13" MacBook Air or 15" MacBook Pro Retina?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by richyirich, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2012
    #1
    Currently, I have a refurbished MacBook 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo that I purchased at the Apple Store a few years ago (see my signature for details). Recently, my mom has shown interest in learning to use a computer so I'm thinking of giving my MacBook to her and purchasing a new (or refurbished) Mac laptop as I was saving up for one for a while.

    Mainly, I use my current MacBook for e-mailing, surfing the web, MS Office (especially MS Word), and storing/listening to music via iTunes.

    After doing some research, I'm looking into 13" MacBook Air and 15" MacBook Pro Retina. I like the portability of MacBook Air (I store my MacBook in my backpack and take it to work). However, 15" MacBook Pro's retina display as well as quad core are intriguing.

    For my usage, which one should I get? Budget-wise, I'm thinking no more than $2k.
     
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #2
    The 13" MBA and even the 13" MacBook Pro with Retina Display are capable of doing your stated computational needs and much more.

    Unless you want the 15", the 13" MBA will be fine.
     
  3. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2012
    #3
    Will the MacBook Air be able to run Windows 7? I have a software that I use for work, which will only run with Windows.

    Also, I see that I have the option of configuring MacBook Air to 2.0GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz), 8GB memory upgrade, and 512GB of flash storage. Is this worth it?
     
  4. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2009
    #4
    Yes, the Air can run Windows 7.

    Unless you're running something cpu intensive but you can't compromise the portability/weight of the Air, the i7 isn't worth it. The 8 GBs is (imo) if you're going to run Windows in virtualization, and the 512 SSD depends on what you store natively on your mac versus how much you're willing to store outside of your mac.
     
  5. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2012
    #5
    What does "running Windows in virtualization" mean?
     
  6. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2009
    #6
    Running Windows and OS X simultaneously. Something like Parallels, Virtual Box, VMware Fusion, etc.

    If you're only using Windows for apps that aren't hardware intensive, it's a lot more convenient. Then again, outside of maybe games...if you need to use Windows for hardware intensive apps, you probably shouldn't be buying a mac.
     
  7. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2012
    #7
    I use a grading software at work (I'm a teacher) that was designed only for Windows. That's why being able to use Windows on Mac is important. Other than that, I'd be using Mac OS.
     
  8. macrumors newbie

    stumpapi

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2010
    Location:
    Maine
    #8
    After doing some research, I'm looking into 13" MacBook Air and 15" MacBook Pro Retina. I like the portability of MacBook Air (I store my MacBook in my backpack and take it to work). However, 15" MacBook Pro's retina display as well as quad core are intriguing.

    For my usage, which one should I get? Budget-wise, I'm thinking no more than $2k.[/QUOTE]

    :) I was in the same place last summer. Spent months debating pros and cons of each, went back an forth, over and over. I finally went with the Retina 15" MBP. Except for the advantage of a small footprint of the Air, everything else is better on the rMBP. I have been just amazed with everything about the rMBP. It is just beautiful, the screen beyond words, the power for anything you need and the real estate to do what you need or may want to do. I carry it in my backpack with workout clothes, lunch, materials for the office and teaching and either walk or bike a few miles each way from -30 in the winter to 90 in the summer, and no issues with durability or weight in the pack. I have been very pleased with my choice.
     
  9. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Location:
    Rio de Janeiro
    #9
    Just adding my 2 cents :D

    I agree with stumpapi, the 15 rMBP is AMAZING! Perhaps the best notebook I've had the pleasure of using. However, I didn't have the budget to buy it, so I ended up buying the cheaper 13'' cMBP - a decision I somewhat regret. While it does have more resources than the equivalent MBA, it's far less portable, and in months of usage I have barely needed its DVD or half of its ports... :(

    On the bright side, it does run Win 7 pretty well - better than my family's computer I must say :cool:. Even with a rotary HDD it flies through my programs and on the web. I even have enough power to play some games - for reference, Civ V, DotA2 and Endless Space are some of my titles. And from the specs, I can tell that any MBA would do the same much better because of the SSD. Also, it is as light as a feather, and that makes a nice difference after carrying it around for a whole day...

    So, IMHO I'd go with the 13'' MBA, for its portability - unless your teaching program is something like AutoCad or Photoshop, which requires extra graphics power. Stick with the basic HDD size, and if you ever need more storage capacity, go for a cheap 1T external HDD ;)
     
  10. macrumors 604

    SnowLeopard2008

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #10
    You should be fine running that app in a Windows virtual machine. Virtual Box is free (Google it for more details) and should do the job. You do need a license for Windows, which isn't free.
     
  11. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2012
    #11
    15" Retina with educational discount. Comes to about $2200 with tax. I was on the same boat you are and I just went with the Retina. I haven't looked back since. I mainly use it for school so its a little bit of overkill but I know that I have the power on tap if I needed. Just my $0.02.
     
  12. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2012
    #12
    Just purchased a brand-new 15" rMBP for the price of Apple's refurbished 15" rMBP. Very excited! :)
     
  13. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2009
    #13
    As others have said, how much you intend to haul the laptop around will be key. If it will constantly be in bag - go with the MBA. But as a stand alone computer, the Retina display models are a dream. I love my MBA, but around the house my wife and I fight over the Retina. To my ever increasingly old eyes the extra crispness of the Retina is so helpful. But it's not just the display. Everything you do on the Retina - every stroke, gesture, and tap is so smooth. Apps open as quickly as on a Iphone. And it runs Window 7 far better than does my work P.C.
     
  14. macrumors 6502a

    ShiggyMiyamoto

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2004
    Location:
    Just outside Boston, MA.
    #14
    How/where did you accomplish that?! Share! :p
     

Share This Page