MacBook Air 2018 (256gb, 16gb) vs. MacBook Pro 2018 (256gb, 8gb)

jjones24

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 15, 2013
6
0
Hi everyone, first time ever posting on this website I think.

I'm in the market for a new laptop currently using a Mid-2012 MacBook Pro).

I just bought a new MacBook Air for $1400 with this configuration: Space Gray, 256gb SSD, 16GB RAM. (Link here: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1441825-REG/apple_z0vd_mre4_bh_13_3_macbook_air_with.html)

However, B&H has a deal on the MacBook Pro right now for $1499 (no tax for me) with this configuration: Space Gray, 256gb SSD, 8GB RAM. (Link here: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1423729-REG/apple_mr9q2ll_a_13_3_macbook_pro_mid.html)


My question is, would it be a smart idea to return the MacBook Air and buy the Pro version instead? I know the MacBook Pro is better overall (screen, power, speakers, etc) but what worries me is the 8GB of RAM. I want this laptop to last me 6 years like my current Mac. I'm not sure how an 8GB RAM MacBook will hold up in 2022 is what I'm saying. I really only use my laptop for school, work, browsing the internet, and Youtube/Netflix. I don't do any photo/video editing and I don't play any games. What do you all think? Thank you in advance and happy holidays.
 

revmacian

macrumors 6502a
Oct 20, 2018
776
695
USA
I really don't think you'll need 16GB RAM. There are those who recommend 16GB RAM minimum, but I'm using a 2014 Mac mini with 4GB RAM and it works fine 4 years after it was released. macOS is based on BSD, and in the BSD world there is a saying "unused RAM is wasted RAM". macOS will take advantage of all available RAM, regardless of the amount of RAM installed, but that doesn't mean that all of the RAM is actually necessary.

I spent a lot of time in the store testing the base model 2018 MacBook Air and found that, comparing it to a base model 2017 MacBook Pro, the MBA was just as fast as the MBP and didn't show any signs of having trouble even after opening every app in the dock while running several tabs in Safari. The T2 chip in the 2018 MBA offloads much of the work from the CPU and I think this is why the machine seems so powerful.

According to your use case, I think 8GB RAM will be fine now and in the future. By the time you actually need 16GB RAM, it will be time to upgrade to a newer machine anyway.

Edit: I have been researching the MacBook Air for about 3 weeks now because I plan to purchase one - 8GB/256GB Space Gray. I used to build my own computers and I ran *nix OS's for over a decade.
 
Last edited:

jjones24

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 15, 2013
6
0
I really don't think you'll need 16GB RAM. There are those who recommend 16GB RAM minimum, but I'm using a 2014 Mac mini with 4GB RAM and it works fine 4 years after it was released. macOS is based on BSD, and in the BSD world there is a saying "unused RAM is wasted RAM". macOS will take advantage of all available RAM, regardless of the amount of RAM installed, but that doesn't mean that all of the RAM is actually necessary.

I spent a lot of time in the store testing the base model 2018 MacBook Air and found that, comparing it to a base model 2017 MacBook Pro, the MBA was just as fast as the MBP and didn't show any signs of having trouble even after opening every app in the dock while running several tabs in Safari. The T2 chip in the 2018 MBA offloads much of the work from the CPU and I think this is why the machine seems so powerful.

According to your use case, I think 8GB RAM will be fine now and in the future. By the time you actually need 16GB RAM, it will be time to upgrade to a newer machine anyway.

Edit: I have been researching the MacBook Air for about 3 weeks now because I plan to purchase one - 8GB/256GB Space Gray. I used to build my own computers and I ran *nix OS's for over a decade.
So should I bite the bullet and return the Air for the Pro? Thank you for your response!
 

revmacian

macrumors 6502a
Oct 20, 2018
776
695
USA
So should I bite the bullet and return the Air for the Pro? Thank you for your response!
I would, so fast it'd make my head spin. The MacBook Air 2018 is dual-core, while the MacBook Pro 2018 is quad-core. You'll end up with a faster machine and the 2018 MBP has the new Touchbar. The MBP will also be much better at editing video and photos if you ever choose to get into that type of thing.
 
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theapplehead

macrumors 6502
Dec 17, 2018
476
501
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
I would, so fast it'd make my head spin. The MacBook Air 2018 is dual-core, while the MacBook Pro 2018 is quad-core. You'll end up with a faster machine and the 2018 MBP has the new Touchbar. The MBP will also be much better at editing video and photos if you ever choose to get into that type of thing.
Agreed. Couldn't have said it better!
 

lpolarityl

macrumors 6502
Dec 1, 2009
420
151
Ohio
I'll throw a different perspective into the mix by asking a couple questions:

1) What is the specs on your 2012 MBP and what is it used for?
2) What is your budget?
 

jjones24

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 15, 2013
6
0
I'll throw a different perspective into the mix by asking a couple questions:

1) What is the specs on your 2012 MBP and what is it used for?
2) What is your budget?
MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012)
2.5 GHz Intel Core i5
4GB of RAM
Just upgraded HDD to 256 SSD last month

I use my laptop just for browsing the internet, writing papers, doing research, and Netflix/Youtube.

My budget is roughly $1400 but I'm willing to spend the extra $100 if the MBP is a much better/smarter buy/
 

revmacian

macrumors 6502a
Oct 20, 2018
776
695
USA
MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012)
2.5 GHz Intel Core i5
4GB of RAM
Just upgraded HDD to 256 SSD last month

I use my laptop just for browsing the internet, writing papers, doing research, and Netflix/Youtube.

My budget is roughly $1400 but I'm willing to spend the extra $100 if the MBP is a much better/smarter buy/
I feel it's worth the extra money, despite being half the RAM, for the following reasons:
  • You don't really need 16GB RAM for your use case
  • 2018 MacBook Pro - 2.3GHz quad-core vs 1.6GHz dual-core in the MBA
  • 2018 MacBook Pro - Retina display with True Tone, Touch Bar, four Thunderbolt 3 ports and improved graphics
  • 2018 MacBook Pro - screen is brighter and uses a wider color gamut (P3) than the MBA

Writing papers and doing research are activities that are going to benefit from a better display.
 

Ghost31

macrumors 68030
Jun 9, 2015
2,567
3,399
MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012)
2.5 GHz Intel Core i5
4GB of RAM
Just upgraded HDD to 256 SSD last month

I use my laptop just for browsing the internet, writing papers, doing research, and Netflix/Youtube.

My budget is roughly $1400 but I'm willing to spend the extra $100 if the MBP is a much better/smarter buy/
These are my exact uses PLUS some technical work and I got the base model. 8 gigs/128 gig hard drive. Works perfect for me. Speed won't be an issue and small things about the new air are nice. Touch ID, new 3rd gen keyboard, there wedge shape makes it a bit more pleasing to pick up. The chip thats built in is primarily built for a fanless computer, so most likely you won't ever hear the fan turn on and thats one of the most annoying things to me. I had a MacBook Pro awhile back that would turn on the fans just for watching youtube videos.

All that to say: I recommend the base MacBook Air or the step higher in SSD if thats what you want. But the air is a solid buy my friend
 

lpolarityl

macrumors 6502
Dec 1, 2009
420
151
Ohio
MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012)
2.5 GHz Intel Core i5
4GB of RAM
Just upgraded HDD to 256 SSD last month

I use my laptop just for browsing the internet, writing papers, doing research, and Netflix/Youtube.

My budget is roughly $1400 but I'm willing to spend the extra $100 if the MBP is a much better/smarter buy/
A MacBook Air would be perfect for that kind of use. You could get the MBA plus AppleCare with that $1,400 budget. The 256GB model can be had for $1,199 at MicroCenter if you happen to have one nearby. If not, BHPhoto has it on sale as well. $1,499 is a pretty good deal for the 13" MBP w/ TB though, but it's a waste of money if all you do is browse the web, write papers and do Netflix and Youtube.
 
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Wakers

macrumors newbie
Jun 6, 2010
6
0
Hi... sorry for resurrecting an old thread, but I'm in a similar situation; what did you decide on in the end?
 

tmmacops

macrumors member
Jan 15, 2019
32
31
I went through three 2018 MBP/8GB/265GB and gave up. They all rebooted spontaneously, and Apple had no clue other than to replace them. All off the shelf stuff; Office, Omniplan, Web stuff, email, and the occasional WebEx stuff. Logs showed nothing, and it would happen with nothing even running, other than the OS itself.

Running a 2016 MB, w/ the same apps/workload and no issues after 30 days. I'd say do yourself a favor and avoid the 13"MBP until Apple acknowledges the issue, and/or they come out with a new model between now and September.
 
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Jimmy James

macrumors 601
Oct 26, 2008
4,586
2,914
Magicland
I went through three 2018 MBP/8GB/265GB and gave up. They all rebooted spontaneously, and Apple had no clue other than to replace them. All off the shelf stuff; Office, Omniplan, Web stuff, email, and the occasional WebEx stuff. Logs showed nothing, and it would happen with nothing even running, other than the OS itself.

Running a 2016 MB, w/ the same apps/workload and no issues after 30 days. I'd say do yourself a favor and avoid the 13"MBP until Apple acknowledges the issue, and/or they come out with a new model between now and September.
This is my take. Getting a new Apple laptop is a rare and expensive update for me. I’d rather wait for something that has a realistic chance lasting 10 years should I choose to keep it. Or, look elsewhere.
 

omelet1978

macrumors regular
Sep 22, 2012
154
58
I think you win either way...

I personally do the same thing where I'm not doing video editing or anything like that, so I chose a Macbook Air. A huge reason for that is because it's a bit lighter than the pro. I also researched the touchbar and a lot of people don't like it, and I'm perfectly happy with the regular row of function keys plus touch ID.
 

studium4sk

macrumors newbie
Oct 23, 2013
8
15
I was in the same position as you !

Had a MBP 2011 13" and was on the market for a new one.
I first bought the MBA 2018 in November an later returned it because of the screen, speed and value for money.
I found a nice deal for a MBP 2018 TB and feel that this is exactly what I was looking for.
Amazing beautiful screen and a much better and faster UX compared to my previous MBA.

It's worth noting, that the MBA battery time of 12hrs is calculated using have the brightness, which was too dark for me.
The new MBP has a really nice screen and you get a pleasant 10hrs battery life when you dime your screen, and still can see everything.

You won't regret going with the MBP.
 

madgame87

macrumors newbie
Mar 16, 2019
1
0
Hey team,

I have the same dilemma. I'm currently in the market for a new MacBook.

Currently I have a mid-2012 MBA 4GB i5. It's served me and partner well but it's time for an upgrade. I'll be passing this onto my relatives.

My partner and I will be using the MacBook for simple browsing, streaming Netflix, editing light documents and maybe the occasional WIX/WordPress blogging.

At work I have been given a 2018 MBA 256GB and its obviously an amazing upgrade to our older MBA. This has the full adobe suite for my line of work. Some may say "you've already got a 2018 MBA, why get another?" - I typically use the new MBA for work and there are times that we both need the laptop.. I know first world problems :( If we take away my MBA, we'd need to upgrade anyway.

After searching around, reading reviews etc. I've narrowed it down to 2x options:
1. MBA 2018 128GB
2. MBA 2018 256GB 8GB
3. MBA 2018 128 GB 16GB
2. MBP 2018 256GB w/TB


The MBA is $2149NZD, though can be upgraded with 16GB ram for a total of $2489NZD, similarly the base model can be upgraded with a 256GB SSD for $2499NZD.

The MBP w/TB can be had at $2500NZD via duty free in Sydney, Australia.

Given how we both plan to use the MB and based on our budget, what would you recommend we opt for? We're hoping this laptop will last us another 3-5 years :)
 

tuckerdogavl

macrumors newbie
Jan 13, 2009
21
1
I feel it's worth the extra money, despite being half the RAM, for the following reasons:
  • You don't really need 16GB RAM for your use case
  • 2018 MacBook Pro - 2.3GHz quad-core vs 1.6GHz dual-core in the MBA
  • 2018 MacBook Pro - Retina display with True Tone, Touch Bar, four Thunderbolt 3 ports and improved graphics
  • 2018 MacBook Pro - screen is brighter and uses a wider color gamut (P3) than the MBA

Writing papers and doing research are activities that are going to benefit from a better display.
You seem to have a good handle on this stuff, so here's my question:
Currently (March 2019) BB has a sale going on the 256gb 2017 Mac Book Pro for roughly the same price as the 256gb 2018 MBA. Now, the MBP is 2.3 vs MBA 1.6 for processing, but I need for writing, cerfing the net, email ... Is the 2nd gen butterfly keyboard with the warranty fix now a better gamble on the MBP than the 2018 3rd gen MBA that isn't "under warranty?
[doublepost=1553016533][/doublepost]
This is my take. Getting a new Apple laptop is a rare and expensive update for me. I’d rather wait for something that has a realistic chance lasting 10 years should I choose to keep it. Or, look elsewhere.
You sound like me (I'm trying to replace a 2009 MacBook Pro) ... Here's the thing: Currently (March 2019) BB has a sale going on with the 256gb 2017 Mac Book Pro for roughly the same price as the 256gb 2018 MBA. Now, the MBP is 2.3 vs MBA 1.6 for processing, but I only need for writing, cerfing the net, email ... not for editing imovie, music watching movies (rarely). Is the 2nd gen butterfly keyboard with the warranty fix now a better gamble on the MBP than the 2018 3rd gen MBA that isn't "under warranty?