Macbook Air vs Macbook 13.3 Retina (for my use case)

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Ncage1974, Mar 2, 2013.

  1. Ncage1974 macrumors member

    Sep 25, 2012
    Ok yes i know there are a ton of threads 4 MA vs rMP but, in general, people don't really state their use cases. I would consider my use cases, while not out of the normal, are not the normal for the general person. So...

    What i won't be doing:
    1. Gaming
    2. Video Editing
    3. Photography

    What i will be doing:
    1. Programming (main reason i'm buying it) - Which will include Rails, git, Javascript, TextMate, ect....
    2. Bookcamp - Running Windows &/or ubuntu if its possible.
    3. Parallels - Running Windows
    4. General Web Browsing

    What my influence the decision is incident of defects because i plan to buy a used a slightly used machine. Probably buy a Like New amazon warehouse deal or a reputable ebay seller. Maybe the air is a safer choice if getting a slightly used machine? Now that being said it seems like the air and rMP have the same processor, and video card. I i buy the air it will be with 8GB of ram.

    I'd like to wait until haswell is released but i'd really like to have something now and with the high resale of mac stuff i shouldn't be out that much if i upgrade at that time.

    I'll probably be asking quite a few questions on here since this will be my first MAC :p. I'm be switching from my massive dell xps 17 with win 8.

    Anyways any advice would be appreciated.
  2. theuserjohnny macrumors 6502

    Jul 7, 2012
  3. Grmnracing macrumors regular

    Nov 19, 2011
    MacBook Air, I have a MacBook Pro retina and love it. But for what you listed above the air would be perfect for you. And the wedge shape would be better for typing. Easier on your wrists IMO.
  4. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    The funny thing is you didn't really state your use case either.

    The trade off between an Air and a rMBP is portability vs. capability with cost and expected years of use as added dimensions. You haven't said if this machine is going to sit on your desk 99% of the time or if you're a frequent flyer. If you're super mobile, then the Air is a no brainer. If you spend a lot of time working a desk job, then the rMBP is probably a better choice. It also sounds like budget is a concern, in which case the Air is a hands-down winner. However if you want a machine that's going to last you a few years vs one that's going to get replaced every year, the rMBP is probably a better long term investment. In the end, the software you expect to run is probably the LEAST important factor in this decision. :)
  5. Applefanboy8153 macrumors regular

    Sep 3, 2012
    The rMBP is meant for video editing and photo editing on the go, however if you prefer to have a powerful machine that is future proof for another 3 years then go for the rmbp. I use my rmbp 13 for:
    1. School
    2. Photo editing
    3. Video editing.
    The MacBook air might not be future proof but it still packs a punch and is more economical, the mba is also more comfy for typing!


    You might also want to consider upgrading to 500GB SSD as parallels just cannot run with 128GB and you may feel cramped with 256GB. Considering the cost involve might want to take a look in upgrading to 500GB, you might want to take a look at cMBP 13 which is ultra portable.:apple:


    Also you may want to take a look at Apple's refurb store.

    You have to be quick once you see something that you like on this store as they are snapped within hours. Benefits of purchasing from this store are:
    1. Apple warranty for 1 year
    2. All parts are checked for defects and replaced
    3. New Logic board, and casing
    4. AppleCare is available.

    So you technically get an almost new mac for about 200$ to 300$ lesser.
  6. Sean76 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 10, 2013

    I beg to differ,,,I have 13 inch rMBP with 128GB and it runs Parallels just fine without a hitch! It also ran great on my Air which was also only 128GB.
  7. Applefanboy8153 macrumors regular

    Sep 3, 2012
    Well in my experience, i could not make do without 2 external HDDs and a SD card. I do use a lot of space for pics and movies as i am studying photography.
  8. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    You will appreciate the extra screen estate of the rMBP, but you will also like the better quality screen. I have a 13" MBA and a 15" rMBP. It's actually painful to use the MBA after using the rMBP. The colours look washed out and text looks many, many times worse on a MBA. I wish they would upgrade the MBA's screen. Never mind the higher resolutions - just upgrade it to a nicer panel, like on the classic MBP. As much as I love the portability of my MBA, it has hardly had any use because I prefer working on the rMBP.
  9. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    You'll probably still be out a few hundred dollars, since the Airs and rMBPs tend to drop faster than other Macs. I'm guessing the Air would drop less than the rMBP, since there's a greater possibility that the rMBP will see another price drop (if Apple decides to drop the cMBP and make the rMBP the only MacBook Pro).
  10. chrisrosemusic1 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 31, 2012
    Northamptonshire, England
    I had to toss up this decision too but a refurbished 13" rMBP came on to the store for the same price as the Air + 8GB so it was a no brainer.

    The form factor and build quality is fantastic and it is so light for a full use computer.

    The screen knocks spots off of anything I've used before - I just want some of my 3rd party apps to support retina as they look grainy atm.

    All in all it's a solid and up to date PC that outperforms anything else I've used.

    I'd go for the rMBP every time now.

    I mainly use it for browsing, movies etc and music production in Ableton Live. The i5 does all I need and I've come from an i7 2.8 prior to this machine.
  11. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    I find a 13" screen a little small for programming work. My old work laptop was a Lenovo 14" but I used 2 19" monitors at work. Trying to do stuff at home when I was on-call was a pain. I couldn't get everything on the screen I wanted.

    In terms of power, either one of your choices will do. If you're going to run multiple VMs 128 on the disk will be tight. Go for at least the 256.
  12. KylePowers macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2011
    If you're going to be programming, you want more screen real estate. Get the 13in rMBP because you can scale the resolution to 1680x1050, which is greater than the 13in MBA's resolution of 1400x900. The additional horizontal pixels will let you more easily have windows side-by-side and the additional vertical pixels will let you see more lines of code. It's a win-win and should not be overlooked.

    EDIT - And don't worry about virtualizing. I virtualize Windows 7 on my 2011 MBA (i5/4GB/128GB) using VirtualBox (free) and it works flawlessly (I'm an EE student, so I run things like LTSpice, MATLAB, PCSPIM, Microsoft Office, etc). So a 2012 MBA/rMBP would handle it just fine.

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