Is a MBA 13' 8GB Worth It?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by LaynieGorilla, Jun 25, 2014.

  1. LaynieGorilla macrumors 6502

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    PA
    #1
    I recently purchased a MBA 13' 4GB ram, 256GB storage to return it in fifteen minuted for the rMBP 8GB 256 GB. I love the retina display of the pro but I also shyed away from the Air because I thought it was going to be an underpowered, slow computer from reading the specs.

    The price difference is several hundred dollars between the two and I am unsure as to why if it really was worth to get the air after seen that most people have no problems with the air.

    I have spent hours researching on google but still am not sure:

    I am a grad student so most of my time I will be writing, creating presentations and using the internet. Non-school wise I'd like to watch movies, listen to music, maybe occasionally do photo shop, open many tabs in browser and have maybe 5-7 programs/files open at once. I also like the play games on yahoo or MSN.

    Is a Macbook pro overkill? What type of people benefit from a MacBook Pro?MacBook Air? I like retina but that won't be my sole reason for picking which computer I want before the return date. A sluggish computer or a computer that will get sluggish overtime is not something that I want.

    Thanks!
     
  2. T5BRICK macrumors 604

    T5BRICK

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    #2
    Probably.

    People who need a high resolution screen and more than 1 Thunderbolt port.

    People who need a very portable computer with great battery life.

    They're both good choices. If you like the rMBP, I'd suggest keeping it. If you feel like you need something lighter with better battery life, get the MBA. I've been eyeing the 13" 1.7GHz/8GB/512GB model in the refurb store.
     
  3. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    Oct 10, 2013
    #3
    The main difference between the air and retina is better battery and portability vs better display.
     
  4. 556fmjoe macrumors 65816

    556fmjoe

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    Apr 19, 2014
    #4
    The Air won't be sluggish for the tasks you mentioned. The 1.4 GHz Haswell i5 performs similarly in many benchmarks to the 2.7 GHz i7 in my MBP. I do multitasking, compiling, and watch videos with no problems at all. The Haswell i7 that's available for the MBA is faster than both.

    You can compare the various models here: http://www.everymac.com/ultimate-ma...ll-intel-macs&highlight=0&prod1=MacBookAir026

    Keep in mind that benchmarks aren't 100% relevant to real world performance, but they are generally good for comparison purposes.
     
  5. SpoekGTi macrumors regular

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    The Netherlands
    #5
    I have this rule one MacBooks (pro / airs or Retina's)

    Always max out the memory.

    I had an Macbook Air 2012 with 8GB i gave that to my girlfriend and now i have a 16GB 15" retina. And the Air was fine for me don't get me wrong, but i had a nice sell on the cMBP of my girlfriend she had before. So Sold the cMBP, gave here the Air, bought myself a nice Retina :p if i hadn't sold the cMBP then i would have kept the Air myself till AppleCare ran out (June 2015)

    Always go for more memory. CPU isn't that big of a deal any more. Memory and SSD is wat counts.
     
  6. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #6
    Exactly; it is a trade off between a better battery (excellent for mobility), and portability (again, excellent for portability) versus a better display. So, it depends on what your priorities are. Mine are portability, speed, good memory and good battery - which is why I have a MBA.

    Agreed; I have a similar rule in that I seek to max out memory and SSD.

    To the OP, yes, I think the 8GB RAM is worth it. Of course, 4 GB RAM will suffice, but 8 GB RAM will allow you to future-proof the machine to a certain extent, and give you greater speed and ease of use.
     
  7. Ronnoco macrumors 68030

    Ronnoco

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    #7
    I have this version of the 2013 MBA (Ultimate) and it is the best Apple laptop I've ever owned and I've owned many of them including top of the line MBP's and PowerBooks. This MBA is lightening fast, light as a feather, handles everything I can throw at it with ease (including lots of video encoding in Handbrake and IVI) and the battery lasts forever. As I've said before, the only thing that I'd perfer would be a Retina version of this very same model. The 2013 MBA is truly a masterpiece by Apple.
     
  8. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #8
    I have exactly the same model - I ordered it last summer - and absolutely agree with you. It is a superb computer, blazing fast, powerful, light, (which means very portable), and comes with an excellent battery.

    Actually, I'm completely with Ronnoco when he observed that this is the easily the best Apple laptop he has ever owned - which is also my opinion.
     
  9. LaynieGorilla thread starter macrumors 6502

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    PA
    #9
    thanks guys, I may go back to the apple store and play around with the air some more. The Pro has a beautiful screen but my biggest turn off is that it's heavy. I like retina but for my needs, I don't know if its worth the extra money if both 8GB models perform around the same.
     
  10. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #10
    Agreed that the MBP has a beautiful screen. If that is what you want or need over everything else, go for it.

    I used to have a MBP, not, obviously, the 'retina' model. And it was wonderful; it was the first Apple laptop (or, indeed, computer) that I bought - as a belated birthday present to myself - when I switched to Apple in 2008. I loved it, but used it mainly as a desktop computer, at which it excelled. When travelling, - and, within a matter of five months of having bought the MBP, I was asked to work abroad - the MBP was a lot less forgiving, as it was rather heavy. It worked better living on a formal desk than on a coffee table, flying visit to a desk, hotel room, train, bus, or in a briefcase, which are the places where my MBA spends a lot of its time.

    By 2010, I had added a MBA to the mix; not only did I find myself using it when travelling (which is why it was bought, as I travel a lot), I found myself using it all the time, and the MBP became redundant to my needs. I sold it within a few months and have had nothing but MBAs ever since.

    Now, I'll readily concede that if I ever find myself for years on end, immobile - or, simply based, in my home country, I would be tempted to add a maxed out MBP with a retina screen to my MBA; however, although it is a laptop, it would be viewed as, and used as, a desktop, unlike the MBA, which is a fully functional, powerful, portable laptop...
     
  11. HarryWarden macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 27, 2012
    #11
    Is the rMBP really noticeably heavier than the same size Air model? I thought Apple had gone lighter with anything and everything.
     
  12. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #12
    This largely depends on who and what you are.

    Fit, healthy, strapping young men would - perhaps - argue not. However, I am neither male, nor fit, nor in the first flush of youth, and I notice what might others might consider negligible differences in weight. This is an issue for me as I travel a lot and need an excellent computer for work purposes.

    Certainly, I did notice a significant difference in weight between my 2008 MBP, and my 2010 (and subsequent) MBA models. Put simply, the MBP was a nuisance to carry for any distance and for any time.

    In fact, I noticed such a difference that I will never be without a MBA, or whatever version Apple continues to produce of an ultra portable yet powerful, stable and blazing fast machine, irrespective of what additional computers I also decide to buy.
     
  13. Ronnoco, Jun 26, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2014

    Ronnoco macrumors 68030

    Ronnoco

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    #13
    The newer rMBP's are much lighter than their predecessors (the 13" is just a half pound or so heavier than the 13" MBA), but I do prefer the form factor and the lack of that extra half pound with the MBA. I also noticed some lag while using my friends 13" rMBP with Safari and scrolling in some other applications. His is a 2012 model (IIRC) and the retina display is beautiful when viewing something optimized for it, but it wasn't enough for me to make the change from the 2013 Ultimate MBA as mine seemed snappier (I would imagine because of the PCIe SSD and the lack of the retina screen).

    Now perhaps the 2014 models with their PCIe SSD's and improved graphics power which is better suited to push all those retina pixels, have improved the perceived sluggishness. For me though, a rMBA Ultimate with 12-15+ hour battery is what I'm waiting for.
    :)
     
  14. LaynieGorilla thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #14
    as a female it is heavier for me. the macbook pro was noticeably heavier
     
  15. Raffi macrumors 6502a

    Raffi

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    Oct 1, 2013
    #15
    If your wanting a 13 much air then stay with the rMBP. The air is .5 pounds lighter and has a bigger footprint. Both batteries will get you through the day but the air will deplete very fast when doing processor/ram intensive tasks. An example would be converting a video. On the air it takes longer than a rMBP and the battery depletes faster. If I wanted portability I would on get the 11 inch air if power is what I want I would get the rMBP. If the air lost 3/4 inch bezel then it would be worth it.
     
  16. motty2307 macrumors regular

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    Feb 1, 2010
    #16
    I just got my 13" Macbook Air, 1.7 GHz I7, 8GB RAM, 256 GB HD and absolutely love it. I mostly use mine for email and surfing the web but it "feels" like it can do so much more. I'm confident I made the right decision in choosing the MBA over the rMBP.

    With that being said, if cost is not an issue, then the rMBP may be what you're looking for. I know folks that have gone that route and are extremely happy with their choice.
     
  17. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    Oct 10, 2013
    #17
    i am a large male and I also can feel a weight difference between the air and the rmbp.

    Despite the slightly larger footprint the air seems more portable to me. It also seems much thinner.
    From my observation the air performs snappier when it comes to basic tasks like browsing and text editing.

    Imo with the rmbp you just pay for the screen, which makes a huge differnce if you edit photos.
     
  18. Trvlngnrs macrumors 6502

    Trvlngnrs

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    Jun 8, 2010
    #18
    They are both great computers and will serve you well. Not really a wrong choice with either.
     

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