Buying Help: Macbook Air, Macbook Pro - Retina, or Macbook Pro

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by cpac54, Aug 18, 2014.

  1. cpac54 macrumors newbie

    Aug 18, 2014
    Hi everyone,

    So, I'm going back to university in September, and need to purchase a new laptop. Long-time iPhone and iPod user, and after years of saying that my next laptop would be a Mac, I'm finally making the switch there too.

    Overall I'm looking to get something portable enough to be able to bring to school everyday, yet powerful enough to be useful as my only computer. Besides lots of essay writing, I would like to do light photo editing with Lightroom, and download a fair amount of media. I also stream a fair amount of live TV feeds during the NHL amd NFL seasons. Laptop storage capacity is less of a concern than memory and processor speed for me. Future-proofing is of course nice.

    I'm looking at the following configurations:

    MBA 13": i7 processor (1.7ghz, 3.3 boost), 8gb RAM, 256Gb SDD. With education discount, comes in at $1479 CAD. (plus a $110 Apple store GC).

    rMBP 13" (refurbished Oct. 2013 model): i5 processor (2.4ghz, 2.9 boost), 8gb RAM, 256Gb SSD. Selling at $1279 CAD (refurb price, no Apple Store GC).

    MBP 13": i7 processor (2.9 Ghz, 3.6 boost), 8gb RAM, 500 HDD. Selling at $1224 CAD with education discount. Also comes with the $110 Apple store GC (I like the idea of being able to upgrade this model in the future easily with more RAM and a SSD).

    Currently, I'm pretty much looking at the first two, and wonder if the slight decrease in weight (.22 kg) and increase in boosted processing speed with the i7 on the MBA is worth the extra money when compared to the refurbished rMBP w/ the retina display and the faster non-boosted i5 speed.

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts (and any other config. suggestions you may have up your sleeves), they're much appreciated by this mac amateur!
  2. ixxx69 macrumors 65816

    Jul 31, 2009
    United States
    Any one of those computers will more than meet your needs, though I wouldn't buy ANY computer without an SSD, so I'd skip #3.

    So then it's just whether you want the extra portability of the MBA versus the retina screen of the MBP.

    Enjoy the new Mac - they're awesome!
  3. loops- macrumors newbie

    Aug 18, 2014
    I would suggest going with the rMBP. I'm a total newcomer to Macs as I've just bought my first one about two weeks ago.

    I originally bought the MBA 13" with 4GB and 128SSD. I used it over a weekend while I was away doing a bit of work and loved it. Then I got home and started thinking. The extra battery life isn't going to be that big of a deal. I'm not away from a charger long enough so the 8 hours or so for the rMBP was fine. Then I was thinking what about the portability of the air...really it's a non issue for me as im not carrying it around all day. Even if I was, I don't think the slight weight increase is going to be a factor.

    So I returned it for the rMBP with 8gb and 128gb ssd. I feel like the 8gb will make my machine more future proof and the retina screen is much nicer to look at for things like text and just in general looks way better.

    Obviously your situation is slightly different as your MBA is upgraded i7 and 8gb but I'd say save the money from the MBA and get the rMBP. Buy yourself a external monitor and wireless keyboard / mouse and you have yourself a desktop PC for when you get home..Thats what I did and I am wondering what I should do with my i7 PC now..Mac is awesome.
  4. LxHunter macrumors 6502

    Nov 14, 2010
    Number 2
    My order of priority for any model
    1. SSD
    2. Retina
    3. everything else
  5. capathy21 macrumors 65816


    Jun 16, 2014
    Houston, Texas
  6. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    I would pick option 2. Its the cheapest and the retina screen is amazing, especially for writing and watching movies :) IMO the weight difference between the Air and the rMBP is negligible.
  7. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    Second option. Photo editing without retina is like popcorn without butter.
  8. HBP macrumors member

    Aug 22, 2006
    Definitely don't do #3.

    Either get a 13" rMBP or the 13" MBA. Only upgrades I would do are RAM and SSD space, and that's only if you think they're necessary. Wouldn't upgrade any of the CPUs.
  9. cpac54 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 18, 2014
    Thanks everyone for the replies - it seems like the rMBP is the way to go here. I even went to the Apple Store yesterday to check out the MBA and the rMBP and I couldn't really notice a big difference weight-wise just holding them in my hands.

    Now another quick question:

    Just logged on again to the Apple Store online and noticed they now have 2 other models of the rMBP in the refurbished section. The choices are now:

    1. rMBP (i5 2.4/2.9 boost, 8gb ram, 256gb SSD) - $1279 CAD

    2. rMBP (i5 2.6/3.1 boost, 16gb ram, 256gb SSD) - $1529 CAD

    3. rMBP (i5 2.6/3.1 boost, 8gb ram, 512gb SSD) - $1529 CAD

    All 3 are listed as "October 2013" models. Do you guys think it's worth the extra $250 CAD to jump up to the 0.2 faster i5 and either increase the RAM or SSD?

    Thanks again!
  10. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    do you need 512gb? If yes --> option 3, if no --> option 1

    Not sure what use you would have for option 2.
  11. cpac54 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 18, 2014
    I'm no computer expert, but I was thinking that too regarding the RAM, except for possible future proofing, as I'd like to avoid buying another new laptop for at least 3 years if possible. When I bought my current Windows-based laptop, it came with 4Gb RAM, which at the time seemed like lots, but now my laptop struggles to complete the most mundane tasks.

    I would really like to get more into photo editing as a hobby, but my laptop has always been my limiting factor, and I just couldn't justify buying a new one until now that I'm going back to school.

    Regarding the SSD, I've always had everything (files, music, pictures, some movies) on one laptop, with important stuff backed up to one external drive. I'm okay with getting a smaller SSD and teaching myself how to keep everything else organized and updated on external drives (there's a question for a whole other forum!), but seeing the larger drive just tickles my "comfort zone"! ;)

    Alas, you're right and option 1 is likely more than enough for me.
  12. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    For some reason a lot lf people believe that when their computer is slow it's because of "not enough ram". There is a lot of factors why computers become slow, but this superstition is amazingly resistent. :apple: does not sell laptops that become slow in only three years time.

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