MacBook Air 13" or Retina MacBook Pro 13" ?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by snapper64, Aug 27, 2013.

  1. snapper64 macrumors regular

    Aug 28, 2007
    I know this debate has been done to death, but I'm still not sure which to pick :eek:

    I'm starting university in approx. 3 weeks time to study aerospace engineering for 4 years and I want a new computer that will last me throughout that time.

    I currently have 2012 MacBook Air 11” as my main machine with an external monitor at home, but after using it over the past year I’ve found it too small when working without an external monitor. Given I’m likely to be using a laptop outside of my accommodation most of the time I want a larger model for university.

    From what I've read on a couple of other student forums it seems likely that if I need to run any intensive modeling or simulation software, it will be on the universities computers, rather than my own. With that in mind I don't necessarily need a really power computer.

    I'm torn between the two setups below. The main attraction for me with the retina is the ability to run 1680x1050 scaled, although I suppose even 1440x900 will be a big step up from 1366x768!


    If I do decide to go with the retina I would be waiting until the Haswell refresh, despite that not being ideal as I will most likely have already started university.

    Also, as the refresh looks to be happening on September 10th at the absolute earliest I'll no longer qualify for the BTS gift card (offer ends on the 6th). I was planning to sell this for around £60 to bring to cost of the Air down a little, which means the Pro would £120 more expensive than the Air.

    Which should I buy?
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Why do you say the refresh looks to be September 10th?

    Apple rarely (ever?) releases new laptop models on the day they're promoting their iOS and iPhone offerings. It muddies the water, they want the focus on the iPhone that day so there will be no other hardware announcements imo.

    As for which model, the retina screen is gorgeous, and you get a bit more ports with the MBP. If I were going to buy TODAY then I'd go with the MBA, if I was going to wait a few months then a Haswell retina machine.

    Another point to consider is the wait time, if they do unveil the new laptops in September (even the 10th :eek: :p) you may end up waiting weeks. The issue may be worse if we see Haswell MBPS in October - that potentially puts you into November when you receive a laptop (possible 2 - 3 week wait time). Is that worst case scenario do able for your needs?
  3. snapper64 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 28, 2007
    Thanks for the reply.

    I was just basing it on recent speculation, I realise they may not be released on the 10th :)

    The point I was trying to make is that whenever Apple does finally release the new rMBP's, it will be after the BTS promo ends so I'll be missing out on the free gift card by waiting. I'm not sure it I should or not.

    The only single benefit for me that I'll make use of between the MBA and rMBP is the retina display (and the higher scaled resolution), I don't really need the extra ports. I think I'm leaning towards the MBA at the minute.
  4. WillFisher macrumors 6502


    Feb 19, 2011
    I'm in the same situation as you.
    I went for the air, because if it's got an external connected, what's the huge difference?
    Plus, you say you want to wait for haswell? What if it's not out until December? You've missed months of not having a laptop?
    Go for the air. It's powerful and portable as hell. It's what I've gone for and cannot wait to get it. Due here tomorrow.
    Plus, that BTS voucher is going straight on Logic X. Which I am also super excited about.
  5. Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
  6. Aylan macrumors regular


    Jun 3, 2013
    For your uses, you'd be better served by an Air. HD5000 makes a huge difference.
  7. merkinmuffley macrumors 6502a

    Dec 3, 2010
    I don't see anything stating you need a retina display, I'd go with the Air.
  8. snapper64 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 28, 2007
    Thanks for the replies guys, I've gone with a 13" Air (i7, 8GB, 256GB). I can't wait :D
  9. WillFisher macrumors 6502


    Feb 19, 2011
    Good choice friend, I'm awaiting mine at the moment and it should be here within a few days! Hope you enjoy it!
  10. Dr. McKay macrumors 6502a

    Jan 20, 2010
    Belgium, Europe
    Which is what I'm getting in the next couple of days...

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