Retina Macbook Pro or 13" Macbook Air

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by wordlessjam, Jul 31, 2012.

  1. wordlessjam macrumors member

    wordlessjam

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #1
    Hey,

    I'm a student studying civil engineering and I think I'm going to need a new laptop soon as mine seems to be slowly dying! Which do you think would be better the retina macbook pro or the 13" macbook air. I use software such as autoCAD and matlab. I also edit 1080p videos from time to time. I need a lot of hard drive space too as I have a look of stuff on it!

    Any help would be great!

    Thanks.
     
  2. slantze macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    #2
    Sounds like you need screen real estate....I would go with a 15" MBP. Of course you can always connect a 13" to an external, but if you are going to be on the move, you will appreciate the larger screen.

    For your large files you'd just have to get the one with the bigger SSD drive.

    One thing you might want to keep in mind is that AutoCad is still being optimized for Retina screens. Also the newer Retina Macbook Pros are not user-upgradeable. So I would also max out the RAM if you choose to go with the Retina models.

    But even after all that, I would suggest you pick up a high-res 15" anti-glare MBP not Retina. You can configure to your hearts content with a large HD and you can upgrade your RAM easily yourself.

    That will definitely get you through school and beyond, and you'll save some money too.

    Cheers and good luck.
     
  3. BornAgainMac macrumors 603

    BornAgainMac

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2004
    Location:
    Florida Resident
    #3
    From a new Air owner, I recommend the rMBA. I saw one in person and it is worth every penny.
     
  4. xparaparafreakx macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2005
    #4
    I would get a rMBA if they had one. Too bad they only have a rMBP.
     
  5. foidulus macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    #5
    I would get the rMBP, but if your budget absolutely does not allow you to get the 256 gig model(I would upgrade the memory first), I would not worry too much about it, esp. if you might not fill up the 256 for another 6 months-a year

    I am a programmer and as such use a lot of VMs, I initially was leaning towards the 512 gb model, but $600 is pretty steep for a small CPU bump and 256 gigs of disk space. So what I am doing instead is getting the base model, bumped to 16 gigs and waiting for Thunderbolt storage prices to drop and getting an external thunderbolt SSD. They are pretty pricy right now, but I can almost guarantee that you will find a really small 256+ gb thunderbolt SSD for well below Apple's price
     
  6. wordlessjam thread starter macrumors member

    wordlessjam

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #6
    Thanks for the reply guys. It all depends really how much I can see my current MBP for. Do you know what I could see a mid-2009 15" MBP,1TB hard drive, 4GB Ram, 2.8GHz C2D?
     
  7. Francisco79 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2012
    #7
    What do you need it for?

    One thing you need to consider as a civil engineer, if you become structural engineer most of the software available for structural design and finite element modeling currently adopted by civil engineers in the industry runs on windows. :( ... I would stick with a mac and go for the rMBP if you have the money, or a 15" Macbook pro, and run windows on Parallels, just make sure you max out the RAM, specially if you get the rMBP since you can't upgrade it later. Autocad and Finite Element software are generally CAD software (at least the UI for geometric modelling) and when you start to do large design projects you may benefit from the discrete graphics since most of these CAD softwares rely in openGL (or DirectX).


     
  8. Mikey7c8 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    #8
    Thought you said it was dying ? :p

    FWIW I'm still using my mid-09 Macbook Pro 13", though now upgraded memory and SSD and it's plenty fast enough. If it still works and 'dying' means 'getting slow' then buy an optibay, ssd and max out your memory instead.

    Surely there's better things to spend 2k on (beer, etc) whilst being a student ?
     
  9. wordlessjam thread starter macrumors member

    wordlessjam

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #9
    Haha! It is getting slow but it's been in for quite a few repairs now and applecare runs out soon so I'm worried it will break after it has run out!
     

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