Not your normal MBA vs RMBP question!

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by mstgkillr, Jun 25, 2012.

  1. mstgkillr macrumors regular

    Feb 11, 2012
    I am a Civil Engineering student just finishing up my first two years of school. I plan on getting a MBA and a RMBP but I can't afford both at the moment. I plan on buying one now and the other one in about 6 months to a year.

    Which one should I buy first and why?
  2. stevelam macrumors 65816

    Nov 4, 2010
    students have a lot of money these days.

    the RMBP will probably make more sense to wait on since there's barely anything retina-optimized and i imagine a lot of the usual civ tools won't be updated for retina for a long time, if ever.
  3. Sahee macrumors regular


    Jun 22, 2012
    Students get good jobs during their study... these days.
  4. scarred macrumors 6502a

    Jul 24, 2011
    They both solve the same problems, so I'm not sure why you need both tbh.

    So, with that said, if you really think you are going to get both, I'd get the cheaper one first (the MBA). That way you can see if you still need to drop money on the rMBP. Many people are surprised that the MBA is all they need.... I know I was surprised in 2011 with just how powerful they are.
  5. mohsy90, Jun 25, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2012

    mohsy90 macrumors 65816


    Feb 4, 2011
    New York
    Why exactly do you need 2 notebooks??? Are you an undergrad or grad student?

    If your planning to use the MBA because of it's portability and the 15" rMBP as a home desktop, that's a complete waste of money

    Settle for one, if you need the extra power and screen real estate get the rMBP. It's only 4.46 lbs, lighter than my old 13" MBP. I never had a problem carrying it around.
  6. ob81 macrumors 65816


    Jun 11, 2007
    Virginia Beach
    If you have no other computer, I would go with the new rMBP. I am a student and I had a MBA for a while. I eventually sold it. Wish I had a MBP at the time instead.
  7. mstgkillr thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 11, 2012
    I am not your typical student... I work full time and make well above the median salary. I decided to return to school to earn another degree in hopes of further advancing my career.


    I do need two notebooks... My fiancé also returned to school and in about 6 to 12 months she will need one too. The MBA will probably end up being her notebook and I will probably keep the RMBP for AutoCAD and other engineering programs.

    I was thinking that due to some of the issues that the early adopters are having with the RMBP, that it might be better to get the more refined MBA for now.
  8. OSMac macrumors 65816

    Jun 14, 2010
    Go with the Air let the Retina hardware and software mature a generation.
  9. beamer8912 macrumors 65816

    May 30, 2009
    Must be well above the median if you're paying college tuition and can still afford two new macs.

    Where I come from, any money made while studying goes directly towards (now unsubsidized) loans.
  10. racer1441 macrumors 68000

    Jul 3, 2009
    Retina. Screen will make you rethink your life to this point.
  11. applesith macrumors 68030


    Jun 11, 2007
    People are at different points in their lives. Don't generalize or compare.
  12. PBG4 Dude macrumors 68020

    PBG4 Dude

    Jul 6, 2007
    When I went back to school for my second degree, my employer paid 100% of the cost (including lab fees and books). Maybe the OP has a similar deal.

    To answer the OP's question, get the MBA now. Apple has had 2 years to perfect this form factor and internal tech. the rMBP is brand new, version 1.0. Let someone else kick the tires on the first batch. :)
  13. leenak macrumors 68020

    Mar 10, 2011
    I don't know, I had one of the highest paying jobs on campus when I was in school. I was a lead for the CS computer lab and I got paid $8.50/hour (most other jobs got paid $6.50). I didn't have a car but I still had to pay rent, buy food, books, etc (tuition was covered through a grant). I worked up to 40 hours during the summer but was limited to 20 during the school year.

    So I'm guessing, if they are truly a full time student, its not the part time jobs paying for the computers.

    It seems like a waste of money to me (as someone who makes quite a bit of money and is a part time student).
  14. beamer8912, Jun 25, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2012

    beamer8912 macrumors 65816

    May 30, 2009
    Wow, just wow. I think you're in the wrong place if you don't want to generalize or compare. That's exactly what happens in this forum.

    Not to mention the OP did not post any info that he was basically $$$. Most college students aren't rolling in it, but that doesn't stop them from blowing what little amount they have on new toys. Sometimes they need a little help realizing what they're priorities should be. Hence why we see 10-11 "College student, should I get the rMBP?" threads a day.

    Its a "generalization", but the OP didn't put in any of those details in his post.
  15. Sahee, Jun 25, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2012

    Sahee macrumors regular


    Jun 22, 2012
    8.50$ isn't a really good payment. I got 12€ while working for a construction company, where my task was to lay pavement the whole day. So actually I guess that as a Student (who actually knows what he is studying), you can get quite a good salary. I talked to continental for example and they said I would get 14€ per hour when I work for them as a coder (mainly coding failure analysis).

    For the lazy:
    14€ equals 17$
    12€ equals 15$

    and 8.50$ equals 6,70€

    It seems like the payment in USA is quite bad :).
  16. SR71 macrumors 68000

    Jan 12, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Why not get a MacBook Pro, upgrade the RAM to 16GB (max) and then get yourself a nice SSD to put into it? That's what I plan on doing, and right now you can get a 512GB Crucial M4 SSD (SATA 3) on Amazon for $360, which is a steal. That's probably the best choice you could make at the moment. You'd be getting the performance benefits that the rMBP get's from its SSD and RAM, while also being able to use current applications since they won't need to be updated for the MBP like they would if you had a rMBP. Just my 2 cents.
  17. TheMacBookPro macrumors 68020


    May 9, 2008
    Get the Air first...

    ...because you won't want to use one if you got the Retina Pro first ;)
  18. beamer8912, Jun 25, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2012

    beamer8912 macrumors 65816

    May 30, 2009
    Neither of those jobs are really minimum wage jobs. One thing you have to recognize is that most campus are minimum wage. There are some higher paying jobs, like researching where I get $15/hour as a senior, freshmen make <$10. But those are much more involved and require a large time commitment which not all students have time for.

    The $8-10/hour jobs are what some students need to fit their schedules and pay the bills.

    Regardless, the OP is clearly not what most of us thought of when he said college student. The large majority of college students are not in his situation.

    edit: Just a quick note, my college actually works hard to enforce a bloated minimum wage. I think right now its at $9.25, but like I said you can find better.
  19. leenak macrumors 68020

    Mar 10, 2011
    This was quite a few years ago but things haven't changed much. A lot of people would love to get paid 12 euros/hour here, even college graduates.

    And I did miss the part where the 2nd computer wasn't for him :)

    I was a CS student and I had a desktop computer but laptops in classrooms were a rare sight at the time. All our work was done in labs but engineering may vary.

    I think the MB Air is a solid computer for most students.
  20. gskiser macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2003
    It all depends on your preference...

    It sounds like I'm in the minority, but I'd probably personally recommend getting the MacBook Pro Retina now first. While the MacBook Airs are awesome machines and probably sufficient, if you are ultimately going to get two, then I'd get the most powerful one first. That way you have your true desktop replacement during the coming months while you only have one computer, and will get the most use out of it. You can then add an Air in a few months for the portability or traveling factor if you'd like.

    My other logic is that the MacBook Pro Retina will probably retain it's value (and last you) longer since it's a redesign with some major industry changing improvements....namely, the Retina display itself. The MacBook Air was just an incremental update. Its obvious that Apple is trending towards converting all of their hardware to Retina displays, so it's just a matter of time before the MacBook Air will also get a Retina display. That's probably the main reason I'd go with the Pro first, and the next Pro update will probably just be incremental. If you plan on keeping these for a few years, then you may prefer to have both computers with Retina displays as that's where things are trending. After seeing the Retina display in person, it is a significant leap forward and something you'll notice every day you use it.

    However, if immediate portability is your primary and driving concern, or you're someone that cycles through new computers every year or two, then just go with the Air now.
  21. applesith macrumors 68030


    Jun 11, 2007
    You turned the conversation into comparing your income and loans situation to their situation. It doesn't matter if most of your income goes to paying loans, that's not what is being discussed here. The OP is asking for advice on prioritizing which computer to buy. A handful of people here clearly have an issue with a student having the option to buy one or two Macs when they cannot themselves.
  22. Queen6 macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2008
    Putting out the fire with gasoline...
    OP asked about hardware not opinions on his financial position :rolleyes:

    I would tend to go against the flow and side with the rMBP, it has the power and portability. rMBP is a huge leap and Apple will be absolutely determined to ensure all goes smoothly, and will not doubt push for software compatibility.

    I have two 15" MBP`s and a 13" Air, the MBP`s simply offer far more computing power and offer a far higher quality of display which must not be discounted if you have to spend significant time working on the internal display.

    FWIW I have a rMPB on order, once set up my Air wil go, they are supereb ultraportables, however once you are used to the iCore 15" the Air does feel a little insipid, mine is a Late 2011 i5, the 2012 wil be a little stronger, yet stil nowhere near what the 15" MBP offers.

    Your other option is to go with the 2012 non Retina MBP, it will deliver the performance with a slight weight penalty, without the software teething problems the Retina will initially incur, the trade off is that Apple will likely drop this line 12-24 months from now. Personally I would go with the base Retina, upgrading to a higher spec Haswell retina late 2013 - early 2014
  23. beamer8912 macrumors 65816

    May 30, 2009
    Ha, you just generalized my situation and many others as well! What is your rational for immediately assuming my or others income bracket? I'll give you a hint, its the same one everyone else has used in this thread. 99% of the time, college students aren't rolling it but they still have the mentality of "I want it" from their younger days.

    It wouldn't be hard for anyone, even a homeless person to come up with $2k. Whether or not its outside your means is another question. I think most people here were concerned the OP was trying to spend outside his means. Only later did he mention that he was actually a returning college student. Not some 20 year old with essentially no savings/income.
  24. akdj macrumors 65816


    Mar 10, 2008
    Actually, I believe Autodesk and Adobe were the TWO mentioned 3rd party developers at the 'Unveiling' of the rMBP. I can't THINK of a better application to be developed, written, and built to take advantage of retina graphics (along with Photo/Video software)---the Autodesk and it's offerings. I'd bet by the end of the year they've got 'er up to date to take advantage. In fact...using AutoCad on a 27" at it's 25xx/19xx resolution is brilliant!

    My father is an electrical engineer...still has his slide rule and drafting kit:) Chatting with him about calculators in the 60's is a hoot---compared to today's engineering tools...I don't think there's a machine on the market that could provide and engineering student with all the tools an rMBP can.

    First generation...SURE! But Apple typically doesn't have those first gen growing pains from my experience. Ala iPhone 1, iPad 1, even the newly redesigned MBA---definitely a BIG step up from the original Air, but it was no slouch for it's time (while everyone else was attempting to get folks to purchase Netbooks). I'm kind of in between I'm also contemplating the rMBP but this specific reason holds me back...even though my beliefs are listed. I just feel like this computer is an engineering marvel...and an actual, REAL upgrade for the entire line-up of laptop computing...the screen rez, the use of SSDs, decent/discreet graphics, excellent processing...USB3 and Thunderbolt and HDMI...everything we've ALL been asking for in one tidy little package. It's an amazing machine!

    Really? How much 'Tax' do you pay? Locally? Federally? From what I've heard, you're tax system is a helluva lot more significant than ours in the US. Not that we've gotten ourselves in a bit of hot water these days...but it seems the same across the pond, economy-wise...

    ...and how the hell did we get in to folks' salaries in this discussion? Ridiculous!! For all we know, the OP is a Neuro-Surgeon and looking to get his/her engineering degree to develop new medical tools and innovative medical products....maybe he's already an engineer in one of several other engineering fields....maybe he/she is independently wealthy? Who Gives a Sh**, really?

    Not sure why anyone has to discount what anyone else makes either. Seems very silly....when perhaps 99% of us enjoying MacRumors are also enjoying the top 5 or 10% of wealth in the WORLD!

    Hate the cliché....but come on, "First World....Challenges, maybe?"

    To the OP---I own many Macs as we run an A/V production business. It's how I have paid my mortgage for over two decades. Love my MacBook Airs! My wife and I both have 11"ers...and I've also got a 2012 13" that I just picked up last week. I also have a 17" MBP and understand the need for both. In my occupation, it's essential...for most, probably not. I don't think so many assumptions ought to be made about what another person makes (money-wise) or needs (computer-wise).

    Instead, we ought to offer advice specific to his/her query, no?

  25. stevelam macrumors 65816

    Nov 4, 2010
    yah those were at the 'unveiling' but neither have actually committed to any time frame with adobe pretty much saying POSSIBLY by the end of the year and thats only for photoshop.

    as for autocad? the mac version severaly lags behind the windows version in features, let alone waiting for a major graphical overhaul to get it working optimally for retina display. my gf recently graduated from interior design and constantly had to use my PC version of autocad because the mac version on her macbook was missing critical functionality.

    i don't know the OP's time frame but i don't know how feasible it is to wait 6 months until a POSSIBLE software update comes along for these 2 programs (let alone any others that would be needed).

    i'm not sure what you mean here. right now the RMBP doesn't do anything to help with engineering besides just having updated internal beefy hardware. the fact that autocad is mainly a windows program with the mac version forever in beta also deters from your argument.

    i have no doubt the RMBP is an excellent machine. i just don't see how getting bleeding edge tech would suit an engineering student when the software isn't even there yet.

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