Air vs Retina (bet you haven't been asked this before)

BIGxM1KE

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 11, 2012
3
0
Hey all. I need help making decisions. I am purchasing my first Mac. I have been a PC guy all my life but for the field of work I'm going into (telecom major wanting to go work in networks) I realize I need to become familiar with Mac and all they do, so I've got two models I can't choose between. They are:

13 inch Air, 2 GHz CPU, 8 gb RAM, 256 gb ssd with AppleCare at $1930

Or

rMBP, 2.6 GHz CPU, 16 gb RAM, 256 gb ssd without AppleCare (but will purchase within the year.) at $2410

Pretty much it will be for browsing, document editing, comic reading, light gaming if I get the retina. Also my coursework has audio, video, and flash editing and work on it, but I don't think my direction will have me doing those.

I currently have an Alienware m15x I intend to keep siting at my desk, and use the Mac to take around campus and such. I like the air for the portability, but I like the retina because it's cutting edge, and I can do a little gaming with it. I feel like caring the retina won't be an issue with me, as I've adjusted to the 10lb behemoth that is my Alienware (I love it dearly, don't get me wrong). What I worry about is the future. The retina seems like I could get 3 or 4 years out of hopefully, but I'm not sure if the Air can keep up outside of maybe 2, or I may be bad at my future estimations. So basically I'm taking what will be the best for the future into my decision. What do you all think?
 

Ddyracer

macrumors 68000
Nov 24, 2009
1,783
31
Hey all. I need help making decisions. I am purchasing my first Mac. I have been a PC guy all my life but for the field of work I'm going into (telecom major wanting to go work in networks) I realize I need to become familiar with Mac and all they do, so I've got two models I can't choose between. They are:

13 inch Air, 2 GHz CPU, 8 gb RAM, 256 gb ssd with AppleCare at $1930

Or

rMBP, 2.6 GHz CPU, 16 gb RAM, 256 gb ssd without AppleCare (but will purchase within the year.) at $2410

Pretty much it will be for browsing, document editing, comic reading, light gaming if I get the retina. Also my coursework has audio, video, and flash editing and work on it, but I don't think my direction will have me doing those.

I currently have an Alienware m15x I intend to keep siting at my desk, and use the Mac to take around campus and such. I like the air for the portability, but I like the retina because it's cutting edge, and I can do a little gaming with it. I feel like caring the retina won't be an issue with me, as I've adjusted to the 10lb behemoth that is my Alienware (I love it dearly, don't get me wrong). What I worry about is the future. The retina seems like I could get 3 or 4 years out of hopefully, but I'm not sure if the Air can keep up outside of maybe 2, or I may be bad at my future estimations. So basically I'm taking what will be the best for the future into my decision. What do you all think?
Portabilty vs power is what you have to ask yourself here. Which do you favor more?
 

Ddyracer

macrumors 68000
Nov 24, 2009
1,783
31
Between those probably power. Power will be better in the long run than portability I believe.
Go ahead and get it then. Makes sense. You could also look at the non retina MPB. Not as powerful as the retina but cheaper while still being above the air.
 

MrAnthonySutton

macrumors newbie
Jul 1, 2012
27
0
I would go with the air, because you're needs are extremely heavy, and I think you would like the air better. You already have a monster machine :p

Unless you want two powerful machines I would get the pro but in actuality you don't really need it.
 

aleni

macrumors 68020
Jun 2, 2006
2,142
236
I would sell the alienware and get the rmbp but upgrade to 512gb ssd.
 

ixodes

macrumors 601
Jan 11, 2012
4,430
2
Pacific Coast, USA
Either will do quite nicely. The only caution I would offer is to avoid the current rMBP.

A brand new first gen model is never Apples best work, whereas the following year will be. They always find bugs & annoyances once the new model is in the hands of the public. History reveals a much better machine is offered after they've worked out the kinks.

So if there's anyway you can be patient & wait, you'll be so glad you did.
 

musique

macrumors regular
Apr 10, 2009
222
5
Hands on to help decision making

I went to my local Apple store to check on the differences between the 15" MBP and the rMBP. Yes, the rMBP looks better (quite sexy, actually) and clearly has amazing display specs (2880 x 1800 with much deeper color resolution, versus the 1680 x 1050 option on the MBP). Regardless, the MBP is no slouch.

Here are my impressions and the things I find different enough to help make a decision:

1. rMBP is thinner (noticeably) and lighter (somewhat noticeably).

2. Their processing power (CPU) is either the exact same or close enough. I've read that the rMBP has its innards glued in place. Supposedly the MBP can be upgraded (third party) from 8GB to 16GM RAM

3. The rMBP has two TB ports and, therefore, can (out-of-the-box) support two displays. The MBP only has one. This will limit a user to supporting just one display (unless you've got a TB display with two (daisy-chainable) TB ports. Otherwise, you need to look at TB port hubs (still pricey and, from what someone at the Apple store told me, don't necessariy have all the kinks worked out quite yet.)

4. The MBP has an Ethernet port and the rMBP does not. If security and speed are extreme concerns for you that may help in your decision-making. (Of course, with two TB ports you could use one with an adapter as an Ethernet port, but then you're back to just one TB port.)

5. The rMBP has an HDMI output; the MBP does not.

6. The MBP has audio line in; the rMBP does not.

7. They both have SDXC slots. They both have 2 USB 3/2 ports.

8. The MBP has a FW800 port; the rMBP does not.

9. The rMBP has the newer MagSafe 2 adapter; the MBP has the current generation Magsafe adapter.

10. The MBP has a CD/DVD drive; the rMBP does not.

These are probably all things you already knew. It's that my 6-year-old 15" MBP needs a new logic board and I'm going to get one of these in the new batch. For me, I'm probably going to go with the MBP with the 750GB 7200rpm drive and the high-resolution antiglare display. Depending on how my software functions I may investigate updating to 16GB RAM. In a few years, when SSDs come down in price, I may think about replacing the HD or removing the DVD drive and putting in a SSD drive. Other than that I think this will last me 4-5 years.

Good luck on your decision.
 

BIGxM1KE

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 11, 2012
3
0
As you already have a machine for heavy work, why didn't you consider an 11" Air?
Mainly the screen size, as well as a larger ssd. In comparing 11" to 13" I just feel like I wouldn't like the 11" screen.
 

sk8r1230

macrumors 6502
Aug 3, 2010
342
30
Indiana
I had both for a while. I found that the screen quality on the air was poor and hard to get used to. Even my retina iPad and iPhone looked nicer. Very poor viewing angles on the 11 inch air and very poor color reproduction. It was a really cool little machine with lots of capability but I could nt get over the screen quality. Just seems like an all around cheap panel IMO. I returned it and kept my bto rmbp. I'm gonna wait for a higher quality panel before I look at the air again.

Edit: and yes I tried many many many different custom color profiles without success. The screen just never suited my eyes.
 

Nuc

macrumors 6502a
Jan 20, 2003
798
6
TN
I'm not sure why everyone always fusses over the portability. I had a 17" MBP when I was in grad school and I took it everywhere. As long as you have a good bag then your all set.

After upgrading to the new rMBP this thing is what I would consider extremely portable. It's thin lightweight (compared to my 17"). I barely notice that it is even in my bag.

So get the rMBP in my opinion. The computer is awesome!
 

Orange Furball

macrumors 65816
May 18, 2012
1,325
5
Scranton, PA, USA
I'm not sure why everyone always fusses over the portability. I had a 17" MBP when I was in grad school and I took it everywhere. As long as you have a good bag then your all set.

After upgrading to the new rMBP this thing is what I would consider extremely portable. It's thin lightweight (compared to my 17"). I barely notice that it is even in my bag.

So get the rMBP in my opinion. The computer is awesome!
Pshh that's nothing. I carried around an ASUS G60Vx everywhere. I got a solid 30, minutes battery life out of this 10+ pound beast.

Either get a retina or wait until the next Gen one!
 

JimWPVB

macrumors member
Jul 3, 2012
36
6
Mba

MBA is a great machine. There is a trade off, though, of power vs. portability.

I agree with others regarding first generation Apple products. Better to wait until they debug it.