13 MBA vs 15 rMBP

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by cmm, Aug 30, 2013.

  1. cmm macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Location:
    Manhattan
    #1
    Hi

    I have a 15 rMBP with a 512GB SSD. I'm tempted to buy a new MBA because its so light. But the new retinas aren't that heavy after all.

    I know the new MBA has ac wifi, which is huge for me. I know it lacks a retina display and now I'm afraid anything else will look cheap--and worse--bad. I know the air has a very slow processor considered to my rMBP but will it be noticeable watching YouTube, compiling code or light photoshopping.

    I tend to keep 7+ apps open at a time.

    How many displays can the MBA power at once in its native resolution of the 27 apple display? I currently have one but will buy another soon...

    I don't want two personal computers so the air would need to handle those tasks like a breeze.

    What other differences am I missing between te rMBP and the 13 MBA? It'll help me decide what to do.
     
  2. yliu macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    #2
    The 15 rMBP is more powerful with a quad core CPU and dGPU. It will handle two 27' cinema displays no problem as it has 2 thunderbolt ports.

    The MBA only has 1 thunderbolt port, so it only supports 1 external display. You might find an adapter that lets you run a display from USB, but performance might be bad.

    Running 7+ apps might be pushing the limits of a MBA. If you want smooth performance, stay with the rMBP
     
  3. snapper64 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    #3
    You can power multiple displays with the Air. Honestly though if you're doing the type of work that requires that sort of power stick with the Pro. That's what it's made for.
     
  4. ItHurtsWhenIP macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2013
    Location:
    'Merica!
    #4
    You seem to not be the person the Air is meant for.

    If you think you're going to replace that MBP with an Air, you're mistaken. If you think you can use it as a second computer for it's better mobility/portability, better battery life and minor on-the-go work, then it would be a good computer for you.

    How many screens it can connect to shouldn't matter if you already have a beefy MBP for the heavy lifting. An Air just won't replace a top of the line MBP setup, no matter how much we as Air owners would like to think it would.
     
  5. yosemit macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2013
    #5
    The 2013 MBA actually has a pretty powerful 2-core processor for most jobs, almost the same performance as the current 13-in rMBP, plus faster GPU, SSD and memory. But it cannot beat your 4-core 15-in rMBP with a discrete GPU for parallel or GPU intensive jobs.

    There will be no difference watching YouTube. Compiling code should be close on MBA and 15-in rMBP. Compilers are not perfect multi-core jobs, cannot use GPU, read/write SSD a lot, and MBA has a faster SSD than the rMBP.

    Photoshopping will be a very different story. I tried Lightroom 5 on my i7/8/256 Air. It takes about 3-5 seconds to load a 30MB RAW file and show it in 1:1 mode. The 15-in rMBP should be able to do it much faster. And if you use Photoshop CS5 or CS6, it can well utilize the 4-core processor AND the GPU. That makes a big difference in the image processing time.

     
  6. AXs macrumors 6502a

    AXs

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    #6
    The Air is a great compliment to a powerful desktop and/or gaming laptop.

    If you have only 1 machine, definitely go with dedicated graphics card.

    If you've already got power, the Air is a powerhouse itself it terms of portability. 1.3kg, 12 hours battery life... oh yea and it doesn't get hot at all - no fan noise, running at 1200rpm almost aways.
    Plus right now, it has twice the SSD speed compared to Retina 15".

    In terms of being a mobile machine - the Air beats every laptop in the market.
    Oh and It runs 2 external TB displays as well... though I personally think that you'd want a more powerful machine when ever you work stationary.
     
  7. sofianito macrumors 65816

    sofianito

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    Jan 14, 2011
    Location:
    Spain
    #7
    I think it only has one TB...
     
  8. snapper64 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    #8
    It does but you can either daisychain certain displays (e.g. Apple Cinema Displays) to one another or use an adapter.
     
  9. DisplacedMic macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    #9
    white people problems :p:D

    not really sure what you would be doing with that retina - would you be returning it? selling it? keeping it?

    if you recently purchased it and can return it and get the Air then the answer to your question would be different than if you are going to sell it or keep it.

    I will tell you that the Air can drive 2 TBDs no problem but as someone else said i would think maybe the pro is the better device for you.

    That being said, if you think the Air would work for you then the way i look at it is when i have a choice between two things, everything equal I go with the cheapest option that will get the job done.

    that's how i made my choice...went in sure i wanted the 13" air, realized it wasn't that much lighter than the 13" retina, decided my choice was between the 11" air and the 15" retina. So did i want ultraportable or ultra-powerful?
    so in my case the cost difference was closer to $1000 so when i decided the air would do everything i needed, that was a no-brainer.

    might be different for you but even the most expensive MBA (13" i7 8gig ram 512ssd) is still $350 cheaper than the baseline 15" retina with no upgrades...

    not sure i would be happy moving "backwards" in terms of power though...i would DEFINITELY spend quite a bit of time in the apple store playing with the air whatever you decide.

    good luck!
     
  10. sonicrobby macrumors 68020

    sonicrobby

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2013
    Location:
    New Orleans
    #10
    As someone mentioned earlier, for me the quad core and dGPU is enough of a reason to just stay with the pro. It seems like the main reason you are wanting to switch would be the ac wifi.

    You have a laptop that works perfectly well, are you currently feeling like the wifi on your pro is slow? Is it really that much of a pain to lug around?

    My opinion is to wait until october, the new pros should announced/released around then. Probably will contain the ac wifi, so you can sell your current pro to get the upgraded on if you really need to.
     
  11. sofianito macrumors 65816

    sofianito

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    Jan 14, 2011
    Location:
    Spain
    #11
    So you mean there is no difference between having 2TBs and 1TB in your laptop if your external displays have also TB ports?
     
  12. sofianito macrumors 65816

    sofianito

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Location:
    Spain
    #12
    A new 13" rMBP with i7 3GHz, 8GB, 512GB SSD is only $350 more expensive than the maxed MBA.

    A refurb 13" rMBP with same specs is only $20 more expensive than the maxed MBA...

    I think if one mostly uses external display then the MBA is the best option, else the 13" rMBP has the best balance between portability, performance, and display quality...
     
  13. DisplacedMic macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    #13
    yes- but he has the 15"
     
  14. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #14
    I think they're two very different machines solving two different problems.

    Sure the 13" MBA is light, but its also less powerful and does not have a retina screen.

    Do you want an discrete GPU, retina screen and faster CPU or a small light laptop that offers an all day battery?
     
  15. cmm thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 30, 2006
    Location:
    Manhattan
    #15
    Thanks all. I'll stick with the 15 rMBP for now...
     
  16. magbarn macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #16
    Good choice... I use my MBA as an adjunct to my rMBP which is my main work machine. If I had to choose only 1, it's be the rMBP. I'd give up too much power to only have my 2013 MBA as my only machine.
     
  17. sofianito macrumors 65816

    sofianito

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Location:
    Spain
    #17
    It all depends on the tasks you perform daily...
     

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