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View Full Version : 13" MBA vs 13" rMBP




AdonisSMU
Nov 13, 2012, 12:59 AM
$1300 vs $1700

The difference is the

Retina display
processor 1.8 vs 2.0 GHz

I'm so torn.



Shnur
Nov 13, 2012, 08:53 AM
The processor is also a different set, the MBA are low-voltage ones, therefore they perform slightly worse than full laptop counterparts; which is going to be the big difference in performance. Also the HD4000 integrated GPU is going to be clocked higher because of higher TDP availabilities.
It's only 300g difference, so the main thing is whether you want the retina display. & need HDMI out/extra Thunderbolt/mini-DP port.

marcperrot
Nov 13, 2012, 09:50 AM
It all depends on what you want to use it for. I was waiting for the 13" rMBP before making my decision, and when it was announced I knew I was going for the MBA. I didn't need the extra ports, I found the MBA screen to be good enough, and the internals weren't significantly better.

lightstrum
Nov 13, 2012, 12:25 PM
I just went through this and have purchased a 13rMBP.

I travel a lot. I have learned that form factor is as important as weight and to an extent computing power. Two years ago I bought the 13 and though I liked it, I always found it to be too deep and wide and didn't like the huge bezel. Last year I went to the 11 and really love the machine except for the screen and that it runs hot and is noisy under load.

I wasn't thinking of the 13 retina because of some disappoint in early reviews comparing $ value to 15 Retina. I had tried the 15 but way to big to hump around.

Last week I went to pick up the I5 and surprise I grabbed the iPad mini too. What a great traveling device.

Okay on the way out of the store I saw the 13 retina, pulled my 11" out (easy sailor) and wow- r weighs more but not much bigger, so I pulled out my I pad 2 and 4s ( I always travel with a all three and a Galaxy note for local phone and drawing) and put them on top of the 11air and then next to it put the I5 and mini on top of the 13 retina. Sold. I added weight with the retina but lost a lot with the swap to mini and I5, plus now I have all black bezels. For a half pound overall extra carrying weight I have the latest and greatest. The 13r is a much better machine than the 13 air. I am a happy hiker

Acorn
Nov 13, 2012, 12:45 PM
I am quite happy with my 2012 air. Im not going to invest in a 13 inch rmb. My air is awesome and I love it.

sostoobad
Nov 13, 2012, 01:14 PM
I am quite happy with my 2012 air. Im not going to invest in a 13 inch rmb. My air is awesome and I love it.

Ditto.

0x000000
Nov 13, 2012, 01:27 PM
I had both the air and the rMBP. Both are great machines, the raw performance of the rMBP is probably a tad higher, though it's questionable how noticable that is. The benchmarks values are pretty darn close after all. On the other hand the UI performance of the Air is likely better, with higher FPS in OS-X due to the low-res screen, though again, that's not really noticable in everyday use.

The retina screen is really a blast. Scaled resolutions look amazing and even the rather low 1280x800 HiDPI optimal setting feels larger than it should, due to the crisp fonts etc. The air on the other hand is cheaper and lighter, something not to be underestimated.

I had the Air since 2010 so I felt the need to switch to something "new" but I'd be happy with both.

talk
Nov 13, 2012, 02:14 PM
Ditto.
Also, you don't enjoy the retina when your laptop is connected to an external display, which is a common use case for me.

I upgraded my 2010 air to ultimate 2012 and it's an amazing machine.
Yes, the retina is awesome, but not worth the extra size and cash from my perspective.

ROLLTIDE1
Nov 13, 2012, 02:23 PM
$1300 vs $1700

The difference is the

Retina display
processor 1.8 vs 2.0 GHz

I'm so torn.

Retina was $1549 at Frys the other day with no tax

Anonymous Freak
Nov 13, 2012, 02:36 PM
Anand says (http://www.anandtech.com/show/6409/13inch-retina-macbook-pro-review) that unless you absolutely need the lighter weight (the rMBP is only marginally thicker compared to the thick point of the MBA, and has a smaller footprint,) the rMBP is the way to go.

The 13" rMBP will definitely be my next computer, should a need to buy one crop up in the next six months. (I'm a slow upgrader, but when I do upgrade, I tend to "go big". My current laptop is the original Intel 15" MacBook Pro.)

Macdick
Nov 13, 2012, 02:44 PM
retina macbook pro will come down at least 200$ price ,and you will look like a fool if you buy now. I just wanna warn you wait abit and save! Be smart!;)

yanksrock100
Nov 13, 2012, 05:27 PM
I think the 13 rMBP is heavily overpriced and underspec'd. Integrated graphics aren't bad on the Macbook Air. However when the iGPU has to power 4 MILLION pixels, things start to get bad. Animations and the UI aren't as smooth as the Macbook Air is. Games will be ever harder to play because of the insane resolution + iGPU. The 15 rMBP doesn't suffer this problem because of the dedicated GPU. Personally, I don't think the 13 rMBP is going to be worth it for another year or 2. The Macbook Air is already established itself and its rather affordable compared to the rMBP (Base MBA is $1099 at Amazon).
I would say that for now, the Macbook Air is a better computer. Especially for the price.

0x000000
Nov 13, 2012, 07:05 PM
Animations and the UI aren't as smooth as the Macbook Air is. Games will be ever harder to play because of the insane resolution + iGPU,

The UI really isn't exactly as smooth. Animation "speed" is the same, though, so it doesn't change productivity - this shouldn't be confused. But from my personal experience UI animations aren't quite as bad as I expected them to be. And I'm very picky. Scrolling websites is pretty much the only occurrence of slow UI that I actually notice, but it seems to be somewhat software related: Chrome was stuttering quit a bit when scrolling, for example, the Chrome Canary (Beta) however is pretty smooth so I'm simply using that. I'm even using the 1440px scaled resolution and it's completely fine. It's not nearly as bad as people (including me) proclaimed it to be :) And you do get the retina screen for it, which really feels like a game changer.

The 15" rMBP has the same UI performance though, because it uses the HD4000 for OSX's animation etc. and doesn't switch to the dedicated GPU only for stuff like that.

Games you could still run on a "lower" resolution like 1280 or 1440, just like you'd do on a regular mac. The performance should be the same as if you were using that resolution on a low-res screen, e.g. on a MBA, because the amount of pixels the GPU has to push is the same. But I really wouldn't recommend buying either the MBA or rMBP for gaming.

AdonisSMU
Nov 13, 2012, 09:43 PM
Thx for responding guys. I currently have a 11" late 2010 model MBA. I am really wanting the 13" rMBP but man i feel like there were some compromises made to get something out the door. However, Im almost certainly going to see performance improvements over my 11" late 2010 model MBA...if Anandtech is to be believed. The 13" MBA seems like it is a good performer too and in some cases even better with the lack of a retina display though it does come with an I7 if I want it to... This is a hard decision to make...

I would by the low end rMBA or a 8GIG MBA both 13"

Im not a gamer so no worries from that standpoint at this time. I am a web developer though...

yanksrock100
Nov 13, 2012, 10:03 PM
Thx for responding guys. I currently have a 11" late 2010 model MBA. I am really wanting the 13" rMBP but man i feel like there were some compromises made to get something out the door. However, Im almost certainly going to see performance improvements over my 11" late 2010 model MBA...if Anandtech is to be believed. The 13" MBA seems like it is a good performer too and in some cases even better with the lack of a retina display though it does come with an I7 if I want it to... This is a hard decision to make...

I would by the low end rMBA or a 8GIG MBA both 13"

Im not a gamer so no worries from that standpoint at this time. I am a web developer though...

I am in a very similar position also. In all honestly, I just think the 13 rMBP isn't ready yet. If you are like me, and are expecting to use this computer 3+ years, the rMBP will not be enough. It is absolutely insane to have an iGPU power 4 million pixels. For the Macbook Air, an iGPU can power it fine. Even websites like The Verge will be choppy on the rMBP. I will be getting an rMBP in a few years, when things are ready. The Macbook Air is in it's prime right now.

0x000000
Nov 14, 2012, 03:12 AM
Thx for responding guys. I currently have a 11" late 2010 model MBA. I am really wanting the 13" rMBP but man i feel like there were some compromises made to get something out the door. However, Im almost certainly going to see performance improvements over my 11" late 2010 model MBA...if Anandtech is to be believed.

I am in a very similar position also. In all honestly, I just think the 13 rMBP isn't ready yet. If you are like me, and are expecting to use this computer 3+ years, the rMBP will not be enough. It is absolutely insane to have an iGPU power 4 million pixels.

I was coming from a 2010's MBA (13", 2.13, 256) and the rMBP is really nice. It is a step forward, though I have to admit the MBA was fast enough for my purposes already, so I don't really notice too much of a difference.

There is probably some minor trade-off in terms of UI performance compared to a 2012's MBA, but you do get the screen and that's totally worth it. And it is nothing that reduces your productivity at all. It'll last fine for a few years, I'm not afraid of that at all. If you don't have to make the switch now, wait for the next generation, though it could of course take up to Q3 2013.

If you need to buy a new mac now, I wouldn't completely disregard the rMBP, though. It's fine, really.

AdonisSMU
Nov 14, 2012, 04:00 AM
I was coming from a 2010's MBA (13", 2.13, 256) and the rMBP is really nice. It is a step forward, though I have to admit the MBA was fast enough for my purposes already, so I don't really notice too much of a difference.

There is probably some minor trade-off in terms of UI performance compared to a 2012's MBA, but you do get the screen and that's totally worth it. And it is nothing that reduces your productivity at all. It'll last fine for a few years, I'm not afraid of that at all. If you don't have to make the switch now, wait for the next generation, though it could of course take up to Q3 2013.

If you need to buy a new mac now, I wouldn't completely disregard the rMBP, though. It's fine, really.

Do you hook into a monitor sometimes as well?

Colpeas
Nov 14, 2012, 07:14 AM
I have this years' MacBook Air 13" and I am very fond of it, but the only reason I've chosen it over 13 rMBP is because right now, the rMBPs have terrible value for the money ratio. The situation with the current retinas is 100% in compliance with a rule I developed from my own experience with using Apple's products in recent years, which I live by: "first generation of an apple product usually sucks, so always wait for the second generation".

Most recently, I am started planning on purchasing the iPad Mini 2 (hopefully it's gonna get a retina display and maybe even an A6 SoC)

I am pretty sure, Apple will drop cMBPS from its product line no later than next year and the price of rMBPs will fall to a reasonable level. Along with Haswell CPUs and next-gen Intel GT graphics (because I really don't expect 13" Retinas to get a dedicated GPU anytime soon) it will make a perfect computer for me.

netdog
Nov 14, 2012, 07:20 AM
Well to really throw a wrench in it, I have used MBAs since the first one and absolutely love the portability, but was also waiting for the rMBP 13" to decide whether to make the jump for the retina screen or stick with an MBA.

Well, when my MBA stopped working, the rMBP 13 wasn't yet out so the guy at the Apple Store recommended taking home a 15" for 2 weeks as I expected the 13" to arrive in that time.

Long story short, I took home the 15", and thought that the screen was no big deal until I picked up my iPad and the screen looked all pixelated to me (much to my surprise).

When the 13" came in, I didn't really like it, but the MBA at the store also looked pixelated so I wound up keeping the rMBP 15" and, despite the weight, I absolutely love it.

Oh, and the base model that I bought was only 100 more than the rMBP 13 will a similar 8/256 config (I can't imagine having a drive smaller than that) but it also packs a quad-core processor and a separate GPU. The pricing of the rMBP 13" seems very strange to me.

0x000000
Nov 14, 2012, 07:43 AM
Do you hook into a monitor sometimes as well?

Good question! I've got a 24" Apple Cinema that I just plugged it in and it is very fast, no hickups whatsoever. Even more:

One very noticable occurrence of the rMBPs slow UI is when swiping desktops. When swiping desktops, the rMBPs FPS seems to be a good bit lower than that of other non-retina macs, you do see some frames being skipped if you look very closely, though that of course does not reduce productivity.

I and everyone else suspected this to be because of the iGPU not being able to keep up with the pixels and I expected this to be even worse, if you drive two displays at once.

However... the 24" ACD is completely fluid. Swiping desktops is super fluid and even slow websites like theverge scroll very very smoothly. And that's despite the iGPU handling both the 24" ACD and the 13" retina display simultaneously.

This is weird.

Jeanloup
Nov 14, 2012, 10:57 AM
Don't Forget that the rMBP suffers from image retention. The MBA don't so you will be able to resale it next year and get the next generation and hopefully glitch free retina :)

brentsg
Nov 14, 2012, 12:20 PM
Don't Forget that the rMBP suffers from image retention. The MBA don't so you will be able to resale it next year and get the next generation and hopefully glitch free retina :)

Further, you can source a refurb air but not a refurb rMBP (at this time) and this further increases the price difference.

AdonisSMU
Nov 14, 2012, 02:36 PM
I have this years' MacBook Air 13" and I am very fond of it, but the only reason I've chosen it over 13 rMBP is because right now, the rMBPs have terrible value for the money ratio. The situation with the current retinas is 100% in compliance with a rule I developed from my own experience with using Apple's products in recent years, which I live by: "first generation of an apple product usually sucks, so always wait for the second generation".

Most recently, I am started planning on purchasing the iPad Mini 2 (hopefully it's gonna get a retina display and maybe even an A6 SoC)

I am pretty sure, Apple will drop cMBPS from its product line no later than next year and the price of rMBPs will fall to a reasonable level. Along with Haswell CPUs and next-gen Intel GT graphics (because I really don't expect 13" Retinas to get a dedicated GPU anytime soon) it will make a perfect computer for me.
IPad, iPhone?