MacBook Air vs rMBP?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by iFusionApple, Jun 27, 2013.

  1. iFusionApple macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2013
    Hi everyone. Since i started way too many posts i will just ask the questions which i still have HERE:

    2013 MBA 13":

    Gaming: i would probably choose these specs:
    - 1.7 GHZ Dual-Core i7
    - 8 GB RAM
    - 256 GB SSD

    Now, i know it can handle games in low settings such as Crysis 3. But will it handle Assassin's Creed? And i also heard that it drains battery life, the fans are very loud and it will get really hot.

    So do you recommend me buying that MBA if i do normal work on it, watch films and play occasionaly games?

    rMBP 13": This machine will be way better than the MBA, BUT it still has the old graphics, SSD's and Wifi technology and BATTERY LIFE.

    So, when do you think the 2013 model will come out? Within the next 2 months? If yes, i would consider in buying that model.

    But the graphics card (then the Haswell) will get used more intense due to the higher resolution. So how would games play on that? Let's say, dual-core i5 2.5 ghz and 8 gb ram.

    So really just these questions:

    Recommend gaming on 2013 13" MBA?
    Can it handle Assassin's Creed?

    Will the 2013 13" rMBP come out within the next 2 months?
    Will games still be playable ok even if it has higher screen resolution which meens the graphics card needs to work more than on the MBA?

    Which one of those two do you suggest?
    (13" rMBP or MBA)

    My use:
    - films
    - document work
    - emails, internet, facebook
    - occasional gaming (doesn't matter how hq, just that it WON'T ruin anything on the MacBook)
    - light photo work

    Thanks all guys, feel free to ask if needed!
    Thank you! :)
  2. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    I do not recommend gaming on the MBA(especially not the new one that is re-designed around a low power CPU).

    If you're playing games on a laptop then battery life is definitely going to be a concern since you're most likely going to have to have t plugged in the majority of the time.

    Get a refurb 15" and get your game one while saving money! This way you have the separate GPU with its own memory, superdrive for your own games that you shouldn't have to download or transfer via usb, larger screen real estate, higher capacity HDD.
  3. iFusionApple thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2013
    So you suggest me to buy a refurbished 2012 cMBP 15"?

    I feel it's a bit too heavy since i'm really looking for something portable. I also find either the 15" retina or the 15" cMBP the best, because of it's extra GPU. I wish the 13" rMBP would have a better GPU as standard, not just an Intel... :(

    And my budget is pretty big, but i don't really want to spend over 2000 if that's possible.

    Let's say, I play once to twice a week a game for around 1.5 hrs, then a rest. Will that drain my battery life or damadge anything over time in a 13" Air/Retina?

    When do you think the new rMBP will artive? :)
  4. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    Yes, I would recommend a refurb 15" cMBP.

    You can get a Mid-2012 2.3GHz Quad core i7 with 500GB HDD and NVidia GeForce GT 650M with 512MB memory for $1,449.

    You can even get a refurbished retina 15" with 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, and NVIDIA GeFroce GT 650m with 1GB memory for $1,599.

    Even with taxes and AppleCare, that should not cost you more than $2k.

    It's only an extra 1.5 lbs and if you're gaming, it's most likely not going to be on your lap and will be sitting on a table or a desk. PLUS, you could always decrease that weight yourself by replacing the HDD/SSD with a smaller size/weight one, removing superdrive as well. That should shave off maybe 6-7oz which should make it even more comparable.

    Gaming at all on the low-power CPU Haswell will drain the battery because even though it can utilize the turbo boost, that will instantly increase demand on the CPU and GPU to decrease battery life.

    It looks like the rMBPs are on a 6-8 month cycle, so I would guess August. And if you're looking for a Haswell rMBP, I would caution you against that because a retina MBP would require more power simply due to the retinaness of it and therefore would make the CPU use more power.
  5. iFusionApple thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2013

    Okay, thanks, i can understand you.
    The new graphics work fine on the air, but with a retina display it gets a bit more work to do ;-)

    Maybe you got this a bit wrong though, I would probably not play games that often, so personally i prefer a rMBP, but the cMBP is better to upgrade so it can last longer. And i have more freedom there. But i just don't have a use for superdrive for regular usage. If i do want to install games/software or watch DVD's i would buy an external superdrive, not a big deal for me because i don't need it with me all the time.

    So do you recommend me waiting for the new 15" rMBP or buy a refurbished cMBP or rMBP (both 15")?
  6. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    Well if you really won't need the superdrive and can deal with an external, then shave off a few ounces and get the refurb retina 15". I would just prefer to have options as far as HDD and SSD in the future, which is why I would recommend the cMBP.

    And I know retina is pretty awesome, but you have to consider other websites, apps, and other third-party things that are not retina-capable yet that will negatively affect your purchase. The cMBP display is still amazing in my opinion and I honestly have no need for retina clarity.
  7. iFusionApple thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2013
    I know, retina screen isnt everything ;)

    Most games (i assume) won't support that high resolution. I found a (not refurbished) rMBP 15" for 1050 franks. (Around the same in dollars)

    I put together a cMBP and it got more expensive, plus the screen isnt as brilliant.

    Do you think a rMBP is easy to service/uograde (except ram)? Or is a cMBP easier?
  8. JohnLelandM macrumors newbie

    Jun 27, 2013
    I was just in the same dilemma about 2 weeks ago. I just decided to order a maxed out Macbook Air a little over a week ago and i have had it for 4 days. The model that i chose was actually more expensive than the retina but i did get the 512 GB SSD. im a movie and show watcher and i HATE external storage. I was doing so much research and looking into it so much. I heard bad things about both, about the ghosting on the retinas, and the overheating on the macbook airs. And then there was the lagging on simple tasks with the retina and the lagging on major tasks with the macbook air. But i just decided to stop looking into it so much. And i must say, i am MORE than happy with my purchase. First off you say that you will be doing some gaming. While I don't have Assassins creed on my computer, I did do some gaming. When i first got this computer I downloaded Portal 2 from Steam, because i had played the first one and kind of sort of loved it. So i had heard all of these things online of people playing games on the macbook air 2012 models and the temperature reaching upward of 96 degrees Celsius after only 15 minutes or so of playing. So I downloaded iStat pro and a few other temperature apps to check my computer. Then i bumped up the resolution to the highest it could possibly go and i started playing. I played for a little over an hour and my temperature didn't even go above 36 degrees celsius, which isn't hot at all in my book. And there was no noticeable lag at all, maybe once it lagged for a split second but other than that. nothing. Ill probably download more games soon so i can let you know how it handles those. Maybe even assassins creed 3 since i have yet to play it. Now to the simple tasks. I can tell you right now that i have open 5 tabs in safari, a conversation going on in messages, my itunes is playing music and my brightness is at about 50%, and my battery is telling me that i have about 16 hours left. That is exceptionally great battery life. Definitely more than i truly need. While streaming HD episodes of Wilfred online it went down to about 9 hours which is still great. and then while playing games or encoding movies it would drop to anywhere from 3 hours to 7. but i keep it plugged in for that usually. All in all, the only reason i would recommend the macbook pro with retina over the 2013 macbook air would be if you REALLY need to drop the encoding times from 30 minutes to say 20 to 25 (but unless you do a lot or even do it at all that wont matter a bit. ) or if you REALLY just need to be able to put your face 3 inches from the screen and marvel over the fact that you cant see a single pixel. The display on this computer is gorgeous. Text is sharp, colors are just as deep as my brothers 2012 Macbook Pro non Retina (of course i have the samsung screen with mine but you can always calibrate the LG's or find a calibration setting online that works just as well). I would totally recommend you or anyone this computer. Im shocked by how well it works with more processor intensive tasks like gaming, encoding, or video editing. It works flawless with no lag whatsoever. Sorry this post is so long, it's my first post and I just wanted to share my experience over the past few days to help you reach a decision.
  9. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    the rMBP is difficult to service because it is similar to the MBA as far as soldering stuff to the board goes. You won't be able to upgrade the RAM because of this so it would be smart to get the max RAM when you purchase it. This is another reason why would go with the cMBP because OWC has confirmed that it can be maxed out to 16GB as opposed to the 8GB limit you will have with the rMBP.
  10. iFusionApple thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2013

    Yes i find that very annoying in the rMBP. But i could upgrade that to 16GB RAM on Apple, maybe i'll find it cheaper somewhere else.

    If i go for the cMBP i would take 4gb ram and upgrade myself to 16. it gets cheaper like that.

    So what can you upgrade in the Retina, and what in the Classic MBP?

    Does upgrading yourself do anything to the warranty?
  11. iFusionApple thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2013
    So, here are my questions again:

    1. RAM: In a 15" rMBP:

    How much RAM should i get (8 or 16).
    I will do normal school work on it, watch a few films and play occasionaly graphic intensive games. AND i don't exactly know what i am doing in the future as a job so it might be that i will once need the extra RAM. Maybe i will need to edit lots of photos/videos etc.

    2: UPGRADING: Does upgrading do anything to the warranty? And what can you upgrade in the cMBP and what in the rMBP?
  12. Serban Suspended

    Jan 8, 2013
    8 Ram but i wait for the retina MBP 13" ..lets hope for July-august
  13. iFusionApple thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2013
    I would also wait for the new 13" rMBP but i want the 15" because of the better processor and graphics. So i think the standard 15" version should be fine for me.
  14. Serban Suspended

    Jan 8, 2013
    i think the 13" retina will have HD5100 and the 15" HD4400+750M
  15. iFusionApple, Jun 28, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2013

    iFusionApple thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2013
    So do you recommend me waiting another month for the 15"? And will it cost alot more (basic config) than the 15" now?

    And how much better are these graphics cards?

    How will this affect the new battery life? I gues the 15" model around 10h...
  16. Serban Suspended

    Jan 8, 2013
    13" around 10h, 15" around 12h for sure because has a little bigger space. I recommend you should wait for the retina MBP upgrade...probably 1 or 2 months more
  17. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    get 16GB RAM

    Upgrading the HDD/SSD and RA does not void the warranty. removing the superdrive however, does.

    I think the standard version would be more than enough as well, and the separate GPU is a bonus.

    I don't recommend waiting because you don't know for sure that they're going to do more than a spec bump and there is no guarantee of an upgraded CPU anyway The next 15" will most likely cost the same as the ones released now but.

    The Graphics cards will probably be a little bit better, but not noticeably(in my opinion)
  18. Konrad9 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2012
    Why would you buy a Mac if your primary use is going to be gaming?

    Developing, writing, editing, just needing a computer.

    Literally anything and everything other than gaming I could recommend a Mac, but not for gaming.

    You're going to spend more and get less (in terms of gaming prowess) than you would if you bought a "PC" brand.

    These machines are simply not designed with gaming in mind, and you're going to have a lesser experience whilst paying a premium because of it.
  19. Serban Suspended

    Jan 8, 2013
    wait for the upgrade, even if its 13" or 15" retina.
    you will get battery battery life, that mean fewer recharge cycles so your battery will live longer. better or the future for the next 5-10 years wifi ac, better graphic card that will help you for your gaming casual, better PCIe,maybe a reduce of heat, lag issue free,and probably you will get Maveriks for free when released. So for the same money if you buy bow, you will loose everything above. Yes step by step if you take there are no big improvements BUT overall there will be a perfect laptop.
  20. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    The rMBP doesn't have an easily serviceable battery, while the cMBP does. So the life of the battery is important but replacing it along with the service fee will be ridiculous. I agree with the WiFi AC statement, but that will also depend on rapid adoption by everyone. Most likely, that adoption will be limited to major universities, airports, shopping centers, and "possibly electronics retail stores. But the 802.11ac at home will require a higher bandwidth package from ISP, and a new purchase of 802.11ac equipment to complement the lapop's capabilities. I'm not saying that's it's not worth it in the long run, but I would wait at least a year before buying 802.11ac equipment.

    To get Mavericks for free as an upgrade, why not wait a little bit longer as well and still get the refurb 15" model which will most likely be upgradeable to Mavericks for free?

    I never advise spending money on an incremental upgrade because those upgrades are barely noticeable and increases are negligible.


    the OP's primary use is going to be for everything else and gaming(although important) is not the primary reason as far as I can tell.

    I don't think Macs get enough credit for their gaming capabilities. This isn't the time period when gaming on Macs completely sucked anymore and gaming vendors and makers are making more and more games Mac compatible. And even if not, then get a high end Mac and put Windows on it through BootCamp and run the game there.

    It's true that they're not designed with gaming in mind, but the gaming capabilities are there and are being targeted more and more by developers.
  21. Serban Suspended

    Jan 8, 2013
    yes and for gaming a 750M or 760M will be more
  22. techwhiz macrumors 6502a

    Feb 22, 2010
    Northern Ca.
    The Air was an incremental upgrade that gave better battery and a slight drop in performance.

    The MBP will probably be the same.

    I just bought a refurbished 13" MBA with i7, 8GB RAM and 512GB of SSD for $1449. The new version of that MBA is $1849.

    Is better battery life on an already good machine worth the $400 premium? Not to me.

    You can figure a refurb Retina MBP is $2019 with i7, 8GB RAM and 512GB of SSD.
    A new identical machine is $2499.

    Unless I have a buddy at Apple willing to give me the $25% (once a year) discount on a machine, I opt for refurbs, without question.

    Save some money and you can't tell the difference. I typically don't need the fastest or the latest and greatest machine.
  23. iFusionApple thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2013
    As the other guys further down thought right, I don't intend to buy a mac for gaming, it's just that i don't know exactly what i will be doing in the future, so i rather get better processors, graphics, etc instead of a cheap version. And i could buy a standard windows pc, but no. I need to be portable and i prefer macs over pc's.

    And i'm no hardcore gamer with no RL, i haven't got a lot of experience and skill, but i still enjoy a round of Assassin's Creed on the weekend. ;-)

    Probably i will install windows though, for gaming. But i anyway don't have a lot of time to play games frequently, so i won't game every day.

    I'm just not so sure if i want to wait for the retina update. First of all, i need a notebook soon. That means within around 2 to 3 weeks. And until everyone has wifi ac standard, it will take time. And more battery life is nice. That is the main disadvantage. I'm not so sure if i can tell the difference between the (already very fast) SSD and the new PCIe. And i compared the GT650M with the GT750M. They are around one year apart, but idk any major differences, does anyone know some?

    I can find the 15" rMBP for around 400 less but new on some online shops in my country. So getting one cheaper than at apple online store prices isn't really an issue.


    Oh and about the battery in the retina MBP: Does that mean that it lasts less long than a cMBP, if you can't exchange the battery for cheap money? I hope i can get 4-6 years out of it though...

    I heard that if you upgrade to SSD and put more RAM in it, then the cMBP is like new, bad thing though that battery and RAM are soldered/glued on...

    I'm really again thinking of getting a cMBP, simply because of it's better functionality...
  24. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    If you need one soon then the first thing you need to do is come up with 3 options for laptop versions you like or are at least leaning toward and compare them on Apple's website to give you a better comparison. It seems to me that your preferences are as follows:

    13" MBA



    If I'm right about your preferences, then I think the 15" cMBP is the best option for the following reasons:

    1.) more easily removed and serviceable battery
    2.) user upgradeable/repairable RAM
    3.)user upgradeable HDD/SSD
    4.) It has the ethernet, TB, USB, FW, SD I/O ports and you shouldn't have to buy a single adapter to work with existing peripherals that you might have.
    5.) Superdrive for the rare times that you might find an awesome CD for a really cheap price, to watch your own movies that might also be cheaper, burn your own movies to the HDD, install applications that you would otherwise have to repurchase on the app store(iWork is an example that I deal with). I have the iWork DVD and will not pay for the one on the app store so I will always have to reinstall it using a superdrive or at least have a machine that has a superdrive to install on a new Mac.
    6.) The display is already awesome and the fact that retina quality is not a universally accepted/utilized standard, you won't be losing much by going with the regular display on a MBP.
    7.) larger storage capacity drives
    8.) additional GPU with its own memory for better graphics and gaming performance

    I'm sure I can think of other things but those are the ones that stand out to me right now. It's also what I would if I were in your position. I wish you luck with your decision and have fun with whatever machine you decide to purchase.
  25. iFusionApple thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2013

    Thanks! I might again check at an Apple Store to see how much heavier and thicker the cMBP is and how good the screen is. I know the facts, but i don't like to start a lot just based on facts.

    So either i will buy 15" rMBP or cMBP.

    And if i choose cMBP, should i buy extra RAM myself or already configure it at the Apple Store? It would get cheaper if i do it though.

Share This Page