rMBP vs MBA for student

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by mtjensen22, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. mtjensen22 macrumors newbie

    Jul 30, 2012
    So I'm starting university in the Fall and am looking to upgrade from my mid 2009 MBP. I've been torn between these the 13" MBA maxed out or getting at 2.6 Ghz rMBP with 16Gb. I'm majoring in Comp Sci so I'll be using it for programming and the usual school stuff, but I'm also really into gaming. I just don't want to buy a MBA and not be able to play at least some games...I've never used integrated graphics so I'm not too confident in their ability.

    Any help or input would be greatly appreciated!
  2. w00t951 macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2009
    Pittsburgh, PA
    If you're "really into gaming" and don't want another gaming PC, you should probably look into the Pro. The integrated cards are absolutely horrible at running modern titles.
  3. mtjensen22 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 30, 2012
    Well I have a gaming PC that I built up a bit ago (which is what I tend to play PC games on).
  4. Mabyboi macrumors 6502


    Apr 23, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    I have a nice big powerful gaming pc set up for the uber games, but I'm getting a RetinaBook as well, mostly for my game art and design schooling but also for some medium to heavy gaming. Honestly, I wouldn't get an air for gaming... 15" pro or RetinaBook, as we know the screen is a bit more for the NVIDIA card to handle but they have over locked it a bit to compensate
  5. killjoy07 macrumors newbie

    Jul 30, 2012
    Yes, like others said, with an MBA I wouldn't try playing games.

    If you're in a flexible situation, you can go with a laptop+desktop route...but I guess that's a topic for another thread :D
  6. mtjensen22 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 30, 2012
    Honestly I'm not sure how much gaming I would be doing on it, I game occasionally on my current MBP, but I have always left the heavy gaming to my desktop PC. Plus if I don't like the Air I could return it I suppose.
  7. Mabyboi macrumors 6502


    Apr 23, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    Don't get the air If youre thinking of ANY gaming. MBP 15" or rMBP.
  8. velleity macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2011
    I'm going to disagree with the pack and say you actually can game (assuming older titles) on the MBA.

    I've been using a maxed 2011 11-inch MBA as a WoW machine for some time. The screen size is limiting, I will say that, but after monkeying with the settings it can stand up in raids decently enough - and the graphics cards on the 2012 Airs are way better than the ones on the 2011s.

    In the end, with education discount the maxed-out 13 Air is something like $1649 and the base rMBP is $1999. I loved my Air for taking notes in class and writing on the go. It's a joy. I work in web design, and I'd say I can do about 80% of my work on the Air easily.

    So yeah, like you I'm debating between the 13 Air and the 15 rMBP. In your case, though, it seems like the Air is a better choice - more portable, smaller form factor. Unless you plan to handle multiple virtual machines, the Air should suit you nicely.
  9. AirThis macrumors 6502a

    Mar 6, 2012
    Since you already have a gaming machine, go for the MBA. It's cheaper and lighter.
  10. jbud72 macrumors member

    Mar 21, 2010
    Miami, FL
    I just purchased a rMBP for law school. I was between the Air and rMBP like yourself; what swayed me was that I keep computers for at least 4 years before upgrading, so I might as well get the best computer I can, to future-proof it as much as possible (Not gonna wait another 4 years before I get with the times and get a retina display, for instance)

    Size wasn't so much of an issue to me, as I made it through undergrad with a huge 2007 15" MBP just fine.
  11. Enjoi03 macrumors newbie

    Aug 20, 2009
    I also have a custom built desktop for games and just got a rMBP. After installing windows 7 on bootcamp to play windows only games, I haven't used my desktop since. It runs games very well with the overclocked 650m even at high resolutions. Games I've tested: Dota 2 (40-60 fps always with high settings), L4D2 (on osx, constant 50-60fps high settings), TF2 (on osx, constant 60fps max settings). All source games run very well and currently the only problem I'm having is with Civ 5 which usually gets 60fps except when panning the game, it starts to stutter for some reason.
  12. mtjensen22 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 30, 2012
    I've always had Pros and been a power hog, plus I hate not being on the cutting edge of tech...I'll probably end up going with a rMBP honestly.
  13. beamer8912 macrumors 65816

    May 30, 2009
    I think its pointless to spend that much on a laptop just to game. You could by a solid 13" MBA for $1000 or so and then spend the rest ~$1000 on a GREAT gaming PC.

    You'll be able to do moderate gaming on a rMBP for 2 years or so, and then it'll drop off to running everything on low.

    With a gaming PC you'll be able to play everything on high for 2-3 years then medium for another 2 years or so.

    Beyond gaming, this would provide with a great setup for coding. You'll have a real workhorse to use for any serious work you need to do.

    There isn't much reason to spend that much extra cash for rMBP just to game when a MUCH, MUCH better setup can be had for less money.
  14. Hackintosh Sr. macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2008
    is this really a debate? If you are a CS major you are going to want the programming real estate of the retina. Plus it is so thin now, I would say it is just as portable as an AIR. No brainer for me
  15. stevelam macrumors 65816

    Nov 4, 2010
    please. when i was a CS student i programmed on a 13" screen just fine. and the air definitely feels much lighter than the RMBP.

    what programming IDE's have even been updated for retina display?

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