Replacement for 2013 11" MBA?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by blimundus, Apr 26, 2015.

  1. blimundus macrumors member

    Apr 18, 2006
    I am planning to replace my base model mid-2013 11" MBA. I do not have any other Macs. I use the MBA on the go, at a desk with an external monitor and around the house. I use the Mac for managing photos and videos, for email, web browsing, reading, word processing, etc - nothing special.

    My Photos library is 168GB with 30,000+ photos and 1,000 videos. It does not fit on the MBA's 128GB SSD anymore. I use iCloud's 'optimized storage' on my iPhone, but I want the Mac to keep a local version of the entire library. So, my Photos library lives on an external disk. The replacement for my MBA would need to have more internal storage. I would go for 512GB.

    My other complaint about the MBA is the wide aspect ratio / limited vertical resolution, especially for browsing and word processing. This is not a problem when the MBA is hooked up to my 24" external monitor 1920 x 1200.

    I do not want to add a Mac mini or iMac to my MBA, because I want to keep a laptop and I do not want to manage / sync two Macs.

    So, here are the contenders:

    • 13" MBA: undoubtedly meets my needs, and I would have a 1440 x 900 screen to work with, but why postpone the appealing upgrade to retina for another couple of years?
    • 13" MBP: Once I go for the 512GB version, there is no need for other upgrades. Probably most future proof (also considering the ever expanindg Photos library). But almost 50% heavier than my current 11" MBA...
    • 12" MB: Great form factor: even though I no longer want the 11" MBA, I do appreciate how small and light it is. I think that I am willing to deal with the single port. I would try the 1440 x 900 scaled resolution, but I am not sure whether that would work for me. I am a bit worried about performance. I suppose the CPU will be slower than my current MBA. On the other hand, I would go from the current 4GB RAM in the MBA to 8GB RAM... What would be the net effect on e.g. the performance of scrolling through my Photos library?

    Looking forward to your advice!
  2. Airboy1466 macrumors regular


    Feb 23, 2015
    Go with the rMBP its the most future proof and you will notice the extra weight but it shouldn’t be that much of a big deal my friend carries his to classes everyday and another buddy of mine carries his non-retina pro to classes everyday so its safe to say 3.5 pounds won’t kill your back lol

    to add i currently have a 2015 MBA i7 8GB ram 256GB SSD even though it has great specs, future proof and is an amazing laptop in its own respect I’m looking to sell it because after using my friends retina MBP it just made me feel so outdated with my current MBA screen
  3. cruisin macrumors 6502a


    Apr 1, 2014
    I doubt you will see the difference in 4 GB vs 8 GB ram, you just are not using that much ram.

    Scrolling performance depends on the GPU and what the GPU is connected to. The default Apple apps are quite good at smooth scrolling at retina resolution with the exceptions being iTunes, Exposé, and Launchpad in my experience. Once I switched to secondary graphics the issue goes away, so it's definitely retina related.

    Keep in mind the new fanless MacBook has the performance of an Air from 2011, so if you need a strong CPU you will not like it very much. Plus you either need new USB devices or a bunch of adapters. I personally don't like this model because the Pro costs about the same and aside from the weight I feel it is better.

    It basically depends on how portable you need to be. The new MacBook is lighter than even a 11 inch Air, while the 13 inch Air adds half a pound and the 13 inch Pro adds a pound over the 11 inch Air.

    Maybe make a list of what you want and then see which version best suits your needs? Because the current situation is: retina, performance, weight: choose two.
  4. blimundus thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 18, 2006
  5. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Dec 14, 2010
    Wise choice ;)

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