MacBook Air vs. Non-Retina MacBook Pro?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by antipode, Jun 15, 2013.

  1. antipode macrumors newbie

    Jul 6, 2008
    It's time. The 2006 white Macbook needs to be put down.

    I'm a teacher, so I mostly use the computer for documents, web browsing, email, netflix, some light photo display and editing, and itunes. No gaming.

    It won't travel very much.
    It can be plugged in frequently.

    So here's the match-up:

    A) Newly announced 13" Macbook Air ($1050 edu. price)
    - 1.3 Ghz i5 dual-core
    - 4 GB *soldered* RAM
    - 128 GB *soldered* Solid State HD
    - 12 hour battery

    B) Non-retina 13" Macbook Pro ($999 edu. price)
    - 2.5 Ghz i5 dual core
    - 4 GB *upgradable* RAM
    - 500 GB *removable* platter HD (*strongly* considering +$200 for 128 SS HD upgrade)
    - 7 hour battery

    - Looking to make it last a few (3-4) years
    - Solid State HD is nice for speed and durability (I'm a jostler)
    - Looking to migrate files to cloud storage (already using External Drive)
    - Am fearful of Macbook Pro Buyer's Remorse if new one comes out in ~4 months (I need something now)

    Any thoughts out there?
  2. Neeyul, Jun 15, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2013

    Neeyul macrumors member

    Jun 13, 2013
    As a fellow teacher, I'd suggest getting the Air and just enjoy it! :) You'll get a happy 3-4 years out of it.
  3. RAPTORSKI macrumors regular


    Jan 24, 2013
    British Columbia
    If you do need MAJOR power I do not see why you would need a Macbook Pro. It's weight and bulk will just slow you down. Get yourself an Air, I am sure you won't regret it. :)
  4. antipode thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 6, 2008
    OK, but I don't travel much wit h my current computer. Just move about the house...
  5. lixuelai macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2008
    I would get the MBP if you use it with an external monitor most of the time and the MBA if you do not. The MBP will last longer in terms of specs and upgradability. The main downside is the resolution (in a stationary environment).
  6. filmbuff macrumors 6502a


    Jan 5, 2011
    Apple has positioned the Macbook Air as their every day consumer laptop. I'm not sure why they are still keeping the non-retina MBP around, but it is an old design with outdated technology. The only reasons to buy one are if you really need lots of internal storage but can't afford a 512gb SSD, or if you need an internal DVD drive (for some reason). The MBA has more than enough power for what you do, better battery life, a better screen, easier to carry around, you get the picture. If you can afford it get the 8gb RAM upgrade, that will help it last longer since the RAM is soldered to the board.

    I think the SSD is actually user replaceable (not soldered) but no aftermarket SSDs are available for it yet.

    Final point - if you pay to upgrade the MBP to a solid state drive, it will be a lot faster but not nearly as fast as the drive in the MBA. The MBA should be able to read files 2-4 times faster which is helpful for loading large documents and programs.
  7. lixuelai macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2008
    You are not going to notice the SSD improvement (assuming you put in a decent SATA3 SSD in the MBP) in the MBA unless you run benchmarks for a living.
  8. antipode thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 6, 2008
    How is it outdated compared to the r-MBP? (Aside, obviously from the screen?)

    How is that true? If they both are SSD, but the Pro has a faster processor... how can the Air be faster?
  9. lixuelai macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2008
    The Air has a faster SSD. A good SATA3 SSD reads/writes at about 500MB/s. The Air's SSD is like 800MB/s. In reality though the difference won't be noticeable. In fact you won't notice anything after you hit SATA2 speeds 250MB/s. There are a lot of reviews on this but the gist is that the main benefit from SSD is the seek times.

    Btw I have both the new MBA13 and a uMBP (2012) among others. For your usage the only reason to get the MBA is for the resolution (which is a pretty good reason tbh).
  10. Neeyul macrumors member

    Jun 13, 2013
    Absolutely! Since you mentioned using cloud storage, the disk on the Air is more than adequate space-wise and, more importantly, substantially quicker than on the Pro - even if you were to replace it with an aftermarket SSD.

    Moving around the house, you will want more battery life years from now when the overall capacity decreases. If I'm out grading on my deck for several hours while music is streaming, entering stuff on class management software, and emailing drafts and comments to students, I'd love to have that Haswell Air's battery life. And if I take a gaming break, I want to know it wont just drain and make me go inside to plug in. Also if you're carrying around several things, the Air will just slip right in and let you carry more folders, an extra binder or book, etc.
  11. DisplacedMic macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2009
    My kids' teachers use macbooks - one has a huge "clunker" and the other has the air. The reasoning for the one with the Air is obvious, so I asked the one with the clunker and her reasoning was that for all of those same reasons, the Air is much more likely to vanish.

    Either way make sure you get education pricing!
    good luck
  12. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Jul 16, 2002
    Air. You may not value the weight right now b/c you have a MB, but once you have a modern lighter weight computer you won't be able to go back.

    The retina is nice. If you feel afraid of buyer's remorse then hold off another couple of months. You'd waited this long to upgrade another couple of months won't kill you unless the '06 is completely unusable. Then you really have no option so should feel remorseful.

    But you could always buy the Air now and sell in a couple of months if you do decide you like the Retina. Macs have amazing resale so you probably wouldn't lose more than $150 if you put it on Craigslist. Since you keep your machines for a while, $150 amortized over 4-6 years is a small price to pay for an upgraded screen.

    RAM and storage are soldered on the MBA & rMBP but again not huge issue in real life, just theoretical since we are use to user upgrades. Get 8GB RAM. That is a must if you are keeping for 4-6 years. Storage isn't a huge issue though w/ the cloud and external storage. I have a 256GB rMBP and with my new storage management protocols I'm only using 60GBs. 128GB is manageable in this era.
  13. tann macrumors 68000

    Apr 15, 2010
    Nottingham, England
    Would say 13" MBA. If you can get the 8gb upgraded ram.
  14. kahkityoong macrumors 6502


    Jan 31, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Any of the base model MBAs will be fine for your needs. The lightness of the MBA makes it a real pleasure to use over the clunky MBP. You could get a refurbed 2012 MBA; don't know if these have education discount though.
  15. NameUndecided macrumors 6502a

    Mar 28, 2011
    Curious why you think 8gb of ram is worthwhile for the relatively-light amount of use original poster described.

    I don't have the knowledge or experience to know how impactful that double the ram could be and I'm looking around at options myself.
  16. tann macrumors 68000

    Apr 15, 2010
    Nottingham, England
    For a non-user upgradeable machine bought in 2013 and hoping to last for 4+ years I'd say it's a good investment.

    Future OS upgrades and application updates might run a lot better with the extra ram available.

    For what OP does at the moment 4 would be enough, but who knows where they'll be in 2-3 years. I just think it's good to put it in now, so you hopefully won't have to worry about it after a few years. I believe some of the other people in this thread have also suggested this upgrade.
  17. NameUndecided macrumors 6502a

    Mar 28, 2011
    Thanks. It all makes enough sense. I also just saw this thread about the whole subject just after posting my post. So, carry on then. ;)
  18. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    Since it sounds like portability and battery life aren't a big deal to you, I think the main considering will be the screen.

    You should really try to compare them in person at a store to see which one you like.

    The 13" MBP has a lower resolution 1280x800 screen, but it has better viewing angles and better colors.

    The 13" Air has a higher resolution 1440x900 screen, but worse colors and viewing angles.

    It's really a matter of personal preference.

    If you do go with the 13" MBP, definitely upgrade to an SSD. This is something you can do yourself if you're comfortable with it, and it will make a big difference in how fast the computer feels in daily usage.

    I wouldn't worry too much about buyer's remorse, it's likely that the non-retina Macbook Pro will not be upgraded again in the future, and you're getting a pretty decent discount on it already.
  19. james1758 macrumors regular


    May 26, 2013
    I'd say for your usage definitely a macbook air (my Dads a teacher and its what he has as well)

    As far as upgrades go...
    - ALWAYS upgrade to 8gb RAM
    - Recommended upgrade to 256gb ssd
    - Depending on your usage upgrade to i7

    But with your usage I wouldn't bother with i7, just stick with i5.
  20. bp1000 macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2011
    I was in an apple store today and I forgot just how big and heavy the non retina 13" MBP really is.

    I considered a retina 13" mbp but after seeing it again I will be getting the new air to replace my 2011 air.

    Can't beat how light and thin it is and excellent battery life.

    i5 with 8gb and 256gb ssd is unbeatable. More than enough power for most people.
  21. FuNGi macrumors 65816


    Feb 26, 2010
    I would get a new MBA if a) you're set on a new machine, and b) set on 13" screen. You could also consider a refurb 2011/12 15" MPB with a high res screen since you a) don't need to be mobile, and b) watch movies on the thing. Just another suggestion.

Share This Page