Need Help Deciding MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro with Retina Display

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by iRobby, Jun 23, 2012.

  1. iRobby macrumors 6502a


    Mar 22, 2011
    Fort Myers, FL USA

    I'm trying to *figure out which route to take.*

    My situation:

    I *need to get a new computer due to mine being an *antiquated desktop. I'm coming from:

    2005 Dell Dimension E510 Desktop
    Purchased: 10/10/05
    Price: $1,074

    Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition Version 2002 (Service Pack 3)

    * 3.0GHz Single Core Intel (R) Pentium
    * *1GB 400MHz DDR2 SDRAM *4x256MB
    * 250GB Serial ATA Drive (7200rpm) (replaced 3/06/07)
    * 180GB Serial ATA Drive (7200rpm) (original)
    *'ATA Radeon X300 SE with 128MB memory
    * 17" Viewable E173FP Flat Panel Display*

    Originally, I was going to go with a 27" iMac. *But due to new living circumstances living in two states New Jersey and Florida throughout the year a laptop is more practical.*

    The machine I choose will be my PRIMARY computer. My iPad (3rd Generation) has been my portable computer. *So since I finally accepted that the best computer for my needs is a MacBook vs an iMac now I need to figure out which to get.*

    I'm deciding between a high end 13" MacBook Air vs a *low end *15"MacBook Pro with Retina display. *

    Im being drawn to these 2 machines due to how light they are . I'm just having difficulty deciding which is best suited for me
    The configurations I'm looking at are:

    2012 13" MacBook Air

    OS X Mountain Lion

    * 2.0GHz Intel Dual-Core Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz
    * 8GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
    * 256GB Flash Storage
    * Intel HD Graphics 4000
    * Apple USB SuperDrive*
    * AppleCare Protection Plan for MacBook Air / 13" MacBook Pro - Auto-enroll

    2012 15" MacBook Pro with Retina Display
    Price: 2,664.79

    OS X Mountain Lion

    * 2.3GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz
    * 16GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
    * 256GB Flash Storage
    * Intel HD Graphics 4000
    * NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 1GB of GDDR5 memory
    * Apple USB SuperDrive*
    * AppleCare Protection Plan for MacBook Air / 13" MacBook *Pro - Auto-enroll

    My major draws to the MacBook Air are:
    the extreme light weight
    the extreme thinness.*

    My drawbacks to the MacBook Air are:*
    Dual Core Processor vs Quad Core Processor
    Lack of independent graphics Card
    Smaller Display (remember I'm coming from a 17" monitor and I ideally wanted an 27" iMac. )

    My major draws to the MacBook Pro with Retina Display are:
    Quad Core Processor
    Graphics Card
    The power that this machine has and may help me in the long run as my needs in a computer increase
    Retina Display ( spoiled with iPad (3rd Generation) and iPhone 4S)

    My drawbacks to the MacBook Pro with Retina Display are:
    Price difference

    In reality though, is the Air enough for me as my PRIMARY computer other than my iPad (3rd Generation) and my iPhone 4S? Is it thewiser choice due to the price?

    I'm paying an extra $650 *for:
    the Retina Display
    Quad Core Processor
    Independent Graphics
    8GB extra RAM

  2. BlazednSleepy macrumors 6502a

    Apr 15, 2012
    Well the most important question is, what are you going to do with the computer?

    Just basic email, web surfing, occasional photo and video editing?
  3. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Unless I missed it, what is your intended use for the computer.

    That will help dictate which machine is a better fit.

    You're basically all over the place, on one end of the spectrum the MBA and the other the retina MBP.

    Since this will be your main machine, I'd say go with the 15" display, just for the fact that you get more screen real estate.

    As for non retina versus retina, you need to decide whether the non upgradable ram, no optical drive and no ethernet ports are worth the improved screen?

    Personally, I'd say bite the bullet and get the retina MBP
  4. Trey M macrumors 6502a

    Trey M

    Jul 25, 2011
    Like others have said, it really depends what you are going to be doing on the computer and how you want to do it. For many, the Air is great because you can use it easily on any surface, whether it be a desk, laying on a couch, etc. The Pro, which has a bigger screen, is harder to use on surfaces other than desks simply because the footprint is different.

    If you think you need a lot of extra horsepower, go for the Retina. From what it sounds like, though, you're going to notice a HUGE performance increase going from your current laptop and I don't think, as long as you're not using extremely intensive applications, you will notice a difference between the two. If the size of the display is important to you, go for the Pro. If you want to use a portable laptop that will do great in nearly all tasks, go for the Air.
  5. iRobby thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Mar 22, 2011
    Fort Myers, FL USA

    Well, I am coming from a desktop that is up in NJ at the moment and am using my iPad typing this. Like I said I think the iPad will be the one on my lap on the couch, bed, etc. the MacBook would be on a table or desk.

    As far as my uses:

    I have a huge music library to store. I surf the web watch streaming videos movies, etc. looking to start doing photo editing in iPhoto on my first Mac. I have been guilty of doing virtual online games that uses half of the GBs installed in a GPU alone.

    I have been a basic user but I see that the Mac has so much more to offer in software I'd like to try such as photo editing, video and so much more. After seeing what the iOS ecosystem offers I can only imagine what you can do on a computer using the Mac ecosystem in the Mac App Store. So I want to be prepared and able to take full advantage of it.
  6. DVD9 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 18, 2010
    The base Air is several times more powerful than your old desktop. You could just buy that and two Thunderbolt Displays, leave one in each place.

    The iMac comes in a box with a handle. You could carry it like a big briefcase.

    That $2,000+ Air is a terrible waste of money though.

    If you go with the Thunderbolt displays keep it out of sight from dope fiends looking in the window. They'll break the glass and sell it on eBay.
  7. Trey M macrumors 6502a

    Trey M

    Jul 25, 2011

    From what you're saying, I think I'd get a RMBP. If you enjoy using your iPad on the couch, etc., and you're not left wanting, you'll definitely enjoy using the RMBP as your desktop replacement.
  8. iRobby thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Mar 22, 2011
    Fort Myers, FL USA
    Thanks that was my dilemma was the air enough for a desktop replacement?

    And the other reply said not to spend 2K+ on an Air and since this is a desktop replacement I'd at least need those configurations
  9. Trudzinski macrumors newbie

    Jul 4, 2012
    Comes down to getting it now

    Experience has taught me to get the best. There is a saying that goes, "buy the best or buy it twice". The air is about 1/2 the weight of the pro, but what is an extra 2 lbs when the pro is under 5 lbs. Anyway, I would highly suggest the new pro with retina. If you do not get it, you will always wonder what could have been. Also, you sound very wise in terms of spending money. Spend a little more now because you will have the laptop for a long time. Also, if you do decide to sell the pro you will have a much larger segment to sell to.
  10. stevelam macrumors 65816

    Nov 4, 2010
    The MBA is perfectly fine for your needs. Don't fall into the stupid consumer trap of needing the best and spending way more when you're clearly not going to be utilizing it.

    Also you realize that since this will be your MAIN computer, pretty much 99% of applications you'll be using will be blurry and fuzzy for god knows how long.
  11. Slivortal macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2012
    Sigh... The bluriness and fuzziness is simply because you're comparing non-retinized images to retinized ones. The residual artifacts left by the graphical resizing are minimal at worst.

    Though I agree that an MBA will probably be just fine for your needs if you've been using that setup for that long. The one thing I'd be worried about would be screen real estate. But sice you expressly don't want a desktop, this is an issue.

    My suggestion would either be to purchase an MBPR because of the screen, or to get an MBA and two displays, possibly HDMI with the proper adapter for the MBA. The Thunderbolt displays are nice, but you'd be spending over 3k between them and the computer, at which point I'd purchase a Retina.

    If you're lookig for the power that a modern-day desktop can provide on a laptop, though - the MBPR's the computer for you.

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