Macbook Air or Retina Macbook Pro

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by cosceshnabosh, Sep 23, 2013.

  1. cosceshnabosh macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2013
    #1
    Im having trouble choosing between buying a 13 inch Macbook Air or waiting for the new line of Macbook Pro's to come out. I have a budget of around $1500. Im a college student, and I would bring my mac to class, so portability is important. On the flip-side, the new RMBP shouldn't be much heavier and is supposed to be a much more powerful laptop.

    Im just looking for some second opinions on what I should do? Im in no rush and can easily wait for the new RMBP to come out. I don't use any crazy programs, just simple things such as surfing the web, listening to music, watching movies etc... One thing I do want is for the laptop to last. My old macbook pro developed some internal damage due to excess use (3-5 hrs a day). Any suggestions to what internal upgrades I should consider as well?


    Thanks
     
  2. BayouTiger macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Location:
    New Orleans
    #2
    The 15" retina is hugely more powerful with a quad core, discrete graphics and 16GB available, but on the 13" the difference in performance is pretty slight. The only reason to get the 13" Pro is the display and I would be much more comfortable with the newer 5000 series graphics slinging that many pixels around.

    At this point I would grab the Air and run. I traded my Air for a 15" and while I love the power, I really miss the portability.
     
  3. cosceshnabosh thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 23, 2013
    #3
    Do you think the Macbook Air can handle a few year worth of use? Also, do you think 256GB of Flash Storage is enough for a frequent user?
     
  4. BayouTiger macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Location:
    New Orleans
    #4
    I had a 2011 Air and upgraded to the 2012 as an impulse thinking it would be faster and I would use USB3, but since I already had a couple Thunderbolt drives. I didn't find it much of an upgrade so I sold the 2012 and kept the older unit. I did get a 15" but only because I run CAD and I use windows in a VM a lot and needed more ram. I just sold the 2011 last month.

    I would easily expect to get a few years out of any computer today as the days of huge upgrades seem to be over and everything is very incremental. I don't find the newest computers that much more capable than the ones of a couple years ago. For casual use anyway.

    256 is Ok if you don't keep a lot of media on the laptop. I keep all my music and movies on an external drive so they are portable. and use iTunes Match and MOG on my laptop. All my data is on Dropbox and I can sync it as I please between computers.
     
  5. lcseds macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2006
    Location:
    NC, USA
    #5
    There is a lot of hype about the Retina. And they are very nice. But I don't know why so many think that displays other than retina are crap. I have a 2011 13" MBA. With the colors calibrated a bit, it looks great. Viewing angles have to be managed, but it's sharp and rich. I bought a rMBP 13" based on the hype. I ended up returning it and kept using the MBA. I would prefer the 8GB memory ones that are out now though compared to my 4GB. For your uses, you can't go wrong with either for sure. Can you get to a retailer that has both? I realize the rMBP would not be the Haswell, but it's the display you want to judge first, not the chip set.
     
  6. Liquinn Suspended

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    #6
    I own a 13" cMBP and a 15" rMBP. I'd get both. :)
     
  7. BayouTiger macrumors regular

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    Jul 24, 2008
    Location:
    New Orleans
    #7
    Yep, but the Air has a better screen that the non-Retina Pro at least to my taste, but the Retina screen is da shizzle!
     
  8. cosceshnabosh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2013
    #8
    The display of the macbook isn't such a deciding factor. It's basically between power vs. portability.

    Is the Air powerful enough to solve all my needs as a college student?

    I've seen articles saying that Apple is releasing a lighter rMBP on October 15th, so should I just wait for that?
     
  9. MeUnix macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2013
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #9
    From what you described your uses would be with the laptop, a MacBook Air would be plenty powerful for you. Along with the power, you'd have the portability that comes with the MBA. If you're concerned about 256gb not being enough storage you can always get a portable hard drive to store your media on.

    As far as the MacBook Air lasting you a few years, I'd say it definitely would. I'm a developer and I have 2 Aluminum MacBook's from Late '08. The only thing I have replaced is the hard drive in one (to a SSD) and the batteries in both of them. I'm on my computer probably 10-12 hours a day as well, but then again technology isn't perfect and this is just my experience.

    Also, with a SSD drive I would recommend getting an external hard drive (portable) to do a Time Machine backup on just incase the SSD malfunctions, though not likely to happen.

    Hope this helps
    - Kyle
     
  10. roland.g macrumors 603

    roland.g

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    Apr 11, 2005
    Location:
    One mile up and soaring
    #10
    I got a 2012 13" Air in June when they released the 15" retina. I ordered it with 8GB RAM and otherwise the stock lower end 13" on an edu discount as I had just started back to grad school for my Masters. If the 13" Retina had been out I would have for both the display and power. Especially since it weighs only .6 lbs more than the Air.

    I would wait and get the new 13" Retina when the spec bump comes out.
     
  11. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #11
    My opinions only. NOTE - I have a 2013 MBA 13" 8GB/i7/256GB

    You've never indicated what kind of college student you are. Are you using engineering software, simulators, video editing, etc.? Or are you using Word and Excel?

    The MBA could easily handle Word and Excel, but using anything super resource intensive might prove futile. But then you could use the computers at your university if you need the horsepower. If you're just taking notes and stuff, any recent vintage laptop will do, even Windows.

    As far as the choice between MBA and MBPr, I prefer the smaller/lighter package of the MBA. Not sure if the upcoming 13" MBPr will have the same form factor as last years, but if it does, I'd stick with the MBA. The 13MBPr doesn't (and probably) won't have discrete graphics, so there won't be much benefit. I suspect the MBPr might get an option for a quad-core i7, which would be a pretty big upgrade from either MBA's.

    You asked a question about whether the 256GB is limiting. Yes it is. But I have a pretty big iPhoto library and my iTunes library is decent as well. I had to move my iMovie stuff to an external drive. But I figure in a couple of years, OWC will have produced a replacement SSD module for the 2013 Airs. And in the meantime, you can buy a NiftyDrive and a 64GB microSD card to get additional space.
     
  12. Tfb macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    #12
    My hope is that the next 13" retina MBP will replace the 13" MBA. The difference in weight is currently .5 pounds. I can't be the only person who would love the portability of an MBA with a retina screen. It would be gutsy of Apple to cannibalize its own product line like that but they've done before.

    Which leaves me the quandary of what to buy now, due to a tragic laptop loss, to get me through until the next generation is announced. I hate this indecision.

    That said, I do think that that 13" MBA i7/8/256 that I am currently trying out would be *fine* for at least three years if not more. The retina would just be leaps and bounds better.
     
  13. troy14 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2008
    Location:
    Las Vegas (Summerlin), NV
    #13
    I had tried the 11 MBA, 13 MBA, then bought the 13in rMBP. The 13 MBA keys felt shallow, I wasn't a huge fan of the tapering design (the rMBP is just plain THIN/light/sturdy).

    I honestly feel as if the 13 rMBP is as thin/light as the 13 MBA because of the fact it doesn't taper. I would/did pick the 13 rMBP over the MBA any day. You are getting a much better machine with an awesome display and it doesn't feel any heavier.

    Plus with the new haswell processors in the rMBP, they should be awesome. Check your local best buy for open box specials, I got a KILLER deal on mine. $1080 + tax.
     
  14. Black.Infinity macrumors 6502

    Black.Infinity

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    Apr 17, 2010
    Location:
    Apple tree-Toronto
    #14
    One thing to consider is that retina 13 same as 15 has two fans compare to air that has only one fan. And also retina have new fans and vents on both side.
     
  15. Tfb macrumors member

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    Jul 9, 2012
    #15
    Does this just mean it runs cooler, or does it also mean it runs louder?
     
  16. Black.Infinity macrumors 6502

    Black.Infinity

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2010
    Location:
    Apple tree-Toronto
    #16


    I had a chance to compare my 2011 15MBP Quad Core with 2011 MBA. During youtube and handbrake MBA cpu reached to 107C while my MBP Quad core cpu reached 86C.

    As you know apple changed the fan design on retina models and they run even more quietly.

    My 2011 MPB fans even with old fan design, do not run loud.
     
  17. Eyden macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2013
    #17
    I would like to pick up the Air. Portable is comfortable. :)
     
  18. iAppl3Fan macrumors 6502a

    iAppl3Fan

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    #18
    i have both. for your needs, get the air.
     

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