limited budget: rMBP 8 GB/128 GB SSD or MBA 4 GB/256 GB SSD

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Hurley82989, Sep 19, 2014.

  1. Hurley82989 macrumors member

    Oct 22, 2012
    hi all,

    like the title says, i'm debating between the rmbp 13 inch 8 GB/128 GB SSD and the mba 13 inch 4 GB/256 GB SSD.

    the reason is i have a very firm budget at $1200 which these can be had with the education discount although the MBA is about $100 less.

    i've seen the retina screen at best buy and do like it somewhat better but at least in the store, there appeared to be more glare from the retina screen than the air. i thought that the air screen was adequate. i'm coming from a 17.3 inch 1080p screen and although i haven't done the calculations, i presume the PPI is similar to my current screen which i find really nice (it's also anti-glare). i should add that although my vision is fine, i keep the font abnormally large on everything to make it easier to read so i certainly wouldn't make use of the increased screen real estate by running at native resolution. also, i'm not sure whether i would be better suited with 8 GB RAM or 256 GB SSD.

    i use my laptop for pretty basic stuff (internet, microsoft office, spotify, occasional moderate photo editing) but would really like it to last 4 years. i typically use my laptop around the home but occasionally take it to the library/coffee shop. my traveling is relatively minimal, just a few times a year for pleasure. however, while doing these basic things i am somewhat of a power user and typically have 4-5 word documents, 7-8 PDFs, and 10-15 tabs open in firefox.

    i calculate my current HD requirements to be about 60-70 GB including software (to my best estimate) so the 128 GB SSD will be tight although i do plan on purchasing the transcend jetdrive 330 128 GB when it is available.

    any thoughts are greatly appreciated. thanks!
  2. patrick001 macrumors member


    Dec 16, 2008
    You need a high def screen, and a retina screen at that. Don't settle for the current Macbook Air. Either buy a rMBP or wait perhaps a bit longer for a new line of MBAs.
  3. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
  4. Hurley82989 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 22, 2012
    as a rule i stay away from refurbs but i appreciate the advice. i know that apple refurbs are supposed to be great and they replace the battery and casing but it's still just not for me.
  5. capathy21 macrumors 65816


    Jun 16, 2014
    Houston, Texas
    Either spec combo will suit your workload just fine. I would decide if your prefer a retina display over 12 plus hour battery life. If you do, get the retina. If not, get the Air.
  6. sporadicMotion macrumors 65816


    Oct 18, 2008
    Your girlfriends place
    Get the rMBP. I have both and the screen is way nicer on the rMBP. Glare isn't bad like the old non retina pro's. The weight difference isn't that noticeable either. I've been carrying the retina around for work instead of the Air and it's been lighter on the shoulder than I thought it would be.

    Having so many useable resolutions has been super nice too. It's nice not being confined to one resolution the way the older lower res screens do (super fuzzy when not on the optimal res). Kinda reminds me of why I liked CRT's :p
  7. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Your choice of course

    Well that's your choice but if you have a set budget that's your best choice to get what you nedd or buy on amazon they are often a lot cheaper in the uk at least.
  8. Sirmausalot macrumors 6502a


    Sep 1, 2007
    Couple of points about the refurb. If you live near an apple store, they will service it right away if there's a problem. And of course you have a 14 day return window. But get the retina, as everyone else has said.
  9. sdilley14 macrumors 65816

    Feb 8, 2007
    Mesa, AZ
    Just curious, why do you stay away from the refurbs? I've bought nothing but refurbs for the last 10+ years, 4-6 different machines during that time, and I've never had a single issue with any of them. And they all come with a free 1 year warranty in case something does happen.
  10. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    This is the macbook pro part of the forum. Lots of people will suggest the pro.
    For your needs I disagree. The air will be the overall more satisfying experience.
  11. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020


    Sep 27, 2013
    They are cheaper for a reason, half the reviews say they got non-new MB's delivered.


    I would agree here.
  12. Hurley82989 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 22, 2012
    Because I tend to keep my computers for as long as possible. Generally buying refurbs means you're purchasing a machine that's already 1 year old or so. Assuming that machine lasts 1 year less than a brand new one, even though you might save a bit up front you're actually a bit worse off in the long run. I know this point may not hold true but it is a possibility. You never know how the previous owner treated the laptop.

    Also, from what I've seen based on the discounts you can get from ordering online you're really only saving $50-$100 over a comparable new one. Over 3-4 years this is a fairly low cost.

    Finally, I always use a credit card that provides extended warranty on purchases. Nearly all of these cards will not extend the warranty on refurbed/used items. This to me is worth the difference easily.

    Anyways, so it sounds like some people are recommending the MBA 256 GB over the rMBP 128 GB. Any reasons for this recommendation? Is the extra HD space > retina screen and 8 GB RAM? For my purposes, any laptop that gets 6-7 hours of battery is sufficient and both meet this requirement. Thanks!
  13. capathy21 macrumors 65816


    Jun 16, 2014
    Houston, Texas
    The credit card warranty is worth buying a new unit vs paying 200 plus for Apple Care.

    I would tend to recommend the MBA for the extra drive space. If you plan on using it for a number of years you will accumulate more stuff and 128 may not suffice. Ram goes a LONG way in these modern Mac's so I have no doubt 4GB of ram on the MBA would be sufficient for you. If you are truly happy with 7-9 hours of battery (varies greatly depending on use) you may lean toward the retina IF you think the 128SSD will be enough.
  14. michikade macrumors regular


    Sep 17, 2014
    Somewhere in Texas
    I had a similar conundrum myself last year, and ended up getting the rMBP 128gb over the MBA 256gb.

    My personal reasoning was that more RAM could equal longer life for the computer and multiple years of OS X releases. Yes, the hard drive could take some management but as your budget allows in a year you can get a large (like 1TB + ) external drive to toss extra stuff on. The battery on the MBP is sufficient for me and the retina screen is beautiful, too. I just figured if I was gonna drop $1500+ on a computer I wanted to still be able to use it 4-5 years from now without it being so slow it isn't worth it.

    For the record- I bought my computer at the end of August, 2013 and have 55gb remaining of my 128gb drive. I have epic craploads of stuff too and don't foresee running out of space any time soon, either, but after my student loans roll in this year I may pick up a Time Capsule and will effectively never have to worry about drive space again.
  15. Hurley82989 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 22, 2012
    It's funny how the last 2 posters recommend the exact opposite things. Thanks guys for all of your input though, I'm really appreciating the help.

    I think I can get by with 128 GB (well, really more like 100 GB after formatting and OS X) definitely for now. My only concern is that apps will get bigger over the next 2-3 years and that could make the space a bit tight. Like I mentioned earlier, the only apps I really need are firefox and microsoft office.

    Any other thoughts on whether 8 GB RAM will be more useful or 256 GB in 3 years? Lugging around an external hard drive is definitely out of the question for me. It totally defeats the purpose of having a small, relatively light laptop.

    Anybody use the Transcend JetDrive Lite 330? Does it work ok? This was my thought for inexpensively upgrading HD space in the future if necessary. I would only use it for music and video files, definitely not apps. Thanks!

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