New MBA 13" or Retina MBP 13"?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by skippympb, May 16, 2014.

  1. skippympb macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 16, 2014
    #1
    I'm going away for college and am looking into purchasing a new laptop. I'm currently using an almost 3-year-old 15" MBP. I like the idea of the portability of the Air, but the Retina is so appealing. I'll be a Communications major, so heavy-duty work processing isn't necessarily a priority. I was also considering the 11" MBA but figured that would be too drastic a change from the 15" screen that I'm used to. Please advise! :apple:
     
  2. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 21, 2013
    #2
    It depends on what price you can get for each. The difference used to be less, so the rMBP was almost always the best option. With a larger price gap, a MBA might be the better option. Really, the only benefits of the MBA are price and battery life. There is a 0.5 pound difference between the computers, which is noticeable, but it is still pretty similar. You can find baseline MBA's for close to 700-800 dollars new if you wait for deals. If money is no object, a rMBP will have a nicer screen, and it will have more power if you ever need it. I don't know if the price is worth it at the moment though, especially if you can find a deal on the MBA.

    Best,
    Matt
     
  3. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    Oct 10, 2013
    #3
    I have the rmbp 2.4/8/256 my girlfriend has the mba 1.3/4/256.
    Her mba is snappier and faster in every regard.
    I know that this does not make any sense when you look at the specs, but its the truth.

    I have the rmbp I love it, but there is just no denying it.
    Put the mba next to the rmbp. The mba is more responsive, lighter and faster.
    But: the retina is much better for my photo work!
     
  4. peoplevoice macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    #4
    Air faster than Pro Retina

    Last week I was in an apple store and with my wife, we compared the Macbook Air and the Macbook Pro Retina Display (both with SSD).

    We hit several websites and to my surprise the Air was always a LOT FASTER than the Macbook Pro.

    I agree that the quality of the display is better in the PRO. But if you don't have them side by side, you cannot say the Air is bad. Looks good too.
     
  5. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    Oct 10, 2013
    #5
    Yes. Its weird but true. The mba seems faster for basic tasks.
     
  6. SDColorado macrumors 65816

    SDColorado

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    Highlands Ranch, CO
    #6
    Question for those who think the MBA is faster than the rMBP. Are you comparing MBA models with 128 or 256 drive to rMBP models with 128 or 256 drives?

    The reason I ask is that I had a 13" fully loaded MBA for 2 weeks, and really couldn't get on with the quality of the screen. I found the contrast and somewhat fuzzy text, was a little rough on my aging eyes.

    Yesterday I went to the Apple store and spent a good deal of time comparing the 13" MBA to the 13" rMBP. I ended up returning the MBA and taking rMBP home with me.

    I did opt for one of the models with the 512 drive, which is what my MBA had. I find the rMBP does everything a little snappier than the MBA did. I haven't come across a thing that my former MBA did faster. Perhaps as much a function of the 512 drives as anything?

    The only "cons" with the rMBP that I have found is that the battery life is not as good and you do feel the .5lb weight if you are walking around with it or having to hold it while it is open.
     
  7. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    Oct 10, 2013
    #7
    I compared my rmbp 2.4/8/256 with the 1.3/4/256.
    I also compared it with the mba 2010 2gb/64gb and rmbp 2012 15" (forgot the model)

    I did this at home and the apple store. Apple representatives had to admit that the mbas performed faster for basic tasks. Even the 2010 one!
     
  8. j0nblayz macrumors member

    j0nblayz

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2007
    #8
    I would lean towards rMBP, I have the 13" rmbp, and my wife has the 13" mba, screen difference is very significant. Oddly I didn't really notice the difference when we were in the apple store testing. But after coming home and using both for awhile doing my daily tasks, I can see a huge difference. Even my wife now wants to switch over to the retina. Weight difference is noticeable but worth it. I carry mine every day to work. Hoping apple will announce a 12" retina MacBook pro/air, that would be the perfect size for me. Hold off a week and see what they announce.
     
  9. SDColorado macrumors 65816

    SDColorado

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    #9
    Interesting. I just wonder if it is the 128 / 256 drives, both of which are considerably slower than the 512 drives, that are causing a bottleneck to the performance of the rMBP.

    In my own comparisons, both machines with the 512 drives, I find the rMBP to be noticeably faster than the loaded MBA I returned for it.
     
  10. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #10
    I honestly don't know. The rmbp is much better speced. Also for more complex tasks, like mediawork the rmbp is better.

    Its most apparent when webbrowsing.

    Try it yourself. Go to the apple store and open for example this page: rewe.de
    See how the mba scrolls. See how the rmbp scrolls.
    Search rmbp vs mba on youtube.
    The mba is always just a fraction faster. Its quite astounishing.
     
  11. j0nblayz macrumors member

    j0nblayz

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    Jul 21, 2007
    #11
    haven't done testing on web browsing, however just a heads up about SSD manufacture. My wife's mba is a 2013 and has a Samsung 128gb, my rmbp is a late 2013 with a 256gb Samsung also. I bought a 2014 mba 11" to try out, and had a Toshiba ssd. ssd speed test on the mba 11 was much slow than my wifes or mine. Mine was the fastest, than my wife's than the 2014 mba. So that's another thing to consider when comparing performance also, try to get a Samsung SSD no matter what year.
     
  12. Orr macrumors 6502

    Orr

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    Oct 8, 2013
    #12
    I concur with Meister. Originally had the 13" 1.7/8/256 MBA when it was first released last year. After a few months transitioned to my current 13" 2.4/8/256 rMBP. The MBA was noticeably faster for all basic and single-threaded tasks.
     
  13. dazz87 macrumors 6502

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    Sep 24, 2007
    #13
    I was all set to get the MBA 13" over the Retina "13. I was at bestbuy looking at both, but that Retina screen pretty much push me over to the Pro. I know its couple of hundreds more but the Retina is worth it.
     
  14. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    The Far Horizon
    #14
    To a large extent, it really depends on your needs, and what you prioritise. I require portability, excellent battery and speed, and the MBA does this superbly.

    I agree that the MBA is faster and lighter; I have the 13" MBA, 8 GB RAM, Core i7 and 512 SSD - and it is a blazing fast machine. Battery life is superb and the portability factor - which is a huge one for me as I travel so much - cannot be beaten. However, the higher range MBA models do seem to be better and faster than the base models, as others have already pointed out in this thread.

    For my own needs, the screen of the 13" (and indeed the 11") are more than perfectly adequate. Should there be a requirement for even greater portability, the 11" is exceptionally good.

    However, should you desire an outstanding screen, and should this trump a need for portability, terrific speed and a wonderful battery life, then go for the rMBP.
     
  15. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 21, 2013
    #15
    I think it is an issue with the graphics drivers for the retina screen. The scaled resolutions have not really been optomized yet, so scrolling and other basic functions aren't perfect. I bet it is a software issue and not a hardware issue. It still brings up an interesting point, that even after a year and a half, the rMBP is still a new product, with some issues that have not been ironed out. The rMBA will most likely have these issues as well, but hopefully most of the display issues will have been fixed by then just because the rMBP has been out for a little while already.

    Best,
    Matt
     
  16. shoppy macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 4, 2007
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    Hants
    #16
    I have owned all 4 and have all 4 now. I have not got around to getting my new 13" out so it's still in its box. However I use my 11" daily as well as my 13" air no issues with screen size you get used to it very quickly.

    The 15" I use around the house and if I am going away and be in one place for a few days at a time. The weight and size is not that big but they all seem huge after using the 11" My perfect travel computer is my 11" as you get absorbed in the screen for films. I take this and my 13" and I really don't have to worry about battery life. It is powerful enough for my road warrior use and nippy with the new SSD's. Here is a few photos to give you an idea, if you want any more photos just ask.
     

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  17. SDColorado macrumors 65816

    SDColorado

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    #17
    That was kind of the push for me as well. I really did like the 13" MBA in most every aspect, but the screen made my eyes kind of bug out after a couple hours.

    As much as I wanted to love the MBA, I really missed the display of my 15" rMBP. In the end I swapped the 13" MBA for the 13" rMBP.

    Once you have gone retina Mac it is hard to go back?
     
  18. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

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    Aug 10, 2010
    Location:
    Poole, England
    #18
    It's not weird. You're focused on scrolling up and down in web pages. It makes sense that the MBA will seem faster since the UI runs at a higher FPS on the MBA. This is because you basically have the same GPU driving a much lower resolution. Luckily my workflow does not include scrolling up and down through web pages all day long.
     
  19. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    Oct 10, 2013
    #19
    Apps open faster and the startup is slightly faster. Any scrolling is faster, not just webpages.
    Scrolling up and down is a basic task that makes up a large part of a consumers activity.

    My workflow does include scrolling up and down all day long.
     
  20. AnorexicPig macrumors 6502

    AnorexicPig

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    Dec 12, 2012
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    Winnipeg,Canada/New Delhi India
    #20
    I had a 2012 MBA with 8GB ram, which I gave to my dad and now have the machine in my signature, and I just did a side by side comparison with it, and I found my rMBP faster marginally.

    Seeing how a 2013 MBA is actually a step back in performance over the 2012 (in processing terms), I think anecdotal evidences in the end can vary wildly.

    Moreoever, after using the rMBP for a significant amount of time, going back to MBA is a seemingly jarring experience, the screen which used to feel totally fine earlier now looks kinda horrible.
     
  21. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    Boston
    #21
    For me, it all boils down to battery life vs. retina screen.

    Do you want a 13" laptop with a great screen, or a 13" laptop with phenomenal battery life.

    I'd opt for the rMBP myself. :D
     
  22. shoppy macrumors 6502a

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    Hants
    #22
    I am not sure how you get that as my 2013 MBA benches higher then my 2012 did and even my 11" benches higher them my 2013 1.3 i5.

    They are all fats enough in day to day tasks.
     
  23. AnorexicPig macrumors 6502

    AnorexicPig

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    #23
    I read about it on TheVerge's review for the MBA 2013, when it came out last year. Though as you said, all are more than fast enough to really notice any meaningful difference.
     
  24. Dweez macrumors 65816

    Dweez

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    #24
    Which tool(s) did you use to compare performance?
     
  25. AnorexicPig macrumors 6502

    AnorexicPig

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    #25
    As I mentioned in my reply above, I read about the performance difference in ' The Verge's' review of the 2013 MBA. And as I agreed with the poster above, the difference in real world is totally negligible, and all are equally fast.
     

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