Retina Macbook Pro OR Macbook Air

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by lilcorey10, Jun 13, 2012.

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  1. lilcorey10 macrumors member

    Jan 5, 2012
    I recently posted a thread asking which I should buy among four different configurations of Macbook Airs and Pros. I have narrowed it down to two.

    Macbook Air "13
    • 256GB Flash
    • 8GB RAM
    • 1440x900
    • Dual core i5

    Retina Macbook Pro
    • 256GB
    • 8GB RAM
    • 2880x1800
    • quad core i7

    By upgrading the Air with extra RAM and SSD storage the two are fairly equal. The advantage of the Retina Pro is the screen size and resolution as well as the dedicated graphics. The advantage of the Air is the weight and price difference(~$400).

    Which should I choose? I stopped by the Apple store today and was blown away by the Retina screen. CRAZY
  2. Martialis macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2012
    The Macbook Air, as you don't state any particular reason for needing a higher performing and more expensive machine.
  3. lilcorey10 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 5, 2012
    I am getting this for college and going for a CS degree. Would the Air be enough? With the scaling on the Retina Pro there should be plenty of screen space.Right?
  4. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Oct 21, 2008
    For college, I'd get the Air. I used a 13" MacBook and later MBP all through University, and it was nearly perfect. I say nearly because although the 13" Pro is very portable, I still often wished for a lighter machine.

    I couldn't imagine carrying a 15" notebook around everywhere, even the new retina one.

    Get an external monitor and keyboard/mouse at home (the $400 you save buying the Air will get you some nice kit), and you'll have a better mobile and better at-home experience.

    (OTOH, the retina Pro is damn cool. I wouldn't blame you if you went with it for that reason alone. :D)
  5. lilcorey10 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 5, 2012
    Sorry I forgot to mention that as a graduation gift my whole family is pitching in and getting the externals(monitor, backup HDD, mouse, etc.). I am paying for the laptop myself.
  6. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    If you're going to have an external monitor anyway I would lean towards the Air. It really comes down to whether or not you want/need that dedicated GPU.

    If you're using it for school the Air's portability might be a win as well.
  7. CapnJackGig macrumors 6502a

    Jul 17, 2011
    MBPs including the new ones with retina are too heavy to constantly lug around.
  8. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    I lug my 13" unibody Macbook (same exact form factor as the 13" MBP) around in my backpack quite a lot. The Retina MBP is actually a tad lighter.

    Still, an Air would be a nice improvement if you are going to keep it with you all the time.
  9. aCuria macrumors member

    Aug 1, 2011
    In your university, would it be fine to use OSX all the time?

    There are issues with boot camp and the mbp, no Optimus, poor resolution scaling in win 7/8 ect.

    And there's no visual studio on osx.

    Personally I think it's better to have both a desktop and a notebook though.
  10. CausticPuppy macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2012
    Using an external monitor defeats the purpose of getting the retina macbook pro... you'll be happy with the Air.
  11. Martialis macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2012
    No, they really aren't. The new MBPR weights 4.46 pounds. If anyone finds that "too heavy" to carry, they have bigger problems.
  12. lilcorey10 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 5, 2012
    True. I'm not worried much about the weight. If you can't carry 4.5lb, you are really weak lol.
  13. AlanShutko macrumors 6502a

    Jun 2, 2008
    There's "can't" and there's "don't want to". I used to have a Thinkpad T42p at 5.1 lbs. If I needed to carry it somewhere it was fine, but a lot of the time I left it. Then I switched to a MBA, and suddenly it started going everywhere with me. Two pounds lighter (and a smaller frame to fit in a bag) made all the difference.
  14. Rmafive macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2008
    Richmond, Virginia
    I'm going to college this year (CS degree too) and bringing along a new retina mbp with me. I carried my current 2008 mbp in my backpack for my four years of high school and I never was really weighed down by it. It sounds like for you the macbook air would be the best option though. The retina mbp probably would last longer though, since it is so fast. But you can always get another macbook pro down the road!

    I would go with the retina for the increased speed and incredible screen. Heck, it will be the most portable computer I have ever had!
  15. Pipper99 macrumors 68020


    Aug 14, 2010
    Fort Worth, TX
    I have last years 13" air with the i7 processor, and i love it; however, I bought the retina pro yesterday, and I love it more. Im probably going to sell the Air. Does "CS" mean you're studying computer science? I'd think that you'd want the extra screen real estate. I love this retina screen and the flexibility that it provides. I've never found 4.6 lbs to be terribly heavy even on a daily basis. It doesn't sound to me like the weight difference would be an issue for you. I would recommend the pro for you.
  16. unixperience macrumors regular

    Jul 21, 2010
    at my school the first few courses are unix based (aka mac... with a few differences). there is actually very little development done in windows. Of course I am not a CS major I'm an EE with a CS minor, but other than 1 class out of about ten or so, they were all unix based, ironically the one that wasn't, doesn't even get CS credit. In the upper level courses you had more freedom to choose languages and OS, but unix always won out

    with my previous statement you only need visual studio to make windows applications, i've never used it. except on a friends comp that open my .cpp files in it.

    I would say the air is better. Usually writing programs doesnt require much power, data crunching would, databases and such, but for the most part you truly don't need a monstrously fast computer.
  17. lilcorey10 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 5, 2012
    Yep! CS = Computer Science .


    After seeing the Retina mbp in stores today I was swayed that way. The resolution + larger screen looked way better compared to the air. I'm almost certain now I will go with the Retina mbp.

    What school for CS, may I ask?
  18. Panini macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2012
    Palo Alto, CA
    The discrete GPU makes a huge difference. Depends on your needs, but don't expect to get away with HD 4000 on modern video games.
  19. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2006
    I disagree. I carried my 2007 15 inch MBP around campus everyday. The new one is much smaller. Plus, the power is probably going to be needed for the OP's uses. I would say go with the retina MBP!
  20. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    u should probably hit the gym once every couple of yrs.
  21. varsis macrumors regular

    Nov 30, 2005
    Im in the Same boat as you actually, Im in my second year in september. I don't need a laptop however coding would be nice to be able to do during the boring lectures. As for compiling time will be less on the retina, and gpu may be a good thing if you do any gaming being in CS I bet you will. A Laptop is nice when you need it, and 15" isn't much bigger. If you don't mind the bigger laptop thats the one I would choose.
  22. Davidkoh macrumors 65816

    Aug 2, 2008
    I would say it depends on if it will be your only computer and if you will want to play games on it. From owning a 13" MBA I can say I would like to have more power in at least one of my computers, so if I was not owning my desktop computer I would of gotten a MBP Retina.
  23. avalys macrumors 6502

    Jun 4, 2004
    As I said in the other thread - if you are going to college for computer science, you want a mobile workstation that you can bring anywhere and not wish you were back in your dorm room with an external monitor. Think about what you will do if you have a few hours free between classes. It is much more convenient to be able to find an unused lecture hall, library, etc. and sit down and get some work done immediately, rather than head back to the dorm.

    As such, the 15" retina is the best option.

    The weight and size is inconsequential. You will have a backpack.

    Back in college in 2004, I used to carry a 15" PowerBook G4 and a 15" Thinkpad in my backpack (before the Intel transition). Even 10 pounds is not a lot to carry on your back, unless you only weigh 100 pounds or something.
  24. sportykid2332 macrumors regular

    Apr 30, 2008
    I agree, go with the 15 inch Retina. 13 inch is good for some people, but if your a CS student, you will definitely want the bigger screen.
    And as far as being "too heavy" I honestly don't think you have much to worry about with any apple notebook. I just finished my first year of college and carried around my 17 inch MBP every day. It definitely added weight to my backpack but it was never difficult or a strain on my back to take with me.
  25. Pipper99 macrumors 68020


    Aug 14, 2010
    Fort Worth, TX
    When I was taking information systems classes, I would have loved to have one of today's laptops instead of having to do all of my work in the lab on small monitors. You'll love being able to see multiple windows on the same screen on the retina mac for the stuff that you'll be doing (of course, you can do that on the Air, but in a much more limited fashion). As someone else said, the discrete GPU is also a big difference.
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