Difficult decision (Worst Pro or Best Air)

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Nickhyena, Jun 24, 2013.

  1. Nickhyena macrumors newbie

    Jun 24, 2013

    I hope someone can help me. I would like to buy a MacBook but have just spent the last few hours confusing myself about processors and turbo boost etc.

    I have about $1200 to spend on a new MacBook but the there seem to be pros for the top of the range Air over the bottom of the range Pro.

    Air has 1.7ghz i7 (turbo boost to 3.3ghz)
    Pro has 2.5ghz i5 (turbo boost to 3.1ghz)

    I read that the i7 is much better at rendering graphics and handling multiple applications. So which is better? I want to run Final Cut Pro 7 on this and will likely upgrade the ram myself to 8gb. I work with large file sizes and render HD footage on the go.

    Air has Intel HD Graphics 5000
    Pro has Intel HD Graphics 4000

    I read that the 5000 is better than the 4000 when it comes to rendering video etc. is there a big difference?

    As far as ports like number of thunderbolt and USB3 ports go, they're they same. I preference the portability and battery life of the Air, so if they we're matched in specs I would simply choose the Air on aesthetics.

    Lastly, the Air comes with a SSD hard drive, which is believe is quicker than a standard spinning drive. Is this right?

    Any help would be much appreciated at the cost is about $50 more for the top Macbook Air vs the bottom Macbook Pro.

    Many thanks,

  2. A Hebrew macrumors 6502a

    A Hebrew

    Jan 7, 2012
    Are you talking 15" Pro or 13" Pro?

    EDIT: I see it is the 13".

    Do you care about crisp text/ a WAY NICE screen?

    Yes - MBP
    No - Air (Unless you want to wait until the new pros comes out then Pro)

    The air is currently (In my opinion) a better machine than the 13" Pro. This will hold true until they release a rMBP with 4th Gen Intel Processors.
  3. Livewings macrumors regular

    Dec 16, 2012
    The processor difference is minimal unless compared to a quad-core.
    The GPU on other hand has a significant 40% improvement in the Air.
    Unless you wait out for the next-gen MB Pro which is likely to have 2X better performance, (Intel Iris 5100)
    I suggest you going for MBA unless you really need the Retina display.
  4. falconeight Guest


    Apr 6, 2010
    There is no worse pro or best air or vice versa. Its what you want and need out of a laptop. If portability and battery life is your goal then buy an air. If you want a bigger HDD for storage get the MBP. The screen on the MBP is a lot nice than the air.
  5. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    The Air is arguably the better machine. The CPU performance is the same, the GPU is faster, its lighter and has a MUCH longer battery life, and also offers more real screen estate. And it comes with fastest-in-class storage preinstalled. The only reason not to like it is if you absolutely need large storage space of a HDD or use the optical drive on daily basis.
  6. A Hebrew macrumors 6502a

    A Hebrew

    Jan 7, 2012
    Oh you are talking about the cMBP. I would get the air over the cMBP all day every day.
  7. Stetrain, Jun 24, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2013

    Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    You could also go with a refurbished 13" retina MBP for $1269:


    Or a bit more to get the 256GB SSD instead of 128GB:


    - Faster CPU than the Air
    - Thinner and lighter than the non-retina 13" MBP
    - SSD for quick booting and application loading
    - 8GB RAM
    - High resolution screen with better viewing angles and colors

    The Air does beat it in battery life and slightly in GPU power (HD 5000 vs HD 4000) because the Air was just updated to a new processor generation (the 13" retina will also probably be updated in the next couple of months with a bit better battery life and better integrated graphics if you want to wait).

    I don't think that the GPU will have any real effect when it comes to rendering video in Final Cut, that's mostly a CPU operation.

    Also in order to get the 13" Air with the i7 CPU you'd be looking at spending $1,449. Plus for video editing you would want the 8GB RAM which takes it to $1,549. You didn't say which screen size you were looking at but I wouldn't recommend trying to do Final Cut video editing on the 11".

    You cannot upgrade the ram after purchase in either the Air or the retina Macbook Pro, so if you want 8GB in an Air you have to order it that way.
  8. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    Get the pro (assuming the size/weight and screen res isn't a deal breaker)

    16GB of RAM (maybe 32 GB when the relevant DIMMs are out/affordable - the chipset can do it)
    3-4TB of storage (hard drive today, maybe SSD when they are released)

    ... Can be added at a later date as required.

    the CPU difference is pretty much nothing. Mobile low voltagei7s aren't noticeably faster than the i5 in the MBP.

    The MBP is a much, much more future proof machine.

    GPU is different, missed that. I'd wait and see if Apple do a cMBP refresh. However, GPU is only really relevant if you run games...

    For final cut, the RAM (go 16, not 8 - its about an extra 40 bucks) and storage will be more valuable to you than GPU.
  9. Yahooligan macrumors 6502a


    Aug 7, 2011
    Not possible with the Air or Retina MBP models, you need to get the amount of memory you want from the get-go and hope that it's enough for your needs.

    With the classic MBP you can upgrade the memory yourself and get up to 16GB.

    So, for your $1200 budget you could get..

    - 13-inch Air with 8GB and a 1.3GHz CPU
    - 13-inch Air with 4GB and a 1.7GHz CPU ($1249)

    - 13-inch cMBP with 4GB and 2.5GHz CPU, which you can upgrade to 16GB


    You can get some pretty well spec'd refurb units for about $1200. There's a late-2012 13-inch Retina MBP with 8GB, 128GB SSD and 2.5GHz i7 for $1269.
  10. jcpb macrumors 6502a

    Jun 5, 2012
    The question you must ask first is not "which laptop should I buy?", but "what am I using it for?" (As in, what do you intend to do with this laptop? e.g. web surfing, movie editing, etc.) Only you can provide the answer.
  11. JeffiJers macrumors 6502a

    Sep 12, 2012
    100% choose the 2013 MBA.

    -Processing power is roughly all the same in Any 13 Apple computer
    -Best battery life out of any laptop
    -Most compact laptop
    -Fast SSD

    Anyone who says different is just living in the past. Aimed at them, if you NEED 16gb of ram then get a 15pro or Imac bc you clearly are pushing that computer past its limits.

    Need extra storage? USB 3.0 slim external 1tb is 89$
  12. jcpb macrumors 6502a

    Jun 5, 2012
    Reasons not to choose the 2013 MBA:

    -Low-resolution display, especially considering its Computex rivals
    -Lack of Iris graphics

    But the biggest reason? OP did not mention what he's using the laptop for. There is a chance that the refreshed MBA is a poor choice for him.
  13. falconeight Guest


    Apr 6, 2010
    Having to tilt the macbook air screen to get a good viewing angle is also old school. No reason to do that on a MBP.
  14. Nickhyena thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 24, 2013

    Thanks so much for all of your replies. Very useful! Certainly I shouldn't have assumed that I could just get cheaper 3rd party ram after purchasing the MacBook Air - annoying having to go with the 8GB the same time I purchase it.

    So, I guess now what I'm looking at is:

    13" MacBook Air
    UPGRADE to 1.7ghz i7
    UPGRADE to 8gb Ram


    That puts it nearer to the basic rMBP at about $1499, but still a less powerful graphics (4000) and the lower spec processor (i5).

    I think if I really have to do upgrades at time of purchase, I'd just go for the MBA and do processor and ram upgrades. Does everyone agree that is going to be quicker for general usage than the rMBP? I'm not an editor, I'm a cameraman who travels a lot around the world. So the advantage of the MBA is it's portability, and I do a lot of copying from USB3 drive to USB3 drive (sometimes several TB's at a time). I do use Final Cut Pro, but not for heavy editing, just topping and tailing videos, rendering them and exporting them. No heavy graphics work, grading or effects.

    Not to say I don't want the most power for my buck though. I think that's just it, I want the most power for my buck, and my buck is currently limited to $1200 for this, $1349 at a stretch!



    I'm in the UK but flying to Las Vegas next week. If I buy one there, do I have any kind of support in the UK?
  15. xnview macrumors member

    Jun 21, 2013
    So you have decided then? It's a fine machine, the biggest difference between that, and the basic rMBP is the screen and the battery life. You won't feel any difference in performance.

    I personally like the rMBP better, because of the screen, but if $1349 is a stretch I guess it leaves you without choice. Unless you go for the cMBP but it's a dying model, and aren't as portable when you travel a lot. The positive about the cMBP is that it's upgradable afterwards, but I personally would prefer the more modern technique in MBA than the cMBP.

    Yeah I read somewhere that there were coverage in Europe for 1 year if you bought it i US, except if you lived in Russia or something like that, then there was some special rules (have consider buying it in US myself but with an obliged product warranty of 2 years from the seller in Denmark where I live, I considered it better to just buy it here and drop apple care)
  16. Nickhyena thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 24, 2013
    Ok, so thanks for all your help everyone. I'm going to order a mac early next week I think. I've come down to two models:

    The top of range i7 1.7ghz 8GB ram 13 inch macbook air.



    Yes, the retina is nice, and it's a bit cheaper (±£90) than the top of range air. But, performance-wise for graphic and processor intensive work, which is best?


  17. falconeight Guest


    Apr 6, 2010
    The macbook retina will perform better running labor intensive tasks.
  18. Nickhyena thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 24, 2013
    That's now what I'm edging towards. Even though I love the look and the battery life of the air, and the i7 processor, the new intel 5000 graphics and the turbo boost is actually more than the bottom rung rMBP. Even though all of that, something tells me the rMBP w2.5ghz i5 with 4000 graphics and 8GB of ram will run something like final cuts pro better.

    Giving it a few more days to mull over and will likely order early next week.

    Will order this over the top of range MBA.




    So still time for someone to tell me otherwise.

Share This Page