Price intrigue...should I buy?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by mpayne2k, May 1, 2014.

  1. mpayne2k macrumors 6502a

    mpayne2k

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    #1
    With the update and subsequent price drop on Best Buy's website of the 2013 MBA 13" my interest has been piqued on buying the base model $899 machine with 4gb ram/128gb hd. I have a 10% coupon which for me, after tax price will run around $875.00. I'm not eligible for the $150 student discount with Best Buy.

    So my situation is that I already have a pretty kick ass, for me desktop replacement rMBP 15" that is humming along as my primary use computer. I have no issues taking this computer on the road as I travel at least once a month for a week at a time.

    For those that own a MBA, is it going to be too jarring for me to "downgrade" to a MBA for my travel? I guess even for $875, I'm mainly concerned about still choosing to just travel with my rMBP and possibly just regretting the MBA in the future.

    Edit: I guess to address why I'm interested, it is the entry level pricing and the fact that the Air is for the most part, fully featured laptop that is a worthy travel companion due to its size and weight.
     
  2. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #3
    Then why do you need the MBA? :confused:

    I had a 2011 13" MBA and switched to a 2013 11" MBA and love it. If you want something that would make a big difference for travel maybe you should look at the 11" MBA?

    But really, why spend the money if you're happy with your MBP?
     
  3. skaertus macrumors 68030

    skaertus

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Location:
    Brazil
    #4
    Well, it depends. I also have a 15-inch retina MacBook Pro and it is an awesome machine.

    However, sometimes I regret not taking the 13-inch retina model instead. I will give you some examples:

    • Last week, I had to travel and work on the laptop while I was in the plane. No need to say, it was very uncomfortable to use a 15-inch laptop on a plane due to the lack of space. A 13-inch laptop, however, would have been fine.

    • When I am at a hotel, I don't want my Mac to be left around in the room. However, my 15-inch MacBook Pro does not fit inside any safe deposit boxes on hotel rooms. As a result, I have to put it inside my suitcase and lock it.

    • When I am at meetings, I wish my Mac was smaller. Sometimes, there is lack of space in the table for it to fit. And sometimes it is just a little bit weird to take out a laptop this size to use during a meeting. Something smaller, however, could do.

    • When I am carrying lots of stuff, I wish my MacBook Pro with its A/C adapter could be lighter. This is especially true in trips.

    • When you travel by plane, you should remember that you have weight limit for the hand luggage (which is where you want to carry your Mac, I suppose). The maximum weight allowed is usually between 5-10kg. The 15-inch MacBook Pro weighs 2kg without the A/C adapter, while the Air weighs 1.3kg only. That may make some difference, as the 15-inch would allow you to carry little else.

    • The 15-inch MacBook Pro is large and it does not fit some bags which would accomodate an Air.

    • The 15-inch MacBook Pro is an expensive machine. If you travel to a place where you are at risk of theft, then you will have no need to be too worried by carrying a less-expensive Air (which is your spare computer) instead of an all-powerful 15-incher.

    This is what I could think of right now. So, yes, the Air is better for mobility. The Pro is a better machine, but sometimes I just wish it was smaller (I am getting to the conclusion that the 13-inch Pro may be the ideal compromise). It may be worth to get the Air for travel purposes or for using in some situations. Of course it would depend on what you use your laptop for and on the frequency of your trips.
     
  4. mpayne2k thread starter macrumors 6502a

    mpayne2k

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    #5
    Thank you for this, you've given me much to think about and consider.

    So basically, yeah I can envision traveling lighter with a 13" while leaving behind the main 15". I suppose I should poke around in an Air at the store to ensure its size and usability is for me.
     
  5. skaertus macrumors 68030

    skaertus

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Location:
    Brazil
    #6
    Yes, I think so. Perhaps the Air may serve another purposes. Even though it is not as good and as powerful as the Pro, you may find good use for it. Sometimes it is a blessing being smaller and lighter.

    The 13-inch Air seems to be very usable. It has a full-sized keyboard and trackpad (the same size as the 15-inch Pro). The screen is smaller, of course, and it is TN (not IPS) and not retina. And it is not as powerful (slower processor, less RAM, and less storage space). However, it is still very useful, and used by lots of people as their main computer, so it should fit for travelling purposes.

    You may take a look at the 11-inch Air too, as it is even smaller and lighter. Perhaps too small and light, but if you do not intend to use it as your main computer, then you may consider it as well as it is even smaller and lighter and would fit nearly anywhere. In addition, it also have a full-sized keyboard (a real gem in a laptop this size) and a great trackpad (although smaller than the ones in the 13 and 15-inches).
     
  6. Dweez macrumors 65816

    Dweez

    Joined:
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    Down by the river
    #7
    I'd avoid spending the $$ on a new machine, especially if you don't need it and your current rig is working well for you.

    $0.02 worth.
     
  7. medic27 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2013
    #8
    Ipad air w/keyboard would be better for plane. 11" may be bearable.
     
  8. skaertus macrumors 68030

    skaertus

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    Brazil
    #9

    Two completely different machines. An iPad cannot replace a Mac. If you need the features of a real computer (multi-tasking, real office apps or specific programs), you have to use a Mac (or a PC) and the iPad will not replace it on a trip. I have an iPad, but I also carry my laptop during my trips because I simply cannot trust the iPad will be capable enough to do the sorts of things I may be required to do. But a MacBook Air will definitely do it.
     
  9. ItHurtsWhenIP macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2013
    Location:
    'Merica!
    #10
    If you want sheer mobility out of an Air, maybe the 11" would better suit your needs and save you that extra $100..

    Thanks for posting either way, because I didn't know they had a deal going on at BB. I am eligible for the student discount and at $690 after taxes, it's tempting me to go for the 11" base model instead of spending close to $4-500+ on a new tablet in the near future...
     
  10. medic27 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2013
    #11
    I'm not on a plane now, but as I stare at my mac air 13, I think it will be too much even in 1st class seats. If your on a charter plane, a mac air 15 would be fine.
     
  11. Gregintosh macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago
    #12
    I love my 15 inch retina but I agree, a 13 inch is better or at least more flexible.

    Especially now that I use an external monitor while at home, the extra couple inches are no longer as big an attraction as they once were.

    I'd recommend a 13 inch screen size on either air or pro retina for any new buyers. Ill use my 15 until it dies or I run into some extra cash that'll make swapping no big deal but my next until will more than likely be 13.
     
  12. Baconhall macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 1, 2014
    #13
    Do u want the student discount code?
     
  13. Dweez macrumors 65816

    Dweez

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    Down by the river
    #14
    Disagree - I use my 13" MBA on planes all the time and it's very "bearable".
     
  14. skaertus macrumors 68030

    skaertus

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    #15

    I guess it will depend on the airway and on the space available inside the plane as well, but I generally agree with you.

    Prior to my 15-inch retina, I had a 13-inch white MacBook. While far less powerful, it had a nice size to be used on a plane and did not feel cramped like the 15-inch.
     
  15. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

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    #16
    I had a 2011 13" MBA and it was fine on an airplane, but I now have an 11" MBA and it's so much better. :)
     
  16. skaertus macrumors 68030

    skaertus

    Joined:
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    #17

    I guess it may be. An iPhone would be even better. The smaller, the better for portability. But there is so much you want to compromise.
     
  17. yosemit macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2013
    #18
    Eventually we may come to the point that iPhone replaces our desktop, with a docking station. :rolleyes:

    At this time, 11-in Air is fine. For daily tasks, like email, browser and MS Office, an i7 11-in Air should be slightly faster than a base rMBP 15. The latter is better for programs that can utilize the quad cores and/or the more powerful GPU(s), or need more than 8GB memory.
     
  18. charlyham macrumors regular

    charlyham

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    Jun 30, 2012
    #19
  19. skaertus macrumors 68030

    skaertus

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
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    Brazil
    #20
    Do you think the i7 Air could be faster than a base 15-inch?

    The new i7 Air has a 1.7 GHz Haswell processor, which is probably the Core i7-4650U. The processor runs at 1.7 GHz and can reach up to 3.3 GHz on one core. It has 4 MB L3 cache.

    The processor inside the base 15-inch is a quad-core i7 at 2 GHz, which is probably the Core i7-4750HQ. The processor runs at 2 GHz and can reach up to 3.2 GHz running on one core only. It has 6 MB L3 cache.

    So, while the Air can reach a slightly higher clock on one core than the Pro, the Pro has more cache memory (useful for Office) and two more cores, which may be useful for software which uses multi-threading. I don't think the Air could end up being faster than the Pro.
     
  20. yosemit, May 3, 2014
    Last edited: May 3, 2014

    yosemit macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2013
    #21
    "Do you think the i7 Air could be faster than a base 15-inch?"

    It depends, but it could. The computation part for a single-threaded program is slightly faster on i7 Air.

    As for cache, cache performance is highly dependent on the working set of the program and cache performance parameters. The 4MB cache is smaller than the 6MB, but its access time is supposed to be faster. i7-4750HQ is a much larger chip with two extra CPU cores and bigger GPU cores, so the routing delay to the 6MB cache is almost certain to be higher.

    If the working set fits into the 4MB cache of i7 Air, then fast cache access will give Air a slight advantage on cache performance. If the working set is between 4MB and 6MB, then the rMBP 15 will win comfortably on cache performance. More than 6MB, the Air will again have a slight advantage, because cache checking time adds to memory latency. (That is not to say having a larger cache is bad; it can be better in many cases but not always.)

    Overall, the based rMBP 15 is definitely superior to the i7 Air. But for a particular set of programs, the Air could (just could) have slightly better performance.

     
  21. mtneer macrumors 68020

    mtneer

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2012
    #22
    You mentioned that you travel once a month and for a week; is it fair to say you have access to a hotel/ place to stay with a power cord and a desk at night? If that is the case, then the current MBP should take care of business.

    Also, what do you do with the computer while you travel? If you watch videos, catch up on news, Facetime home and play some simple games to kill time - you may be better off getting an iPad.
     
  22. mpayne2k thread starter macrumors 6502a

    mpayne2k

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    #23
    I still can't handle traveling for work without a laptop. I also have an iPad and treat iPad use differently from my laptop use. The laptop is for personal use on the road, not necessarily for work...a way to stay connected.

    Thanks everyone for the spirited discussion. I did end up having someone help me get the student discount from Best Buy and I got the base 13" for $810!
     
  23. skaertus macrumors 68030

    skaertus

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Location:
    Brazil
    #24
    Very nice. I think it was a good buy. It's a quality laptop that you found for a very attractive price. And it is much better than an iPad Air that would cost you the very same US$ 800 if equipped with an 128 GB SSD.
     
  24. medic27 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2013
    #25
    not to dis the mac air, which I have and like, Post#1 information leads to a tablet suggestion.
     

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