Do I need an 13" Air?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by BlueMoonForever, Sep 7, 2013.

  1. BlueMoonForever macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2012
    #1
    Hi everyone! Let me explain my current situation so I can get some really good advice. I purchased an iMac 2012 earlier this year with the following specs:

    • 2.9GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5
    • 16GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM-2X8GB
    • 1TB Fusion Drive
    • NVIDIAGeFrc GT 650M 512M GDDR5

    Which I use as my main machine. I'd say its quite powerful and I love it. I am a college senior and work on campus. Anyway, I need a light laptop, preferably because my backpack is full of text books. I really don't want to lug around any more than I need too. I have held the MBA and it didn't seem super solid and study. But the weight it perfect.

    I would need the MBA primarily for, web browsing, watching youtube videos, occasional work in Adobe Photoshop CS5, MS Word, Excel, & Power Point. I really wouldn't do anything demanding on the machine, as I have an iMac for that. On the contrary, I'd like my MBA to last me for about 4-5 years. I would load this guy up with a lot of my stuff, so I'd go 512GB flash storage.

    Here are the specs I wanted to go with for my MBA:

    1.7GHz Intel Dual-Core Core i7 (To future proof my laptop)
    8GB 1600MHz LPDDR3 SDRAM (8GB is kind of the new standard)
    512GB Flash Storage (already explained why I need 512GB over 256)
    AppleCare

    I by no means game so I am sure the Intel Graphics 5000 would suffice. I also do not want to lug around a power adapter and am on campus 8-10 hrs a day. Now, I know that my maxed out MBA would put me on level with the rMBP, however, I really don't want nor need a killer notebook, as I have a very powerful iMac. Don't need two powerful machines. Not too mention, I think the rMBP is quite under-powered and overpriced.

    I was going to wait until Tuesday to see if Apple updates the current MBP 13" with the new processors found in the Air, but I really can't wait much longer after that, as I need a portable notebook ASAP.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. McGiord macrumors 601

    McGiord

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    #2
    Wait for the revised 13" non retina MBP. And if you prefer to save some buy a current (future previous) refurbished one. Save $.
     
  3. bobfitz14 macrumors 65816

    bobfitz14

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    Oct 14, 2008
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    #3
    this part is confusing. the current MBA comes with a minimum 1.3ghz dual core i5 processor, whereas the current MBP comes with a minimum 2.5 dual core i5. the current base model MBP has a better processor than the current MBA.

    also, i would NOT go based on your primary post.
     
  4. BlueMoonForever thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #4
    I would prefer not to buy refurbished. Thank you.

    True. Though I don't necessarily need much more power than the i7 in the MBA provides. The difference between the MBA i7 versus the rMBP i5 might be negligible.
     
  5. bobfitz14 macrumors 65816

    bobfitz14

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    #5
    the difference will be negligible. you're better off (monetarily) upgrading RAM or your hard drive than worrying about these minor processor differences.

    edit: also, in my first post i meant "i would NOT go retina"
     
  6. BlueMoonForever thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Sep 2, 2012
    #6
    Upgrading the Air's hard drive and ram are exactly what I wanted to do. 512GB SSD, 8GB ram, plus i7 processor should be on par with the current rMBP i5, if not better?
     
  7. bobfitz14 macrumors 65816

    bobfitz14

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    Massachusetts
    #7
    i wouldn't worry about being on par with the rMBP, you're honestly probably better off not comparing to it. an i5 or an i7, along with 8gigs of RAM and solid state hard drive will be plenty fast for your needs
     
  8. AXs macrumors 6502a

    AXs

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    Sep 7, 2009
    #8
    For what you've stated a 4 year old Air would suffice - browsing, youtube, ms office... and 'occasional' photoshop (I'm guessing that means it is even less than a hobby, and you just touch up photos here and there).

    A Haswell i5/4/128 machine would be fine for you.

    Getting a macbook air ultimate isn't really worth the bang of the buck imo. Don't know how much it costs you in the US, but here it is about $2,000.

    I just think that's ridiculous. You can get a 15" Retina Pro at that price.
    $2,000 is just an insane amount to spend on a laptop in 2013 that doesn't have an HD panel nor a dedicated graphics card.
     
  9. BlueMoonForever thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Sep 2, 2012
    #9
    Why would I want a 15" rMBP? That wouldn't suite me at all. I wouldn't want to lug that around with all my books. I'd need the Air mainly for its portability. Maxing it out would future proof it. Yeah it doesn't have an HD panel, but I'm sure its not bad.
     
  10. AXs macrumors 6502a

    AXs

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    Sep 7, 2009
    #10
    Nobody is forcing you to buy a machine you do not like. I was just illustrating the differences comparatively. You'r going to end up paying as much for an air as a 15" Retina, that's point.

    Anyways, 'future proof' is a misused term. There's no such thing as future proof. In 3 years, your machine will be 3 years old physically, AND in terms of technology - no matter how you put it.

    Next year's migration to 14nm chips could mean a redesign...should mean even more power saving abilities- which means a 2014 Air might run a retina-level or similar display for 12 hours.
    DDR4 RAM will be released... and the integrated graphics could see dRam, even on the Air (as will be seen with the Haswell MBP this year).

    Thunderbolt 2.0 will come built in... And SSD would continue to be faster, larger, and cheaper.

    Okay I'm going to stop there. You get my point. And this is only 1 year I am talking about. Imagine in 3 years. Imagine 5 years. 5 years ago it cost $1,000 to upgrade from 80HDD on the Original Air to 64GB SSD. How 'future proof' were the people that spent that money to get an SSD?

    They must have thought "oh yea, future proof..." But just from 2012 SATA SSD to 2013 PCIe SSD alone saw a doubling in speed. 350mbps -> 700mbps

    Just think about it. At the end of the day, it will be your decision alone. And you should definitely get something that makes you happy.

    But here's food for thought - In 2 years, a $1000 2013 MBA base 13" user spends another thousand bucks to buy a 2015 MBA.
    A $2,000 ultimate 2013MBA user plans on using his machine 2 more years in 2015.

    Who's more 'future proof'. Good luck with your decision
     
  11. BlueMoonForever thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #11
    When you put it like that, buying a maxed out Air does seem pointless. I'll just have to wait for the upcoming MBP refresh to make sure I made the right decision. Just don't want something underpowered, yet at the same time, overpowered because I have a 2012 iMac.

    Decisions, decisions... first world problems here lol.
     
  12. Doublea6 macrumors regular

    Doublea6

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    Aug 3, 2013
    #12
    I'd say go for the 11 inch macbook air, unless you really like a 13 inch screen. Really by what you said the air will be plenty for you. I have the 13 inch and its amazing, all day battery life is great and it really is a sturdy machine. That's just my two cents though.
     
  13. BlueMoonForever thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #13
    How is the screen? I was reading on these forums that someone said it looked washed out?
     
  14. Doublea6 macrumors regular

    Doublea6

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    Aug 3, 2013
    #14
    Personally, I came from a 1200x800 screen so this one looks better automatically. The screen isn't terrible, but when I was sitting next to retina it was pretty bad. It might just be because I am young that I can tell such a difference, many people have reported that they can't notice a difference. Now there's two different screens that you can get with an air. First a samsung (which I got) It looks pretty good right out of the box, and second a LG. A lot of people say that the LG looks washed out right out of the box, but after a calibration it's a great screen too.

    So final conclusion about the air's screen, there's better (retina), but there are worse too. I am fine with the screen, it looks good to me because its the best screen in my house.
     
  15. petvas macrumors 601

    petvas

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    Jul 20, 2006
    Location:
    Mannheim, Germany
    #15
    I have a 15" rMBP and an 11" MBA and the difference in screen quality is really big. Going back from Retina to a normal DPI display makes you think that the MBA has a faulty display, or that the screen isn't clean.
    If you plan in reading a lot with your new laptop, then get a Retina Macbook Pro. You won't regret it. You say you believe it is under powered. You don't do gaming though and the upcoming Mavericks release solves all performance issues. Get a 13" rMBP...
     
  16. AXs macrumors 6502a

    AXs

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    Sep 7, 2009
    #16
    I agree with Petvas. I too sometimes think that there is something wrong with my Macbook Air screen. My 5 year old shelved laptop had a better screen -1080p.

    I was using a retina iPad before this, and you just cannot compare ease of reading. Hell, even my Samsung s3 is more crisp in terms of angles, and picture viewing.

    When I go via HDMI to my sony internet TV - there's just no comparison. Forget fullrips or MKVs, I was watching 1080p videos on youtube through my 40" TV and realized that it was realllly crisp and clear. I watched the same video on my 13" Haswell Air and the difference in massive.

    But again, the Air isn't really meant for entertainment purposes. Apart from the lackluster screen quality - which although isn't bad on it's own, just doesn't measure up to the industrial standard in 2013... The Air is otherwise a perfect machine.
     
  17. Doublea6 macrumors regular

    Doublea6

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    Aug 3, 2013
    #17
    Yes I said that compared to the retina it looked pretty terrible, but for me I don't have a retina next to me so the air's screen isn't as bad. I have no complaints because it's the best screen I have in my house.
     
  18. clyde2801 macrumors 601

    clyde2801

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    #18
    Unless, you are a true power user*, what affects the longevity of your system is RAM, Storage, Graphics and Processor in that order. That's why a lot of people are upset that you can't upgrade these in the newest machines.

    Case in point: my wife uses a 2008 unibody 2.4ghz C2D MBP as her daily desktop driver for browsing, emails, videos, etc. Taking it up to 8gb of ram form the original 2gb, putting in a large, relatively fast 7200 rpm HDD and switching its graphics to the nvidia 9600 from the 9400 gave it a new lease on life. To quote her, "It's like a new machine!"

    Based upon your this and your stated uses and priorities, I'd go with a 2013 13" MBA with an i5 with the 8gb of ram, and either a 128 or 256 SSD. A 8gb model with a 128 SSD would run $1200, with an additional $200 for the upgrade to 256gb. You've already got an iMac, so you can use that and the cloud for storage, and use iCloud or dropbox to move documents, etc., on and off your air instead of buying apple's premium priced solid state drive upgrades.

    If they update the 13" retina next week to Haswell, you COULD consider that based upon it's battery life, specs and price points. But assuming that they did the same thing as last year and made it an upscreened macbook air, it probably wont be a valid choice for you unless you lay your eyes upon a retina screen and decide you can't live without it.


    *And if you have to ask if you're a true power user, you are then most assuredly NOT one.
     
  19. yosemit macrumors regular

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    Jul 19, 2013
    #19
    The 1.3GHz number is misleading (by Intel, of course). That 1.3GHz i5 turbos to 2.6GHz in single-core running and 2.3GHz in dual-core running. A test by Anandtech showed that in MBA 13, it could stay in the turbo mode for as long as needed.

     
  20. Northern Man macrumors newbie

    Northern Man

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    Aug 25, 2013
    #20
    The 13" rMBP only weighs 1/2 pound more than the Air. I recently purchased the rMBP and prior to doing so, I did a lot of comparison between the two. To my 54 year old eyes (still very good) I found there was a very big difference between the screens when reading text etc. I chose the Retina as a result. Only you can determine if the non-Retina screen will be fine for you.
     
  21. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

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    #21
    That's true with the 13" MBA, but the 13" rMBP is 1.2 lbs heavier than the 11" MBA. I had a 2011 13" MBA, now have a 2013 11" MBA and love it. I find the screen a reasonable compromise for the portability.

    And regarding "only 1/2 pound", that's similar to the weight difference between the 11" and 13" MBA. If you have them side by side and pick each up, the difference is really quite significant - I was surprised in fact.

    11" MBA - 2.38 lbs
    13" MBA - 2.96 lbs
    13" rMBP - 3.57 lbs
     
  22. BlueMoonForever thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #22
    I would just like to thank everyone who offered their opinion in my thread. Thank you for taking the time to do that. Anyway, I think I have come to a conclusion regarding which computer to go with. I was thinking of just selling my iMac and going with the rMBP 15", but passed on that as I like the screen size of my iMac and performance. So I think that the 13" rMBP will be best for me.

    I believe its best because I'll be working in photoshop and reading e-mail, and browsing the web. I can benefit greatly from the retina display. I would also rather pay a small premium for a much better display. I'm a huge fan of IPS displays. I love my iPad 3 with retina and iPhone 4S. Don't think I could buy an Apple product that doesn't offer retina anymore.

    I think I would have chosen the Air if the color gamut would have been better at least. I saw my step mom today and she has a 2011 MBA, so I played around with it. Great form factor, but her screen wasn't color popping like most macs I've seen.

    So I will wait until at least Tuesday to see what Apple does to the MacBook Pro line. If nothing is done, then I'm sure the current rMBP 13" will suite me fine.

    Thanks again.
     
  23. Doublea6 macrumors regular

    Doublea6

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    #23
    Sounds good, nobody can force you to buy anything. And as long as you are happy with the device and the money you spent then it's great!
     
  24. beautifulcoder macrumors regular

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    #24
    Personally, sounds like you might benefit from the base 11 inch MBA. Retina aside, sounds like you need a machine to roam. For me, the iPad is my reading device and MBA a productivity tool.
     
  25. BlueMoonForever thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Sep 2, 2012
    #25
    Nah, no MBA 11" or 13" for me. I"m thinking of just selling my iMac and going with the retina 15" MBP. A college student should really have a notebook anyway. I just don't want two personal computers. I think that's a waste. The iPad 3 I have isn't cutting it anymore with pretty much anything.

    Anyone know a good place to sell an iMac for a good price?
     

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