Dilemma: Fully Upgraded MBA 13" or potential rMBP 13"?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by nick0, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. nick0 macrumors newbie

    Oct 27, 2011
    Hi Guys,

    Feel like im having the biggest dilemma of my life! I am looking to buy a new macbook for work, portability is important as I travel a lot, but also speed for some video editing and capturing from camera's (I work in sport science). I like the look of the new rMBP 15" but its just too big and I've heard the rumours about a possible 13" version but obviously no one knows when its coming.

    I know a lot of people are in this position, but my main reason for wanting to wait is that I'm afraid the 13" MBA might not be quick enough for what I need? As the 13" rMBP would probably come with a quad core processor and more ram. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

    Help :p
  2. Barna Biro macrumors 6502a

    Barna Biro

    Sep 25, 2011
    Zug, Switzerland
    What do you exactly do "in sport science"? If you are doing some extreme CPU / GPU intensive tasks then of course, getting a rMBP ( or even a MBP ) over a MBA would most likely make sense... but the MBA is a powerful machine too and although I don't know your exact use case, I'll risk saying that chances are you're not pushing your system so hard that a MBA wouldn't be able to handle the stuff you throw at it ( things might take a few extra seconds / minutes to execute, but it will get the job done ).
  3. Colpeas macrumors 6502


    Sep 30, 2011
    Prague, Czech Rep.
    The current MBA has a plenty of power, but the cooling system doesn't handle big loads very well. I have seen a benchmark of alleged 13" Next-Gen MBP (aka rMBP) and it seemed to have only 2.9Ghz DualCore, but Quad is also possible. Obviously I can't confirm this benchmark was legit...
  4. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    The MBA is more than quick enough.


    He will be tracking stuff and filling in spreadsheets mainly.
  5. Mike in Kansas macrumors 6502a

    Mike in Kansas

    Sep 2, 2008
    Metro Kansas City
    Does the cooling system's inability to handle big loads result in lower speed/performance? Does the system get throttled when you are doing processor intensive tasks? Or does the fan just make too much noise when crunching video?

    All this consternation about fans - people think the MBA's fans run too much when working (which MUST be a sure sign of an issue with the cooling system), other people think the iMac's fans run too slow (which MUST be a sure sign of an issue with the cooling system).

    To the OP - here are some good benchmarks comparing the MBA and various MBP's:




  6. Colpeas macrumors 6502


    Sep 30, 2011
    Prague, Czech Rep.
    No, the only result is a higher temperature of the computer. Oh, and yes - it makes noise. Like a supersonic jet. At full throttle.
    But I can almost surely say I haven't noticed any system slowdowns. Normally the fans spin @ about 2k rpm and at this speed they are really quiet. Barely hearable even in a quiet environment, but once you put it under load, scary things begin to happen. But as they say: it is not an issue, it's a feature! :)

    If you are planning on torturing that poor laptop like that, I definitely suggest that you get a cooling pad.
  7. stchman macrumors 6502a

    Jul 16, 2012
    St. Louis, MO
    What do you plan to do with your laptop?

    No one but Apple knows for sure if/when a 13" rMBP will be made.

    My opinion is that it might be some time. Apple from what I've read is ready to no longer use Samsung as a supplier of parts for any device they make. Samsung is the better of the two in making Retina displays also.
  8. Wokis macrumors regular

    Jul 3, 2012
    Stockholm, Sweden
    I'm sitting with video editing and efter effects on my MBA almost every day and I am not experiencing any abnormally high temperatures or scary fan sounds, although the fan is certainly audible while rendering.

    Intel IVB CPUs can tolerate high temperatures, I'm not worried one bit that a monitor widget can report it as 80c or so, as it is well within limits.
  9. nick0 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 27, 2011
    My work will mostly be cutting and chopping video, using dartfish-like programs for analysis and outputting HD video to an external TV.

    I currently work on a 2011 MBP 13" base model (i5, 2.3Ghz, 4GB Ram, 128Gb SSD), I'm assuming the i7 MBA would be a lot quicker than this?
  10. SSD-GUY macrumors 6502a

    Sep 20, 2012
    London, UK
    Not a massive increase no. At best, possibly 15% I'd say. As Intel's Tick/Tock cycle goes I would wait for Haswell next year with improved cpu/gpu however with a major increase in battery life.

    If you already have a 2011 MBA you have plenty of life left in it.
  11. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    No point in upgrading then to be honest. You'll not see a meaningful or tangible increase. I would upgrade the RAM to 8 or 16GB, since it's so cheap, and keep your MBP until next year.
  12. Silencio macrumors 68020


    Jul 18, 2002
    I'm totally in the same boat, though my current laptop is quite a bit older, heavier, slower, and generally less capable (black 2008 MacBook upgraded with 6GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD).

    I was patiently waiting for the 2012 MacBook Airs to come out, but the thought of a 13" Retina MacBook Pro has made me decide to wait a bit. A 13" laptop that splits the difference between the 13" MBA and 15" rMBP would be fantastic for me. The main thing I need out of a laptop is RAM: I run a lot of apps at once, including virtual machines. 8GB would be good, 16GB would be fantastic. CPU, GPU, and storage are a bit less important — I can live with 256GB of SSD and upgrade that at a later date.

    I could also use a bit more expandability than the MacBook Air offers. When I take my laptop to the office, I connect to an external display, gigabit ethernet network, USB keyboard, Magic Trackpad, and a Firewire external drive. With the MacBook Air, I would pretty much be forced to shell out another $250-300 to buy a Thunderbolt dock (Matrox, Belkin) for the office. If a theoretical 13" rMBP had both a Thunderbolt and a HDMI port like its bigger brother does, I could avoid that added hassle/expense.
  13. wolfpuppies3 macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2012
    Virginia, USA
    Not to worry

    I have no cooling problems whatsoever with any of my Macbooks and really love the portability of the little Airs. I favor the newer 2012 13", plenty fast for me.

    Do fans sometimes run? Of course, that is why they are there. Overheat? Never.
  14. JeffiJers macrumors 6502a

    Sep 12, 2012
    I was in the same boat OP.

    Just returned home from the apple store and i ordered a maxed out Air.

    I personally like how small the air is, and the maxed out version im assuming will be close to the Base rMBP13. With all the complaints about the retina 15 ill stick to the MBA that i know doesnt have many issues, or any?
  15. torinp7 macrumors newbie

    Sep 5, 2012
    I recently purchased a upgraded MBA (8GB/2.0GHZ/512SSD) and I travel every week. I do a lot spreadsheet and SAP Project Management. I must say that I been extremely pleased!!!!!! Actually I love it!!!! My MBA has not run hot on me yet and I had it on all night no problems and very powerful. I must inform you that you may have additional cost to think about, for example, in my case i bought the Parallels software tool to allow me to run windows on my MBA for Microsoft Project (still no problems and works beautifully) but if you go this route you will need to add additional cost for Microsoft software license etc... But once again this is my favorite laptop by far!!!!!!! All the best to you and you can't go wrong with the Air in my opinion!!!!!!
  16. Isamilis macrumors 6502a

    Apr 3, 2012
    Screen flicker in MBA 13"


    I am also in the same dilemma. However, the main concern is the display itself. Do you who used MBA 13" - especially 2012 release, experienced screen flicker which make your eyes tired? I use this link to test:

    I found that rMBP is very solid and has none flickering. Unfortunately, I couldn't check MBA 2012, but 2010 version 11" flicker quite much.

  17. jmgregory1 macrumors 68000


    Jun 24, 2010
    Chicago and a few other places around the world
    I say, if you want a new laptop - get one. Waiting for the next revision is at least half a year from now. I travel for work and love my '11 13" base air. I mostly use it for spreadsheets, docs and emails. Even the one video project I did on it, a 6 minute short of our factory, it performed fine.

    To the OP, you might be in a different place, but I won't ever go back to lugging any more weight around than the 13" air. When I first switched from my 15" mbp, I thought I wanted a bigger screen, but I just won't trade weight for size, now that I'm living with the air. If Apple can make a 15" weigh as much (or as little in this case) as a 13" air, sure, I'd bite, but for me, weight is more critical than size.

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