MacBook Air (maxed out) vs rMBP (15-inch base model)

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by KimHansenDK, Jun 22, 2014.

  1. KimHansenDK macrumors 6502

    Jul 29, 2011
    I currently own the maxed out 13-inch MacBook Air from mid 2012 - and thinking of 'upgrading' to the 15-inch late 2013 rMBP (base model).

    I mainly use the machine for photoshop, illustrator and some light after effects - hooked up to a Thunderbolt display.

    Will there be any (noticable) difference in performance when using the above mentioned programs, if I were to switch to the 15-inch rMBP (base model)?

    I really love the the form factor of the Air. The retina screen is 'nice to have' but not that important to me the moment.

    What are your thoughts?
  2. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    If you have enough RAM, I'm doubting you will see the $1500 difference in upgrading. The new 13 Air I have seems to handle anything I throw at it, although I haven't tried Adobe stuff. I do recall the huge boost I got when I got my iMac four years ago after my MBP died, but it don't know how much of that was desktop parts vs, four years of advances. I'm guessing HandBrake and iMovie encodes will be slower due to a lower powered CPU, but at what rate? Do those apps take advantage of four cores?

    Also consider your battery life and weight. I cannot tell you how much lighter my MBA is than the Windows notebook I have. I don't think my iPad and MBA weigh as much as it did. I can now take a full computer anywhere with 10 hours of battery. The MBA isn't bad, but it's just not that light.
  3. Ronnoco macrumors 68030


    Oct 16, 2007
    United States of America
    My 2013 13" MBA Ultimate is the finest and fastest notebook I've ever owned (and I've owned a lot of them especially MacBook Pros and PowerBooks). The PCIe SSD is lightening fast and it's i7 processor handles everything I've thrown at it with ease (it blows away my 2010 MBP when using Handbrake or iVi). I've yet to hear the fans come on no matter how hard I push it and it is light as a feather. Just an outstanding notebook in every aspect IMO.
  4. 960design macrumors 68030

    Apr 17, 2012
    Destin, FL
    The MBA is pretty sweet. I just purchased ( 1 month ago ) a fully loaded MBA as I was trying to downsize from a MBP 15". I found that it was much snappier than I thought, but after a couple of weeks really missed the extra screen real estate. I purchased a fully loaded MBPr 15" last week to get my screen size back. I haven't received it yet, still shipping.
  5. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    Agree completely. This is pretty much my assessment, too. Last summer, to replace my ageing 2010 MBA, I bought a CTO (maxed out) 13" MBA, with a spec of 8 GB RAM, 512 SSD and i7.

    As Ronnoco has already said, this is a blazing fast, utterly stable and very powerful machine that can handle anything; it also has terrific battery life, and is extremely portable (a must for me, as I travel a lot and need a decent computer when I travel).

    Again, to concur with Ronnoco's post, this is an outstanding notebook, and it is easily the best computer I have ever had.
  6. KimHansenDK thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 29, 2011
    Well I already have the maxed out 2012 model, which is almost as fast as the new 2013/2014 model. But the question is; will the 15-inch rMBP (base model) from late 2013 be noticeably faster when using photoshop, illustrator and after effects (only light work) and benefit from the quadcore processor and the Iris Pro? Or might I just as well keep the Air a bit longer?
  7. jmoore5196 macrumors 6502a


    May 19, 2009
    Midwest US
    I think you'll notice a decent speed bump - slight but worthwhile - especially if you're running CS6 apps. The real limitation will be the lack of discrete graphics; if I were in your shoes, I think I'd either satisfy myself with the MBA for the present or move on up to the higher-end 15" MBP.

    I had a maxed-out 2011 QC 15" i7 MBP and upgraded to a maxed-out 13" retina. The new 13" is slightly slower than the MBP and feels about as responsive as my '13 MBA.

    Let us know what you decide!
  8. KimHansenDK thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 29, 2011
    I run the CC version of those apps, and Photoshop supports OpenGL on the Intel 4000 HD. I don't care about the fancy stuff like animated zoom and so on, but if the general performance when drawing, moving and editing things are noticeably faster I would consider moving on to the 15-inch base model.

    Right now I am leaning towards keeping the Air for another year unless someone has been designing for web/apps on both and can tell if there is a real difference.
  9. HarryWarden macrumors 6502a

    Oct 27, 2012
    So your 2013 computer is slower than your 2011 one and both are maxed out. That seems wrong to be happening.
  10. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    Id go for the air.
    1. You are using an external display at home.
    2. Its light for the road.
    3. The cpu will hardly make a difference with your use.
  11. KimHansenDK thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 29, 2011
    I think that I will keep the Air for another year - and wait for a new model to be released.

  12. jmoore5196 macrumors 6502a


    May 19, 2009
    Midwest US
    The 2011 MBP Geekbenches 9900; the 2013 rMBP Geekbenches 9200. It's not much, and it's a worthwhile trade off for the portability alone.
  13. CaptRB macrumors 6502a


    Oct 11, 2016
    LA, California
    I own a maxed out 2014 Air along with the new touchbar 13" and 15" models.

    If you're going to move up for any photography stuff, I'd suggest a base touchbar 13 or 15". They are pretty much ideal. I'm running PS and LR. Cameras are Nikon D500 and D810.

  14. Tech198 macrumors G5

    Mar 21, 2011
    Australia, Perth
    Once you go Retina, all non-Retina screens look washed out regardless of brightness setting.. Performance wise, i found each to be just as powerful.. The i7 MBA custom-build i bought was equal to my 2.2Gig i5 Retina... The Turbo boast up to the same speed anyway on both. But i couldn't get used to non-Retiina washy screens anymore... so i kept my Retina and sold my Air. Retina screens are just more sharper.

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