I'm so conflicted about which MacBook to buy. Could use some advice.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by iLightspeed, Jun 27, 2014.

  1. iLightspeed macrumors newbie

    May 29, 2014
    I'd been pretty set on buying the 13" MBA with 8GB RAM but I'm starting to wonder if I might as well get a MacBook Pro Retina as the price difference isn't massive and, while I'd be sacrificing some battery life and a little bit of portability, it sounds like it might be a much better choice.

    It's important to note that I already own a fairly powerful 15" laptop that I custom-configured myself running Windows. However, it's very heavy and a real pain to carry anywhere. The battery lasts 2 hours at best and, like a typical Windows machine, it's starting to get a bit sluggish. I will still use this computer for gaming and entertainment but I want a nice lightweight Mac to use for work.

    What will I be using it for?

    Primarily for uni work. This includes various kinds of programming but I don't need a powerhouse for what I do. I also travel home most weekends for work and I like to travel light so portability is a must. The 12-hour battery life of the 13" MBA is appealing as I could probably go home without my charger. I just want something fast, lightweight and reliable.

    What will I not be using it for?

    I don't need gaming performance or the ability to render video or complex 3D graphics at a high speed.

    Thoughts on the MBA 13"
    Obviously the lightest, most portable option which is basically what I want. However I am slightly concerned by the resolution of 1440x900 not being good enough for programming. I've used 1920x1080 for years and it seems nonsensical to be effectively downgrading. I know there are rumours of a Retina or at least 1080p MBA. Should I wait?. I need it by late September but if it's only a matter of weeks until a Mac refresh then I would wait.

    Thoughts on the rMBP
    Not quite as portable as the MBA but honestly the difference is fairly negligible. The weight would hardly be noticeable and let's face it, it's still a really light and thin laptop. The resolution would be amazing for programming and it's going to be a generally better computer all round. The only downside is that I probably couldn't afford to upgrade the RAM as even the stock version of this machine would be seriously pushing my budget. I would be sacrificing a little bit of battery life but 9 hours is still awesome and would see me through a full day at uni without much difficulty.


    Basically, this comes down to the resolution. If the MBA was 1920x1080 then it would be no contest. I do have an external display that I'd use at home (where I do the vast majority of my work) so that might negate any problems I have with it. However, working in 2560x1600 would be awesome. Anyone able to chip in with some advice?
  2. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    A tough choice

    The Air is what you need for your workflow, but let's be honest you just can't pass up that retina screen, I would say get the 8gb 256gb ssd mid range MBPr on the refurb store.

    They currently have one for $ 1269

    The Base model is $1099

    but if you need to run VMs the extra RAM is probably needed.
  3. iLightspeed thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 29, 2014
    Thanks for your input, definitely starting to lean towards that rMBP. I don't run Virtual Machines but if I ever need to then I always have my other laptop with a 1TB Hard Drive and 8GB RAM.

    I also don't think I'll need the 256GB SSD so will be going for the entry-level rMBP. I have an external Hard-Drive, SD Cards and a fast internet connection so I can utilize cloud storage for documents and photos.
  4. jg321 macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2012
    From what you've said, base rMBP sounds like a plan. Gorgeous machine, I have one.

    If you have the cash though, get the upgraded model (which I have). While it's great to say you can run other things on other machines, it's nice to have everything in one place. Really depends on how much money is an issue though. I hardly use my storage/RAM, but it's nice to know they're there for the future.

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