rMBP 15" or MBA 13"?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by hajime, Sep 29, 2012.

  1. hajime, Sep 29, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2012

    hajime macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    #1
    Hello, I have been using the MBP 17" for years. Currently, I am using the 2010 maxed out version (no SSD though) The 17" models have been serving me well but I am feeling exhausted carrying it around partly because of a change in work environment.

    I do not have a quiet office at school. I need to move from location to location on campus several times a day. The chance that the university will give me a quiet office is very low. I need a new machine at least as fast as my current MBP 17" 2010 which has a 2.66GHz i7 in it. At least 20-30% faster would be nice. I tried both MBA 13" and rMBP 15". The rMBP 15" is obviously lighter than the 17" I have. However, there is also a noticeable difference in weight between the rMBP 15" and the MBA 13".

    I prefer to use Mac OS but due to work, I have to use Autodesk Inventor, Solidworks, Borland C++ and another free C++ compiler sometimes. (Using Bootcamp, Inventor is running OK on my MBP 17" except in rendering. It is reasonable.) On the Mac side, I use Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop Extended and in the near future Premiere sometime (all from Master Collection CS6), all software from Office 2010, Keynote, etc. I also do 3D computer simulations. I asked the department to buy a powerful workstation but this has been on hold for over a month since they only allow 1 person to own 1 computer and that if they buy me an expensive workstation, somebody else will ask for the same thing. The university may buy a cluster of powerful workstations for people to share. There has been no decision even the discussion has been for weeks. I cannot carry my heavy 17" anymore.

    What suggestion do you have? If I were given a quiet office, I might go for the rMBP 15". However, as I need to move location several times a day, the MBA may be good. I do need a powerful laptop. It is hard to tell if the MBA is powerful enough to handle my needs. I have tried the rMBP running Windows under Fusion. It was like I were running Windows on a PC.

    As the food on campus taste very bad, I go to a local shopping center once daily to eat. The bus do not come regularly (sometimes I have to wait for 5-25 minutes). On average, it takes 15-30 minutes for the food to arrive. I have wasted a lot of time on this already. I certainly want to get some work done while waiting for the food.

    Any advice appreciated. Thanks.

    P.S With the Speck case and a computer bag that has nice protection, I carry 5.3kg across campus several times daily. If I carry an AC adapter and other items, it becomes heavier. A guy is interested in buying my MBP 17". However, he can only offer US$635. Isn't that way too low? I had both the keyboard and the case replaced 2.5 months ago. The machine is like a brand new one.
     
  2. iEnvy macrumors 65816

    iEnvy

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2010
    Location:
    DFW
    #2
    The fact you repeatedly stated that you need a powerful laptop, I would go with the rMBP. Its pretty light for its chassis so it shouldn't have trouble carrying it around.

    FYI, battery life is pretty good for the specs of the rMBP too. Right now I'm on battery and have nearly 8 hours.
     
  3. bill-p macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2011
    #3
    rMBP without a doubt... especially for Autodesk Inventor, Photoshop, among other things.

    For one, the Retina Display allows the rMBP to display an effective 1920 x 1200 (3840 x 2400 downscaled) resolution that matches your MBP 17".

    For the second point, if you run Bootcamp, it genuinely feels like a high-end PC workstation rather than a laptop. Fusion is actually holding the computer back significantly.

    And for the last point, it can hold a max of 16GB RAM, which is a reasonably priced $100 upgrade. You can only go up to max 8GB RAM in the MacBook Air.
     
  4. G-Mo macrumors 6502

    G-Mo

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2010
    Location:
    Auckland, NZ
    #4
    I have to agree with the other posters. I love my 13-inch MBA, but for your needs, you'd be much better served with a MBP Retina. Personally, if you are happy with a 13-inch form factor, I'd wait a few months and see if the rumored 13-inch Retina doesn't make an appearance...
     
  5. hajime, Sep 29, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2012

    hajime thread starter macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    #5
    Thanks. I originally decided the rMBP 15". I was held back by the ugly display of some applications and the uncertainty of the school providing a cluster of powerful workstations for sharing among university researchers. However, some forum users here told me not to worry about the ugly display of those applications. Since then, there is another concern. Now I have to mark lots of student papers. So, sometimes in the near future, I will need to carry a laptop, an AC adpater and lots of papers to the shopping mall. While waiting for the meals and in between meals (lunch and dinner), I do some computer work and mark papers in a coffee shop. On those days, I may appreciate the light weight of the Air.

    If I buy the Air myself, I will ask the school to buy me a powerful desktop/workstation for work. In that case, I just run Inventor on that desktop/workstation most of the time. I am not going t o spend my money on the rMBP 15". If I ask the school to buy me the rMBP 15", it is very unlikely that they will buy me a powerful desktop/workstation for work.

    Anybody here knows how the 3D graphics performance of the MBA 13" 2012 compared with that of my MBP 17" 2010?

    Some users here told me that the MBA 13" 2012 is faster than my MBP 17" 2010 for non 3D-graphics applications. Anybody knows about how many percent faster?

    Another major factor in making the decision. I have been using the MBP 17" with 8GB for two years. 8GB is enough for me for the time being. I guess 16GB may help the rMBP runs Fusion and Windows faster. In that case, except for Inventor, I can do windows programming via Fusion without wasting time to switch between Mac OS and Windows via Bootcamp. For some simulation work which I need to run 24/7 without stopping the machine, I need over 40GB. Even the rMBP 15" will not be able to serve my needs.
     
  6. G-Mo macrumors 6502

    G-Mo

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2010
    Location:
    Auckland, NZ
  7. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #7
    Why? OP needs power. Are they going to stuff in 2.6GHz+ Quad core's into a 13"? I doubt it. It will be a slightly faster "Air" with more port options. Dual TB and Dual USB 3. An SSD as standard and the 15" retina and 15" cMBP will remain faster. A 15" is a great reduction in size compared to the 17" already without complete sacrifice of eyes at 1920x1200. 1920x1200 or x1080 on 13" will suck the life out of your eye sockets.
     
  8. hajime thread starter macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    #8
    I have poor eyesight.
     
  9. hajime thread starter macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    #9
    If I ask the school to buy a rMBP 15", is it better to get an iPad as well? Each day, I have two bus trips. The buses do not come on time. I have to wait at the bus stop for 5 to 20 minutes/trip. Then, another 10-20 minutes on each bus trip. Plus, about 15-25 minutes to wait at the restaurant for the foods to arrive. Looks like I have wasted a lot of time each day on waiting.

    It may be difficult to use a MBA or a rMBP on the bus and at the bus stops. As I got lots of emails each day and the university uses Outlook for mails and calendars, I wonder if it is better for me to get an iPad for use during these waiting periods. I have a Samsung Galaxy Note but haven't found a good way to sync Outlook calendar yet. Heard that iOS devices do a better job than Android devices. Not sure if this is really true.
     

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