1. Welcome to the new MacRumors forums. See our announcement and read our FAQ

What to buy...MBA or MBP --- Help!

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by lwilliams, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. macrumors regular


    I am passing my MBA (mid-2011) to my wife......4gb, 128 flash.

    She only does web browsing and facebook....with the occasional MS Word or very minor Excell stuff.

    So, what is the best way to go:

    1. MBA, 8gb, 512ssd, 2.0 i7........ $2199


    2. MBP 13, 8gb, 750hdd........ $1499 replace hdd with ssd for $180 (256gb)

    So, I want to order today, but I can't decide which way to go.

    Would the MBP with the replaced drive to ssd have as long a batt life as the MBA?

    I know I could save some money on the MBA with a 256ssd, but since you are stuck with what you get, I would not want to get less than the most.

    Are there advantages to the MBP over the MBA. Looks like you get more for less money with the MBP.....processor, RAM........is that correct?

  2. dixido, Dec 2, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2012

    macrumors member


    Why would you max out the specs for web browsing and facebook? Does she run multiple instances of facebook simultaneously?

    I would go for a base MBA 13" + external harddrive for storage. I don't think 2012 is the right year for buying a computer with a spinning harddrive...
  3. macrumors 65816


    Personally, I would never spend $2199 on a MBA. If weight is not a major issue then settle for the MBP and buy an aftermarket SSD or just live with the 500GB HDD.

    The 256GB MBA is a more reasonable option. The 512SSD upgrade is not worth the price. If you can manage with 256GB, take this option and just buy a external drive. More than likely, you don't need to have over 500Gb of data with you at all times.

    If you're going with the MBP, settle for the base model and do the ram and HD upgrade yourself.
  4. macrumors regular


    NO.... the current MBA - 4gb, 128ssd....will be passed over for that use.....the new build will be for my use...much more extensive...video and audio editing.....and general use.


    the 13 MBP has 8gb and 750hdd as standard.....NON Retina.
  5. macrumors 65816



    Yea, thats the higher end model though. Go for the base model, 4Gb and 500Gb HDD for $1199. That extra 4GB ram and 250GB is not worth the $300. The processor bump more than likely wont be noticeable. SSD will increase the performance dramatically. Save the $300 dollars and put that towards a 256GB SSD and 8GB ram, both of which can be bought from that budget.
  6. macrumors 68030


    If you are willing to spend so much, isn't the rMBP an option?
  7. Contributor


    It really depends on what you want to do with the computer. A few years down the line, I rather imagine that many of us will find that we cannot (or choose not to) live without the clarity and precision afforded by the retina screen. Until then, it is a matter of deciding what we really need - and cannot do without - in a computer, rather than what we would really like to have.

    However, if cost is an issue, and you have your heart set on the MBA, I'd recommend that you take a look at the refurb section of the Mac store; there is a MBA (2012), 13", 8GB 512 SSD for $1,869; the refurb deals can be very good.
  8. macrumors 65816


    Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD : $255

    8GB Ram : $44.99


    16GB Ram : $79.99

    There are cheaper options, but hopefully this helps.


    Agreed. If you're willing to spend $2199, look into the 15" base rMBP. The retina screen will take your breath away and you wont want to go back.
  9. macrumors regular


  10. macrumors member

    Man with this price you can buy MBA 2012 1.8/4/128, and save money to get 2013's MBA ;)
  11. macrumors 68030


    2199USD on MBA?
    Just buy a 15in then.

    But if portability is an issue, Id go with MBP.
    2199 is too much for MBA.
  12. macrumors regular


    Here are my options:

    1. MBA 13”, 2.0 i7, 8gb RAM, 256gb SSD - $1597.00
    2. MBP 13”, 2.9 i7, 8gb RAM, 750gb HDD - $1409.00

    This MBP is not available with less RAM. The HDD would removed on arrival and replaced with the 256gb SSD I have.

    This MBA is available with a 512gb SSD for and additional $470.00 for a total of $2067.00.

    If I get the MBA, I lean toward the 512gb since it cannot be upgraded later.

    The video files I edit are from 2gb to 15 gb each and I may have 5 to 10 of them at a time that I am working on. So, rather than carrying a separate ext hdd to store those on, I would rather carry one device. So a lot of internal storage is important.

    My biggest concern is this, if I go with the MBP, will I get the same quick performance and long battery life as I do on my current MBA? Remember that the MBP will be converted to an SSD as soon as I get it.

    Does this explain better?
  13. macrumors 6502

    The SSD of the MBA can be upgraded, even if there's barely any choice of brands and is more expensive.
  14. macrumors 65816


    Yes, battery life shouldn't be a problem. It really comes down to how much you want to spend. I'm not sure why you haven't considered the base 13" MBP for $1199. You save more. Have you also considered optibay?
    You could always place the SSD in the hard drive slot and the HDD in the optibay. You need to decide first how much you want to spend, you're price range gap includes a lot of options.
  15. Penn Jennings, Dec 2, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2012

    macrumors 6502

    If those are your 2 options I'd pick 2.

    If you aren't afraid of DIY, you can start with the the MBP i5 for $300 less. Then get a 16 GB memory kit and a 256 GB SSD for under $300. Your overall cost will be the same but your general performance should be better. I doubt that you'd notice the CPU difference since they are both only dual core. You will notice the difference between the SSD and HDD. You might not need 16 GB but considering the price difference between 8 and 16, why bother with 8.

    3. MBP 13”, 2.5 i5, 16gb RAM, 256gb SSD $1450ish

    At least thats what I'd do.


    Actually, I'd buy the MBP 15 LOL....
  16. macrumors 6502

    I bought my wife a MacBook Pro several years ago -- it's the Core 2 Duo, so I think it's three years old.

    The advantage is that I've been able to easily replace its hard drive (twice) and upgrade the RAM. My son somehow cracked the glass trackpad, and I was able to repair that myself as well. With the Air, you're pretty much stuck with what you've got. As you noted, I just added a screaming 240 GB SanDisk SSD for $150 from Black Friday.

    So it seems to me that the Pro is a longer-lasting product than the Air. You can also replace the optical drive in the Pro with a second drive, so you can have both SSD and hard drive.

    The advantage to the Air is portability, which is why I own one. But it comes at a price.
  17. macrumors regular


    OK.........figured it out.

    Ordered today.......

    13" rMBP, with the 2.9gHz i7.


    How does this sound?
  18. macrumors 6502a


    Sounds like you overpaid. Should have gotten the base 15 inch rMBP.
  19. macrumors 6502

    (Sound of jealousy)
  20. macrumors regular

    I am happy to read you bought the 13 rMBP. It's a great machine. I have one too. I also have the 15" rMBP which I have to sell. I went from an 11" MBA to the 15", but once I got use to the size it was really good. But I do need the 13" for weight and size. I really love the 13" rMBP. There is nothing like retina. I do find myself missing the 15 but for me to travel so much, weight and size is everything. Best of luck with your new machine. You will love it.
  21. macrumors regular


    But then I would not have the power of the CPU.....all other things I could have lived with.
  22. Penn Jennings, Dec 4, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012

    macrumors 6502

    If I'm understand that you want CPU capacity, I think that you chose the slower of the two.


    The rMBP 13 has a dual core 2.9 GHz i7 w/ 3 MB cache (Geek Bench 8,519)
    The MBP 15 has a quad core 2.3 GHz i7 w/ 6 MB cache (Geek Bench 11,701)

    I THINK that the base MBP 15 is much faster than the rMBP, if I'm reading this right. If you can use all cores, a slower quad will smoke a faster dual core. Plus the rMBP 13 has less cache.

    If your apps are single threaded then the rMBP 13 might be faster, those apps are few and far between though.

    Maybe I'm not reading it right.... I'm sleepy. LOL

    Something dawned on me, if you add in the performance of the discrete GPU in the base MBP 15 vs the HD 4000 in the rMBP 13, the total system performance is not even close.
  23. macrumors 6502a


    13 inch is a dual-core with HD 4000 graphics. The 15 inch is a quad-core with HD 4000 graphics and a discrete GPU. You need to return that 13 inch and get yourself the 15 inch retina.
  24. macrumors 6502a

    It really comes down to whether you prefer potability over power.

    if you need the portability, then get the MBA

    If you need the power, go for the MBP. However i must ask why you prefer the 13" macbook pro over the 15", which is also cheaper than the 13" macbook air you want, with more screen real estate.
  25. macrumors 6502

    The OP mentioned power.. I'm guessing that he didn't notice that the rMBP 13 is dual core. The rMBP is a horrible value in my opinion. The HD 4000 can't fully drive the display I don't think and a $1,700 system with a dual core i5 and integrated GPU just sounds comical, in a not funny kind of way. Thats all just my opinion though.

Share This Page