Air or Pro?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by RandomVillain, Feb 19, 2015.

  1. RandomVillain macrumors newbie

    Jul 21, 2010
    Have a MacBook Pro from mid 2010. It's slowing down and sometimes my work is time sensitive so I'm looking to upgrade.

    Work wise the only major apps I use is Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Bridge. I'll have those both open at the same time along with Safari, TweetDeck, and Mail.

    Right now my processor is 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    And my memory is 4 GB 1067 MHz DDR3

    Was thinking the Air might be good because of the price. But I am also looking at the Retina Pro. Just not sure what to get, or if the extra $300 for the Pro is worth it. I really only do work on it maybe once a week, the rest of the time I am just browsing the web and checking email.
  2. torana355 macrumors 68030

    Dec 8, 2009
    Sydney, Australia
    Even the air will be a big step up from your old machine.
  3. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    Have you swapped the hdd for an ssd yet?
    Your current mbp is quite upgradable, I wouldn't give up on it yet.
  4. Asher133 macrumors member

    Feb 9, 2015
    I would go With the air
  5. JustThinkin' macrumors 6502

    Oct 21, 2014
    One option is to upgrade the HDD to an SSD (as already mentioned) plus upgrade the RAM to 8 or 16GB. 8GB is really better for OS X - especially if you don't have an SSD.

    Are you still looking at a 13" screen, or have you considered the 15" rMBP? The base model generally gives you everything you want - finding the best price on a new or refurb 15" might be your best bet.

    I have a 13" Air w/ 4GB right now; I tried a 13" rMBP w/ 8GB, but took it back. The 13" screen just seemed a bit cramped compared to my Air (lower effective resolution - 1440x900 vs 1280x800, I believe).

    Then got a base model 15" rMBP w/ 16GB. The 15" is just excellent in every way, and it hardly seems heavier than the Air in everyday use. The screen resolution is really great when simply web browsing. Battery life was still very good. I took it back because I decided I may want 512GB to run Bootcamp as well, and completely replace my desktop. But I miss it already. I may just go back to it anyway - it's such a good value and so close to what I was looking for out of the box. I'll decide when I finish figuring out my setup over the next few weeks.

    The Air with 4GB is ridiculous by comparison. Sure, you can get away with it. But even though I only do "real work" occasionally (like you), I was surprised how much better the 15" works with everyday browsing as well. And the screen is easier on your eyes, as well as a real improvement for your photographs. Through using all three models I discovered OS X 10.10 really wants 8GB all the time, occasionally needing 10 or 12GB (without even running intensive apps like Photoshop).

    Whatever you do, upgrade the RAM.
  6. Ulenspiegel macrumors 68030


    Nov 8, 2014
    Land of Flanders and Elsewhere
    As the RAM Guru implied it would be a good solution to upgrade your PC: HDD ⇒ SSD, RAM ⇒ 8GB (more than enough). This way it is much cheaper and you will get a new PC.
  7. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I'd consider what others say, insofar to consider upgrading your current machine. If you're still thinking of getting a newer model.

    I'd opt for the Pro because you get a better processor and GPU, consider 8GB of ram as well since PS and Bridge can eat up your ram along with having other apps up and running at the same time.
  8. mrex macrumors 68030


    Jul 16, 2014
    If you are going to use Air for a photoediting, you probably have an external display too? Lightroom works great on my mbpr (13"/8gb) while I use PS on my win 15" laptop (8gb too) (i dont have osx version of it).
  9. reillymc macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2015
    I joined here just to quote this post, because I am in the same boat as op. I am ready to upgrade my mid-10 mac pro, and my only concern with the air was I also use bootcamp. I thought I had enough information to pull the trigger on 13" air w/ 256GB and be ok to run Bootcamp on this machine until this post.

    Are you saying the air is not recommended to use with Bootcamp?
    I just need to run 1 windows based program and still the only way I have found is through bootcamp.
  10. ixxx69 macrumors 65816

    Jul 31, 2009
    United States
    The Air can run boot camp just fine. 256GB SSD potentially makes it kind of tight because of the space that needs to be dedicated to Boot Camp... it won't leave you with very much space for OS X. But that might be fine if you're a light user.

    May I ask what app you use in Boot Camp? Maybe it would be easier and more flexible to run it in a VM like Parallels? With Boot Camp, you have to partition off a space and then once that's done, it's pretty much fixed... you might be wasting a bunch of space, or eventually run out of space. With a VM, it only uses as much space as needed - it can shrink and expand depending on usage.

    The trade-off is that you pretty much need 8GB of RAM if you want to use a VM efficiently.
  11. reillymc macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2015
    I just use MetaTrader4 software for trading.
    From my research so far of some parallels they don't provide the same performance as simply running bootcamp. I could be wrong and need to research further, but I have tried a couple of systems without much luck.

  12. iamMacPerson macrumors 68030


    Jun 12, 2011
    Like others have said it would be best to upgrade your current machine. It's very expandable and if upgraded to an SSD with 8GB of RAM it will probably serve you well for another 2-3 years. (My family "fleet" actually includes an identical machine as yours, along with the upgraded 2.66GHz model from the same year. Both have SSDs and 8GB of RAM and run like champs). You would be able to get a 512GB SSD and 8GB RAM for under $300 from my recent price outs.

    If you really do want a new machine, I would take a look at another Pro. I have never had good luck with discreet GPU models so I would stay away from those (they are more expensive too). 8GB of RAM is stock with the current 13" MBPs which should be good for quite a few years, but the SSD is rather small. I'd get a minimum of 512 for what you do unless you want to lug around a portable hard drive with you.

    The baseline 15" would be my recommendation. It has the better integrated GPU then the 13" models, without getting to pricy.

    Also, check out Apple's refurb section for better deals. They have different machines come and go including Custom machines. AFAIK, you get a minimum of 15% off the retail price and there are only two differences between retail and refurb Apple products: 1) you just get a plain white box. 2) the main board has had components replaced but has been tested to be 100% functional.

    Apple's refurb machines even come with the same 1-year warranty as a new machine and the option to extend that with AppleCare so you don't have to worry that they don't stand behind their refurbed products like most manufactures. Heck, the machine I am typing this on is refurbed.

    Check out Apple's refurb section here.
  13. DjSam macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2015
    Air for sure

    start with hardware upgrade - replace ram for 8 gb and hard drive ssd. If You really want to by new one Macbook air is a good choice
  14. mrex macrumors 68030


    Jul 16, 2014
    Why Air is a good choice for a people using Photoshop? Air has a tn panel which means that colours and brightness is different when you change the angle of the screen and the color accuracy is poor. There is no point to buy Air when your main purpose is editing photos...
  15. RandomVillain thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 21, 2010
    Thanks for all the info. If I decide to upgrade my Mac, is there recommended SSD and Rams to use that I can get off Amazon? Also are there places I could take to have it done, not sure if I could do it myself unless really simple. I changed out the HDD on my PlayStation 4 just fine.

    As for Air or a new Pro I am leaning towards the Pro due to the speed and retina display. As for the Photoshop work I don't do much editing, I really only use it mainly for resizing photos and cropping so seeing the proper colors and all that isn't too much of a big deal. But I would also eventually like to use Final Cut Pro as well to toy around with some videos. So having the extra power of a Pro might come in helpful.
  16. mzeb macrumors regular


    Jan 30, 2007
  17. JustThinkin' macrumors 6502

    Oct 21, 2014
    FCP X is a whole different ballgame. Whereas everyday use will utilize 8GB or slightly more, and Photoshop can use 16GB+ in some cases (maybe not for you), I've read FCP X can utilize 32GB!

    So I'd say you can get by with 8GB for everyday use, but should go for 16GB if you might get semi-serious about video. As I said, the 15" rMBP was noticeably smoother than the 8GB 13" in everyday use, so it's not like you're "wasting" the power. Also, video seems to look a little better on the 15", for some reason (probably because of the resolution and related factors).

    IMO the only reason to get the 13" is if you really want the smaller size, or simply can't afford the base 15".
  18. JustThinkin' macrumors 6502

    Oct 21, 2014
    An Air with 8GB and a 256GB SSD should be fine for Bootcamp. My concern is I may put 100GB+ of media (video plus photos) on the machine temporarily for editing. So with about 80-100GB for Windows and 50GB+ for OS X I could run out of working space. For all my other ("normal") use 256GB would be fine for Bootcamp.

    Keep in mind there's a strong chance of seeing a new 12" Retina Air within a month or so, and the 13" model may get faster processors around the same time too. So unless you find a current bargain, or have an immediate need, you might wait.

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