Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by slickmclean, Aug 19, 2014.

  1. slickmclean macrumors newbie

    Aug 19, 2014
    Hi all, new to the forums.

    I am about to get a new school computer for my last semester. I am having too much of a hard time deciding between the MBA or rMBP.

    What I plan on doing with the machine:
    -programming (CSc major)
    -web dev
    -league of legends (from time to time), as well as various games
    -watch tv, video, movies, etc.

    What I am trying to decide between:

    MBA 13in ($1300):
    -1.4 GHz i5
    -8 gb ram
    -256 SSD

    rMBP 13in ($1500):
    -2.6 GHz i5
    -8 gb ram
    -256 ssd

    So, is it worth going for the rMBP? I pay an extra $200 for retina display and a better CPU. What is your take?

    Thank you!
  2. octothorpe8 macrumors 6502

    Feb 27, 2014
    $200 for a retina display and faster machine? Seems like a steal.

    I know every time I cut a corner and get the cheaper machine (or the smaller capacity phone, etc), I find myself wishing 6 months down the road that I could spend the extra hundred or two hundred bucks to get the upgrades. And don't forget, Yosemite has a new UI that, by all accounts, looks a lot better on a retinal display.

    The ONLY reason I could see getting the Air is if the small weight difference matters to you.
  3. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    The rmbp is not a faster machine! But the retina display sure is nice :)

    Boils down to retina vs portability.
    It's a close call, but I can tell you that the retina is worth 200$ imo.
  4. GreatDrok macrumors 6502a


    May 1, 2006
    New Zealand
    I've gone from a 13" MacBook Air to a 13" retina MacBook Pro and here's what I would consider the winner for some important categories to me:

    Battery life - MBAir (12 hours versus 9 for the Pro)
    Screen - rPro screen is lovely but behaves like a 1280x800 compared with the 1440x900 screen on the Air, but you can run the Pro in scaled mode at 1440x900 and it still looks better than the Air even though it isn't native due to how the scaling is handled. The Air screen is good though and 1440x900 is a nice resolution compared with typical laptops which make do with 1366x768.
    Memory - rPro because I bumped it up to 16GB, not an option with the Air.
    Weight - MBAir is much lighter than the rPro and very easy to lug about but the rPro is no heavy weight
    Connections - rPro as you get HDMI and two thunderbolt/display adapter ports versus just the one on the Air so you can't have the Gb Ethernet adapter and a monitor attached to the Air but you can with the rPro.

    So, if battery life and weight are import, go with the Air, and if not and you can afford the extra the rPro is a lovely laptop.
  5. ohbrilliance macrumors 6502a


    May 15, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia
    Portability: MBA is a little lighter, but rMBP has a smaller footprint, so I wouldn't even factor this in.

    Display: no comparison, the rMBP wins hands-down.

    Resolution: MBA provides more screen real estate out-of-the-box, but the rMBP scales nicely to 1440 or 1680. I use mine at 1680.

    Battery Life: Depending on the task at hand and the applications you are using, you can get 12+ hours out of a rMBP. I took mine into the office and used it for 7.5 hours on battery and still had 50% left. Unless you have long working or studying days, then either the MBA or rMBP should last you through the day.

    (as a developer, what does kill battery life is Netbeans. Moving around files and scrolling taxes the CPU heavily)
  6. maplingstorie macrumors 6502

    Jan 25, 2009
    please get the rMBP. I beg you. That's how good it is. :p
  7. blakegentry macrumors newbie

    Oct 28, 2012
  8. fcarreraf macrumors newbie

    Jul 20, 2014
    air 13 i7:
    more physically durable (yes it is)
    will do programming with relative ease

    pro 13 i5:
    lots of battery use for the screen

    the air is a better deal. the rung above it is the base 15. retina 13 is for keeping average transaction price high :apple: and not the logical conclusion here
  9. JPIndustrie macrumors 6502a


    Mar 12, 2008
    Queens, NY
    Tough choice:

    - lighter!
    - longer battery life

    - faster and better at horsepower intensive applications (games, music/video production, etc)
    - the cachet of a 'retina'

    That, IMO are the major differences that are the most important during college; at least from my POV.

    btw, best thing I ever did in college was switch from my 10 lb mainstream 15" TFT Dell to a 12" Powerbook G4 Al half way through my career. And I'm talking both about running IDEs on Microsoft Virutal PC (when they still included a full licensed version of Windows with purchase - man I'm old LOL) and for my back.

    Didn't hurt either when chicks who had just discovered iPods at the time, were asking me if I enjoyed switching to Mac. :) :apple:
  10. Black.Infinity macrumors 6502


    Apr 17, 2010
    Apple tree-Toronto
  11. Hansana macrumors regular

    Jul 2, 2014
    Get the retina. Then there is nothing to regret about later.
  12. AnorexicPig macrumors 6502


    Dec 12, 2012
    Winnipeg,Canada/New Delhi India
    Upgraded from an MBA to rMBP, and I can tell you, the difference in screen quality is so vast, it alone is worth the price difference. It's even more apparent on Yosemite, which looks a notch better on retina displays.

    Above this, rMBP feels much more solid, has HDMi port, and it is FASTER when doing CPU intensive tasks. The MBA has an ULV CPU, which gets strained when doing tasks which are intensive. Granted, 13" rMBP is no quad core, but still has a much more powerful CPU then MBA.

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