13" Macbook Air 2014 vs 13" Pro Late 2013

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by BaneDark, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. BaneDark macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    #1
    Hi!

    I have currently got 13" MBA 2014, I've been using it for few years for music production (ableton) as well as DJing etc, and I must say that I am satisfied with it (obviously larger files with loads of VSTs in ableton sometimes put loads of pressure on it but its manageable)

    The specs of my 2014 13" MBA are 1.4ghz i5, 4gb of ram (could do with more, safari uses loads of ram these days) and 256gb ssd, thing is, my friend is offering me Late 2013 13" Macbook Pro with top specs, 2.6ghz i5, 16gb of ram and 512gb SSD for the slightly higher price that I could sell my current 4gb ram 13" 2014 MBA on ebay, (the only problem is that the coating on the screen of the Late 2013 Pro came off but I could live with it)

    My question is, is it worth it? Obviously spec wise, more ram and bigger SSD will help me loads but is it worth getting machine from 2013 in 2018, considering that my current MBA has been released nearly a year after,

    I understand that both of them have haswell processors (Pro has higher clock etc of course), should I pull the trigger on it?

    If I'm currently satisfied with Air (being light and the fact that its manageable to get the work done - music production and djing) technically will I see some big improvements if I switch to Late 13" 2013 Pro?

    Please help! Thanks in advance!
     
  2. ChrisChaval macrumors 6502

    ChrisChaval

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2016
    #2
    looks like you wouldn't be loosing much money on this, but is the hassle really worth it? for how long could be be happy with this?

    rumours have it that the 2012 retina macbook will soon be classified as obsolete, even though it does run the latest version of macOS

    so, quite soon you would be running out of hardware and software support

    apart from the defective screen, there is a 5 year old battery in that macbook waiting to die, if your friend has not swapped it in the meantime

    not knowing the software you are using from experience and taking into account your current hardware limitations (especially the RAM), I guess you would see some (big) improvements, yes, but I still would not do it

    especially considering that new Macs will most certainly be coming soon
     
  3. BaneDark thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 12, 2013
    #3
    You are absolutely right and thank you for reply, its probably not worth it especially considering that my current MBA 2014 will have longer software support before apple calls it obsolete!
    I'm on a budget so I mostly look into second hand market, also Im quite put down by problems with new MBPs keyboards and lack of repairability (I used to work at Apple Certified Repair Shop and most of my macs I've repaired myself, the MBPs from 2016 onwards seem like a pain to repair in case of some damage).
    I think the best way, would be save up some more money and pull the trigger on 2015 retina 13" Pro, with minimum 8gb of Ram and 256gb SSD, should last me for a while (hopefully)
    What do you think? Also, taking into account that apple still sells MBAs, have there been any rumours on how long they will support them?
    Thanks!
     
  4. ChrisChaval macrumors 6502

    ChrisChaval

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2016
    #4
    well, strangely Apple lately seems to pull the plug on hardware support even before software support phases out ...

    The current Macbook line up appears to be quite messed up with an ancient Air, underpowered MacBooks that are airier than the air, the keyboard issues, touchbars nobody seems to need or want ..

    I am almost as confused as Apple as to recommend anything MB right here and right now

    if I were you I would just wait a couple of months until the new Macs show up and then reevaluate. You seem to be quite Ok with what you got, so - just wait it out

    as for the software support on the MacBook Air: I got a 2017 MB Air and I expect the usual software support of 6 - 7 years (even and especially considering its ancient hardware, thank you Apple). If they should decide to it give less than what it should be, you will hear from me right here on MR

    I got it for the ports, the keyboard and the tasks I need it to do, as nothing of what has lately been released in the MB department appeals to me

    Would not recommend the 2017 MB air today though ...
     
  5. kschendel macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 9, 2014
    #5
    The MBP should be maybe 50-75% faster for CPU bound tasks and it's not memory limited. Storage access should be about the same as your Air, so I/O bound tasks won't be faster unless the data can be cached in main memory. Haswell is not all that different from current CPU's, from a CPU support standpoint, so I don't think that there's any technical reason for Apple to rush to obsolete the late 2013's. I have a late 2013 rMBP and it's a nice machine, I expect it to keep going for at least 3 more years.

    Is it worth the swap? That's a difficult question. The screen is nicer (although I'm not sure about the "coating come off" thing you mention), and it will certainly be faster at least for some things. A year older battery is definitely something to think about. I'd suggest asking your friend if you can temporarily load up one of your applications and see for yourself if it's faster doing the workflows that are important to you.
     
  6. BaneDark, Jun 13, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018

    BaneDark thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 12, 2013
    #6
    Thanks for reply Kschendel!
    The coating on the screen only came off at the top black bezel in few bits, Ive watched some videos on youtube of people completely successfully removing the coating from retina MBPs, so maybe I could just remove the coating completely then apply matte screen protector on top, however coating doesn't bother me, I'm mainly interested in the specs, 16gb of RAM will make a huge difference to my current 4gb, and if I go with that 13" retina Ill get double the SSD size comparing to my current 256gb in my 2014 MBA. As for battery there wont be a problem, I could always buy new genuine one and replace it myself as Ive done it before at previous job.
    So yeah, Im really tempted, the only thing that's holding me back is being affraid that apple will make 2013 machines obsolete soon.
    However, I still use Yosemite 10.10.5 for DJing and music production as I prefer not to update macOS to the newest one, its better to stay with trusted and tested OS especially when it comes to DJing in the club.
    Thanks!

    BTW, would apple still replace the screen on Late 2013 due to legal staingate action or is it too late now?
     
  7. kschendel macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 9, 2014
    #7
    I really don't think that the late 2013's will be obsoleted any time soon, and I can't think of any reason why they would be obsoleted before the 2014 Air's; from an OS support standpoint they are very close. Even if the late 2013's do drop off a future OS support list, they are on the Mohave support list and Mohave will likely get security updates well into the late 2020's. You'd have to update your OS to a supported OS, but the machine itself will continue to run just fine. (By the way, you might want to consider at least moving to El Cap, which runs very nicely on my late 2013.)

    Bottom line is that no matter what Apple calls the hardware, you ought to be OK with OS support and security updates for many years, probably another 10 years if you really wanted to.

    I've no idea about the screen replacement. Even if the program is officially over, if you find the right person in the right mood you might be able to have it done anyway.
     
  8. BaneDark thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 12, 2013
    #8
    Kschendel you are right, I also just found out that Late 2013 pro has Thunderbolt 2 ports instead of Thunderbolt 1 on my MBA 2014, I would consider it an overall upgrade, 4 times more ram, twice as much SSD and Thunderbolt 2 etc
     
  9. Nbd1790 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2017
    Location:
    New York
    #9
    I used to have the same exact Macbook Air that you have currently (same system specs and all) and yes, it does handle Ableton pretty well. I had an opportunity in 2015 to pick up a full spec 2013 15 inch Macbook Pro (i7, 16gb RAM and 758gb SSD) and I can tell you now, it makes a world of a difference when you're using a lot of plug ins (especially ones like Massive, Serum and Sylenth) and putting EQ's and compressors on top of those plug ins.

    With the Air, I found myself having to "freeze" a lot of my Midi Tracks when the project started really moving. Although I still need to do that on the heavier projects, it still handled them a lot smoother. Although the MBP you're considering is an i5 processor, the 16gb of Ram will help you out a lot. I would say go for it if the price is right (and the screen coating issue won't bother you) - but in my opinion, I'd take a look on eBay for a good deal. I picked this machine up with Applecare (at the time of purchase) for about $1400/$1500 - the 2013 models have dropped in price since then. Pony up a few extra bucks and get one thats in good condition with an i7 processor - you won't regret it!

    Im an active user of Ableton, Logic, Pro Tools, Serato DJ and Photoshop. Handles all of them buttery smooth.
     
  10. BaneDark thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 12, 2013
    #10
    Thank you Nbd1790!

    Thats exactly what Im using! Ableton, Logic, Serato DJ and Adobe, I was fine with my MBA (of course running Adobe After Effects and rendering small files was a massive pain) but now, I found that safari quickly uses my 4gb of RAM while browsing the web and then starts to use my SSD storage for memory, so definitely 16gb of ram will help loads, I can get this Late 2013 13" i5 2.6ghz, 16gb of RAM and 512gb of SSD for around 600$, the outer casing is in mint condition (few scratches on the bottom, and some stains on the top of the screen (but then again I could remove antiglare coating completely and apply matte screen protector or something. I am on a budget and 15" retinas are quite expensive, as for ebay, I have a bad experience with getting macbooks off ebay, got one ages ago and it was a lemon.

    Also, have you guys seen this thread about people booking battery replacement for 2012 MBPs at apple store, paying for it and then receiving upgraded models? do you think this would apply to 2013 models at some point?

    its in this thread https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/mid-2012-mbp-retina-obsolete.2050201/
     
  11. kschendel macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2014
    #11
    The i7 late 2013 will beat the 2013 i5's, but not nearly as decisively as going from the Air's CPU to the rMBP's i5. You get more threads and a bit more clock boost. A very quick glance at eBay suggests that you'd be in the $900-ish range for a good 2.6 Ghz i7 with 16 Gb, 512 Gb. I don't know that the i7 is worth a $300 premium over what you're looking at.

    I've no idea about the battery program; I don't know what possessed Apple to do it for the 2012's. They can't have much 2015 stock left and the 2016/2017 are very different beasts from what you're looking at. I wouldn't count on it. The battery replacement on the late 2013 is difficult but doable by yourself or a competent third party. FWIW my battery is just fine, good for several hours on the somewhat rare occasions I use it (usually airplanes).
     
  12. BaneDark thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 12, 2013
    #12
    Thanks again Kschendel!

    I found 15" Late 2013 with 8gb or ram and 256gb with perfect screen for similar price to my friends 13" Late 2013 with 16gb ram and 512gb, 15" quad core will outrun 13" i5 however it has half the ram and storage, also not too sure about portability, what do you think?
     
  13. kschendel macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 9, 2014
    #13
    Portability is something of a matter of opinion; I have the 15" and I think it's fine. I think I'd take the one with more memory and storage though. I don't think you'll see enough benefit from the couple extra cores to offset the loss of memory, but it depends a lot on what you're doing and I'm not personally familiar with the apps you are using. If they are much more CPU bound than memory or I/O intensive then maybe the answer goes the other way.
     
  14. Nbd1790 macrumors member

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    Jan 2, 2017
    Location:
    New York
    #14
    15 inch is certainly still portable. It's what I bring around to all of my DJ gigs. Is it noticeably more heavy than a 13inch? Absolutely. But in that scenario, I would have to say that I value the storage and Ram a bit more than the processor. i5 should still meet all of your needs.
     
  15. BaneDark thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 12, 2013
    #15
    Does anyone knows if the ssd from my 2014 MBA would fit and work with 2013-2015 pros (13 and 15")? I was thinking about either getting 2014 or 2015 13" with 128gb (so its cheaper) and installing my MBA 256gb ssd or 15" Late 2013 and doing the same (I guess my 2014 256gb ssd could be slightly faster than Late 2013 15" ssd but I might be wrong). This would also save me copying all of the files from current Air to the new machine

    Thanks
     
  16. ChrisChaval macrumors 6502

    ChrisChaval

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2016
    #16
    I do not know if that could work, and if it would be worth the trouble performance wise

    I can imagine though that pulling it out would lower the air's overall resale value

    I remember doing a painless time machine restore after replacing my late 2009 Mac mini 's hdd with a ssd

    That was so long ago, I do not remember the exact steps but I seem to recall "restore from time machine backup" when performing the system install

    I did not need to copy anything, neither files nor programs, everything was right there where I left it

    Apple at its best, really liked that
     

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