rMBP 13" vs MBA 13" + iPad 5 (for university)

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by NickPhamUK, Sep 1, 2013.


OP should purchase (with a budget of $2000)

  1. rMBP 13"

    5 vote(s)
  2. MBA 13" + iPad 5

    2 vote(s)
  3. Other (please give a brief explanation)

    1 vote(s)
  1. NickPhamUK, Sep 1, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2013

    NickPhamUK macrumors 6502


    May 6, 2013
    Business student here, soon to attend university. Budget: $2000.

    1. rMBP 13" (256GB SSD) = $1699.
    2. MBA 13" (128GB SSD) = $1099 + iPad 5 Wifi 32GB (which will probably cost $599). In this case, I'll leave the notebook at the hostel and bring along the iPad.

    I'll have $300 left to spend on accessories (like a Macbook sleeve, an iPad case, Apple wireless mouse, external HDD) or on upgrades/customisations (8GB RAM, 256GB SSD on MBA, 4G or 64GB on iPad 5). What do you think? Any help is appreciated.

    P.S: I'll bootcamp or buy Windows Office for Mac so please don't comment "as a business student, buy a cheap Windows PC to save cost bla bla", thank you very much!
  2. Atomic Walrus macrumors 6502a

    Sep 24, 2012
    Consider your usage.
    -Are you going to dual boot to Windows/Linux? 128GB probably won't be enough for that.
    -The 128GB SSDs aren't quite as fast as the 256GB drives. They're both really fast, but with the 128GB you won't get as much out of PCIe over SATA III. You can find the exact numbers if you're interested.
    -If you intend to use up 2TB you probably aren't going to be happy with 256GB either, so you'll likely end up buying an external drive anyway. Consider that in your price calculations.
    -Will you want to install more than ~90GB of applications? Also consider the size of files these programs might generate that you won't want to keep on the external drive while you're working on them (videos, etc). In other words add up the applications you want to install + the "working space" you want on the drive. Everything else can go on the external drive.
    -Is there media (like music) that you'll want on the drive even when you don't have the external drive?
  3. Agent-P macrumors 68030


    Dec 5, 2009
    The Tri-State Area
    Atomic Walrus covered a good number of questions to ask yourself, but we don't know how you use your laptop, so it's a bit more difficult to help out. Do you want the space for media files? Or for bootcamp partitions? Do you travel quite a bit? If we knew how you used your laptop, it would be easier to see how practical it would be to always have an external drive or whether more internal storage would be a better option.
  4. xnview macrumors member

    Jun 21, 2013
    Unless you use it at a stationary place most of the time and have a lot of things stored that you use on regular basis I would go for 256 GB. But as previously stated, hard to give recommendations when you haven't told anything about usage or needs.
  5. AXs macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2009
    How can anyone answer this question for you? Obviously it is circumstantial.

    Personally, I went for 25GBSSD, but I already have about 10TB worth of storage.

    Now for some people, they may think "oh that guy is crazy with his 10TB, nobody needs that much space".
    And then some will think "meh just 10TB, I've got 50TB for personal use alone".

    And on the other hand some people are fine with just 500GB of space.

    Again, circumstantial.
  6. raptor402 macrumors 6502

    Jun 30, 2011
    I would recommend 128GB + 2TB. I myself have 180GB + 500GB. I boot Mac from the SSD and windows from a partition on the HDD. The other partition is for Mac storage as well as iTunes (around 70GB). 256GB most likely won't be enough after a while, though I know for a fact that if necessary, one can easily survive on even 90GB (I did for a year).

  7. AXs macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2009
    You're negating the entire advantage of SSD. You should put Windows on your SSD, performance will be miles faster.
  8. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I have a couple of questions because your choices seem dis-similar.

    You either want to a 256GB SSD, or a 128GB SSD and 2 terabyte external drive.

    Do you need access to so much data, if so the 256GB drive is going to be inadequate.

    I found the 128GB drive to be too small, I had a such a drive in my 13" MBP, so when it was time to upgrade to a new laptop, I made sure I got a larger SSD.

    YMMV and it all depends on your needs which you've not really delved into.
  9. raptor402 macrumors 6502

    Jun 30, 2011
    I agree with you on that. However, since the OP is buying a MacBook, I'm assuming that he'll primarily be using OS X on the laptop, booting Windows once in a while for that random bit that Mac can't handle. Therefore, wasting a good chunk of the SSD, scarce as it will be, seems a bit pointless.

    Furthermore, in my haste, I misread the OP. I now realise that he's talking about a retina MBP with an external 2TB drive. In this case, I would definitely recommend 256GB.
  10. NickPhamUK, Sep 2, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 2, 2013

    NickPhamUK thread starter macrumors 6502


    May 6, 2013
    Sorry everyone for lack of information. I'm a soon-to-be business student and my usage is mild. I made another thread with a poll where I elaborate more. Please go to this new discussion. Thank you for your help so far!
  11. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    [MOD NOTE]
    Please keep discussions on your purchase decision here.

    If you need to edit your original post, please click on the edit button, or reply with your usage and needs.

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