515
  • High – $706
  • Retail – $420 – 650

The reason why 768GB SSDs sell for so low, is because they sell very quickly, via auction or just buy it now. There are a lot of 512GB SSDs available, which is why they sell for higher than the 768GB because the good ones are gone very quickly. OWC sells 240GB, 480GB compatible devices for equal price. Nab the 1TB if you want to future proof your device, though I think it is unnecessary (for the price) for what you can get in leaps of performance on a newer model.

Battery, Keyboard & Palmrest  (maybe touchpad too) ~ 11 listed vs 6 sold
People sell these all together due to the difficulty of removing them one by one.

  • Low – $105
  • Mid – $130
  • High – $165
  • Retail – $160 – $300
  • Apple Service – US$199, UK£159, CA$239, AUS$279

Battery only ~ 33 listed vs 23 sold

  • Low – $50 (China Export)
  • Mid – $65 (USA)
  • High – $150
  • Retail – $90 – $200

Keyboard ~ 90 listed vs 20 sold

  • Low – $21
  • Mid – $28
  • High – $40 (UK)

Bottom Cover ~ 14 listed vs 8 sold

  • Low – $15 (Grade C)
  • Mid – $36 (Used, Grade B/A)
  • High – $60 (New)
  • Retail – $44 – $85

Screen & Lid Assembly ~ 15 listed vs 12 sold
I failed removing the glass cover, I don’t recommend buying just the LCD or Glass.

  • Low – $127
  • Mid – $240
  • High – $330
  • Retail – $350+

Logic Boards

I will be using search results by the Apple Part Number, which should be the exact processor & motherboard we need to replace it. Check for lazy resellers & human error.
The Manufacturer Part Number 820-3462-A, should mean that they are all motherboards for Late 2012 and Early 2013. These gave me mixed results and other parts.

Btw, New is just another word for Used. 

661-7006 – 2.5GHz i5-3210m (Late 2012 Retina) ~ 11 listed vs 4 sold

  • Low – $299
  • Mid – $340
  • High – $390
  • Retail – $300 – $500

661-7007 – 2.9GHz i7-3520m (Late 2012 Retina) ~ 5 listed vs 1 sold

  • Low – $370
  • Mid – $470
  • High – $640
  • Retail – $280 – $600

661-7346 – 2.6GHz i5-3230m (Early 2013) ~ 13 listed vs 5 sold

  • Low – $275
  • Mid – $320
  • High – $350
  • Retail – $330 – $500

661-7347 – 3.0GHz i7-3540m (Early 2013) ~ 5 listed vs 1 sold

  • Low – $280
  • Mid – $???
  • High – $480
  • Retail – $280 – $650

PowerBookMedic has fairly low prices, even lower than eBay. DVwarehouse and MacPartsOnline have absurd prices… I’m considering doing drop shipment at their prices 🙂

Out of all of these motherboards, err… logic boards, it seems that putting the i7-3540m is the cheapest to put out of them all when it comes to replacement, while the base 2.5GHz i5 model, is equal or even more! Really strange how this ends up. From the information I’ve gotten, it should be able to fit in and all that stuff. But don’t goof and get a Late 2013 motherboard, it looks like they use different connectors for the LCD, Battery & keyboard… among others.

Would you buy a broken rMBP, fix and then flip it?

I am not sure… it would take a lot of good luck in order to do so. For all I know, I could end up with a 128GB SSD and toss in the $280 3GHz i7 CPU. Given what these go for, just for parts, you’ll probably just end up breaking even. Now if there was one that was being sold locally for $50 to $150 and I knew it had the 512GB SSD by the seller (and they let you take it), then I’d probably buy and flip. But say worse case it puts me about $450 invested and hoping it doesn’t need a battery or keyboard. With listing it in the middle of the road ($600) for this machine, a $100 profit isn’t worth it at all, considering eBay & PayPal fees will be about $40.80 if you have a top rated discount & a basic  ebay store subscription. That lands me $60 of profit with the risk of someone returning it, so consider $20 lost if they do… If it somehow sells for $900 then it would be a miracle and somewhat worth the risk.

tl;dr – Not worth the risk buying broken.

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