Macbook air 13" vs rMBP 13"

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by talk, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. talk macrumors newbie

    May 9, 2007
    Apple really made it hard for me this time around....

    What do you think 2.5 i5 256 retina or the Macbook air with 2.0 i7 256...

    The rMBP gets the screen, and while it is heavier it is not that much heavier.
    The air wins on price (esp if you go refurb), and it is lighter.

    Same video card.

    What do you think? Me - the rMBP looks awesome, but I find it a bit overpriced.
  2. KylePowers macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2011
    Totally overpriced and not worth it in my opinion. Definitely a different story if it had a quad-core CPU or discrete GPU, but it doesn't.

    Go MBA unless you really need the retina display. Use the money you save and buy an iPad Mini or iPod Touch or iPhone 5 or put it toward rent :p
  3. downtownblue macrumors newbie

    Jan 15, 2008
    I've been waiting a long time to upgrade my machine, so I didn't take my decision today lightly, but I went with Air.

    Since the graphics cards are the same (and integrated, uh!) and with much of the same hardware in both (and my general unhappiness of Apple's recent use of solder and glue), I decided to save the money as the screen isn't a big deal for me.
  4. GrandPhrase macrumors 6502

    Jun 16, 2012
    Just my opinion.

    I know the saying 'wait off until _____' is a bit cliched and may seem like waiting forever, but I think the 13" rMBA is around the corner.

    The 13" rMBP has the same graphics as the 13" Air. That the means that the Air can handle retina is at its current state, hit to the battery aside. A lot of people say without dedicated graphics the performance will stutter. I mean it can stutter for apps with demand, but for basic tasks it is pretty decent (subjective). And even so Haswell will boost graphics even if its a little, which will lessen the blow on stuttering. Also, I personally believe the 13" Air will go retina with Haswell as it claims a lot more power efficiency to bring out more battery.

    What the 13" rMBP proved is that the 13" Air can have retina, it's just that battery will take a hit. Battery tech won't improve dramatically for 2013 (Haswell aside), but Apple probably will do what they did with rMBP and MBP. Those who prefer battery over retina can have the option of buying the cAir. Those who prefer the retina can buy the rAir. And to emphasize something, Haswell claims double the current battery life of ultrabooks (probably hyped). But even with Haswell they probably can keep the 7 hr battery life or even 6 hr is probably acceptable. If Apple allows 4000 graphics to handle the 13" rMBP resolution why wouldn't they allow 5000 graphics from Haswell to handle a similar resolution?

    So, I would say wait for Haswell in my personal opinion (in the end its your choice).
  5. ChaosAngel macrumors member

    Sep 29, 2005
    I'm not so sure. If they do add a Retina Display to the MBA in the near future, it will make the 13" rMBP redundant.

    I wonder if Apple will keep the Retina as a differentiator between the Air and the Pro (at least in the short term), as it would appear that high performance components are no longer the key to being "Pro".

    To be honest I was disappointed by the 13" rMBP, the lack of Quad Core, Dedicated GPU and 16GB RAM makes the MBA seems like a better option to me. With that said, I am reserving judgement until I have had a chance to play with the 13" rMBP.
  6. GrandPhrase macrumors 6502

    Jun 16, 2012
    You have some good points and it is true that the gap is closing. However I believe that
    for the lack of dedicated graphics, 16GB option quadcore etc. that you mentioned, Apple will indeed be hard pressed to include a retina Air as it would cannibalize sales. Samsung showed off a Series 9 ultranook prototype 13" display with 2560x1440 earlier this year and I know this is just for show and tell to tell people that that is what Samsung is capable of, but with Windows 8 supporting higher 'retina resolutions' and many companies as opposed to one, releasing ultrabooks with retina, Apple is sort of forced to go retina on the Air.

    The 13"rMBP is still thicker and heavier than the ultrabooks as the 13" rMBP is not considered an ultrabook. Without a retina Air it will be difficult to compete against hundreds of companies releasing retina ultrabooks.

    As Steve Jobs said it is better to cannibalize your own than to be cannibalized. In the long term you said that the Air would go retina, but in the short term it seems that a lot of companies are going to release such ultrabooks with retina in mid 2013 with Haswell.

    So either way I believe Apple has to include a retina Air.
  7. talk thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 9, 2007
    Went with the Air

    Made my decision and purchased a refurbished 2012 MBA.
    8GB ram, i7, and 256gb SSD for $1450.
    My current Air is is the 2010 ultimate. I love this machine to death, however, the CPU is dated, and 4gb is no longer good enough.

    Yes, I probably would have bought the 13 rMBP if it had a dedicated GPU.

    I also felt uncomfortable about the PRO 13" GPU. I am not sure how good the intel chipset would handle the retina display, and at Retina resolution I'll lose screen real estate compared with the Air. Finally, I usually end up connecting my air to an external monitor anyway (at home and office), so I believe that the retina screen will have limited value for my use case. Once they release a Retina cinema display, I'll be the first one to order it. While I decided not to order a laptop with it today, there's no doubt that the retina screen is dead gorgeous.

    As for rMBA -> I don't see how apple would fit it into MBA with the current spec of the 13 rMBP. Other than the screen, there's little to no real difference between the Pro and the Air. It will confuse clients, and will only frustrate future owners, since it will be hard to make a purchasing decision.

    From my perspective, I think that apple will end up with two lines:
    Airs: 11,13
    Pro: 13,15

    Pros will carry the retina, until there's going to be something else that can differentiate it from the airs.

    In any case, I've saved the $500 price difference on the retina today, and will use that for future upgrades (if and when the right product comes along).
  8. caligomez macrumors regular


    Feb 8, 2011
    San Juan, PR
    So, the question I have is: which is really the most powerful machine? The ultimate 13" MBA or the entry level 13" rMBP? Both at $1699..

    The MBA has a ULV i7, but the rMBP has all those pixels to drive... So if I'm using Safari, working with office/mail apps, while also multitasking with music or iLife apps, which mac will generally perform better?

    Edit: the difference in storage space is not to be taken into consideration, only performance.
  9. talk thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 9, 2007
    Keep in mind that almost all of us have yet to play with the rMBP 13", so I guess it is going to be hard for someone to actually contribute information about real world usage.

    That being said, I have been using the 2010 MBA ultimate extensively over the past two years, doing exactly the kind of activities that you're talking about.
    In addition, I have been doing some programming, playing with garage band and running Windows VM occasionally.

    My Core2Due handled the above tasks with grace. Keep in mind that my MBA came with 4GB (and 256SSD). I have no doubt that for your intendent usage, the new MBA with 8GB of Ram and i7 will be perfect. My bet would be that it will outperform or equal the rMBP 13" in performance since it won't need to drive that screen.

  10. Jinzen macrumors 6502

    Oct 16, 2012
    You guys are insanely shortsighted.

    What we got WAS a 13" Retina MacBook Air. Call it a Pro, Air. Who cares?

    It's a machine that is thin, light, have roughly equal specs, with a Retina Display.

    No, Apple is NOT going to be making another 13" MacBook Air with a Retina Display anytime soon. They would have to make it thicker to accomodate battery size and it becomes EXACTLY THE SAME PRODUCT as the current 13" Retina MacBook Pro.

    PS. If you configure an Air to be 256gb/8gb RAM/Core i7 - you might as well as get the faster Pro with the vastly superior display. Yea, it's half a pound heavier and a bit thicker, but the Air's display is just craptastic (in general).


    Driving those pixels is generally the task of the GPU, while most CPU tasks like scrolling should be fine.

    Use the Retina MacBook Pro 15" on the HD4000 as a guideline to performance, but consider a much lower resolution at 30% fewer pixels, so perhaps roughly 30% performance boost.
  11. MacSignal macrumors regular

    May 8, 2010
    I think you made good decisions, going refurb with your MBA configuration. The value of the display superiority of the rMBP is a subjective evaluation that you can only make for yourself. You would need to see it to know if what it offers to you is worth the extra money.
  12. talk thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 9, 2007
    I don't think that I've been short sighted. I agree that that the rMBP 13" is more like the air and less like the 15" rMBP. For me, $500 (or 33% more than what I paid) was too much to pay for the retina screen. As I said, even if I bought the rMBP, I wouldn't have used it in retina resolution since it would mean smaller real-estate.

    Others might have different needs. For the record, I am not suggesting at all that the rMBP 13" is a bad buy. I am sure that it will make many buyers super happy, and I do appreciate the retina screen. If I didn't have the opportunity to buy apple refurb, it would have been a much more difficult decision.
  13. talk thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 9, 2007
    Yesterday I received my new MBA 13" (8gb/256/i7).
    Couldn't be happier with the purchase. Yes the retina screen is very tempting, but I couldn't justify the cost of the rMBP 13", and the 15" is too big for me.

    One thing that people should be aware of with the retina, is that some applications, webpages look really bad in retina mode. I mean the text is crisp like there's no tomorrow, but some images / ads look so bad next to it.
  14. adam9c1 macrumors 68000


    May 2, 2012
    Reading this thread that's what I was thinking...
    Like in the old days MB was white plastic and MBP was alu

    I think now Air will the non retina and MBP will be retina.
    I think next revision (update like faster cpu etc) MBP will be all retina with standard 8GB and capable of 16GB while air will max at 4.
    That's my guess...

    then I can vision in 1 or 2 revisions MBA will be retina.

    Now on the retina 27". I forsee it will be 65% more expensive than non retina. It's a matter of time when they release it but when they do by that time all the pro guys will run it and they'll have their coolaid in their blood LOL. I think first time around 65% and the next will be 45%.
    Apple is not about making things cheap. Like Steve said it's about making things beautiful crafted and people will pay the premium
  15. adam9c1 macrumors 68000


    May 2, 2012
    I think it's like a transition period thing...
    I can see retina being a nich but "standard" is more mainstream.... in time.

    Now watching the Apple event I think the new 13" MBP is very well priced.
    I've used 15" Pro at work and because I'm not traveling from building to building it's not my WORKSTATION I found it bulky.
    I know some admins carry 17" monsters in a rolley, and I can also see 11" airs.

    I can see the coolness of the 11" air, however when I went to microcenter to look at 11 and 13 I felt more comfy at 13.

    I have iPad (the new old) and while I'm okay reading forums on it and reading emails on it and running a few apps I can't find myself having it as a replacement for a laptop. And I do have a nice case w a nice keyb.
    Just the app switching and ez new tab thing and favorites makes it much easier on a laptop.
  16. photomania01 macrumors newbie

    Oct 26, 2012
    I use MacBook for graphic webdesign so no need F1 speed level ... except if you use this for super high resources game it's different story...

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