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Daniel Alvarez
Posted Aug 27 - Read on Facebook

Hi guys, maybe it's not related to the group but I want your opinion. I'm planning to get a Mac to do some UI/UX work, maybe a MBA.

Do you think it can handle design work? I'm planing to use Photoshop, Sketch, Illustrator and Framer Studio.

My second option is a MBPr 13". My budget is $1500 usd.


Ninh Bui

I think you should be fine with either a new MBA or MBPr 13": the most "heavy" app of the ones you've mentioned is probably Photoshop/Illustrator, and those require enough RAM and a fast drive for swap (SSD is highly recommended) to be snappy. I believe the new MBPr 13" start at 8gigs of ram and an SSD drive, so if you don't do anything too crazy (like a million layer psd files), you should be fine I think. I don't think CPU matters *that* much anymore nowadays for the mentioned apps as IO is often more the bottleneck. The integrated GPU should be fast enough for basic 3d transformations too. Maybe someone who has an MBA or MBPr 13" can chime in to help you better; I personally use a 15" MBPr for pretty much everything, and it just all works(tm) ;-)

Adam Laskowitz

I'm also thinking of going MBA. Interested to hear what people say here. Been a Windows guy for a long time, and switched to MB about 6 months ago. Great decision, although it's tough not getting the upgrade options like shopping for a PC. Luckily though, Apple tends to use the latest components (CPU, RAM, SSD, etc), so it really shouldn't make a huge difference - like Ninh Bui mentioned.

Adam Laskowitz

Unless you're dishing out the money for dedicated graphics in the MBP, then it's really very similar.

Ninh Bui

I think you should take the screen into consideration too: the MBA has a TN display which is way less awesome in terms of resolution, color and viewing angles compared to an IPS retina display. Not that that should be a big problem if you use an external display, but is also something you'd want to take into consideration imo if you're on the road a lot. My co-founder uses a MBA to power a 24" screen, but am unsure if it can power larger screens than that. If it were up to me, I'd choose a 13" MBPr, because the 500gr/1 pound difference is negligible for me compared to the screen + horsepower you get for it in return ;-) Less battery life though.

Dean Janssen

I run all those apps on a 2012 entry level 13” MacBook Air. Never regretted sticking with just 4GBs of RAM, but would probably get a bigger SSD next time.

Kevin Cannon

MBA is a great machine. I went with the MB 13" Retina because I needed the retina display, but of you don't need that it's great.

Mark Johnston

I have a 2011 MBA at home and a 2013 15 retina for work. For this kind of work there is little difference. Just make sure you have at least 8GB of RAM.

Nurfaiz Foat

Get the late 2011 MBP model. Swap the existing HD with SSD and upgrade the RAM to 16GB. Voila!

Edward Sanchez

For doing UI work, an MBA or entry level MBP should be fine, even in Photoshop. It's when you start editing large photos and videos that your problems would begin.

Albin Ekblom

The screen on the Air is CRAP.

Jon Gold

I went from a few different 15" MBPs (2008 normal, 2011 hi res antiglare) to a 2013 Air which I loooooved. Plenty fast and the form factor was perfect. but I just bought a 13" rMBP which is even better. I find the 15" MBPs just way to big & bulky to be convenient.

Jon Gold

but I wouldn't worry about any of them not being fast enough

Paul Martens

I use a 15" retina with 16 gigs. More than enough. Don't forget the external monitor! You save time with it. Get a refurbished one?

Chad Lonberger

Use my MBA for heavy design work daily. It's a workhorse. Been more dependable than my last 5 MBP's (knock on wood). Thunderbolt Display also a must for that small of a screen imho. Only thing that bogs it right now is sketch3 with more than a dozen or so artboards open at the same time. CS totally fine.

John Chan

I would personally go with the MBP
- Retina over non-retina
- Intel Iris over Intel HD 5000
- 2.6 i5 vs 1.5 i5 (if you put the 1.7 i7 on the MBA the performance is similar)

All in all, your best deal with the MBA is 256GB SSD/1.7 i7/8GB RAM for $1550, but it's inferior to the base MBP with either 128 ($1400) or 256GB SSD ($1600). Fork the extra $100 and get the base 256GB SSD MBP.

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