cPro vs Air: More Bang for your Buck?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Andrew Ryan, Jul 16, 2012.

  1. Andrew Ryan macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2011
    #1
    I just moved to LA and have sold my favorite computer I've ever owned..my 27" iMac. Its only been a week and I miss it. I got great value for it off of Craigslist. Man, I loved that computer....:(

    I need something portable, and am debating between the Air and the 13" and 15" Mac Pro's, but can't decide what to get.

    I will not even consider the Retina's because of the ghosting issues that I've seen friends enounter, as well as the the price point. The lack of being able to upgrade really hurts it in my eyes. Maybe next year I'll take a look at it.

    I like the 15" setup with the High Res Screen. If I got a Mac Pro, I'd definitely add a SSD and RAM off crucial. I can't decide between the 13 and 15.

    The Air's seem pretty good too. I like how small they are, but they are close in price when you upgrade the higher end 13", and I can't imagine it being even close to the Pro, especially if you play the occasional game like Diablo 3.

    I use a ton of writing programs. I also play around with Photoshop and Final Cut, but that is just for fun, and I don't really need a machine at this time that is optimal for video editing.

    So, for those who have a good amount of experience with apple laptops, what is the better route? I've only owned deskstops from apple.
     
  2. TLewis macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Location:
    left coast, US
    #2
    • Most people seem to be happy with the Air. Unless you're doing heavy photoshop or video crunching, the Air is probably fine.

    • Lots of people are happy with the size of the 11" Air (1366x768), but I like the 13" Air, because of the 1440x900 resolution. It's probably more a matter of personal preference. Check them out at a store and decide for yourself.

    • The 11" Air supposedly gets hotter than the 13" Air under load. Not sure how much that's going to matter to you.

    • I think you already know this, but just in case: If you're trying to decide between an upper-end Air and a MBP, you probably want to ignore the 13" MBP. Not only does it have the same Intel HD 4000 GPU as the Air, but it has a "lower-resolution" display (1280x800 vs the Air's 1366x768 or 1440x900). The 15" MBP has the 1440x900 or 1680x1050 display, plus it has the additional discrete NVIDIA GPU.

    • The MBP is much more fixable/upgradeable than the Air. However, on the Air, the arguably most important part -- the battery -- is still replaceable by skilled users. Still, with the Air, you can't upgrade the memory, and the disk is arguably not upgradeable, either (while you can replace it, it's very expensive).

    • By today's standards, the MBP is a huge brick. The Air is a lot more portable, but it's more easily stolen, too, as it has no lock slot, unlike the MBP.
    (I just went through all this, and there's no clear answer. It really boils down to a matter of personal preference.)
     
  3. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #3
    The Air sounds like a good fit for you, but you should probably try to get to a store to handle one to make sure it will work for you.
     
  4. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #4
    Out of curiosity, why did you sell your imac? Your comparison makes little sense as you're comparing different machine classes. Games on the macbook air may still be playable, but you won't get high settings out of it according to many of the threads on here. I've read through a few of them.



    • This is absolutely ridiculous. It is not a huge brick by any standards. You're just buying into the kool-aid. Think of it this way. It's incredible how much power they can pack into a mobile form factor at this point, and the 15" MBP in either design is very very portable. You're right that it's probably easier to steal, but your other point is grossly exaggerated.
     
  5. Omar Comin' Yo macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2012
    #5
    I was in your shoes yesterday and spent countless hours reading reviews and watching videos on each laptop. It really drove me to madness.

    Although I will be using my laptop for different reasons, I think you should decide between the Air and the Retina Pro.

    If you planned on getting the current Mac Pro, and you plan on upgrading your HD and RAM, it is pretty close in price to the Retina. I think the higher end Air's are around 500 cheaper than the Retina. But if you are just using the computer for basic functions, than I think the Air could be fine. I posted a question similar to yours and people had responded that Final Cut works fine with the Airs, unless you really want to utilize the program. But from what I have read, playing around with Final Cut with an Air shouldn't be that much of an issue.

    If you don't mind spending the cash, get the Retina. That is what I ended up doing.
     
  6. Andrew Ryan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2011
    #6

    I need a computer for work where I can show articles and what not to people on the go, as well as working with a computer at different sites. As much as I loved my iMac, I couldn't justify having two computers in an expensive city where I just moved too. I used my iMac to watch movies, stream on netflix, play the occasional game, and etc.. Down the road though, I can see myself getting one again.

    I want to be smart about buying a laptop, but going to the store might be a good idea to see exactly what they are like. I'll do that at some point today.
     
  7. TLewis macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Location:
    left coast, US
    #7
    Kool aid? What Kool Aid? :confused:

    Yes, I agree that the 15" MBP and the rMBP have an amazing amount of power packed into them, and that the size is largely dictated by the screen. However, that doesn't change the fact that the MBP is pretty darn wide, no matter how justified the reason. We're talking about portability here, and comparing the wide MBP to wimpy MBAs and smaller PC laptops is perfectly justified, because size and weight are all that matters for portability. :D

    (Of course, portability isn't the only deciding factor, when it comes to MacBooks, and so that's why it's only one of many reasons that I listed.)
     
  8. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #8
    I get you. LA is relatively expensive. You'd definitely find it less painful leveraging down to a macbook pro than an air. Given that you're budget conscious, I suggest shopping around somewhat. Amazon has a discount on the rMBP. B+H sells cheaper applecare than Apple. In fact even if you don't buy the machine from them, I'd suggest you check it out if you wish to add Applecare. It's $100 less on the 15" pro (either version) and can be added on after purchase within the first year.

    The 2011 15" models are also quite good. The third party retailers might still have some at a discount, or you can look at the refurbished section. I'd suggest waiting for the new ones to hit refurb, but you obviously need one soon. You probably got more for your imac due to the lack of a new imac machine anyway (people are more budget conscious late in a cycle). I just wanted to provide you with some suggestions. The 2011 15" models can still exceed 2012 airs by a fair margin in geekbench + application testing. If you're playing games on it, I might suggest avoiding the early 2011 2.0 given its low end gpu option. They charge too much for some configurations relative to the 2012 models, so you just have to look and compare.

    I don't feel comfortable transporting either bare. It's too easy to knock them against something. In a lightweight case, I don't see a big difference. It's a couple pounds. The Air is made to look thinner by its tapered design. I just don't have a problem grabbing a 15" macbook pro and going with it. The rMBP is appealing in terms of form factor, but I think your impression that the cMBP looks dated is more one of juxtaposition. That's what I meant by kool-aid (buying into Apple's marketing). They show you something new, and that becomes exactly what you want:p. The place I think the Airs are really helpful is if you travel frequently and have to be within carry on weight limits.
     
  9. Southernboyj macrumors 68000

    Southernboyj

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2012
    Location:
    Mobile, AL
    #9
    I will not even consider the Retina's because of the ghosting issues that I've seen friends enounter, as well as the the price point. The lack of being able to upgrade really hurts it in my eyes.


    I have seen about 10 different RMBPs including my own, none of which had ghosting issues. Also how can you say you don't want it due to lack of upgradeability yet consider a MBA? They are essentially the same in this aspect.


    I like the 15" setup with the High Res Screen. If I got a Mac Pro, I'd definitely add a SSD and RAM off crucial. I can't decide between the 13 and 15.

    Yet again, by the time you buy the 15" MBP esp with the Hi-Res anti-glare screen and add on an SSD + RAM. It will cost about the same as the RMBP.


    If you were wanting to save money and keep upgradability, the only MacBook I can recommend is the base model 13" MBP.

    But just keep in mind, if you go with the original MBP 15" and upgrade it, for about the same price you can get the retina display (which I highly doubt your's will have ghosting problems). Which is way slimmer, lighter, quieter, cooler (temperature wise), has better speakers, dual microphones, an extra Thunderbolt port, and an HDMI port.


    EDIT: Also, one last thing, before I bought the rMBP I had a 2012 MBA for a few days and returned it. The viewing angles are very very bad, and the color gamut isn't very good in my opinion.
     
  10. TLewis macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Location:
    left coast, US
    #10
    Ah, so we're talking about cases, now? :p

    Since you're changing the subject, yes, I think a case is required, too. The size or weight doesn't bother me in a case, as my cases tend to be medium or large. Still, I find the MBP width to be an issue (psychologically, at least :p), when you plop the MBP on a desk. I'm used to a smaller 14" PC laptop, and I still have issues when I look at my wife's 15" MBP. :D

    I spent 2-3 weeks, trying to decide between an MBA, MBP, or rMBP, and I kept on bouncing between them. What I really want is a quad-core 13" MBA ultimate, but that doesn't exist (I run virtual machines, and I want to dedicate a couple of cores to the VM). For some strange reason, I settled upon an rMBP, and so I'll just have to live with the large width.
     
  11. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #11
    Hehe.. I wasn't trying to change the subject. My point was that I wouldn't (personally) carry it in public bare, and when I consider how I would transport each, I don't see a big difference. If it's just one room of a domicile or office to another, I don't see a big deal there at all. The psychological impact is undeniable. I can totally understand the desire for a quad 13". Quad 13" with beefed up igpu would serve many people quite well, especially with an upgraded display.

    Apple backed themselves into a corner somewhat with the "retina" thing, but a decent IPS implementation alone can make for a very nice display. Asus has shown that can be done cost effectively, and they shared a manufacturing partner for a bit that was an older spinoff of Asus. I mention implementation because everyone on this site gets caught up by panel specs and numbers which matter less than they think when compared to panel implementation. I'm just not a big fan of the 13" display quality. I think they could turn it into such an amazing machine.

    A quad MBA is probably years off, but a quad 13" MBP is likely enough. They've kept the 13" pro going, so they clearly see a market for it. Haswell igpu upgrade + display upgrade + 35W quad cpu (one model was released with Ivy, more might be available under Haswell) could make for an impressive machine for its size. I expect that they may drop the ODD and stuff much like they did with the rMBP. At that point, it should be close enough for you assuming the price is good.

    It's definitely an issue of psychology. Your brain is easily fooled by visual relationships. I could show you many psycho optic tricks. A simple/common one would be showing a white dot on a grey background compared to a black background. It will always look darker against the black background. If you blur it slightly like light is spilling over, it looks brighter still. Your mind plays these tricks on you in the way it compares things. Even if both might satisfy you in actual use, you are likely to be drawn to one if they're placed side by side without further visual reference.
     
  12. TLewis macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Location:
    left coast, US
    #12
    Oh, I agree completely. I wouldn't carry any major electronics bare in public (a digital camera being the obvious exception); a case of some type is required. For some people, a decently padded sleeve is enough. Me, I want a bit more protection, which means a larger case. And, for me, the size doesn't matter that much once a case comes into play; it's the uncased, desktop real estate that bothers me. Even though my old PC laptop is only, oh, maybe 1" smaller in width and depth, the MBP feels huge on a desk. Psychological? Yes, but that doesn't change the perception.
     

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