Processors: Air vs Retina 13"

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by sebastien0000, Jul 22, 2013.

  1. sebastien0000 macrumors newbie

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    Jul 22, 2013
    #1
    Hi all,

    I'm looking for a laptop which I hope to use often to edit HD video. The fact that I travel a lot ruled out the heavy Macbook Pros and also the 15" Retina (I realise the lack of dedicated graphics card & screenspace is an issue but I don't have much choice).

    I've recently been considering upgrading the Air with 8GB RAM, 256GB storage and the 1.7GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz) processor.

    After that, though, there's only about $100 difference between that and a similar Retina, albeit with the 2.6GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz) processor.

    I've been cruising threads for a while and not many offer much guidance in regard to the differences between these two particular dual-core processors; i.e., whether the slower i7 will be better or worse than the faster i5, or which of the GHz speeds mentioned are most important.

    I don't know much about processors and have been agonizing over which to choose. If they were more or less the same I might lean toward the retina as there's not much weight difference and I'd pay the extra cash for better resolution.

    I'd really appreciate any input on the issue or any extra advice generally.

    Thanks.
     
  2. simsaladimbamba

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    #2
    The 2.6 GHz i5 is faster than the 1.7 GHz i7 CPU.

    The 13" rMBP also has the ability to use the screen real estate of 1650 x 1080 (like the High Resolution model of the 15" classic MBP), thus you have more space for palettes, which is important for video editing applications. While the 1440 x 900 pixel of the 13" MBA might be enough, it can be hindering.

    What editing application will you use? iMovie or FCP X?
     
  3. PaulSpr macrumors member

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    Jun 14, 2013
    #3
    The rMBP is probably faster, but when you look at GeekBench the Core i7 1.7Ghz in the MBA scores 7297, while the Core i5 2.6Ghz in the rMBP scores 6810? An rMBP with a core i7 at 3Ghz scores 7744. Does Haswell make that big of a difference?
     
  4. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    Aug 5, 2010
    #4
    Haswell is a small difference. It's around 5%. Compared 2012 model to 2012 model. If you use truly demanding applications, a 15" is the way to go due to quad core cpu.
     
  5. sebastien0000 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 22, 2013
    #5
    Thanks for your response, some good points to consider - although the comment from PaulSpr is something I've heard in different variations before. I'm also wondering whether the Air's Intel HD Graphics 5000 (as oppose to the Retina's 4000) would further tip the scale? Do you think that matters anywhere near as much as processor speed?

    I will be using either FCP or Adobe Premiere (I'm familiar with FCP but a friend advised me to check Premiere out).

    Thanks again
     
  6. leman macrumors 604

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #6
    Well, Geekbench is not a reliable benchmark. Because the 13" rMBP CPU has more thermal headroom, it is likely to perform slightly better for tasks that require prolonged computation. For normal day-to-day work, there is no mentionable difference between the MBA and rMBP's CPUs. And as far the GPUs go... on paper, the HD5000 in the MBA is faster, but then again, it is limited by thermal constraints. I can't find any direct comparisons of the two right now, but I expect the MBA to be only slightly faster on practice.
     
  7. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #7
    A good CPU will perform great. The MacBook Airs 1.7GHz i7 CPU will perform a bit on par with the faster clocked i5 in the 13" model. However, the MacBook Air is thermally limited.

    Meaning after certain temperatures are reached, the CPU (and chipset) will go into throttle mode (meaning slow down) and performance will suffer.

    That is one of the issues of having a powerhouse MacBook Air. Portability is great and all if it is an everyday computer, not a replacement for on the go performance. That is why the 13" MacBook Pro exists.
     
  8. andeify macrumors 6502

    andeify

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    #8
    Another + for the Retina is it will be a lot quieter, even when pushed to the limit.

    Source http://www.anandtech.com/show/6409/13inch-retina-macbook-pro-review/12
     
  9. sonicrobby macrumors 68020

    sonicrobby

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    #9
    Have you gone to an Apple store to play with these devices yet? Because the 15" rMBP is actually not at all heavy in my opinion, nor is it hindering in my experience of traveling. Fits nicely in my backpack. Because of your HD video editing, I would HIGHLY recommend the dedicated graphics and the quad-core processor. These are the 2 reasons I regret buying the 13" MBP a while back. Unless you are a patient person and can wait a LONG while for your video to export and dont mind staring at the pinwheel every so often.

    But of the 2 choices, because of your video editing, I would recommend the rMBP over the air. The air is more portable, but the pro is more powerful.
     
  10. jread macrumors regular

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    Sep 17, 2012
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #10
    I had the Haswell MBA with the i7 and returned it (due to hating the display) for a 13" rMBP with the i7.

    Despite the MBA having the HD 5000 graphics, it could not perform as well as the rMBP with HD 4000 graphics. The little ULV processors in the MBAs simply do not have the power of the "Big Boy" processors in the rMBPs.

    The MBA had better battery life, and that's about it.
     
  11. Stetrain macrumors 68040

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    Feb 6, 2009
    #11
    If you want to do long CPU-intensive operations like rendering/encoding video, then go with the rMBP over the Air. The cooling system and thermal headroom are much better.

    The Air's i7 has pretty good peak performance but the rMBP should be able to sustain those turbo boost speeds for longer because it isn't as thermally constrained.

    As others have said definitely check out the 15" rMBP in person. It's actually lighter than the 13" non-retina MBP.
     
  12. Mercmanman macrumors member

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    Nov 24, 2012
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    Canada
    #12

    I went from an i7 2012 13" MBA to the i7 13" rMBP, and I do some HD editing once a month or so. I found the rMBP is about 20% faster at rendering...and the fans spin up occasionally. on the MBA, the fans spin up all the time...and the rendering is thermally limited for sure.

    Also...the MBA fans are loud, the rMBP fans are really quiet.

    So...I made the switch, the rMBP is faster in real life due to lack of thermal limitations
     
  13. B... macrumors 68000

    B...

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    #13
    The rMBP due to the screen and better cooling.
     
  14. sebastien0000 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 22, 2013
    #14
    Thanks everyone for the great advice. I'm definitely on the rMBP side after considering your testimonies re heating, actual performance etc.

    But now I'm thinking it might be worth waiting for the retina upgrades. Surely they'll be announced any day now?
     
  15. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #15
    Don't get hung up on a Retina... The 13" MacBook is also a nice buy. Although for any non-Air MacBook, I would recommend waiting a couple of months. The life cycle is nearing an end.
     
  16. GermanyChris macrumors 601

    GermanyChris

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    #16
    It also cost $700 to $1000 more money..
     
  17. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #17
    At this stage of the game, I think waiting is your best bet. The Haswell laptops will be coming soon.
     
  18. sonicrobby macrumors 68020

    sonicrobby

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    #18
    This is true, but its better to get something that would perform well under a heavy load, instead of just getting by. That's just my opinion, its up to the OP to decide what they want
     
  19. GermanyChris macrumors 601

    GermanyChris

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    #19
    "The fact that I travel a lot ruled out the heavy Macbook Pros and also the 15" Retina"


    That would be a desktop in the end, they can do it all day long with little noise, you can edit the video then drop it on the desktop to render and not tie up the computer all day long.
     
  20. sonicrobby macrumors 68020

    sonicrobby

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    Apr 24, 2013
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    New Orleans
    #20
    I mentioned the 15" retina macbook is not heavy, and suggested they go check it out at the apple store, to pick it up. Because while not "light" its also "not heavy" and easily portable.

    Did the op say they will use a desktop? (im actually asking) Because the quad core would perform the duty of a desktop, and be more portable. So that is why I am recommending it if they wish to spend the money for it.

    I dont understand why you are arguing with an opinion. I gave it, its what I think. Whether the user is willing to spend the extra money for the power is up to them. Im not making any decisions, Im just informing them that I travel with my 15" rMBP with no problems, and therefore advise they play with it in the apple store. If they still think its too big, too heavy, or too expensive, then that's their choice. Im not forcing them to buy it, Im just saying I would suggest that route is better for their video editing needs. I also gave them my recommendation of the Macbooks they are asking about. So I dont know what the problem is here.
     

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