Maxed Out rMBP 13" or Maxed Out MBA 13"?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by ShiggyMiyamoto, May 2, 2014.

  1. ShiggyMiyamoto macrumors 6502a

    ShiggyMiyamoto

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2004
    Location:
    Just outside Boston, MA.
    #1
    Hey all... I know this kind of thread has basically been beaten to death, to the ground etc at this point, but I need some advice and input. I had a 2007 MacBook (specs in signature listed as deceased) and it served my needs very well until its final days. Its screen started giving me issues, and then finally it totally gave out. I think its backlight lamp or w/e blew, and I didn't want to spend money on a 6+ year old laptop at that point.

    I'm on the market for a new laptop, and I've been looking at both sides, mainly to see what was available. So just to not have any fanboy comments, I am a technology enthusiast... I have a custom PC (listed in sig). I've been a Mac user since 1988....

    Anyway, here's what I used my now-dead MacBook for:

    -- General usage (web browsing etc)

    -- Media consumption (video playback on YouTube and otherwise)

    -- Some video editing in Adobe Premiere Pro (albeit render times were horrendously slow due to the GMA X3100 in that year model MacBook) with some light Photoshop for my titles for my videos. I've lost touch with Premiere's built-in titling.... Making a layered PSD and then bringing it into Premiere is so easy and awesome.

    So, with my usage patterns started up above, which of the two 13" laptops would you guys think would suit me the best? I'm willing to spend upwards of and/or up to $2k given I'd want either a 13" rMBP totally maxed out or a 13" MacBook Air in the same fashion.

    I've been thinking that since I have a super capable custom machine that I'm posting from now I don't need such a powerful machine when on the go, but I'd want it to be powerful enough to do stuff at least capably for what it can do.... if that makes sense.

    I've also been playing with the idea of getting a super powerful laptop (a nicely spec'd 15" rMBP), but I travel 3-4 times a year across the country for mini-vacations and I wouldn't really have the opportunity to utilize its power... The only thing it'd be good for really would be longevity... Okay, not the ONLY thing, but my point still stands.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Macforcollege macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2013
    #2
    Personally It comes down to a few things. If you want more battery life and a lighter machine go with the air. If you want a beautiful retina screen go with the retina. Of course the retina will be more powerful, but the air should be more than enough for your use. You have that great rig already at home for the heavy duty stuff. I would personally go with the air if I was you. I would have gotten one myself instead of my 15' Retina, but I am in college and do not have space for a desktop. These are just my opinions, but I hope it helps!
     
  3. ShiggyMiyamoto, May 2, 2014
    Last edited: May 2, 2014

    ShiggyMiyamoto thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ShiggyMiyamoto

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2004
    Location:
    Just outside Boston, MA.
    #3
    I appreciate the input! I am leaning towards an MBA, but the Iris Graphics chipset in the 13" rMBP I've read is super capable, even more so than the HD series it's replacing. Here's another concern/question. Given I'd want it maxed out, the i7 BTO/CTO for each is dual core, with HT (hyperthreading) right? I just want to be sure of that before I make the investment, when I can, as I cannot right now.

    EDIT: I just priced out what each maxed out machine would cost:

    MacBook Air 13" Maxed out: (with tax) $1,858.31
    Retina MacBook Pro 13" Maxed out: (with tax) $2,867.69

    The 13" Maxed out MBA is $1,009.38 cheaper than the maxed out 13" rMBP... Hmmmm

    How much more powerful is the Iris than the HD 5000? I forgot to mention that I do game super lightly (Starcraft 2 on occasion) and if there's ever a sequel to the rebooted Tomb Raider 2013 as its ending implies (sorry... spoiler... lol) I'd want to play it as well....
     
  4. FuNGi macrumors 65816

    FuNGi

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    Feb 26, 2010
    Location:
    California
    #4
    The Iris is $300 better than the HD500 and the retina screen is $709.38 better than the Air's screen. ;)
     
  5. ShiggyMiyamoto thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ShiggyMiyamoto

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2004
    Location:
    Just outside Boston, MA.
    #5
    lol well I was just reading a thread here on MR comparing the Iris (aka Intel HD 5100) vs the HD 5000, and the Iris really doesn't have much of an edge on the 5000 if any... I'm more and more thinking that a maxed out 13" MBA might be for me at this point. If I was to save $100 a week (netting around $400 a month, excluding this month, of which I'd only be able to save $200 due to a trip coming up) I could have it by around mid-late October. I really like the 13" form factor and if I could get it and make use of it again, I'd love another one like my old MacBook.

    Thanks for the replies guys! Keep em coming! Ask anything you want about my situation and I'll try and answer. lol.
     
  6. Macforcollege macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2013
    #6
    Thats a great idea. There is a slight chance a retina macbook air would be released then too. You could have the best of both worlds if the rumors are true!
     
  7. ShiggyMiyamoto thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ShiggyMiyamoto

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2004
    Location:
    Just outside Boston, MA.
    #7
    If only.... lol. 1440 x 900 would be good enough to watch videos when in transit for my trips, as well as usage in the hotel rooms etc. I'm just wondering how a 1080p video would play on that res.... I assume it'd play just fine, but super squished....
     
  8. Traverse macrumors 604

    Traverse

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2013
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    Here
    #8
    The only holdback for Air (since I would use the retina in clamshell anyway), is the 8GB RAM limit. 8GB "should" suffice, but in college when I have safari, chrome, iTunes, Word, Excel, Pages, Mail, and Preview all open I often hit that 8GB limit. Idle the system takes 4GB for me. When I run Windows for Access or Windows Excel I hit my limit fast and end up "compressing" 1-2 GB which negatively impacts performance regardless of what Apple says.
     
  9. Hieveryone macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2014
    #9
    Personally I'd go with the MBPr. I saw the MBA in the store the other day and it's nice, but it's foot print is bigger believe it or not and the screen difference is noticeable. I love the retina display too much to swtich!
     
  10. ShiggyMiyamoto thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ShiggyMiyamoto

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2004
    Location:
    Just outside Boston, MA.
    #10
    See, I've not used a retina display much besides for a few months on my now mom's iPhone 5. As long as I can see what I need to get done, regular display tech will suit me fine. Again, as I have a super powerful desktop for my heavier video edits etc I really don't need the high detail and clarity of a retina display, and plus I'd be spending $1k less for a machine that's just as good for my needs as the 13" rMBP is for what it can do.

    Footprint really doesn't matter for me much since either of these new laptops would be for when I travel, and when at home I'd try to use this tricked out i7 I'm writing this post on now. Or in the past I've used both at the same time for certain tasks... but time will tell how I do it and if I do it like I did.

    I'm really only leaning towards the MBA... I could very well decide to spend that extra cash and go 13" rMBP... I'm not sure yet, but since the MBA offers 10-12h battery life I'm totally sold on that. I know the rMBP's batt life isn't anything to laugh at, but neither is the MBA's.
     
  11. Macforcollege macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2013
    #11
    I think the MBA will be the right device for you. While the screen is not the best in the world, it gets great battery life which is more valuable. If you don't have power then you cant run the machine anyways! You can use you awesome machine at home for when you need to be plugged in!
     
  12. twingo macrumors regular

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    Jul 3, 2009
    #12
    Forget Tomb Raider 2013, when you take the Air.
     
  13. ShiggyMiyamoto thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ShiggyMiyamoto

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2004
    Location:
    Just outside Boston, MA.
    #13
    Hmm I guess I'll play with both the next time I'm at an Apple store and simulate my usage flow, so to speak. Thanks guys. One thing that wasn't answered was whether the dual core i7 has HT. I assume so but I'd like to be sure...
     
  14. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020

    MartinAppleGuy

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2013
    #14
    You won't be able to play Tomb Raider 2013 on either the Intel Iris or HD 5000. You would really have to go upto a 15" entry with Iris Pro to play it at a good setting, or get a maxed out MBP with the 750m.
     
  15. ShiggyMiyamoto thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ShiggyMiyamoto

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2004
    Location:
    Just outside Boston, MA.
    #15
    Okay yeah I guess that's true... but I assume SC2 will run properly on medium settings with a playable/decent framerate....
     
  16. ShiggyMiyamoto, May 3, 2014
    Last edited: May 3, 2014

    ShiggyMiyamoto thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ShiggyMiyamoto

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2004
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    Just outside Boston, MA.
    #16
  17. leftyMac macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2011
    #17
    I used to have a similar dilemma, and had MBP 13 because of the compact size compared to the 15 MBP. but I realized I am using it at home mostly, and though I do travel some times, and it'd be super nice having a powerful yet small macbook, I picked up a 15 rMBP recently, and I couldn't be happier! so between the handy compact 13 MBA and powerful 13 rMBP, I wouldn't hesitate to pick up a 13 rMBP. the better performance from a 13 rMBP will be worth way more than a convenience of carrying a slightly more portable computer once in a while. the screen real estate on rMBP, be it 13 or 15, is priceless.
     
  18. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020

    MartinAppleGuy

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2013
    #18
    As long as you are willing to turn down the resolution to 1366x768 (or equivalent). I too was looking into buying a 13" retina MBP for a bit of gaming every now and then, but the performance was lacking too much for it to be worth while. I then looked into getting a 15" retina with the Iris Pro. I felt like it was a bit too expensive for what I was getting (if it had 16Gb of RAM, or a 512 SSD at that price, it would have been better), but I was still going to be using system RAM as VRAM (as well as 128Mb of DRAM on the Iris Pro). I then realised that the entry iMac had the same GPU, with the high end 21" having the 750m w/ 1Gb of GDDR5 VRAM. At £1299, the iMac with the 750m was going to give me the best FPS, as well as being much lower in cost (it works out to only be £50 more than the 256Gb, 8Gb RAM, 13.3 MBPr). This only really applies if you don't care about portability though.

    ----------

    Easily go for the 15". Much more value for money as long as you are fine with it going slightly bigger.
     
  19. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #19
    I have a maxed out 2013 MBA (8GB RAM, 512 GB SSD and i7 Core), and it is a fantastic machine; I love it, but my needs are 1) portability - I travel a lot and want a portable but powerful machine, and 2) battery - the battery of the 2013 MBA is superlative, I easily get 12 hours from mine. Thus, for my specific needs, this is perfect.

    However, for those who need much more power, or a far better screen, - more than they need portability - it makes sense to think of the rMBP.

    It really depends on your own priorities, and pocket; either is an excellent machine, but each has different strengths.
     
  20. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #20
    Yeah but if you max both, the MBP has twice the ram (16 vs 8), twice the ssd (1 tb vs 512 gb), and a processor that's worlds faster. So both might be "maxed" but I don't think it's a fair comparison. Compare the maxed air to a MBP with the same ram and ssd, and you're basically talking about the $1800 high end default configuration MacBook Pro.

    Anyway, as a retina MacBook Pro owner who had to make this same decision, I think the pro offers much more value - though the recent $100 price drop on the air does narrow that a little bit.
     
  21. ShiggyMiyamoto, May 3, 2014
    Last edited: May 3, 2014

    ShiggyMiyamoto thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ShiggyMiyamoto

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2004
    Location:
    Just outside Boston, MA.
    #21
    This sucks lol... now I'm considering the highend 2013 maxed out 13" MBA refurb.. I hate choices.. >_>

    EDIT: the high end maxed out 13" 2013 MBA refurb with AppleCare is: $1,793.50, so by around October I could have the money if I religiously put aside money from my paychecks... $100 a week, grossing $400 a month.. or something like that since I still have rent / internet / cell phone to pay too....

    EDIT 2: Here she be: http://store.apple.com/us/product/G...nch-macbook-air-17ghz-dual-core-intel-core-i7
     
  22. Hammie macrumors 65816

    Hammie

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    Mar 17, 2009
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    Wash, DC Metro
    #22
    My wife has a 2012 MBA (1.8/4/256) and she has never had issues with the RAM. She can easily have more than a dozen Word docs, a handful of Excel spreadsheets, a bunch of PDFs, Safari with more tabs than a bar on a Friday night, and a few other things I can't think of right now. The office are usually large files that are locked with macros enabled.

    She has never complained of her computer crashing nor has she ever complained about it slowing down. As a matter of fact, she has gone through more Windows machines trying to find one that does crash regularly that she finally agreed to try a Mac. For whatever reason, she was hesitant for YEARS. Now, she is a total convert. :D
     
  23. Cyrilmtl macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2011
    #23
    I am in the same boat, looking for a new apple laptop,
    my 2006 15" mbp is on its last hours.
    I liked my mbp, went around the world with it, but it's time to get something more up-to-date and lighter !

    I am looking at the 2014 mba 13" ultimate, around 2.125$CAD,
    the same (8gb, 512g) with top processor in rmbp 13" is around 2.355$CAD,
    (with 16g of ram it's 2.585$CAD)

    As I am mostly looking for size/weight and battery time, I will probably go to the mba when I will have my tax money back.
    I do basic document work (office), c++ development, and lightroom for sorting pictures. Working an afternoon in a coffee shop or a library without having to use the power supply.

    The mba is powerful enough to preview and catalog photo in LightRoom during travels, no major editing as I have a desktop at home for that.
     
  24. Traverse macrumors 604

    Traverse

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2013
    Location:
    Here
    #24
    All that on 4GB, impressive. I'll admit mine holds it's own, but I have found that the more memory you have, the more Mavericks uses idle. For example on machine with 32 GB (not mine :/) uses 9GB idle.

    The only thing I can think of is I may be blaming some of the lag on RAM that is actually due to my 5400 rpm drive. Your wife's flash storage must make everything feel more responsive.

    But right now for me with Safari (2 tabs), iTunes, Skype, and Mail actively in use (And preview, Pages, textedit, and excel in app nap) I am using 7 GB.
     
  25. Rob.G macrumors 6502

    Rob.G

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2010
    Location:
    NW Oregon
    #25
    I was about to start a similar thread over in the MacBook Pro section. Since I found this one, I'm hoping I can glom onto it and ask my question as well.

    I'm torn between the new 13" MBA maxed out ($1750) versus a rMBP similarly configured, but with 16 gig instead of 8 ($2200). If memory was equal, there's only a $250 price difference between the two; both would have 512 gig SSDs, for example.

    I already have a maxed out 2012 Mini as my "main" system (27" Thunderbolt display, 22" Dell display, 16 gig, SSD, ext 4 TB drive, etc). But I'm using my laptop more for work than I had been in the past, since I travel to the office once a week and have to work on the laptop. My 11" Air isn't cutting it anymore, both from a screen size/resolution standpoint and storage space. Not to mention I'd love the better battery life that the new Airs and Pros offer.

    My main question, really, is this -- can the display on the Air be "scaled" in such a way that I get more than the equivalent of 1280x800? Does that make sense? The Retina part doesn't really concern me that much, but I'd like to be able to have more desktop space than the MBP offers. I don't want to zoom it ALL the way out to 2560x1600 because that'd be too small to read on a 13" display, so I'm wondering if there's anything in between. Otherwise I'll take the Air, since 1440x900 is a decent improvement over my 11"'s 1366x768.

    Rob
     

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