rMBP vs non-retina MBP vs MBA

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by spikie, Oct 24, 2013.

  1. spikie macrumors member

    Oct 24, 2013
    I am trying to find out which MacBook should I get. Is the 13'' non-retina MBP Apple kept around still user upgradable?

    The reason I'm asking is because I can either choose the base model of the 13'' rMBP (4GB RAM, 128GB storage for $1199), or the 13'' non-retina MBP (4GB RAM, 500GB HDD for $999), or the 13'' MBA (4GB RAM, 128GB storage for $1049).

    I can only get the base model of each, as I described above. If the non-retina MBP is still upgradable, I'd be putting in 8GB of RAM in that, or possibly 16GB (if possible).

    I'd be using the laptop for my university studies, web-browsing, watching movies, playing some flash based games.
    Out of the three, which one would be the best laptop for 3-4 years?

    -The rMBP isn't upgradable later, and I'm afraid if I get the 4GB base model the performance will suffer. Would 4GB RAM still be enough for my needs?
    -Is the non-retina MBP still worth the money if I upgrade it on my own later? I'm worried about the battery life, since the CPU isn't haswell.
    -Is the MBA enough for my needs with 4GB RAM, since it's also not upgradable later?

    I know it's a weird situation, but which is the best out of the 3 base models?
  2. AllergyDoc macrumors 65816


    Mar 17, 2013
    Utah, USA
    Non-retina version does not have the warning on the Apple Store about it not being upgradable, like the rMBP and Air, so it should be upgradable.
  3. Liquinn Suspended

    Apr 10, 2011
    The last 13 cmbp is user upgradable. I own both a 15" retina and a 13" cMBP. I'd get the retina. The retina has a much nicer screen. But it depends what you want. :)
  4. Krazy Bill macrumors 68030

    Krazy Bill

    Dec 21, 2011
    What is your area of study? What is your budget?

    Of the 3 you selected, I wouldn't get any of them. They are too limiting. Especially that 4GB of RAM that's soldered in place. If money is very very tight, your only option is the Ivy Bridge non-retina because you can upgrade memory and storage as finances permit. There's nothing wrong with this approach.
  5. spikie thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 24, 2013
    I'm studying Economics and Business. I'll be getting the Mac I choose for free, so I don't really have a budget.

    Those 3 are the options I can choose from, and I just wanna get the best option from them. But these are the options I received I can't customize them, otherwise I'd go for the rMBP with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage...:/
    As I said, I'd be using for the university, mostly homework stuff, word-processing, web browsing, movie watching, light gaming, mostly flash based.
    Is 4GB RAM too small for that?
  6. vancexxx macrumors newbie

    May 16, 2008
    - will you need to carry your laptop with you to classes? if yes, then the non-retina MBP is out of the question because of it being the heaviest and having the worst battery life
    - will you have lots of classes/ will you travel/ will you have your laptop with you all the time in places that dont necessarily have a power outlet? - consider the battery life of the Air
    - will you do power graphic/video editing? get the Pro.

    Personally, I'd get the Air. I've been when you are right now and I made it through university (3yr BA + 1yr MA) just fine with a plastic macbook white, studying journalism/new media. But many times I wished I had a lighter machine with a (much) better battery.
  7. spikie thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 24, 2013
    thanks for the answer vancexxx.
    The answers to your questions are:
    -possibly, but still, 9 hours of juice for the new rmbp should be enough

    I decided I'll choose either the rMBP or the MBA then. I'd definitely appreciate the lighter form factor of the Air, although the retina screen is always nice to have.
    I'll sleep on it for a little longer, but thanks a lot, your answer definitely helped!
  8. vancexxx macrumors newbie

    May 16, 2008
    I'm having the exact same dilemma as you right now, check out my reasons behind buying a rMBP or an Air: http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=18213917&postcount=41 - even though we may have slightly different needs.

    I'm waiting to go and compare them in an Apple Store, see if the rMBP is light and thin enough and then wait for some reviews and see how it really scores on battery life and if there won't be any screen issues with it. looking at the base models, same as you, hopefully 4GB of RAM will be enough in a couple of years down the line.

  9. Smeaton1724 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 14, 2011
    Leeds, UK
    I have the 2012 rMBP with 8GB RAM, I really wouldn't go lower than that on the RAM. Have the screen set to 1440 x 900 or 1680 x 1050 plus iTunes Airplay streaming, Pages open, Chrome open and Dropbox and that's 3.5GB gone - I understand Chrome is a RAM hog but even so if you can go 8GB or even 16GB do it.
  10. vancexxx macrumors newbie

    May 16, 2008
    Hmm... Thanks Smeaton, but do you think that the Retina display is also to blame for, or would you absolutely recommend 8GB on either one of those machines?
  11. Smeaton1724 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 14, 2011
    Leeds, UK
    When I've had the screen set to 1680 x 1050 on the rMBP I experience icons missing on apps in launchpad, change the resolution to 1440 x 900 and the problem disappears. I also experience some stutter at 1680 x 1050. So yes I'd say it's directly linked to the retina screen.

    I've even been contemplating going to a 2013 MBA and getting rid of the retina - if I have to use it at 1440 x 900 to get good performance then I might aswell have the benefits of lighter device and huge battery life that the air offers too.

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