How to Choose MBP 13" vs. MBA 13"

kramden88

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 14, 2008
43
0
NJ, USA
I have a four year old iMac that I'm looking to replace. I'm a teacher so I get education pricing. I'm having trouble figuring out the better buy based on performance. Is there a significant difference between a $999 MBP 13" and a $1049 MBA 13"? My main concern is the spinning drive in the MBP so the only upgrade I'd be willing to consider is for a solid state drive, even though I'd lose a lot of capacity. I don't need to do a lot of heavy lifting but I'd like the machine to last at least four years. The MBA's are brand new so how do I decide? Any suggestions?
 

duervo

macrumors 68020
Feb 5, 2011
2,309
1,032
I have a four year old iMac that I'm looking to replace. I'm a teacher so I get education pricing. I'm having trouble figuring out the better buy based on performance. Is there a significant difference between a $999 MBP 13" and a $1049 MBA 13"? My main concern is the spinning drive in the MBP so the only upgrade I'd be willing to consider is for a solid state drive, even though I'd lose a lot of capacity. I don't need to do a lot of heavy lifting but I'd like the machine to last at least four years. The MBA's are brand new so how do I decide? Any suggestions?
If performance is your main concern, then the new MBA with the PCIe-based SSD is going to be faster than any aftermarket SSD you could put into the 13" cMBP. Given that, I would go with the new MBA.

For increased longevity, seriously consider going with the 8GB RAM option.
 

kramden88

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 14, 2008
43
0
NJ, USA
If performance is your main concern, then the new MBA with the PCIe-based SSD is going to be faster than any aftermarket SSD you could put into the 13" cMBP. Given that, I would go with the new MBA.

For increased longevity, seriously consider going with the 8GB RAM option.
Performance, price and battery life are better on the MBA so what's the appeal of the MBP beside HDD?
 

B...

macrumors 68000
Mar 7, 2013
1,949
2
Performance, price and battery life are better on the MBA so what's the appeal of the MBP beside HDD?
The Superdrive, more storage, more upgradeability. For me those pluses don't outweigh the cons (outdated tech and slow drive) and can't compare with the appeal of the Air in terms of speed and weight.
 

duervo

macrumors 68020
Feb 5, 2011
2,309
1,032
Performance, price and battery life are better on the MBA so what's the appeal of the MBP beside HDD?
Right now? It's the expandability by being able to yank out the optical drive and add a second drive for additional internal storage. Apple doesn't support those configurations, though, so it's all DIY, and if you run into issues with your system related to any mod's done to it, you will have to remove those mods before Apple will help you.

There's also the wired ethernet port as well.

Some consider those two things to be extremely important, and as such they carry a lot of weight in their decision making. If you're not concerned about them, then there's not much reason to the get the 13" cMBP these days.

Also, although the 13" MBP processor is clocked higher, it's Ivy Bridge-based (previous gen) so the CPU in the new MBA diminished the performance difference somewhat on that front. In fact (and this is where it gets really interesting, IMO) the 2.9GHz 13" Retina MBP got a 64bit Geekbench score of 8298, while the latest 1.7 GHz 13" MBA got a score of 8172. This means that talking real-world, you're probably not going to notice a performance difference based on CPU alone.

So, I'd go with the 13" MBA if I needed to buy now and was choosing between those 2 systems.
 

l0gikb0mb

macrumors regular
Apr 6, 2012
133
1
I've went through both extensively and always come out preferring the MBP.

Besides the screen quality being far better on the MBP, the keys don't feel cheap and shallow like they do on the MBA. The rigidity is still nice but could be a lot better on the MBA. You can bend it in a different shape. Actually, you'll most likely have to as most come out of the box wobbling because the bottom is warped.

MBP is far more rigid and the upgradeability will come in handy once SSDs drop in price even more.

I personally got a MBP for just under 1k and added an SSD and 8GB ram after switching back and forth between the two last year.