rMB vs cMBP13 vs MBA13

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by GoldfishRT, Mar 26, 2016.

  1. GoldfishRT macrumors 6502


    Jul 24, 2014
    Alright fam I need some help deciding on my new Mac. Normally I don't have any issues deciding but this go around I'm having a real tough time deciding between these models.

    So, for starts - I sold my 2011 MacBook Pro 15" just under a year ago along with its paired 27" CD since I was anticipating a life less mobile and more desk-ridden. In the interim I bought a cheap Lenovo X240 (and an iMac G5 "for the lols" as the kids would say). I was planning on buying a 21" iMac 4k by the beginning of this year. As I'm sure you're all aware life can throw you some curve-balls and totally ruin your plans on multiple levels and on top of bleeding money for a short while the iMac also now wont be practical for me. I have to stay mobile, in fact more mobile than I was in the past.

    Now you might be thinking - well Mr. GoldyGoldfish you gots yourself a laptop right there. And it has great battery life! You'd be right. But it's also out of warranty, with two broken USB ports, markings on the screen, and a general absence of the quality you'd typically expect of a ThinkPad. The thing blows. Especially the screen.

    Regardless, I'm finally in a position again where I want and need to buy a laptop and I'm interested in going back to the Mac side of things since barring a 2011 Radeon failure issue I've had nothing but luck.

    First things first:

    I'm a writer.

    I like battery life long enough I don't really have to think about it most days - just charge the thing at night or when I want to intensive stuff.

    I'm a wannabe musician and I enjoy toying with Logic Pro. It's been a while though so this isn't a huge thing. I do have a USB keyboard I think I'd like to plug in occasionally.

    I can't stand subpar screens and speakers. Easily the two worst parts about using the ThinkPad.

    I play games casually. Factorio - Team Fortress 2 - Minecraft. It's not a huge concern as long as I can play those 3. I'm pretty sure all 3 of these options can.

    While portability is a huge huge factor, I will likely want to hook whatever I end up buying to a monitor at some point. I've done without for a while now, and it's been mostly fine. I wonder if the retina screen would perhaps mitigate this since I'd be able to scale a larger workspace? I'm not at home often but it's nice to have the option.

    Now to the options - I'd be buying refurbished from Apple

    rMB 1.1Ghz/256GB/8GB - I fell in love with the design right out of the gate and found that many of the things that bothered many people about the machine didn't bug me. The size is fantastic, and for one reason or another reminds me of the coveted 12" PowerBook that was my first Mac. I'm a writer so keyboard is important - and I guess I'm lucky that I find the keyboard pleasurable to type on at first, long term use would be in question since I can't exactly take the thing and just type on it for a few hours. CPU power doesn't bug me particularly, it doesn't seem to get hung up on 4k streams or anything like that so that's nice. That single USB port and the question of whether it could drive say, a 27" TB display with any sort of grace is another thing entirely. Really worried I'd lock myself out of some stuff. Then again, I've been living without USB ports on my ThinkPad for a while with little hassle. Also THE SCREEN. I don't think I've seen a screen as nice as this on any consumer device - much less portable. I've only seen comparable beauty in professional settings. It also seems the best built by far in general lightness, ergonomics, and feel.

    MBA 1.6Ghz/256GB/8GB - This honestly, on the surface, is my least favorite option from my trial at the Apple Store but the more I think about it, the more it seems most reasonable. The speakers are crap. It's design hasn't aged particularly well (dem big silver bezels). The screen is mediocre in the best of instances. It's more powerful than the rMB (and cMBP as I understand). The battery life is amazing however and it keeps a lot of ports I'm not sure I need but also might want? It feels like the middle of the road, and maybe that actually makes it the best choice. Keyboards fine. Everything about it is just fine. Costs the same as the rMB too.

    cMBP 2.5Ghz/500GB/4GB - Okay this one is out of left field and seems insane but just hear me out. At $829 it's by far the cheapest. And with good reason. It's old. 2012 or 4 years old. The screen probably isn't any different to the 2009 13" MBP I bought way back 7 years ago. It's a bit chubby and big and low on the battery (although I think it holds its look better than the MBA). The speakers seemed, okay I guess, a bit too quiet. Also the GPU just about equally as weak as the rMB and it doesn't have the CPU/GPU advantage that the MBA has. It has plenty of ports if I needed them, which I may not (and a DVD drive which I definitely don't). But here's the thing right. When I sold my 2011 15" I robbed it of the 16GB of ram and 500GB Samsung 850 EVO I placed in it - which as I understand should fit right into it. Admittedly, both of those things are sell-able and I'd happily get rid of them to subsidize the other two options a bit but that still wouldn't bring it down to quite as cheap as this option would be. Now that I'm writing this out it seems a bit silly actually but, it's an option.

    So that's what I've gotten through my thought process so far. I read them and still don't know what direction to turn.
  2. iancflam macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2013
    A used CMBP is the best cost/ choice IMO.

    You can make use of the SSD and 16G Ram(Logic pro needs that). Can repair or replace with battery at minimal cost, plus you can connect to a larger screen anytime . Buying a used one may be more cost effective than a new one considering the cost between rMB and cMBP, as you can sell it and with you 16Gb ram and SSD after using 2 years before 5 year suppor runs out. (2017 - 5 year)

    MBA is out of question unless you don't plan on using it for writing only.
    $$ if money is Not a concern, I recommend 2015 rMB and sell the parts as it best suits your purpose (light/battery/latest technology), except Logic Pro may require more ram than the current spec.

    If you really writes a lot and portability comes first, go for rMB
    Retina MB - there's no turning back though.

  3. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013

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