[ADVICE] 13" rMBP vs 13" Air? (Specific Uses)

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by advancedbasic, Jun 18, 2013.

  1. advancedbasic macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2013
    I just finished reading 20 some odd threads asking a seemingly popular question now with the new Air out -- 13" rMBP or 13" Air? I haven't found enough people describing enough of my use cases, so I figured I'd ask the community for advice...

    I'm between:
    • 1.7GHz, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD 13" Air ($1,905 shipped)
    • 3.0GHz, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD 13" rMBP ($2,231 shipped)

    and here's a prioritized list of what I use my computer for at the moment (I'll update it if I forget something):
    • Web browsing (includes stuff like Netflix)
    • Software development
    • Word processing and spreadsheet work
    • Photo editing (Photoshop CS6)
    • DJing (with Serato ITCH)

    I was planning to buy a new computer today, but I keep wondering how far away the rMBP refresh is. Based on my uses, would you go for the Air or rMBP? And if the latter, would you wait for the refresh? In terms of timing I would like to avoid waiting longer than around mid-August.

    Also, the ~$325 difference isn't TOO limiting other than probably causing me to wait a while to buy any accessories besides a USB or Thunderbolt to gigabit ethernet dongle.

  2. Phan0121 macrumors newbie

    Mar 26, 2013
    I think when you get into that price point, you're better off waiting if you can and get the refresh rMBP.

    I finally decided on a 2013 i5/8g/256 MBA. Seems to be the sweet spot for price and functionality.

    My uses are going to be web surfing, programming, and word/spreadsheet work.

    I'm sure my needs will be more demanding in the future and I think I'll end up getting a nice rMBP or even a mac pro at that point. I'm hoping my MBA is still good enough to bridge any gaps with portability during that time. Plus SSD prices should be a lot cheaper. :)
  3. Jesla macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2013
    Tennessee USA
    I use my 13" rMBP as my desktop and an 11" MBA for everything else…..

    Given your position I'd go 13" rMBP or an 11" MBA and skip the 13" MBA altogether…
    ….I also wouldn't and didn't wait for the MBP Retina refresh…..We won't likely see a
    rMBA ever…but that's my opinion and everyone is entitled to my opinion.
  4. advancedbasic thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2013
    The thing is I will eventually get a desktop and that's why I want to switch from my current early-2010 MBP to something smaller, thinner, lighter, and if possibly faster. My desktop would be the major powerhouse so my laptop just needs to tide me over until then by being able to do all of what I listed reasonably well. I was going to make the MBA dive today but am suddenly hesitant when I see that the 13" rMBP is actually not much larger or heavier. The biggest downside for me is the glossy screen :(

    I also expect to get $800-1000 for it based on eBay prices (high-end model with some upgrades I did myself), so that will help with the cost of the new laptop.
  5. Phan0121 macrumors newbie

    Mar 26, 2013
    The HD4000 on the current 13'' rMBP is my barrier to getting one now and I wanted something now.

    Price was my second consideration and I feel like my savings now will go a long ways in the future when SSD is at a more reasonable price for larger volumes.
  6. martinm0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 27, 2010
    I moved from a 13" MBA to a 15" rMBP a few months ago. The size and weight difference in the 15" rMPB compared to the 13" MBA was noticeable to me initially. However, it only took me a few days to get over that difference and I must say I do love the rMPB as my portable computer. Also note I do not find my rMBP as glossy as the standard MBPs or even the older iMacs/Displays. The retina tones down reflections a bit more than these others (though the MBA is less reflective than all of these).

    With that said, have you looked into any of the 15" rMBP at all? They are much lighter and thinner than your generation MBP, so if you considered it as a replacement it would still provide you more portability, along with being a powerhouse portable (or even your sole) machine. And at the price points you are looking you should be able to dig up a 15" retina with 8GB and 512GB right in that $2k range (I picked up a open box 2.7 i7, 16GB and 512GB for $2k at Best Buy back in March). Here's a link to a clearance model they are selling in my local store for $2k:

  7. Phan0121 macrumors newbie

    Mar 26, 2013
    I agree with martinm0. I've had the opportunity to line up different friend's macbooks with all different screens. The retina isn't as reflective as the cMBP but more reflective than a Hi-Res AG screen. The difference is noticable but Hi-Res AG screens will go away with the death of cMBP. :(

    I wouldn't hesitate to buy a 15" rMBP w/ 16G & 512G SSD if I had the money. I wouldn't be a MBA owner if that's the case.

    Side note, I enjoy working at coffee shops so 11" wasn't cutting it for me.
  8. advancedbasic thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2013
    See I think I'd rather sacrifice the larger screen for the smaller form factor and weight this time around. If I really wanted a powerhouse I'd get the higher-end 15" rMBP, but then I'm spending too much and again, I plan to eventually have a desktop for when I need real power. My laptop just needs to do the tasks I listed reasonably well to tide me over until I eventually get a desktop. I'm pretty set on maxing out the 13" rMBP or MBA rather than getting a mid-range 15" rMBP.

    Looking at Geekbench for the current 13" rMBP vs the new 13" MBA, it looks like the 13" rMBP scores ~7750 maxed while the 13" MBA scores ~7450 maxed. That's actually only a tiny difference, but kind of why I feel like I should wait for the Haswell 13" rMBP, but only if it comes out this summer.

    That refresh should give the 13" rMBP Haswell, 802.11ac, possibly Intel 5100 Iris graphics (or maybe just Intel 5000), and PCI SSD storage, not to mention like a 9-hour battery life. And of course, all for the same price haha...
  9. martinm0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 27, 2010
    Those are all fair points and its good to know what's important to you in a machine. I just wanted to point out that for the money you were looking to spend on either 13" machines that the 15" was in the running as well.

    If you are set on the 13" wait for the retina refresh to Haswell and then make your choice. I will state that the one (minor) disappointment for me with my 2011 MBA 13" was moving from IPS to TN display panels. The MBA was still nice, but you notice these things coming from the MBPs. :rolleyes:
  10. advancedbasic thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2013
    Damn, my Chrome just quit and deleted a whole reply I typed out...

    Anyways, does anyone have any idea or speculation that there will be a rMBP refresh sometime in the next few weeks?

    Stuff that would suggest that:
    • Avg 124 days since refresh, and it has been 125 today
    • Bottlenecks on retina displays may have caused Apple to not debut them during WWDC in fear that they wouldn't be able to ship them immediately (which always helps their sales)
    • The 2013 "Back to School" event is now a week late, and last year it kicked off alongside the announcement of new laptops

  11. Freakyshiat macrumors regular

    Mar 18, 2011
    wait for the retinal haswell refresh, you are so close that you might as well. I have reasons to believe that it will have a 12 hour battery life.
  12. advancedbasic thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2013
    I doubt it will have a 12-hour battery if they have any intention of making the overall form factor thinner. If not, I guess it's possible, but a retina screen is bound to suck down a lot of power. I'm going to guess the battery jumps from 7 to 9 hours, and definitely no more than 10. Even a 9-hour battery would be enough to justify the relatively minor increases in size, weight, and price over a maxed MBA.
  13. majkom macrumors 65816

    May 3, 2011
    Classic MBPs dont have ips panel, only retina ones do have it (and imacs, of course)
  14. tann macrumors 68000

    Apr 15, 2010
    Nottingham, England
    Well by slightly thinner I'm almost sure it's just to put the 13" thickness inline with the 15". 15" is 1mm thinner.

    Also, Apple only changing the processor and ssd storage (assuming HD5000 and all other internals are the same) might result in 10+ hour battery life surely, since with the MacBook Air all they changed was the processor, ssd and had the hd5000 too. Before the update the MacBook Air and rMBP 13 were both rated at 7 hours.

    I guess maybe I'm just wishful thinking the rMBP 13 will make as big a leap as the MBA, but since the rMBP's use higher voltage CPUs that probably makes a bigger difference than with the Airs.
  15. advancedbasic thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2013
    Most definitely -- I think the MBA just has overall lower-power components. Hey, I'd love a 12-hour 13" rMBP, but I feel like that would cause some cannibalization of the new MBA line.
  16. PDFierro macrumors 68040

    Sep 8, 2009
    I'm kind of in the same position as you, OP. Except I'm not considering an Air at all. And that was further solidified when I went to the Apple store today and again saw how bad the screen is.

    I'm ready to plunk down that much cash for a 13-inch rMBP. But hoping for the Haswell rMBP to come out soon, because I'm really tempted to order right now.

    It's only a half-pound difference in weight. And I like the rMBP more than the wedge design of the Air, plus the 13-inch rMBP actually has a smaller footprint than the Air. Very portable.
  17. advancedbasic thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2013
    I also kinda freaked out when i saw a bunch of Apple Support threads about how random hairline cracks in the MBA screen seemingly spontaneously appeared and got progressively worse (this is for 2010-2012 models). When the MBA first came out I was worried if I owned one I'd break it even though I'm always careful with my electronics...

    I think I may give it 1-2 more weeks maximum waiting-wise.
  18. tann macrumors 68000

    Apr 15, 2010
    Nottingham, England
    That's true. But with a 12 hour rMBP I don't see too many people jumping from the air to the pro.

    It still (assuming prices are constant) would be a $400 difference for essentially the screen and processor bump (again assuming HD5000). Most people I bet would stick with the lighter/thinner (overall) air or maybe bump the hard drive to 256 w/8gb of ram and it's still $100 less than the rMBP.

    Either way I'm really intrigued to see what processor/gfx/price points apple goes with for the rMBP (13 and 15).
  19. advancedbasic thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2013
    I'm going to guess clock speeds are lower (lower voltage and therefore more battery life), 13" has Intel 5100 Iris graphics if they're smart and Intel 5000 graphics otherwise, and possibly $100 off.

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