MBA 13" or rMBP 13" for the same price?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ciberkarlos, Apr 25, 2013.

  1. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    #1
    Hi, i'm looking the refurb store for a good 13inch notebook deal, and i found these, both for 1359$:


    Refurbished 13.3-inch MacBook Air 2.0GHz dual-core Intel Core i7

    Processor 2.0GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz)
    L3 Cache 4MB shared
    Memory 8GB of 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
    Hard drive 256GB flash storage1
    Graphics Intel HD Graphics 4000


    http://store.apple.com/us/product/G0ND1LL/A/refurbished-macbook-air-20ghz-dual-core-intel-core-i7


    Refurbished 13.3-inch MacBook Pro 2.5GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5 with Retina Display

    Processor 2.5 GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz)
    Cache 3MB shared L3 cache
    Memory 8GB of 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
    Graphics Intel HD Graphics 4000
    Storage1 256GB Flash Storage

    http://store.apple.com/us/product/F...z-dual-core-intel-core-i5-with-retina-display

    According to these specs, is the MBA the better option? I know th rMBP has much better screen, but does it worth having lower processor and cache?

    Thanks a lot.
     
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #2
    The MacBook Pro with Retina Display is the better computer spec-wise, faster CPU (the i7 in the MBA is still only a dual core CPU) and more pixels and even more screen real estate if you want to.
     
  3. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2011
    #3
    Definitely the rMBP. it is going to be faster, the speakers are better, and the screen makes a huge difference. Note that neither have a quad-core CPU, they're both dual-core.
     
  4. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2013
    #4
    Why is it going to be faster? doesn't the retina add a lot of weight on the 4000 HD, thus making the maxed out Air 13'' at least as strong?
     
  5. macrumors 68000

    B...

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    #5
    Well, the CPU on both base models (i5 v i5) is much better on the rMBP. 2.5 full TDP vs 1.8 ULV.
     
  6. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2013
    #6
    But we aren't talking about the Air's base model here. We're talking about the i7 model. I'm not arguing, I'm just clarifying to get a more accurate answer.

    Which is a stronger machine - the Maxed out 13' Air or the entry level Retina?
     
  7. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2012
    #7
    Absolutely get the retina- the quad core is much faster than the Air dual core. In addition, the screen is stunning.
     
  8. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #8
    The 13" MacBook Pro with Retina Display has no quad core CPU, as there are dual core i5 and i7 mobile processors.
     
  9. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2012
    #9

    Thanks for the correction! I could have sworn my macbook pro retina was a quad but now that you say that I went and checked and it is a dual!
     
  10. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
  11. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2012
    Location:
    england
    #11
    The i5 in the rmbp is a lot faster, and more capable. plus you get a much better screen in terms of color and resolution. Grab the 13 rmbp.
     
  12. macrumors 68000

    B...

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    #12
    No. It is not a lot faster than the i7 Air. In fact, it is slower on GEEKBENCH. So, OP, if you you care about is Geekbench scores, get the Air. For anything else, get the rMBP.
     
  13. macrumors 603

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #13
    While that is technically true, I just looked up the difference and it's meaningless. If raw processing power is the top priority the cheapest 15" would be a better choice in that price territory. i5 vs i7 does not mean much with mobile cpus. Desktop quad core i5 variants have hyperthreading disabled, but that doesn't apply to anything on the mobile side. From the 64 bit geekbench links, the lowest 13" rmbp and the i7 Air. Neither really allows you to go in and bump ram or upgrade storage in a cost effective manner (note OWC's pricing), but the viewing angles and color are much more pleasing on the rmbp if you ever view them side by side. I did that with the 15", although it wasn't mine.
     
  14. macrumors 68000

    B...

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    #14
    I agree, and that is why I said if all you care about is Geekbench scores, get the Air. The rMBP is, IMO, a much better computer all-around than the Air, but in terms of processing power between the i7 Air and an i5 Air is lopsided in favor of the Air. A comparison between the 2 GHz i7 Air vs 2.9/3.0 rPro would be more appropriate, and the Pro would win hands down, no contest.
     
  15. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    #15
    Thanks everybody for your expert opinion. My main doubt is if the only difference between i7 Air and i5rMBP is the retina display. I really like the retina display, but i prefer more portability and overall speed. If the i7 Air is faster for not professional use i would choose it, but if they are similar for this kind of tasks, i would choose the rMBP for its display. I'm a PhD student, i don't care of video-rendering or hard-core gaming, just want my laptop to start and close fast and be very smooth on web-browsing, text-processing, and general tasks on the OS, like opening multiple heavy files, navigate between windows, desks, etc.
     
  16. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    Location:
    Troy, IL (STL Area)
    #16
    The biggest material difference is that the air has a 256gb ssd vs the 128gb in the rmbp.

    They are both smallish 13" laptops, so there isn't much portability difference in real world use.
     
  17. macrumors 65816

    53kyle

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2012
    Location:
    Sebastopol, CA
    #17
    The air has an underclocked "gpu." Definitely get the retina, it isn't that much heavier and it has an excellent screen
     
  18. macrumors 603

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #18
    The differences in processing power barely even show up in benchmarks. Even if you were concerned about something like transcoding or processing thousands of digital image files, I wouldn't call it a major concern. If the i5 rmbp doesn't provide enough power, you need to at least go to one of the 15" models to close that gap. IPS displays have much nicer viewing angles, and I do prefer the rmbp display going from the couple 15" versions I've viewed. I haven't seen the 13" up close. In terms of weight, the listed specs are 2.38 lbs. and 3.57 lbs. You would be able to tell the difference when carrying them, but is 3.57 lbs. enough to dissuade you from taking along your notebook? I don't think either accounts for the charger.


    Both use ssds which help quite a bit with the startup and wake times as well as accessing documents. I haven't tested either rigorously with window switches and things like that, but the hardware can handle that. If there are any problems, they would have to be in the form of drivers and software. A little extra cpu power isn't going to change that.
     
  19. macrumors 68000

    B...

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    #19
    No, the 13" Air is 2.96 lbs. to the rMBP's 3.57.
     
  20. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2010
    #20
    Personally I'd go rMBP, I have an 11" Air at the moment and I am looking to switch soon to the 13" rMBP, while I love the portability I need more space and more screen now that I'm using it more.

    The big argument in favor of the Air is always portability but in my opinion the difference is pretty minimal now, obviously the Air tapers but at the think end it isn't that much thinner than the 13" rMBP.

    One quick question, have you checked out the prices at MacMall? That's where I'm thinking of buying as they have some pretty significant discounts on the rMBP going on but mainly on the higher spec models. My Air has 128Gb and I fill it quickly... I'm getting at least 256Gb, probably 512Gb.
     
  21. macrumors 603

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #21
    Oh you're right. I must have looked up the wrong one. I was just browsing tech specs. It was a bigger difference than I expected, but even the 11" Air which I apparently used in my example wouldn't make a huge difference to me compared to the 13" rmbp when it comes to weight. It's difficult for me to see how 3.57 pounds isn't portable. Neither is as portable as a phone as you won't carry a notebook in your pocket.
     
  22. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    #22
    No i didn't because i'm from Spain and i want to buy it when i travel to the USA in summer. We haven't MacMall stores here, and i prefer buying on an Apple Store so i can use my guarantee on my closer Apple Store in Madrid if anything is wrong.

    I think i will wait until the WWDC, see if they announce important upgrades on MBAs, and if not, i will get a refurbished rMBP 13' early 2013 (which i think will be available in the refurbished store in July).
     
  23. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2010
    #23
    Maybe someone else can verify this but my understanding was that the warranty is still all Apple, you can extend with AppleCare etc and it should be supported by the Apple Store in the same way as one sold by them.

    I this not so?
     
  24. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    #24
    Dude i didn't think about it, but if the warranty will work on my Apple Store here in Madrid, i will definitely look at MacMall deals. Hope someone could confirm. One question about MacMall, the products are new or also refurbished?
     
  25. macrumors 68000

    B...

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    #25
    Buying from Amazon, for example, still carries the same Apple warantee. The same is the case for MacMall. They sell new products if you see the word "new" anywhere.
     

Share This Page