Upgraded 13'' Macbook Air vs 13'' Macbook Pro (performance)

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Janpol, May 13, 2015.

  1. Janpol macrumors newbie

    May 13, 2015
    Hello everyone, this is the first time I am going to buy a Macbook and I am looking for some advice. Going to the store, I've narrowed it down to two options:

    1. 13-inch Macbook Air - Price: AUS$2,059.00
    2.2GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz
    Intel HD Graphics 6000
    8GB 1600MHz LPDDR3 SDRAM
    256GB PCIe-based Flash Storage

    2. 13-inch Macbook Pro - Price: AUS$2,099.00
    2.7GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz
    Intel Iris Graphics 6100
    8GB 1866MHz LPDDR3 SDRAM
    256GB PCIe-based Flash Storage

    As you can see, they are about the same price, and I was wondering which one would be better in regards to performance. I am going to use it mainly for daily tasks (web browsing, movies, music), some programming (including the use of virtual machines) and maybe video games from time to time (Starcraft 2, Dota 2, but not really my main focus).

    I really like how light the Macbook Air is, so I am little bit inclined towards that model, but if the Macbook Pro that I can get for the same price is going to be better performance wise, I would go for the pro (after all, it is still a gorgeous piece of hardware). I couldn't find a benchmark comparing the pro with this Macbook Air (maybe because it is not the standard configuration), and I wanted to ask for some advice. What do you guys think?

  2. JTToft, May 13, 2015
    Last edited: May 13, 2015

    JTToft macrumors 68040

    Apr 27, 2010
    Aarhus, Denmark
    The rMBP will be miles better. And don't forget about the Retina Display, which by itself is reason enough to get the rMBP.
    The extra Thunderbolt port, HDMI port, and Force Touch trackpad are nice features, too.

    The CPU difference itself isn't all that great, though. Here are the geekbench scores: MBP, MBA
  3. T5BRICK macrumors G3


    Aug 3, 2006
    Performance wise, you won't notice a difference.

    I do agree that the screen in the rMBP is gorgeous, and that the ForceTouch trackpad is awesome. But if you like the MBA, I'd suggest going that route.
  4. redheeler macrumors 604


    Oct 17, 2014
    It comes down to your preference of thinner and lighter on the MacBook Air or Retina display, Force Touch trackpad, more ports, and smaller footprint on the rMBP. For me the Retina display would win out.
  5. TechZeke macrumors 68020


    Jul 29, 2012
    Rialto, CA
    For the price, go with the 13" rMBP.

    Considering how light and thin the rMBPs are already, a rMBP is a no brainer if the BTO options are already getting you into rMBP price territory. The difference in screen quality alone is (subjectively) bigger than the increase in weight. Both have similar thickness and the rMBP even has a smaller footprint.

    At this point, I'd only get the Air if it was the base model and *maybe* one BTO upgrade.
  6. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Go retina

    The screen is worth more than the weight saving by a mile, I cannot overstate this enough, it really is a game changer; brilliant for evrything you do but especially text looks amazing and is more like reading print than a screen.

    Plus it is more powerful and the GPU is better (good for those games you fancy) more ports, force trackpad. For the loss of a coupel of hours battery life and 1/2 a pound of weight it's a no brainer at the same price point...
  7. Janpol thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 13, 2015

    Many thanks for all the replies :) I haven't considered the retina display factor much to be honest, and it is a good point. I'll go to a store and tinker a little bit with both to get a feel on the weigh of both laptops and also compare their screens.

  8. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    I'm having a similar choice and honeslty I like the Air more. Despite what everyone says, you do notice the lighter weight and tapered design if you have a full bag. Heck, even just carrying it around the Air feels like a bigger tablet while the MacBook Pro feels like a laptop.

    I still have and use my non-retina 2008 MacBook Pro and I have had work-issued retina MacBook Pros. I have no problem switching back to the regular screen so its not the kind of thing that once you have retina you can't go back. That being said, the retina does let you fit more on the screen. Since palettes and windows are smaller you scroll and zoom your content less. I've tried the force-touch trackpad, but since my trackpad's button is broken I currently tap to click instead of pressing to click there is nothing about it which I consider a must-have feature.

    My suggestion is to get the retina one and try it out for 15 days, which is the no-questions-asked return period; then do the same with the Air. Afterwards you will have a pretty good idea of what you want in a MacBook. Its a cinch to use TimeMachine to back up the retina to an external drive and the restore the Air from that; an hour later and the Air will be exactly the same. Personally I would stump up for the 512GB drive, but don't forget to check the Apple Store website for refurbished versions of what you want. Apple's refurbs are great, they have a new battery, look brand new, carry the full warranty, and do all that while saving you money; you just have to be patient and then order as soon as you find what you need.

    TL-DR: Unless your work is demanding enough to where you will buy the max processor and RAM, the retina screen is the only compelling reason to choose the MacBook Pro over the Air, and buy refurbished if you can.

Share This Page

7 May 13, 2015