Help me pick a new MacBook Air/Pro!!

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Trubbles, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. Trubbles macrumors regular

    Oct 20, 2012

    I am seriously torn and looking to bounce ideas of someone. I welcome everyone's input! If you could be so kind as to read my situation, any and all insight would be very much appreciated!

    I'm debating between these 3 systems:

    11" MacBook Air, i7, 8GB, 256GB
    13" MacBook Air, i7, 8GB, 256GB
    15" retina MacBook Pro, i7 2.6, 8GB, 256GB

    I recently (tragically) dropped my wonderful 2011 13" MacBook Air i7. I had often described that computer as "the best computer I've ever owned" because it was just such an awesome point where portability and elegance met performance. It never ceased to amaze me how, even with only 4 GB of RAM, I could keep Parallels 7 running Windows 7 (with 1 GB of RAM allocated) and still have the full MS office suite, Chrome, iPhoto, iTunes open and yet even with all that open I could launch X-code briskly. It never ceased to amaze me.

    On the other hand, I enjoy gaming. I have a dedicated gaming PC in my basement, but I have an infant at home (my first!) and I've been a very active father, and I'm almost never lucky enough to have any time to go hide in the basement and play games. My MacBook Air 2011 i7 was a dreadful companion for gaming. SC2, GW2, WoW, Civ5, Diablo 3, and just about any other game I threw at it, fell somewhere between "barely playable on minimum settings" to "unplayable."

    Now, I realize that the Air is NOT a gaming machine (HD3000 is not a GTX680, and ULW CPUs are not known for blazing speed). However, I have heard claims that the HD4000 is 60% faster than the HD3000, and of course 2.0 GHz Ivy Bridge i7 is faster than 1.8 GHz Sandy Bridge i7 - which could put a lot of games comfortably in the realm of "playable."

    The other factor is that I carry my computer to and from work every day. I work as a computer science teacher, and I do not need a huge amount of processing power for work, although I do need Parallels open all day. Not only do I carry it TO work, but I carry it between my office and classes at work, too. Portability is very important.

    I am leaning away from the 11" Air because of screen real estate and battery life, as well as lack of SD slot, which I use all the time, and dongles are no fun. I have always had a crush on that form factor, but it's just not practical as I will only have one laptop.

    The 13" Air seems to be the choice of the logical side of my brain. Fully loaded, it can game sort-of-half-decently, and it's a champ at dealing with most of my daily computing.

    The 15" rMBP is screaming at the emotional side of my brain. The screen alone has me infatuated. Add to that the discreet GPU, a ton of extra power, HDMI out, etc., and it's very appealing. I could see it effectively replacing my laptop AND my desktop. The size, and to a lesser extent, the weight, is what scares me away from the 15". On the other hand, my previous laptop before the Air was a 13" aluminmum MacBook which weighed about exactly the same as the 15" retina does...

    Money is not my main motivating factor. I have more than enough for any of these choices set aside for this purchase. Of course, extra money left over is extra money for things like a good external hard drive (512GB SSD is just too expensive!).

    Any and all insight is welcome! Please help my indecisive self!
  2. redkamel macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2006
    I have an Air and I love it. 4 of my friends have a rMBP 15, they love it as well. I am also going through a similar gaming time crunch and am likely getting a new computer in 2013, so I have been going over the same questions.

    For work: I would recommend the Air. I take mine with me everywhere (work, all around the house, trips etc) the battery lasts all day, I never worry about breaking it, and the screen is great. You've had an Air so you know what it is like. I love my Air, I can't give it up. If I need a game, I just play on my phone or ipad, or once or twice a week I can get a couple hours in.

    For games: Personally, I play my graphic/CPU intensive games at home on a different system, and on the go I just play iphone/indie games on my Air. I do not like the compromise of having a high end, less portable laptop that doesn't really run new games nor next gen games at the res and frame rate to which I am accustomed. Unfortunately, it sounds like you can't game too much at home, and I assume you have time at work to game.

    So, if I were you, I would either:

    a) get the Air, set aside time at home for gaming. The Air's portability will never go away.

    or, if setting aside time at home was impossible and gaming is very important to you

    b) get the rMBP, no regrets. That is still a very portable machine and can definitely game. If it can't handle newer games, either upgrade or switch to indie games. Its not a brick.

    Your other option is moving your gaming rig to work and staying late a couple times a week to "grade projects...."

    As one word of advice, no matter what you get, definitely get a hard drive upgrade. 128gb is way too small. I have 256gb now and it's great. It will probably last me 2-3 more years (looking to get 512gb next time though)
    I have about 100gb of music/video, 8-10gb of documents, 80gb of referenced pictures, with approx 50gb free. Very comfortable size if you aren't too messy or do a lot of video work. Installing all those games is going to take space, and 128gb will run out faster than you think.

    Enjoy your new computer!...and forget about the 11 inch air that thing is way too tiny!
  3. Orlandoech macrumors 68040


    Jun 2, 2011
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Go for

    15" retina MacBook Pro, i7 2.6, 8GB, 256GB


    15" retina MacBook Pro, i7 2.3, 16GB, 256GB


    15" retina MacBook Pro, i7 2.3, 8GB, 256GB
  4. Krazy Bill macrumors 68030

    Krazy Bill

    Dec 21, 2011
    You seem to be all over the place. :eek:

    Why isn't the 13" MBP in there? Enough muscle for gaming and easily totable to and from work every day.
  5. makaveli559m macrumors 6502

    Apr 30, 2012
    Go with the cMPB there done, you get more space you can even upgrade to better harddrive and you can upgrade the RAM at anytime you want. Plus you get more ports and optical drive. Slimmer isnt always better no matter how shiny the high screen resolution is.
  6. DarwinOSX macrumors 65816

    Nov 3, 2009
    Why not the 13' rMBP? Slightly thicker and heavier than the Air but with that amazing screen. I knew I would no carry the 15" around but have no qualms about taking the 13" with me.
  7. Trubbles thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 20, 2012
    Thanks for the opinions!

    In the end, I ordered 15" rMBP 2.6GHz/8GB/256GB.

    I've been going back and forth, but ultimately I think it's more "future proof" than the Air. I have a feeling retina-equipped Haswell-enhanced (both GPU and battery) Airs are on their way, and I can see myself regretting a 2012 Air and wanting a 2013 model, whereas the rMBP is more likely to have marginal updates for the next couple of years. I prefer to replace my laptop every 3 years (when AppleCare runs out) so it seems like the 15" rMBP is the best option for me.

    I also get until January 7, thanks to the Christmas return policy, to decide if it fits my needs, or if I find it too large to carry everywhere..

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