Will the MBA suffice my needs or should I go MBP?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by mariotheotaku, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. mariotheotaku macrumors regular

    Apr 16, 2008
    I been looking to get a MBA for graphic design and photography on the go but I'm not sure if its the right one to get. The one I been looking at is:

    13.3 MBA
    1.8ghz i5
    128gb or 256gb still undecided

    I plan on installing CS5.5 maybe CS6 in the future and Lightroom 4, I usually have multiple files open. As far as the processor I'm not sure if the 1.8 processor would be enough. Should I go for the 2.0ghz i7? I was told the i7 uses more battery than the i5. Is it true?

    Also as far as the hard drive goes I have a 1tb, usb 3 portable one so I'm not sure if I should still get the 256gb one as I shoot with RAW files.

    I want to be able to take the notebook to college and on trips to work on files or photos on my free time.

    Am I good with the MBA or should I start looking at the new rMBP or cMBP series?

  2. hobbbz macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2005
    MBA is probably fine but I'm still not clear on what you're going to be doing.
  3. mariotheotaku thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 16, 2008
    I'll be working on multiple photoshop and Illustrator files also editing photos in LR4.
  4. hobbbz macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2005
    It's probably fine. Especially if this is just college work and not for full-time business.
  5. blesscheese macrumors 6502a


    Apr 3, 2010
    Central CA
    I'm sure going with the max will make things better, but you have to ask yourself, what are you going to use it for (exactly) and what do you need?

    I could definitely see the 8GB RAM. I think you would most likely be ok with an i5. The i5 is still a beast, and the MBA i7 is "just" a dual core, not a quad core, so it may not be as big a step up as you would think it would be. I would think that if you are working with important photos, the first thing you would do would be to back-up/burn to a disk, so I would think that a 128gb drive would be ok, and you would just keep what you are working with on the hard drive.

    But if you have the $$$, go for it!


    Out of curiousity, just went to the Apple Store to check out your options.

    If you want the i7, you have to go with the top of the line, which has 256GB SSD standard. Basically, with 8GB, you get either the 13", 128GB SSD, $1199 model (+$100 for the extra RAM, for total of $1299), or you get the 13" 256GB SSD for $1499 (+$100 for the extra RAM, for a total of $1599).

    For "just" $300 more, I'd get the $1599 model. Unless, cough, you want the 512GB SSD...just add $500 on top of the $1499 (cough, cough).
  6. kage207, Jan 1, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013

    kage207 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2008
    Don't forget the student discount! Yes, it is $50 off the computer but still nice.

    I went with the i5 and upgraded the memory from 4GB to 8GB (for $90 more!) and kept the 128GB SSD. I have a 1TB USB 3 external to save backup personal stuff to. Though I also have an 18TB server that I have everything on and use DropBox for all my school work.

    You WILL not notice much of a difference in the processors for what you are doing. Most of the time it is only noticeable when working on CPU demanding tasks such as 3D rendering (most programs still use CPU though some are off-loading to GPUs as they become more powerful) and other tasks.

    The Pro will be slight faster and more powerful. They are a nice computer though my friend a graphic designer uses CS 5 and now CS 6 has no problem on his 2010 MBA 13". That uses the older Intel chips not the iSeries (Core2Duo, I believe).

    The MBA is the best computer I have ever owned and don't think the Pros stack up against them at all. I would only consider a Pro when Apple releases the rMBP if it decreases the weight. Until then I am waiting for an rMBA to update though I will wait for the second revision unless it preforms. I do not like reading reviews, I go into the store and try running the programs I want and watch CPU usage & cycles. I also watch memory usage as retina devices use more but again, I'd mainly hold out until Apple increases storage sizes on the MBA because retina apps take much more room on the drive.

    There is logic behind Apple's hardware. I mean the 13" rMBP has 128GB (another reason I didn't get it beside weight). It is to get people to upgrade on their cycles because apps will become more bloated as support for retina increases yet keeping support for lower resolutions.

    Edit note: I have a 2012 MBA 13" i5 w/ 8GB RAM & 128GB SSD.
  7. wolfpuppies3 macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2012
    Virginia, USA
    Wouldn't come close to being adequate for photo processing for me.
  8. Brian Y macrumors 68040

    Oct 21, 2012
    The 13" MBA will be better than the Pro in my opinion simply due to the increased real estate.
  9. jjhoekstra macrumors regular

    Apr 23, 2009
    With the setup you propose you will be very happy. There is no need for the MBP unless you need the benefits of the retina-screen, the superior cooling system or the dedicated GPU. For what you say you are doing with it you do not need any of these. The i7 is only about 20% or so faster than the i5, which is too small a difference to notice in daily life.
  10. akdj macrumors 65816


    Mar 10, 2008
    In this case, a decent screen would behoove you. If you've got a decent external monitor, you'll be cool. I've got both--a 2011 Air and '12 rMBP. The rMBP's screen is the first laptop monitor I've owned that can be relied on for accurate color grading.

    Depends how serious you are about photography. I love my Air--the processing is fine, SSD is quick---but the monitor sucks for photography! That's the achilles heel of the MBA line...for most everyday tasks, they can't be beat at their price and portability.
  11. kage207 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2008
    That is theoretical improvement but I don't even think it's that much. What it really comes down to is the software that utilizes the technology of the OS but then it comes down to how the OS utilizes these technologies with the hardware (which is why Apple controls both). Keep in mind the technologies or methods that the developer of software also plays a keep part in performance.
  12. Bowcaps macrumors member

    Dec 16, 2012
    Cornwall, UK
    I went for the 2Ghz i7, 8GB Ram and 512GB SSD in my MBA, I run CS6 Master Collection applications, Premier Pro and After Effects work seamlessly Photoshop zips along too.

    All in all it takes it all in it's stride.

    The fan cuts in during rendering but then stops afterwards and battery life is around 5 - 7 hours depending on how many applications i'm using

  13. jetlagged macrumors 6502

    Sep 6, 2012
    i went with the 2012 13"/256/8gb. it cost me $300 more than the 13/128/8gb (which as others have posted and agree is the better value out of the 2)

    i was on the fence about buying a macbook pro 13" also since overall its the better value for the money as far as specs goes. i waited for the rMBP 13", but when the price was beyond what i was willing to pay for especially for a computer with those specs, i said forget it.

    but overall i'm very happy with my mba 13". i love how light it is, how compact it is. so far i havent used a lot of space on my macbook air. but its good knowing i have that extra space if i need it, though i doubt i will ever utilize the full 256 gb (more like 224-228 gb, coz thats how much there really is on a 256 gb ssd)

    i'm planning on doing some amateur light video editing and lightroom editing on mine. i might upgrade to the 2013 mba depending on the specs it comes it with next year.
  14. mariotheotaku thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 16, 2008
    Thanks for all the responses you guys. In the end I'll go with the 13"/1.8 i5/256gb/8gb. I'm planning to keeps the Mac for 4 years minimum so the extra space works.

    As far as the screen, I will probably end up calibrating it if I find it not to my taste. I want this mac to be my on-the-go computer for when I travel and I'm away from home. I'm also planning to get a desktop around the same time if not just a little later (mac mini with ATD).
  15. kage207 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2008
    Kept my last Mac for 5 years~

    Plan on keeping this one for 2 years then sell it off to upgrade to either rMBA (2nd gen, if and when it comes out) or rMBP 13" if it drops in weight.
  16. mariotheotaku thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 16, 2008
    Yeah, I'll have to see what's in store for the MBA later in the year. I might do the same and sell it after 2 years as well if the features on the new MBA are worth it.
  17. kage207 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2008
    Though honestly, I love my MBA more than any other Apple device I have ever bought. Quality build and finally has the power under the hood.

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