MBA i7 Dual Core or rMBP Quad-Core?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by zavtra, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. zavtra, Jul 30, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2012

    zavtra macrumors newbie

    Jul 30, 2012
    I'm about to start my first year of college as a business student and I'm currently torn between the MBA i7 dual-core/8GB RAM/512GB SSD and the rMBP i7 quad-core/8GB RAM/512GB SSD.

    I'm going to need to be running windows frequently for the Microsoft Office programs but I also want to be doing some light video editing (720p) for my video log. I also want to try dabbling in the stock market and am going to use a market analysis tool.

    However, I am also going to be almost constantly carrying my laptop with me, so I am wary of getting the retina. I would definitely be getting the air if it had a quad core processor, but that's not the case. I guess my question is, will the dual core i7 still effectively run these processes blazingly fast? I'm not going to be running them all at once, in fact I'll probably only be using these one at a time. I need this laptop to last me 4 years so I'm really questioning if the dual-core will see me through, but it still is an ivy bridge.

    Any thoughts? The videos I'm going to be editing are not going to be any longer than maybe 5-7 minutes each. My real concern is the market analysis tools and running the microsoft office tools via boot-camp.
  2. Blackened Apple macrumors regular

    Jun 15, 2012
    If you won't be doing those tasks at the same time, then it becomes a matter of whether the application was written to support multi-threading to that extent. So you may effectively not feel a difference if you aren't using heavily multi-threaded applications.

    I'd say you should get the Air, if portability is a concern. These ULV processors are getting extremely impressive for their wattage, and even if you have to wait a couple more seconds or minutes to complete whatever task the computer is working on, I find that the payoff is worth it.

    Office isn't really a stressful set of applications, and I have no idea about the market analysis tools, but they don't sound demanding either. You'll be fine with the MBA.
  3. asting macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2012
    A business student needs very advanced graphics cards, at least a quadcore cpu, and 8gb of ram. You just can't be in business school without that.
  4. zavtra, Jul 30, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2012

    zavtra thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 30, 2012
    Really? I'm a little surprised. I'd almost say you're just messing with me by saying at least a quadcore considering most laptops have at most, a quadcore, but I really wouldn't know what business students need.

    Also how is the microphone on the macbook air? I noticed it's on the side of the computer while the rMPB has dual microphones. I would hope the MBA mic is good because I need a good one for the video logs.
  5. Pharmscott macrumors 6502a


    Dec 13, 2011
    Sacramento, CA
    For a student, the portability of the MBA trumps the extra horsepower of the rMBP hands down. For MS Office, the computer is waiting for your input 99.9% of the time. The same goes for stock research. The video editing is a maybe but the new MBA are perfectly hearty machines. Forget counting cores and get the one you want to lug around all day every day. You could even get the i5 and be perfectly happy (you wont notice the i7 in real world day to day use).
  6. asting macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2012
    I was being a bit facetious. Next to nothing academic wise will require the retina. If you want it personally, that's another story, but for 99% of what you do you won't need anything more than an air. I've gotten by with worse than my air for econometrics (modelling and statistical/economic analysis), which relied solely on stata to do the grunt work.
    Plus, when you do need a bit of hp for crunching numbers computer lab computers will almost always be better. I haven't had my air for classes yet (just got it this summer), but I think it will be awesome. the battery life is ridiculous and it is very portable.
    Hell, you could put the money saved into a cheap quadcore desktop that would outperform the retina. It's worth noting the i7 isn't that much faster than the i5 (in the air).

    But, if you want the retina for more powerful computing and are willing to pay, more power to ya. It's your cash so it's ultimately your decision.

    If you haven't, I would post this in the retina forum too. By posting here you'll get a biased response in favor of the air (I'm not saying it isn't the better computer for you, but you have to consider who the answer is coming from). You'll get a biased response there, but maybe you can balance out the responses.
  7. GoSooners macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2011
    I think the MBA will be your best option and will be able to run the software you intend. Since you will be carrying it around, you'll get slightly better battery life with a MBA running its integrated graphics versus the retinaMBP which will switch to discrete graphics when running your Office apps in Bootcamp.

    Now if you're going to run Windows through Parallels or the like, you can switch off the graphics card and run the integrated...

    However, it may be different for you where you may carry your adapter around with bounties of wall sockets nearby then the above would not be a big consideration
  8. asting macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2012
    The retina mbp also gets pretty good battery life.
  9. marc79 macrumors newbie

    May 29, 2012
    Best bet just go to Apple shop to test the functions..

    you already figure what you want it for, just go there for testing.

    1) Weight
    2) Function
    3) Future upgrade(is it a must?)
    4) Budget constrain?

    As for my decision why go for AIR, due to its weight. I'm satisfied with the current Air i using. smoothness. Can't feel any lag comparing to my old Window system. By the way, i'm owning a 13" i7 256SSD 8GB Air.
  10. GoSooners macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2011
    What are you getting? Mine seems to last only 3-4 hours when running Win7 Bootcamp since there isn't any way to switch the graphics to integrated. I'm on ML with 77% and the display is showing an estimated 7.5 hrs.
  11. asting macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2012
    My mistake, i'm only making a suggestion based off of comparison tests run by reviewers in semi controlled environments. Are they not going to release new bootcamp drivers? 7.5 hrs in ML vs the 7 stated of the air (I get about that with brightness up a bit, wifi on, no bluetooth) is still pretty good, so not really a negative for the retina unless you're running bootcamp.
  12. bniu macrumors 6502a

    Mar 21, 2010
    Pfffffffttt! You kidding? Every school I have been at, when I needed serious number crunching done, the school computer lab computers have been a gigantic fail! Usually those computers are several years old, have minimum ram, use old spinning hard drives, have terrible displays, still have not heard of the concept of using wireless peripherals, lack thunderbolt, never have the right software version you need, etc etc etc

    In all my years of being a student, I have yet to find a school computer lab computer that is more useful than my 17" Quad Core MBP with 16GB of RAM, an SSD to boot, and a full HD 1200p screen!

    I don't trust my school to provide me anything resources to use. Even their wifi is terrible. Have to use my own cellular tethering to connect to the internet.
  13. asting macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2012
    I can't tell if you go to an underfunded school, or have expectations that are way too high. Wireless peripherals for lab computers? why the hell does that matter? It's comments like that which lead to people mocking apple users.
  14. zavtra thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 30, 2012
    Okay so judging by what's been posted here I'm probably going to be going with the MBA. But can any of you guys comment on its microphone quality? I imagine it can't be too good if the microphone is on the side of the computer not even facing me.
  15. mtjensen22 macrumors newbie

    Jul 30, 2012
    You could always buy a mic...they aren't that expensive.
  16. boto macrumors 6502


    Jun 4, 2012
    The MBA microphone is terrible. Here is a LINK comparing the retina and MBA in action.

    If I were you I would prefer the rMBP for more value for the buck. Compromising performance and screen real estate over portability was what made my decision and the display itself makes you never go back to low res quality. Also, if you ever do happen to need more processing power during your 4 years of college, the rMBP will complete your tasks instantly.
  17. jmoore5196 macrumors 6502a


    May 19, 2009
    Midwest US
    Save yourself some time and agony. Buy the MBA and a Zoom H2 or H2n for the video log audio. That's a much better choice than relying on the on-board mic in either machine.

    If you're thinking you might not enjoy carrying an rMBP around with you all day long ... you're right!
  18. SlickShoes macrumors 6502a

    Jan 24, 2011
    I work in a University and the reason that the majority of our keyboards/mice/peripherals in general are either tied down or cheap is because they get stolen so quickly you wouldn't believe.

    I run a lab that had 8 27" iMac's and within a month that lab only had two keyboards and 3 mice left between all the computers, now any new macs we buy in I attach the cheapest Dell wired keyboard and mice to them since no one wants to steal those.
  19. zavtra thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 30, 2012
    The macbook air in that video is the 2011 model. I've been scouring the web and found that some of them simply have loose mics, and once they're brought to the apple store and tightened they work perfectly.
  20. Masterfox72, Jul 31, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2012

    Masterfox72 macrumors member

    Jan 14, 2012


    Business students don't really care about GPUs. CPU is only somewhat relevant due to heavy spreadsheet work. But most only really need the general office software.

    Anything like a single core 2GB RAM would do for the bare bones business student. I'm guessing you;re being sarcastic.

    ON TOPIC: Even with video editing the Air is more than enough. If I were you I'd just get 8 GB RAM and 256 GB SSD. i5 and i7 don't have too much of a difference if you're not gaming.
  21. asting macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2012
    Read past the first few posts before responding and looking silly ;)

    Look up.
  22. macrominnie macrumors member

    Nov 20, 2010
    I was just trying these two out in an Apple store. I was surprised how noticeably snappier the MBP performed when running Safari, or starting up routine apps like Quicktime. Actually, the low end 13" MBP (no SSD) seemed noticeably snappier than the high end MBA.

    Between the two, I'd go for the rMBP. If the screen is important, the rMBP is just far ahead of all other notebooks. If weight is the primary issue, the MBA is much easier to lug around.

    HOWEVER. if I was budget minded, and had the intent of keeping the machine several years, I'd go with the low end "non retina" 15 inch MBP. I would get the 1650 X 1080 "Hi-Res Antiglare Widescreen Display" option. I'd swap out an SSD for the HDD and upgrade RAM as needed.

    The ability to upgrade is just important. Who knows helpful 16 GB of RAM or a 1TB SSD will be in three years? For sure, it won't be easy to add it to the MBA/rMBP.

    Also, my experience on campus is that sometimes there will be "legacy" material where having a DVD player helps. You could swap out the optical drive in the future for additional storage. The regular MBP is heavier but manageable IME. With the cost savings versus the rMBP you could get an iPad for super-portability/recreation (or both an iPad3 and an iPad mini :^).

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