Macbook Air with 8 GB RAM vs Base Macbook Pro with Retina?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by GreyMatter22, Feb 27, 2014.

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  1. GreyMatter22 macrumors newbie

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    Feb 18, 2014
    #1
    I was initially thinking of getting the Macbook Pro without the retina, as the 128 SSD is too low even with it's benefits, but I think I'll go with it, and just buy an external hard drive later on.

    My question is which one is better when it comes to performance, I may also run Civilization 5 on it, and would also like to see it's overall features considering if I buy the 8 Gig RAM MBA or just the base [4 Gig] rMBP?

    Is the MBA with the 8 Gig RAM better than the base rMBP? Might be a silly question but I'd like to know.

    Also another silly-ish question, since the 128 SSD is just too low, and upgrading the solid state is pretty pricey, is it convenient to get an external hard drive later on in order to manage space well?

    I'll also use to do lots of student work, downloading a ton of TV shows/Movies, browsing multiple tabs, applications and all that.

    Thanks.
     
  2. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

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    #2
    SSD is not a mass storage device unlike an HDD. SSD makes your apps opening and loading files faster, so I would call it a "work secondary memory" while an external storage is a "long term secondary memory".

    I would stay away from anything less than 256GB of SSD and 8GB of RAM. 4GB is granpa's RAM. Anyone younger has bigger memory needs, so I would start from 8GB.

    Retina display has its own issues. Some people don't care, some do. If color uniformity is important to you or you can't live with image retention, stay away from rMBPs or at least be prepared for asking Apple for replacements and returns.
     
  3. AnorexicPig macrumors 6502

    AnorexicPig

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    #3
    Neither me nor any of my friends have had any issues with rMBP screen, and it is way better than my 2012 MBA's so called 'samsung' screen ! But then again, we enjoy our devices and don't go looking for problems.

    ----------

    With regards to your question, 4GB RAM is definately adequate, people talk here about future proofing and stuff, but you will do fine and so is 128GB SSD.
     
  4. dirtnnasty macrumors member

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    Dec 16, 2013
    #4
    ... i have no display issue too.

    in worst case you can buy a sd-card like nifty drive... Sandisk introduced the 128Gig microSD version yesterday
     
  5. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

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    #5
    And what to do if the problem go looking for you? This is the case when you see an uneven yellowish glow in the middle of rMBP's screen.
     
  6. Count Blah macrumors 68030

    Count Blah

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    #6
    so your advice to someone who downloads tons of movies and TV shows, is to get a 128Gig SSD?

    Sorry OP, but this is not sound advice.
     
  7. OldMacUser macrumors member

    OldMacUser

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    #7
    It's advice and you make of it what you will.

    For example, I lived with a 128GB SSD (back when they were horrid expensive) and downloaded many .. errmm .. Linux ISOs.

    Since downloading was done when the MBP was hooked up to power and the Ethernet network, it was a simple matter to divert all downloads to an external drive - most applications will allow you to set the temporary and final destination for the files to different folders/drives.

    After that, a simple matter to copy over the .. eerrmm .. Linux ISO that I wanted to try out to the internal SSD, and to remove it after.

    FWIW, I was using a FW800 external drive thus it took only a few minutes to copy multi-gigabyte ISOs to/from the internal.
     
  8. Count Blah macrumors 68030

    Count Blah

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    #8
    Yes, if you enjoy micromanaging an 8Gig iPod touch/iphone, with a 50 gig music collection, then you'll love a 128gig SSD.
     
  9. OldMacUser macrumors member

    OldMacUser

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    #9
    Yup, been there ...

    ... done that ...

    ... and bought the t-shirt.

    :)

    Anyway, just giving additional food for thought and to each their own. Even though I now have an internal 512GB SSD (with 370GB free), I am still quite wary of loading everything onto the SSD and still maintain large downloads onto externals.
     
  10. AnorexicPig macrumors 6502

    AnorexicPig

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    #10
    Yes it is, if he downloads tons of movies and tv shows, his best bet is to keep those movies in an external hard drive, 1TB USB 3.0 hard drives are just perfect for these purposes. And it is an 'advice', not meant for you, you have no reason to agree.

    ----------

    Sorry I don't see it on mine, and 4 other rMBPs I specifically looked at after your comment.
     
  11. KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020

    KUguardgrl13

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    #11
    Since you say you'll be doing student work, I assume you qualify for the student education discount?

    If so, take a serious look at the "midrange" rMBP with 8gb RAM and the 256gb SSD. I've had mine since release and have been very happy. The display is perfect and looks richer and less washed out than my old 09 MBP. No IR, no backlight bleeding, no returns to Apple. There ARE good machines out there. Don't let the Debbie Downers on this forum get you down ;)

    8gb of RAM is not only recommended for future use, but it also seems to help machines run better on Mavericks. The way the OS uses RAM, it's seems to be "the more, the better."

    The 256gb SSD will certainly be able to support a sizeable media collection and school work better than the 128, but you'll still want an external drive. I find it's easier to have my movies on an external and my music on the internal.

    This machine also tends to be recommended because it has better specs for a very good price. If you can afford the upgrade, do it.

    That said, the MBA isn't a bad machine. It's just hard to go non-retina once you've seen it and gotten used to it ;). It does have slightly lower graphics, so take that into consideration. Both of these models have Intel integrated graphics.
     
  12. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    Boston
    #12
    The rMBP is a superior machine over the MBA but if you're comparing a 4GB equipped MBP to an 8GB, you may find the MBA to run certain tasks faster.

    As for the storage, I think 128GB is too constraining, at least for my needs. I use an external disk for my 256GB SSD but all of my day to day stuff fits on my internal drive.

    It sounds like you're cutting too many corners to afford a laptop and that will in the long run hamper your usage and enjoyment. I'd say wait until you can afford the configuration that best fits your needs.
     
  13. mcarling macrumors 65816

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    #13
    I love my Retina display. I would never go back.
     
  14. Baunkjaer macrumors 6502

    Baunkjaer

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    #14
    I totally agree with you.
     
  15. episcientist, Mar 1, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2014

    episcientist macrumors newbie

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    Feb 11, 2014
    #15
    After two weeks of using the base Retina MBP (4GB RAM, 128GB SSD) I exchanged it for the mid-range model (8GB RAM, 256GB SSD). Being on a tight budget myself, I thought I could get away with just the base specs but realized there is not enough RAM for multitasking. With Mavericks and a few apps running (Chrome, Mail, iTunes, Pages) nearly all 4GB are used and there is even some swapping to the SSD. I can only imagine this will get worse over time with successive OS updates. Now that I think about it, $200 is a fair price to pay for doubling the specs. It would cost about as much to do the upgrade yourself if that were possible.

    Edit: IMO go with 8GB RAM regardless of which laptop you choose. I love the Retina display and think the extra cost is well worth it for something I use several hours each day.
     
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