Best place to buy fully-loaded 13" MBA?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by vader1990, May 17, 2014.

  1. vader1990 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2008
    #1
    Hi,

    I'm a software engineering student and I also do a bit of Photoshop and other image processing. Would an "ultimate" 13" MBA (i7/8/512) be sufficient for my needs? I use Photoshop, C++ (lot), Java, and Python (lot). Sometimes the jobs can be quite data intensive, but for really ridiculous stuff I have a workstation at school for us to use.

    If the answer is yes, where should I buy the MBA? I have the .edu discount, so is Apple the best place? I need it in August so I have a little bit of time.

    If you think the MBA is not sufficient, what would you suggest, and where would you suggest getting it from?

    Thanks!
     
  2. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2013
    #2
    The MBA is a great computer for portability, but especially if you are using your computer for processor/graphics intensive tasks, the MBA will not hold up for long. Check out getting a 2012 15" rMBP used on amazon with those specs. You can get an 8GB/512GB/i7 quad core/gtx 650m for about 1700$. If you need the portability, then get the MBA, but the power of the rMBP is way above the MBA, and the screen will be a lot better for photo editing. Just my 2 cents.

    This site only charges sales tax in NY, so if you don't live there, this is the place to get your MBA for 1750$.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...r_dual_core_i7_1_7g_8gb_512ssd_5000_13_3.html

    Best,
    Matt
     
  3. vader1990 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2008
    #4
    When you say "won't hold up for long" what exactly do you mean? Will the toll of running code somehow reduce the life of the machine?

    I guess I should have explained; I live a little bit far from school and I bike there everyday, so it's kinda nice to not have to lug my current (2009 MBP, i.e., 'heavy-ish') machine everyday. Also with the 12hr battery life of the MBA, I suppose I also won't have to take my charger with me either? I guess I was looking for portability/battery, but if you strongly believe I'm making a bad decision, then please do let me know.

    Do you think the 13'' rMBP is perhaps a "best of both words" for me (I didn't think that CPU was that much better, and is Iris really that much better, considering it first has to run the retina display)? I don't think I need a dedicated video card for sure. While quad core would be nice, I thought that with hyper threading, the 4650U on the MBA might be enough for coding (I don't care if the performance gain in compile times is on the order of 10 secs faster). Thoughts?
     
  4. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2013
    #5
    For coding, the baseline MBA will be more than enough. I was more referring to photoshop. The i5 13" rMBP has the processing power of the i7 MBA, and the iris is better than the hd 5000, but not by a large margin. You may want to consider an 8GB/256GB rMBP. Just keep an external hard drive with anything you aren't currently working on, and it will save you some money for sure. The only reason I recommended the 15" rMBP was because of photoshop. For university coding, you really do not need much power, and a maxed out MBA will be overkill. You can pick up an 11" baseline model for 650$ at BestBuy right now, which is crazy. Just something to think about :).

    Matt
     
  5. vader1990 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2008
    #6
    Thanks for your help and clarification. I actually prefer to get the i7 MBA, or the i5 rMBP b/c I feel it's a worthwhile upgrade/future-proof, etc., and only a $90 upgrade at Apple. Yeah, I figured that after factoring in that IRIS needs to power the retina display, the 5000 is probably roughly equal.

    While the $650 baseline MBA is a really good deal, I really feel more comfortable with at least 8GB RAM (especially because I do image processing in Python, and it helps to have the RAM overhead).

    Question: if I configure an i7/8/512 MBA it ends up costing the same as the 2.6-i5/16/256 rMBP. Am I just being silly in thinking that the half pound less of the MBA, thin design, and the battery life trump the better specs of the rMBP or is that valid? I don't want to sacrifice performance, but probability/battery life would actually be a really nice feature for me (provided it doesn't handicap my coding performance too much).

    Thanks for all your help! :)
     
  6. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2013
    #7
    I would check this one out then. It is 1675$ for the i5/8GB/512GB 13" rMBP (Again, if you don't live in NY). From what I have heard, the weight difference is noticeable, but not by that much. The battery life is a little worse on the rMBP, but don't expect to get all day battery life either way if you are running heavy programs. You can still get probably 5 hours of constant use out of the rMBP. Getting 8GB instead of 16GB of RAM would probably help your battery life out too. The display, the design (personal opinion), and the resale value of the rMBP will be better than the MBA. You also get more ports on the rMBP.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1010906-REG/apple_me866ll_a_13_3_macbook_pro_notebook.html

    Matt
     

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