Advice? New rMBP, Even More Confused

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Lace.Noella, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. Lace.Noella macrumors newbie

    Oct 2, 2012
    I wanted to ask the advice of you all, as I'm not too sure about which of these options would help me out the most. And with the new 13" rMBP just released, I don't know if that is better than the 15" or if one of the other options are better.

    I work as a tutor, so I'm constantly on my computer editing papers, marking documents, etc. I also do not have a TV right now, so I watch a lot of shows and movies on my laptop. Right now, I have a late 2010 Macbook Air. I am looking for a combination or single product that will best suit my work as well as leisure activities. Before I was leaning towards option 3, but now I don't know. I was thinking about one of the following:

    1. Purchase a rMBP. I would probably look at the new 13" one simply because of weight and portability. If I went this route, this would be my only computer. Or maybe the 15" one? Really not sure here.

    2. Purchase a MBA. Again, I would probably go with the 13" because I think 11" would be too small to stare at all day. The only question on this route is, if this is the best choice, would it be better to wait until the summer or whenever the Air line is next updated? This would also be my only computer.

    3. Purchase a Mac Mini and hook it up to a Smart TV (which I am hoping to purchase after the holidays when they go on sale). And then also purchase an iPad to use when I'm not at home.

    My question is, in your opinion, which would be the best option for me? I don't know a whole lot about computers and their speed, power, etc. and it took a lot of research just to come up with these options. Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Steve121178 macrumors 601


    Apr 13, 2010
    Bedfordshire, UK
    If there's nothing wrong with your 2010 MBA then go for option 3. No point buying a new 13" notebook when you already have a 13" notebook that works just fine.

    However, if you want more performance then maybe go for the 2012 MBA. The 13" rMBP just seems a lot of money for what it is - a slightly more powerful MBA with a retina display.
  3. Lace.Noella thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 2, 2012
    Thanks for the response!

    I probably should have mentioned though, my plan would be to sell my current MBA and put that money towards whichever option I go with.
  4. icecoldart macrumors member


    Mar 30, 2012

    If i were you i'd either buy a refurbished 13" MB Air 2012 and the new ipad mini. Or the mac mini as you've mentioned earlier.

    The 13 incher rmbp is a total rip off! 1999 usd for a DUAL CORE processor with 256gb ssd. That's simply a bad joke. It's wa better to go for the 15" option if you really want the retina as it has waaaaaaaaay better specs. or just stick with air, which i would do considering your needs.
  5. Steve121178 macrumors 601


    Apr 13, 2010
    Bedfordshire, UK
    Oh I see. I would personally go for a MBA with plenty of storage. Then you can download lots of TV shows and movies and not have to worry too much about your free space.

    I think the 13" rMBP is just too costly for what it is. When Intel's 'Haswell' chips are available in June next year with improved integrated graphics, then perhaps a discrete GPU will not be too much of a loss.
  6. marvin4653 macrumors regular

    Jun 11, 2012
    Why do you want to sell your Air? In other words, how do you hope to improve upon your current experience? I ask as someone who went into 2012 feeling ninety to ninety-five percent sure that I was going to sell my 2010 Air this year and upgrade to something else, but decided to stay with my Air.
  7. vpro macrumors 65816


    Jun 8, 2012

    shouldn't ask questions they already have the answer for, seriously.. there are hundreds of threads like this.
  8. Lace.Noella thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 2, 2012
    Like I said before, I don't really know what graphic specs mean, but I was hoping to purchase a computer with a crisper or better looking screen, if that makes sense. Also, I'm starting to notice that the computer is getting a bit slow loading/opening/working with multiple files, internet pages, music, documents, etc. at once. I thought maybe one of the newer machines might be faster?

    Also, I think I'm just stuck because I'm not sure if having a traditional laptop would be better, or if I'm at the point where simply an iPad + a Mac would be the better solution.

    I tried to search through the different threads, but I only found people comparing the MBA and the rMBP, not also the option of an iPad + Mac Mini.
  9. Rizzm macrumors 6502a

    Feb 5, 2012
    If this is your main media device, and you only have 1 computer, I'd go for the base 15" rMBP with 16GB RAM BTO. It's the best bang for your buck right now and you'll have a desktop quality laptop with you at all times. Hook it up to a display at home and you get a dual screen desktop setup.

    I plan to do this next year with the updated model.
  10. Lace.Noella thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 2, 2012
    Yes, it would be my main/only media device unless I went the iPad/Mac Mini route.

    The only thing that concerns me with the 15" is the weight. I guess I really just need to go into the store and get hands on experience with the different options.

    After reading the comments and additional threads, I'm starting to lean heavily towards either the 15" rMBP or an iPad + Mac Mini.
  11. Rizzm macrumors 6502a

    Feb 5, 2012
    Well then I suggest you go to a store and hold them. The rmbp weighs about a much (slightly less?) than the fat 13" so it's still very portable. I think the performance trade offs GREATLY outweigh the extra bulk.
  12. marvin4653, Oct 24, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012

    marvin4653 macrumors regular

    Jun 11, 2012
    Here's my take. If your primary use of your laptop is editing papers, I think switching to an iPad and a Mac Mini is a non-starter, unless you plan to keep using your 2010 Air. If you want to work away from home, I think you'll get frustrated with the lack of a physical keyboard (or start carrying one for the iPad, diminishing its size advantage) and desktop-class word processing capability. I think the iPad is the best media consumption device around, but it sounds like you need your portable device to be able to do more than that.

    Now let's consider upgrading to a current 13" Air. Do you only have 2GB of RAM in your 2010 Air? If so, that's probably the cause of the sluggishness you're experiencing. Desktop applications and internet content have grown more demanding of system resources in the two years since your (and my) Air was released, and 2GB of RAM is on the low end. It doesn't sound like the decline in performance you're experiencing is the result of an underpowered CPU or GPU (though some web content, particularly streaming media, may be taxing the NVIDIA GPU), but moving up to 4GB or, preferably, 8GB of RAM would probably give you the fluidity in multi-tasking that you're seeking. The SSDs in the current Airs are also faster than ours (6Gbps, up from 3Gbps, among other SSD optimizations over the last two years), so you'll experience an increase in the speed with which your computer opens programs, and loads, saves, and copies files. But, a new Air isn't going to give you a better screen.

    So that leaves the Retinas. Your decision here will probably fall to personal preference, but for me, the 15" is too heavy to carry around. I used to have a 2010 15" Pro, swapped to a 13" Air when I spilled coffee on the Pro, and can't fathom carrying around anything that heavy again. To be sure, the 15" Retina is lighter than the old 15" Pro, but it's still a pound and a half heavier than the 13" Air, which is significant to me when I'm lugging around textbooks and the like. The 13" Air is so light I don't think twice about bringing it with me, which I consider invaluable. I'm tempted by the 13" Retina, though, since it's only about half of a pound heavier than the 13" Air.

    I'm not particularly dissatisfied by the screen on the 13" Air, so I don't assign much value to the increased clarity of the Retina display. However, I love screen real estate, so having the option to run a 13" Retina at 1680x1050 (instead of the Air's 1440x900) is something I would really enjoy. The problem is that running the Retina at that resolution on the current Intel integrated GPU has been less than optimal for 15" Retina owners. The same should be true for the 13" Retina. While I haven't seen any conclusive analysis, most people seem to chalk up this performance problem to the fact that the current Intel integrated GPU does not provide hardware-optimized support for scaling the screen to these super-high resolutions. That problem may be resolved if Intel builds in support for these resolutions into their next generation of integrated GPUs. So, for me, I'll probably move to a 13" Retina when Apple moves to the next generation of Intel chipset.

    Now, if you're not interested in running a 13" notebook at the admittedly tiny resolution of 1680x1050, I don't think you need to worry about these things and could happily buy a 13" Retina now. You'll get a crisper image than your current 13" display, and a generally superior panel (since the Retinas use an IPS display). Whether a 13" Retina is worth the price increase over a current 13" Air simply for a better looking display is probably a question best answered by comparing the models in an Apple store.

    Hope that helps.
  13. Lace.Noella thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 2, 2012
    Wow, thank you so much for explaining everything out in detail! That is very helpful for understanding exactly what I need in terms of specs. While I definitely do not want to carry around anything too heavy, since I am a tutor and not a student, at least I do not have to carry around textbooks with it, so the laptop would be my only weight.

    I agree with you and the previous poster that I probably need to go into the store to get a feel and look for exactly how the machines run and whatnot. Hopefully I'll be able to find a time when the store isn't wall to wall people.

    Thanks again for the very thought out and detailed response!

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