RMBP vs MBA

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by tenganis, Nov 16, 2013.

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  1. tenganis macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2013
    #1
    Hello,

    I am new with posting here and would love your help with my dilemma! I know there are many threads of this type but I would love your advice in deciding which macbook to buy (I'd like to keep it 3-4 years). In all cases, I will be buying a 1TB external hard drive (to store videos- see below).

    - refurbished MBA 4gb/128gb for $929 - such a good price!
    - MBA 8gb/128gb for $1139 w/ student discount- 8gb RAM is more future-proof
    - base RMBP (4gb/128gb) for $1199 with student discount - love the retina display!

    I am a grad student and will be using the computer to write papers, have lots of PDF documents +MS word+ MS office+ refworks all open at the same time, watch Netflix, and for light video editing for my dissertation (I won't be editing much but I will be needing to burn lots of DVDs/transfer lots of videos to the external hard drive). I currently have a 2009 White Macbook with 2gb RAM and 160 memory, and I hate the lag when scrolling through PDF documents with other programs open. My gf has a 2010 Imac with 4gb RAM. Burning videos on her IMac goes pretty well, although I find that the process could go smoother.

    I'd love to get the mid RMBP (8gb/256gb) but it is a bit more expensive than I can afford, and it might be too much for what I need?

    I love the idea of getting a retina screen, but like the price of the refurbished MBA. The lack of lag is also really important to me and I heard the 13'' RMBP has lag.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated .
     
  2. yosemit macrumors regular

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    Jul 19, 2013
    #2
    128GB SSD is a little bit small if you have any plan to run Windows through bootcamp or on a virtual machine. Some software only runs on Windows, so it would be good to have a Windows option. It's very likely that your school has free Windows and VMWare licenses for students.
     
  3. tenganis thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 16, 2013
    #3
    I do not plan on running windows (I have never needed so far)! Thanks for the suggestion though!
     
  4. Isamilis macrumors 6502

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    Apr 3, 2012
    #4
    I would choose MBA with 8gb. You could not add the RAM later. RMBP - some softwares are still not compatible with retina and end up with the 'standard' resolution same with MBA. Also, lagging issues in RMBP.
     
  5. ohbrilliance macrumors 6502a

    ohbrilliance

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #5
    I would choose the rMBP with 8GB. If it's over-budget, find the money somehow.
    The MBA screen is rubbish compared to the rMBP, and 4GB is too little to future-proof your purchase.
     
  6. calvol macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 3, 2011
    #6
    Don't get the MBA this year, it's probably the final year of this chassis and screen. Next year will probably have the rumored 12" Air with IGZO screen.
     
  7. tenganis thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 16, 2013
    #7
    I am leaning towards doing that... but man it is a lot of money (although it is a lot of money no matter what so I might as well save and put in another 200 dollars...
     
  8. ohbrilliance macrumors 6502a

    ohbrilliance

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #8
    You could just increase the ram on the base model, which is $100 extra. I'd still recommend the mid range model though, since it also doubles your SSD space.
    Apple really has a knack at pushing customers to increase the specs..
     
  9. tenganis thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 16, 2013
    #9
    They sure do...They know how to get you to spend more money :)
     
  10. dbroncos78087 macrumors regular

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    Feb 27, 2013
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #10
    Honesty, if you're just an average computer user. I don't see a reason to get anything more than a MBA. I use mine for class and travel and I love it. I have the 1.8 i5 in mine and it's more than I need. I also have the 4GB model and I've never had it bottleneck me.

    When you start doing more high end stuff like using Photoshop or dualbooting, then you should get the rMBP.
     
  11. tenganis thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 16, 2013
    #11
    I am not going to be using photoshop but will be using imovie for video editing quite a lot for my dissertation, which is why I was thinking the rMBP could be nice?
     
  12. dbroncos78087 macrumors regular

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    Feb 27, 2013
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #12
    Photoshop is by no means the only reason to not use an MBA. I've never used iMovie but when I see video editing, that's definitely a reason to start evaluating the rMBP. Really anything that fits into the photo/video editing, warrants having that discussion. Perhaps the i7/8GB MBA, but I would probably consider rMBP by default for that.
     
  13. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Russia
    #13
    In similar situation myself, although I have 2010 13" mbp with 4 gb that I'm looking to replace.

    I would not recommend 4 GB of RAM - its barely enough these days, imagine 2 or 3 years from now!

    Once I start using PPT, Pages, Word simultaneously it slows down to a crawl, no amount of Mavericks ram trickery seems to help.

    And don't get me started on Aperture. The thing causes the whole system to stall doing the most basic of tasks and with no other apps open. Its so sad.

    Unless you intend to keep the Mac for no more than 1 year, for heavens sake, get at least 8 GB.

    Things to consider when choosing between rMBP and MBA:

    - Although MBP has better screen, it actually has less real estate unless you want to scale the resolution (which causes lag)
    - MBP has smaller footprint is only a tiny bit heavier
    - Battery life is about 11-12 Hrs for MBP and 14-15 for MBA, according to various Mavericks reviews.
    - MBP has more key travel distance (press a bit deeper)
    -in general, 256 GB SSD is faster than 128, and it costs more to spec on a MBA than MBP. I am starting to think that spending extra 200$ to get another 128 GB on a MBA is not a good deal ;)
    -GPUs are very similar in performance, although I am yet to find comprehensive gaming tests.
    -WHY IS IT SO HARD TO DECIDE BETWEEN THE TWO??
     
  14. tenganis thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 16, 2013
    #14
    I am totally with you on how hard it is to decide! I keep learning one way and then the other. I've been torn between the two for quite a while now :confused:. The lag is what worries me most on the rMBP. Otherwise, I think I am mostly leaning towards the mid-range rMBP at this point.
     
  15. Fallingreason macrumors newbie

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    Oct 26, 2013
    #15
    Just get the base MBA and don't look back.

    I'm a grad student as well and it's perfect. Less than $1000 never bought so much macintosh.
     
  16. tenganis thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 16, 2013
    #16
    Do you happen to do any video editing? The main reason I am looking at the rMBP is that my research involves some video editing. Yes, the base MBA (and its price!!!) is super tempting and I am sure I will be happy with it this upcoming year, but the rMBP seems like a machine I will be happy with for years to come
     
  17. brberg macrumors member

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    Jun 24, 2010
    #17
    If I were utilizing the machine for any type of professional video or photography work, I'd probably go with the rMPB. Much better screen, contrast, and color reproduction than the current MBA. Also, I say that currently owning a 2013 MBA and choosing it over the latest MBP. I like the form factor, weight, and battery life better as an office work machine. I have a power workstation and 23" monitor when I really need heavy lifting for video/photo editing.
     
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