rMBP or MBA

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by The Mercurian, Jan 19, 2014.

  1. The Mercurian macrumors 65816

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    Mar 17, 2012
    #1
    Short version of story:

    Got an 11" MBA months back. Great for certain things. But as it is the base 4GB 1.3Ghz 128Gb model I find it a bit underpowered for certain apps (e.g. Dragon Dictate). Have someone who will buy it off me at almost what I paid.

    Also my needs have changed a bit - the one I have was bought as machine for secondary use and travel. Now I plan to run my primary machine (quadcore i7 2011 MBP) in Windows for work purposes only (I need the processing power for that and I can't avoid Windows), and use the new machine as my everyday and travel machine.

    But what to replace the 11"with ? I'm torn between another 11" MBA but with i7 processor and bumped RAM/HD, or a 13" rMBP with i7 processor 8/16Gb RAM and 512Gb HD. On the one hand I love the portability of the 11", on the other the screen is a bit lacking for everyday use (I read off the screen and write quite a bit). On my third hand I'm thinking 'spend as little as possible' - therefore 11"

    Interested what folks think ! Is the 11" i7 as powerful as the rMBP i5 ? i7 ?
     
  2. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    May 3, 2009
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    Boston
    #2
    I'd personally go with the 13" inch simply because it will be your main machine, the extra screen real estate you'll gain by upgrading to the larger display will be a big plus. Additionally that screen will be better given that its retina and finally you'll be getting better performance out of it since the rMBP uses regular Haswell chipsets and not the ULV variant.


    I question the need for the 512GB SSD and the 16GB of ram, only because you really didn't go into detail of your usage. I'd say 8gb should be fine for most people, but without details its hard to recommend an exact configuration
     
  3. The Mercurian thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Mar 17, 2012
    #3
    Yeah I'm undecided on the RAM size. Definitely need at least 8. I thinking to go for 16 simply because if I want it in 2 years I won't be able to get it then. My 2011 machine has 16GB and its not enough (wish someone made 32Gb chips so I could but them in it!). The 512GB drive I need because my Mac disk on my main machine is 360Gb as it stands - ha.

    I do some fairly heavy stats stuff on the 2011 machine. Whilst the plan is to keep doing that and stop splitting its power between windows and mac, I may occasionally want to do some on the other machine if I'm on the road or something. Also the DVD drive on the 2011 machine makes strange noises that worry me and I'm thinking about the situation where I may have to use the second machine if the 2011 one blows up some day. So on balance 16GB seems wiser.....although money may constrain me to 8.

    <Aside: The DVD drive makes loud clicks when I boot and it does its 'is there a disc in the drive' thing. Sounds almost like some static discharge and possibly the speakers are picking it up. Any clue on that anyone ? Should I do something about that ? No other problems with it at all. Not tried using a DVD since this started. Can't really afford to mess with the system at present. So I'm just backing things up alot in case it blows>
     
  4. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #4
    Sounds like you answered your own question on ram :)

    If this new computer will be your main computer and your current system has 16gb and is not enough at times, then 8gb will definitely be inadequate
     
  5. The Mercurian thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Mar 17, 2012
    #5
    Eh yes - but since I plan on splitting my functionality across 2 machines instead of sharing one, my RAM demand in a new machine may be less. Most likely I will run the 2011 one until it dies, or until they start putting out machines with more cores in a couple of years - assuming I still do the same kind of work.
     
  6. PeterJP macrumors regular

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    Feb 2, 2012
    Location:
    Leuven, Belgium
    #6
    Your situation is exactly like mine. I'm in doubt about an 11" MBA or a 13" rMBP as well. The reason for me to get the 11" would be portability. I hink it would be more robust (I read a few things about the 13" rMBP screen being fragile). That, and being cheaper, I would be more at ease to take the 11" everywhere. On the other hand, it would be less practical to use it seriously as the screen is so small. With the rMBP, I can just switch to another simulated resolution and everything is still really crisp. But I'm not sure I would be at ease with the rMBP strapped onto the baggage holder of my bicycle...

    If you are planning to use it as a second main computer, the rMBP is the one to go for. For you, I'd say 16GB is an obvious choice as you're already a heavy user and you can't upgrade later. I'd consider the same for a serious machine. For the 11", I would go for the cheapest configuration because it would be my knockabout machine. But if you want to use the 11" as a second main computer, you should consider going for a config near the max: with an i7 and 16GB. Performance should then be good enough for a few years.
     
  7. taelan28 macrumors regular

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    Jan 15, 2014
    #7
    Get the 13 inch pro. I just got mine today and its CASH MONEY!
     
  8. The Mercurian thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Mar 17, 2012
    #8

    Ah yes you describe the dilemma well. One last factor - I will buy in store so it depends what they have :D
     
  9. The Mercurian thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Mar 17, 2012
    #9
    Well doesn't matter now anyhow - deal is off to shift the 11" I have. Oh well. I'll have to stick with it rethink how I'm using them both.
     
  10. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

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    Apr 21, 2010
    Location:
    Brasil
    #10
    Get the 13" rMBP with 16GB. Looks like you'll keep your next laptop for at least 3 years, so get it with max RAM you can. Just be prepared to enter into an exchange loop through screens since rMBPs suffer form various anomalies such as image retention, backlight bleeding, yellowing... if you get a display with image retention but without any other problem, stay with it. IR is not so annoying as the other issues proved to be.
     
  11. The Mercurian thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Mar 17, 2012
    #11
    No with the deal to move this one off I'll wait until the next refresh I think. Thanks for those tips however!
     
  12. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    Oct 10, 2013
    #12
    How can a mba 11" 4/128 i5 be underpowered for dragon dictate? :confused:
     
  13. Wuiffi macrumors 6502a

    Wuiffi

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    Oct 6, 2011
    #13
    exactly my thought. I mean it's running on Core2Duos too!
     
  14. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    Oct 10, 2013
    #14
    Any 2013 macbook is able to run most available programms with ease.
    I am always wondering what people starting these threads do with their macbooks that causes them to not function properly anymore :confused:
     
  15. Commy1 macrumors 6502a

    Commy1

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    Feb 25, 2013
    #15
    I struggled with a similar choice, stuck between the MBA 13" and the rMBP 13"
    I decided that the slightly reduced weight and improved battery life at the expense of the beautiful retina, triple the ram possibility and a more powerful processor... was just not a compelling enough argument for the MBA.

    The Retina display isn't going away thats for sure, but the standard display is certainly on it's way out in the next 5 years or so IMO.
    And 4GB, even 8GB doesn't seem like a good investment in a machine that cannot be upgraded in the future.

    Then again, if you're just using it for browsing, travel machine or writing, I can't see why the MBA wouldn't serve those functions above and beyond.
     
  16. The Mercurian, Jan 21, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2014

    The Mercurian thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Mar 17, 2012
    #16
    Hey uninvited off-topic experts! :) Are ye avid Dragon Dictate users I wonder ?

    If ye must know 4GB is not really enough RAM for Dragon Dictate. Possibly a faster processor would help also. Also if I recall correctly stuff like larger L2/L3 cache is important to how smoothly Dragon runs. So whilst it does run on my machine - it beach-balls regularly whilst processing speech which is distracting and breaks the flow of dictation.

    Yes it will run on a Core2Duo.....I had it on one when I got it first.....but you wouldn't want to use it, it is so slow
     
  17. The Mercurian thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Mar 17, 2012
    #17
    Indeed this is ultimately the same conclusions I reached and I was going to get a mid-spec rMBP - but since my deal is off its stay put. It was bought as a travel machine primarily, but with plan to pass it on to family member when I was done with it - however we now realise that won't be practical due to some essential software they use. I'll just stick with it til net refresh.....I'm thinking broadwell will be desirable
     
  18. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    Oct 10, 2013
    #18
    Advice from an unvited expert :cool: :
    Ive been using dragon dictate for the last 15 years.
    I am running it on a system with 512mb ram and ssd atm.
    (Even though 2gb is recommended)

    If your mba doesnt run this programm flawlessly its broken.
    Return it under warranty.

    (Hint: More ram doesnt magically fix a slow system.)
     
  19. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    Boston
    #19
    Its your money and if you think that you can live with the 11" MBA for a while longer then its in your best interest to wait. I still think the 11" is too small, but then its your eyes and not mine :)
     
  20. The Mercurian thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Mar 17, 2012
    #20
    That's fine - the point was this is not the topic of the thread.
    Perhaps we have different definitions of "flawlessly". Your comments directly contradict comments I've seen in other places. I wonder - what version of Dragon do you run ?

    :D - its great for on the road however - so tiny - and I ahve an external monitor I can use at home. I'll survive :v
     
  21. Meister, Jan 21, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2014

    Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #21
    You asked for advice in this thread.
    I am honestly wondering why your brand new macbook can't run this rather mondaine software.

    flawless = without any flaws
    This means:
    Dragon dictate should work instant.
    After all your tiny mba is a very expensive piece of equipment.
    Impacable functionality is to be expected.

    The reason i am telling you this:
    You said yourself that the 11"mba is very portable and nice.
    I dont own one myself but it looks like one fine computer.
    Again: from my experience and with the mba specs dragon dictate should run like greased lightning.
    If it doesnt there is something wrong going on and you might want to look into that.

    For example: i recently had trouble with my minis wifi. Internet was skidish and slow.
    I feared the wifi module would be broken.
    1 1/2 hours later with apple care we found out that it was a odd frequenzy problem with the router...
    If dragon dictate lags you should examine y instead of getting a new laptop.
     
  22. The Mercurian thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Mar 17, 2012
    #22
    Ok let me be more direct. I want advice on a replacement machine. Not on Dragon Dictate.
    Oh I note you didn't answer with what version you are running.
     
  23. Meister, Jan 21, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2014

    Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #23
    DD is all the info u provided for replacement advice.
    My version: DD 2.0 on 1ghz dualcore 512mb ram.
    I dont use it very often and you are probably running a way better version.
    Still the mba should run it fine. Everything else would be pathetic on apples part.
     
  24. Wuiffi macrumors 6502a

    Wuiffi

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2011
    #24
    If you really want to get a new Macbook, get a Pro and max out the RAM.

    I think the point Meister (and me) wanted to make is, that if DD isn't running fine on your current hardware, it's possible that it's a hardware problem. (Fixing it would probably be cheaper than buying a new computer)
     
  25. The Mercurian thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Mar 17, 2012
    #25
    Why do you guys think there is a hardware problem ???

    Speech recognition is demanding on CP, RAM and Disc. Everything else runs fine on the machine. There is no hardware problem. Meister I ahve DD3 and my use profile is totally different to your occasional use. It is widely reognised that DD is demanding on hardware to run smoothly - go goole some DD forums and stop trolling my thread please.
     

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