MBA or rMBP for College

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Chub, Aug 23, 2013.

  1. Chub, Aug 23, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2013

    Chub macrumors member

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    Mar 26, 2013
    #1
    I know there are already hundreds of threads on this very same subject, but as everyone has different needs I felt the need to post and get some advice on this subject.

    I have mostly been looking at getting the i5 256GB 8GB MacBook Air due to its portability and its battery life, making it very favourable for going around college campus.

    Most of the time I will be writing up assignments and such, which of course don't require a retina screen or a particularly beefy processor. However, in my free time I will quite often be doing some web development or web design of some nature. For this I will be using Adobe Creative Cloud (Dreamweaver, Photoshop and Premiere from time to time).

    I do really like the look of the retina screens and I must say a good IPS panel is light years ahead of any TN panel, however from seeing the MBA in store it looks by no means bad.

    To sum that up quickly will the MBA firstly be good for college work and secondly be comfortable enough to use for web design and development?

    Budget: £1,000 to £1,400 (~$2,000)
     
  2. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

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    #2
    Yes and yes. The rMBP would be better but a bit larger and more expensive. The MBA will be fine. What's your budget?
     
  3. Chub thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 26, 2013
    #3
    With the education discount in mind probably anywhere between £1,000 to £1,400 ($2,150).
     
  4. kage207 macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 23, 2008
    #4
    I programming just fine in web design with my MBA. My friend also does his graphics in Photoshop on his MBA just fine. Just make sure you do vector drawings so you can serve high quality images to those devices as that's what people want, good looking sites.
     
  5. Chub thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 26, 2013
    #5
    That certainly sounds promising as at the end of the day I do have 2 monitors at home to do web development on if I ever find the screen to be a problem and a pretty powerful desktop for any heavy lifting.

    Edit: I think the main attraction of the rMBP is the screen for the accurate colours and the higher DPI.
     
  6. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #6
    You need a budget first of all before considering any Mac. At a budget of ~$2k, you can get a nicely loaded MBA, which will be portable.

    The screen is a nice 13", which in theory should be enough for webpages (and their rendering).
     
  7. Chub thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 26, 2013
    #7
    I think my budget in USD is roughly $2,000. The only question with this would be would it be worth getting the i7 over the i5?
     
  8. tbolt11 macrumors member

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    Jun 20, 2013
    #8
    you just opened pandoras box with that question
     
  9. No-Me macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    The only question you should ask yourself is do you need it?

    For the things you're going to do with it the i5 would be fine. I work on a (maxed out) rev A 11" while on the road or out of the office and that's fine for development work too. I would save the extra money or I would get an iPad mini for it if I where you ;)
     
  10. Chub thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 26, 2013
    #10
    I suppose you are right as web work isn't particularly taxing and at the same time it's not going to be a desktop replacement. So in that case I think I'll put that money aside as savings.

    In terms of the rMBP or MBA I think that I'll have to take another trip to the local Apple store.
     
  11. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #11
    Do you think your web page work will require regular video editing? (After all video editing is on thing which positively affected by faster CPU)
     
  12. Chub thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 26, 2013
    #12
    Well I suppose ultimately I will be video editing on my desktop more than I would be on an MBA. So all things considered I suppose upgrading to an i7 for a task I won't be carrying out regularly on an MBA wouldn't really be worth it.
     
  13. ItHurtsWhenIP macrumors 6502

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    #13
  14. Chub thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 26, 2013
    #14
    In fact that pretty much sums up my dilemma, I do have a relatively good monitor at the moment but I suppose with the savings I could buy a second one as at the moment I am using a Samsung and a Dell.

    When on the move doing a little web development/design I think all in all the MBA screen will probably suffice for my needs.

    Thanks for all the advice, you've all been a great help. I think I'm locked in with getting an MBA.
     
  15. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #15
    Exactly. Remember, the i7 will always be hotter than the i5 due to extra goodies the i7 brings.

    That said, if you feel like having an i7 for bragging rights, then it is ok.
     
  16. No-Me macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    Just think in portability, the difference is not big, but it feels big.

    And maybe something to also consider: the resolution of the MBA is higher than the 13"rMBP in optimal retina mode. Yeah sure the Retina screen is superawesome and I rather have a MacBook Air with it, but if you tune it up to the same resolution as the 13" MBA the difference in sharpness is not super big anymore.
     
  17. WillFisher macrumors 6502

    WillFisher

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    Feb 19, 2011
    #17
    I had the same choice as you with a similar budget.

    Considering I already have a Mac Mini that I use to do most of my hardcore work, I went with the Air. That gives me still a tonne of power to do hardcore jobs, but can be moved to the Mini at any time.

    The main thing I went for though is the battery, 12 hours in reviews just seems to good to say no too.
     
  18. kage207, Aug 25, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2013

    kage207 macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    I actually have a second monitor (just a 1080p Asus 24") for when I am at my desk. I use the bigger screen to see how my site looks and the MBA screen for programming.

    I went with the i5 as my budget was $1,400. Honestly, the difference is not going to be noticed unless you do your heavy lifting on there such as 3D renderings (which if you do, use a desktop). Go for a bigger HDD, I recommend 256GB as it is hard to live on 128GB (I went with the 128GB cause I have an 18TB server I built).
     
  19. jadAce macrumors regular

    jadAce

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    Aug 10, 2013
    #19
    +1

    I think this clearly describes who would want an i7 over the i5. For word processing, web browsing, light gaming, and other similar stuff, the i5 is perfect. But you mentioned Creative Cloud, so the i7 is a good consideration.

    You would definitely want the 256 GB though if you are using the MBA frequently.
     
  20. DisplacedMic macrumors 65816

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    May 1, 2009
    #20
    millions of students flourished in computer science before either of these computers came out so i think you'd be fine with either. when i'm conflicted between choosing between two things, all things being equal i tend to go with the cheaper of the two.
     

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