Macbook Air 13 or a Pro?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by jlabenberg, Aug 18, 2015.

  1. jlabenberg macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    Location:
    PA
    #1
    I do most of my heavy work on a 27 inch iMac but when I need to take the work, to work, where there is only a smattering of older windows desktops (long live the non-profit!) for several years I've used a 2013 11" Macbook Air...for everything including Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator. While not the best scenario for your sanity or your eyes, I'm surprised that most times my tiny might Air has done well considering my only other alternative are machines that totally suck.

    The hubby now needs the 11" MBA for traveling on a daily basis and I am in need of something portable when I have to work "at work"...A souped up 13" MBA is my first choice coming in around 1800 bucks if I opt for an i7 and a slighter larger SSD...remember I'm using now an 11" inch 2013 MBA with a 128 SSD. I gotta admit I love the lack of weight carrying these things around.

    The other option is a MBP with Retina and I know several folks that like them and feel they're great - I had an old MBP non Retina before the Air. Trouble is - souping up the MBP and I'd probably then opt for a 15" and if I add an i7 to the mix I'm looking at quite a bit more.

    Any suggestions? Anyone work on both? And remember, I really like the non-heft of the airs when carrying everything else i need to in my backpack.

    thanks.
     
  2. keysofanxiety macrumors 604

    keysofanxiety

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #2
    13" rMBP will give you far more value with power/specs over the 13" MBA.

    No point throwing $1800 at a MBA IMHO, might as well spend that on a much better 13" rMBP. The only advantage the MBA has is slightly less weight.

    If less weight is the most important thing, get the souped 13" MBA. Otherwise, 13" rMBP.
     
  3. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #3
    Why not just get another 11" MBA in that case? I have a 2013 i7/8gb/512gb 11" MBA and no plans to upgrade anytime soon. You could get a larger monitor for work if the screen is too small.

    I previously had a 13" MBA and would not go back to that. They are nice machines, but I felt it was "neither here no there", if you know what I mean. :) Not the same experience as the 15" MBP and not as light and portable as the 11" MBA. You might be surprised at the weight and size difference between the 11" and 13" models once you start using them.

    Also consider getting a refurb from Apple. They are just the same as new with the same warranty.
     
  4. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #4
    I would give the new 12" MacBook some consideration. It should be nearly as fast as your 2013 Air, while being smaller and lighter, but with a fantastically sharp screen, and the same usable workspace as the 13" Air. It may be that it's not up to the task of your workload, but it may very well be if you have no complaints about the speed of your old Air. It's the perfect companion device for someone who already has a larger workstation, and wants something exceptionally light and mobile.
     
  5. The Game 161 macrumors G5

    The Game 161

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    Dec 15, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #5
    Air is cheaper and an awesome laptop

    It's what I'm getting
     
  6. MacBoook160 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    #6
    I echo Boyd and suggest looking at the refurb store for either product. You'd save about $250 or so, I think.

    I ordered a "souped up" 11'' MBA a month ago, and my only annoyance since has been with myself, as I haven't had the need to take it around with me everywhere as yet!
     
  7. The Game 161 macrumors G5

    The Game 161

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #7
    Some good deals on Amazon

    I'm going to grab the MacBook Air 2015 for £685
     
  8. MacBoook160 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    #8
    As an aside, zhenya, you encapsulate why I didn't get this first rMB - given that it was going to be my only computer for the foreseeable future, even as tempting as it was, in this incarnation, I decided that the Air, despite its less than retina screen, would be the better option.
     
  9. motrek macrumors 68020

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    Sep 14, 2012
    #9
    Not sure how it's far more powerful? It's maybe 20% faster.
     
  10. keysofanxiety macrumors 604

    keysofanxiety

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    Nov 23, 2011
    #10
    More RAM as standard. Quicker RAM. Better display. Better graphics card. Faster Flash. It's not just the CPU :)
     
  11. motrek macrumors 68020

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    Sep 14, 2012
    #11
    You seem pretty intent on up-speccing these machines when I'm not sure it's necessary.

    The i7 upgrade is costly and doesn't win you much performance--about 20%.

    If you're getting along okay today with a 128GB drive, I'm not sure why you need to jump straight to 512GB either. Why not save yourself some money and get the 256GB option?

    If you like the portability of the 11" MBA but don't like the screen size, have you considered an external monitor? I don't know if you have a desk at work or if you have to constantly move around, but you can get a 1080p monitor for a little over $100 these days and that will give you far more screen real estate than a 13" MBA.
     
  12. MacBoook160 macrumors 6502

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    Feb 9, 2011
    #12
    OK, I have to ask a dumb question - not the first time on this board, not the last! - how is the same amount of RAM faster in a Pro than an Air?
     
  13. motrek macrumors 68020

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    Sep 14, 2012
    #13
    I guess, if you're going to count the screen as part of the "powerful" equation. I think most people wouldn't.

    The OP is talking about an 8GB MBA so the amount of RAM that's standard on a rMBP is pretty irrelevant. The rMBP RAM is faster by an irrelevant amount. The rMBP does have faster graphics but it's driving way more pixels--people complain about UI lag on the rMBP and not the MBA. And are you sure the rMBP has faster flash?

    Nothing against the rMBP but saying that it's much more powerful than the MBA is misleading.
     
  14. motrek macrumors 68020

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    Sep 14, 2012
    #14
    The MBA RAM runs at 1600MHz whereas the rMBP RAM runs at 1866MHz.

    This is only a 16% difference... and since the VAST majority of the memory that a computer uses these days is cached on-chip in the CPU, this small difference in RAM speed is probably barely even measurable in real-world tests, let alone relevant.
     
  15. MacBoook160 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    #15
    Ah, thank you for the education. At this point, any slowness in my loading is more about my internet hook-up than the computer. That likely has FAR more to do with it, IMO!
     
  16. MacBoook160 macrumors 6502

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    Feb 9, 2011
  17. jdmar2004 macrumors member

    jdmar2004

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2010
    #17
    I currently use a 2014 base 11" air and I love the portability, but using my wife's 15" rMBP is such a better experience. It weighs about 2 more pounds than my air so I can't see myself lugging it around everyday, but I can see myself with a 13" rMBP which only weighs about one more pound. If money isn't an option then consider a refurb 13". You can save 400 bucks on a fully decked out 2015 model.
     
  18. Ulenspiegel macrumors 68020

    Ulenspiegel

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    Nov 8, 2014
    Location:
    Land of Flanders and Elsewhere
    #18
    I would suggest going for the rMBP 13". It is powerful enough for your needs and retina will be better/more productive to use with the applications you have mentioned. And it is portable enough.
     
  19. geesus macrumors regular

    geesus

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    Jul 3, 2015
    #19
    When comparing raw specs, don't you have to take into account the power needed to drive the extra resolution of the rMBP screen? It's all very well saying, well 2.7Ghz is 'more' than 1.6 but what does that equate to in raw benchmark figures?

    I only ask as I am in the same boat really - the form factor is important to me. More so than getting a Retina display, and I love the way my current MBA is silent in operation. I'm presuming that the rMBP isn't as quiet and gets hotter when stressed?

    If I can get the latest MBA with 8GB RAM and the 2.2Ghz chip, for the price of the 2.7Ghz baseline rMBP, I can live without Retina, and I'm betting performance would be comparable.

    Then there is the new Macbook with Retina to consider, but the lack of ports makes it pretty much a deal-breaker. So, if you take into account that I am fine with the low resolution of the MBA, would you guys go with a souped up MBA or the base model rMBP?
     
  20. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #20
    Either computer will be adequately powered - keep in mind the Pro has better graphics to make up for the extra pixels. Both should be reasonably quiet under normal operation.

    If you really like the small form factor and silent operation, maybe you should consider the new MacBook more thoroughly? How often do you really need those ports? I need them, but mostly just at my desk, so I have the Digital AV adapter I leave at my desk as a docking station, and I keep the small adapter connected to my Lightning cable which allows me to charge my iPhone, iPad, and MacBook all from the same charging brick.
     
  21. motrek macrumors 68020

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    Sep 14, 2012
    #21
    You really have to compare turbo boost clock speeds for these computers. The CPUs are now so efficient that they run cool even under load and can sustain the maximum turbo boost frequencies indefinitely.

    So the difference in power is not 1.6 vs. 2.7, which would be pretty significant (68%). The numbers you need to compare are 2.7GHz and 3.1GHz, which is only 15%.

    So you will see a lot of people on these forums talk about how the MacBook Pro is much more powerful and has much better specs than the Air, but that's usually because they're comparing the wrong numbers.

    As for the extra "power" required to drive all the pixels on the retina screen, this is pretty inconsequential. It might make some UI animations jerkier, which gives people the impression that the computer is slower, but really it's just some unimportant animations that are slower. If the screen is relatively static, as it is when most people are doing actual work, then essentially no power is being used to "drive" those extra pixels.
     
  22. AFEPPL macrumors 68020

    AFEPPL

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    Sep 30, 2014
    Location:
    England
    #22
    MBP or rMB is the way to go.
    MBA is obsolete now, i cant see a reason to go for it unless you are on a budget.
     
  23. organic bond, Aug 20, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2015

    organic bond macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 5, 2007
    #23
    I'm not on a budget and I got a 2015 MBA, which is not obsolete at all. In fact it's got the best battery life. People have different needs, you know? I bought an rMB, wasn't satisfied at all, and returned it. Others like it. Others again prefer an MBP. I prefer a longer batter life over a retina display. The other specs advantages are irrelevant, plus the hands position with an MBP is not what I like, the edge it too thick. I'm very happy with my choice.
     
  24. tentales, Aug 20, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2015

    tentales macrumors 6502a

    tentales

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2010
    #24
    Most of the time recommendations on MR end up in p*ssing contests between personal choices people have made. Typically, you'll get responses starting with "most people..." when in fact it's only the posters choice.

    Here's a fairly factual write-up to help guide you:
    http://www.macworld.co.uk/review/ma...comparison-review-video-apple-laptop-3481192/

    You have to rank *your* personal preferences over what other people say.
    Weight, battery life, storage size, cpu power, etc..

    There's no one-size-fits-all. For example, if you have complex CPU heavy work in Photoshop, etc. then a 15" with a quad i7 makes sense, but you compromise on weight. If OTOH the processing time on your current 11" MBA is sufficient but you ran out of SSD space, just get the same 11" with a larger SSD. Dual core i5 vs dual core i7 doesn't save you much time vs the extra cost.

    Next, how much time do you spend in front of the 11" screen ? Is it enough room or would a 13" speed up your work significantly ? If not, maybe just add an external monitor at home and another at work and work on dual screens.

    It's a lot of choices and none of us can see inside your head. Ignore all the "I-know-what's-best-for-you" replies.
     
  25. z31fanatic macrumors 6502a

    z31fanatic

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2015
    Location:
    Mukilteo, WA USA
    #25
    My opinion is that spending $1800 on a Macbook Air is criminal for what you get but you don't seem to mind that so just get another maxed out 11" Air since you already like them.
     

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