Retina Macbook Pro OR Macbook Air for college ?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by lilcorey10, Jun 25, 2012.

  1. lilcorey10 macrumors member

    Jan 5, 2012
    I posted a similar thread a few weeks ago but would like to get a second opinion now that people have had a chance to play around with and review the rMBP.

    I have two configurations and would like to know what you recommend.

    Macbook Air "13
    >8GB RAM
    >1440 x 900
    >2.0 i7 dual core
    >~ 1600 USD

    Macbook Pro Retina "15
    >8GB RAM
    >2880 x 1800
    >2.3 i7 quad core
    >~ 2000 USD

    With the spec bump in the Air from upgrades the two machines have similar specs and make them a little bit more equal.
    After seeing them in store and comparing for a while I am leaning towards the Retina. The weigh factor is negligible and won't affect my decision. I am going to college for CompSci and expect to do coding, writing, playing with PS and browsing the web. I don't game much BTW.
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Either one can easily handle the needs you describe. It comes down to your personal preference, something no one else can decide for you.
  3. lilcorey10 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 5, 2012
    I'm prefer the Retina... but is the $400 worth the screen space and resolution?
  4. Zwikker macrumors regular


    May 28, 2012
    Morgantown, WV
    Screen space and resolution are not the only things you will get for an extra $400.
  5. Collin789 macrumors regular


    Mar 29, 2011
    Greensboro, NC
    I personally think so. But thats's just me. If you ever need to fit more than one thing on the screen, having the Retina MBP would be able to do that as opposed to the Air.

    I just got the Retina for college if that helps...
  6. photosaurus macrumors regular

    Jun 22, 2012
    For computer science and not having a weight preference for the Mac, I'd definitely go Retina, unless you just can't stomach the extra 400 bucks.

    If 400 bucks means a lot to you, the air will be ok for school too. But I think you will end up taking advantage of the extra retina horsepower if you do a lot of CS experimenting.. installing local db servers like postgres, web servers, and running big IDE's and such. And the extra resolution space will be nice too.

    Edit: Then again, if you're a freshmen in a BS program, it may be a few years before you get into anything truly cs in nature. Unless you're self driven.
  7. mykelala01 macrumors 6502


    May 17, 2009
    If you can afford retina why not go for the best. It is not like weight is a factor... I am sure you gonna get some sort of a laptop bag. And plus if you can afford $2000 worth of laptop now why not.
  8. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Again, what matters is whether it's worth it to you. Some may feel the $400 is well worth it. I personally wouldn't pay $50 less for the Retina, because I prefer anti-glare. Everyone's needs and preferences are different. What's it worth to you?
  9. stevelam macrumors 65816

    Nov 4, 2010
    I think people are completely misunderstanding how the resolution works on the RMBP. You aren't going to get a lot of crazy extra space when you're working with text. That only really applies while working with graphical elements.

    Are the IDEs you'll be using upgraded for retina? Do you want to be coding with blurry text?

    And local web servers, local db etc etc barely uses any resources at all, especially when you're generally the only one testing on it. None of this takes advantage of any horsepower.
  10. boomhower macrumors 68000


    Oct 21, 2011
    For college get the Air. I will be easier to take to class and easier to use once you get there. For your major your going to have some seriously heavy books, save weight where you can. Plus once you get to class the computer will fit much more comfortably on the small area you will have.
  11. photosaurus macrumors regular

    Jun 22, 2012
    I know that Intellij and Eclipse support it already, with a little tweak of the settings. Coda 2 supports.

    You can set your resolution as high as you like, you don't have to stay in the "Recommended" retina setting. From what I've seen playing around with the Retina, it's perfectly usable text at higher resolutions.

    The air IS much more portable, but he said he didn't care about that.

    If he's truly interested in CS, he'll quickly appreciate and use the extra horse power. I installed Intellij on my wifes 2011 air just to test, and it runs like crap. Of course, my projects are quite large... but I imagine as a cs student, you're going to be interested in some large open source projects, or even some cpu intensive projects, like OpenGIS.. or PostGIS.
  12. beamer8912 macrumors 65816

    May 30, 2009
    No college student needs a retina. If they did it would be on the schools suggested hardware page.

    The 13" MBA or MBP will do you fine.

    No, you do NOT need retina.
  13. jcpb macrumors 6502a

    Jun 5, 2012
    MBA will be fine, however I'd stop short of saying "you don't need MBPR".
  14. leenak macrumors 68020

    Mar 10, 2011
  15. d00d macrumors regular

    Jul 22, 2002
    If I were in your position and I didn't care about portability (aka I wasn't lugging it to all my classes), I'd go retina. The larger screen will be nice especially if you're not bringing along another monitor or TV, plus you can do some more intense gaming.
  16. AspiringSurgeon macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2012

    In terms of portability, it's fair to say that the RMBP is up there with the MB Air now. The term "lugging" does not fit with the RMBP; at least not for me. Of course the MB Air is still lighter, but it's a small sacrifice in weight to have a fine piece of hardware that practically doubles the technical specifications of the MB Air.
  17. FastEddiebags macrumors 6502

    Jun 1, 2012
    A come line on this site is "get what you can afford". If I could afford the rMBP you better believe I would get it. If your going to be tight on cash after buying it, maybe go with the are or a normal mbp. College isn't only about studying and doing work.
  18. lilcorey10 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 5, 2012
    I don't NEED an Air either... I guess I will just use my Pentium 4 PC... but then again I may not NEED that
  19. Camwin macrumors member

    May 24, 2012
    Just so you know, you can change res for more real estate SPECIFICALLY.

    Yes the air will work for you for a couple years, but like other posters have said. When you get to the real CS, that extra power will be greatly welcomed. Plus the rMBP is definitely more "future proof" than a MBA. So just in terms of longevity and the extra oomph makes the 400 worth it in my eyes.

    Not to mention when you are using it for personal reasons, everything is so lovely. Pictures are crisp, videos so vibrant. And can also handle a lot of games ;).

    Don't let the people who are talking
    About the lag and burn in issues get to you. Because those are Botha minority problems at best. The lag occurs in shop models and people who haven't even used it yet, or people running 100 things at once , in which any computer will lag. And the burn in? Didnt even know about it until I read forums, haven't once experienced.

    (Experience: CS 4th year. And have had my rMBP, for a little over a week now.
  20. photosaurus macrumors regular

    Jun 22, 2012

    Well, if you don't care about 1.5 lbs less weight to carry around, then you'll definitely like the Retina more. And if you're anything like I was in college, you'll definitely think it's $400 dollars better... and you might be willing to sell half the food in your fridge to get that $400 bucks.

    Of course, that doesn't mean you should. If you were my son, I'd tell you to get a $300 windows laptop and start an IRA with the rest of your money. ;)
  21. lilcorey10 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 5, 2012
    Thanks for the replies! I'm pretty set on getting the Retina Pro.

    I stopped by the Apple store in my area and they didn't have any in stock:(. I am going to call when they open every morning until they say they're in stock.
  22. photosaurus macrumors regular

    Jun 22, 2012
    You should try BestBuy... they've had them in stock pretty constant in my area. Quick! Before you come to your senses!
  23. lilcorey10 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 5, 2012
    True. But they don't give any promo other than the student discount; do they?
  24. leenak macrumors 68020

    Mar 10, 2011
    I have a BS and MS in CS and it does depend, but I found any 'real' powerful computing was done on systems you could remote into or otherwise done on most PCs including a MB Air.

    I would've loved an Air in college.
  25. photosaurus macrumors regular

    Jun 22, 2012
    Some members on here have apparently negotiated an equivalent deal with BB, others have not. You could try and negotiate, and you might be successful.

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