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RUGERMAN
Nov 8, 2010, 09:05 AM
I want to get my wife a new laptop but am in between a MPA & A 13 MBP. For the price I get an extra 2 gig of ram a faster CPU and a bigger screen. (Looking at the11.6 base) The one hang up we/she had was no DVD drive to install software. Has anyone found this to be a problem? She will be using for light duty. The only possible exception to that is that I will install XP wit a VM on it. This will be for only a couple of programs, is 2 gig and 64 g HD sufficient? Thanks in advance

Ed Wilmsen



nfl46
Nov 8, 2010, 09:16 AM
Just buy her a SuperDrive. They are about 80 at Apple. I got one yesterday for my Air. Works great and is fast. Chances are, the new MBP are not going to have a cd/dvd drive.

tigres
Nov 8, 2010, 09:29 AM
I want to get my wife a new laptop but am in between a MPA & A 13 MBP. For the price I get an extra 2 gig of ram a faster CPU and a bigger screen. (Looking at the11.6 base) The one hang up we/she had was no DVD drive to install software. Has anyone found this to be a problem? She will be using for light duty. The only possible exception to that is that I will install XP wit a VM on it. This will be for only a couple of programs, is 2 gig and 64 g HD sufficient? Thanks in advance

Ed Wilmsen

She will never need the superdrive.

90% of what she will install is available to download, in rare instances you can do remote disk from it.

A non issue- and I really mean that.

KPOM
Nov 8, 2010, 09:40 AM
I want to get my wife a new laptop but am in between a MPA & A 13 MBP. For the price I get an extra 2 gig of ram a faster CPU and a bigger screen. (Looking at the11.6 base) The one hang up we/she had was no DVD drive to install software. Has anyone found this to be a problem? She will be using for light duty. The only possible exception to that is that I will install XP wit a VM on it. This will be for only a couple of programs, is 2 gig and 64 g HD sufficient? Thanks in advance

Ed Wilmsen

I'd probably go with 128GB if you plan to use a virtual machine on it. Are you sure XP is sufficient? Note that you'd have to use Parallels, VirtualBox, or Fusion since Apple ships Boot Camp drivers only for Windows 7 on the new MacBook Airs. Windows 7 uses up about 20GB. XP is smaller, but still takes up quite a bit of room.

gwsat
Nov 8, 2010, 09:46 AM
She will never need the superdrive.

90% of what she will install is available to download, in rare instances you can do remote disk from it.

A non issue- and I really mean that.
I bought a Superdrive two weeks ago when I got my MBA. I haven't opened the Superdrive's box in all that time and plan to take it back to the Apple Store for credit. I setup the MBA by migrating the backup of the MBP that the MBA is replacing via Ethernet from a Time Capsule. The migration took 5 or 6 hours but I did it overnight so the time it took was not a problem. On the rare occasions when I will need an optical drive with the MBA I'll connect it via USB to the MBP and use the MBP's optical drive.

KPOM
Nov 8, 2010, 09:51 AM
I bought the Superdrive with my first MacBook Air back in February 2008. Since then, I've probably used it about 10 times (mostly to install various versions of Windows).

We should probably start up a MacBook Air Superdrive sharing service. :D

Unfortunately, the only computers the $80 Superdrive works with are the MacBook Air and the Mac Mini Server.

nfl46
Nov 8, 2010, 10:03 AM
Lol. I guess I'm the person who burns cd and DVDs.

ReallyBigFeet
Nov 8, 2010, 10:08 AM
You could just buy a non-Apple USB external drive. LG makes several in the $50-$60 range that are OSX compatible.

But like others have posted...I see no need for one personally.

magbarn
Nov 8, 2010, 10:16 AM
Can you install Win7 via Bootcamp without a external superdrive?

eldo33
Nov 8, 2010, 12:20 PM
Can you install Win7 via Bootcamp without a external superdrive?

Yes, you can do with USB stick. there's a thread going around on this OR you can go to CNET.com and search for the topic, they have a page with all the info needed.


For the MBA topic, if you wife do light work then it should be sufficient rather than the MBP. I have both version running parallel with win7 setup and 2 GB on MBA is pushing it a bit vs 4GB on my MBP.

Boston007
Nov 8, 2010, 12:38 PM
Yes, you can do with USB stick. there's a thread going around on this OR you can go to CNET.com and search for the topic, they have a page with all the info needed.


For the MBA topic, if you wife do light work then it should be sufficient rather than the MBP. I have both version running parallel with win7 setup and 2 GB on MBA is pushing it a bit vs 4GB on my MBP.

YES this is possible. Get a FAST USB stick and you'll be all set

Tomple
Nov 8, 2010, 12:41 PM
Remote disk works great
Highly recommend a 11.6" MBA
its great!

jameskohn
Nov 8, 2010, 10:08 PM
If this is to be her primary computer, there's much more to the story than just the SuperDrive. Will she always have WiFi, or might she ever need (real) Ethernet? Faster processor, backlit keyboard, FireWire? Does she use an Apple remote for presentations, because MBA even lacks the IR receiver now. Does she work with color images? If so, color rendition is substantially better on the MBP.

If she carries it around a lot, the MBA form factor may override all of these other issues. But then battery life comes into play: MBP is rated at 10 hrs vs. MBA at 7 hrs.

gwsat
Nov 9, 2010, 09:27 AM
If this is to be her primary computer, there's much more to the story than just the SuperDrive. Will she always have WiFi, or might she ever need (real) Ethernet? Faster processor, backlit keyboard, FireWire? Does she use an Apple remote for presentations, because MBA even lacks the IR receiver now. Does she work with color images? If so, color rendition is substantially better on the MBP.

If she carries it around a lot, the MBA form factor may override all of these other issues. But then battery life comes into play: MBP is rated at 10 hrs vs. MBA at 7 hrs.
I agree that the 13 inch MBP's full suite of ports and included optical drive may be important enough to some for them to chose the MBP, despite the MBP being more that 50 percent heavier than the 13 inch MBA. You are also right that the MBP has a better battery rating. I do have some questions about the rest of your analysis, though.

First, I seem to recall that based on early benchmark tests the inclusion of flash storage in the MBAs means that they are at least as fast as the 13 inch MBP, which comes standard with a slow 5400 RPM hard drive, or at least the speed difference between the two machines is so small, it would not be noticeable in real world use. Next, the screen resolution of the 13 inch MBA is 1440 X 900, which is superior to the MBP's resolution of 1280 X 800. Finally, the conventional wisdom seems to be that the MBA's screen, as well as others with antireflective coatings, provide better color rendition, not worse, than glossy screens such as the one used on the MBP.

RUGERMAN
Nov 9, 2010, 09:58 AM
If she carries it around a lot, the MBA form factor may override all of these other issues. But then battery life comes into play: MBP is rated at 10 hrs vs. MBA at 7 hrs.[/QUOTE]

Thanks to all for the helpful advice. I think we've decided on the MBP 13. She will not be carrying or traveling much and if I got the MBA 11 I would get the 128 drive and 4 gig of ram just be on the safe side. If it was just for her and no need for a VM the base MBA would be fine and we both love the form factor, but cost is also an issue and I can get a refurbished MBA 13 for $1019 vs $1299 for the MBA the way I would want it. Plus of course I get better battery life, bigger HD etc.

gwsat
Nov 9, 2010, 11:37 AM
Thanks to all for the helpful advice. I think we've decided on the MBP 13. She will not be carrying or traveling much and if I got the MBA 11 I would get the 128 drive and 4 gig of ram just be on the safe side. If it was just for her and no need for a VM the base MBA would be fine and we both love the form factor, but cost is also an issue and I can get a refurbished MBA 13 for $1019 vs $1299 for the MBA the way I would want it. Plus of course I get better battery life, bigger HD etc.
Despite my enthusiasm for my new maxed out 13 inch MBA, I think that your decision to get a 13 inch MBP for your wife instead of a 2GB 11 inch MBA was probably a good one. Last summer my daughter bought a 13 inch MBP for my grandson, who is now a college freshman. He uses it heavily and loves it. As wonderfully portable as the new MBAs are, the 13 inch MBP is still more cost effective for those for whom the MBAs' ultra lightweight is not important enough to justify the extra cost of a comparably equipped MBA.

jameskohn
Nov 9, 2010, 03:48 PM
I agree that the 13 inch MBP's full suite of ports and included optical drive may be important enough to some for them to chose the MBP, despite the MBP being more that 50 percent heavier than the 13 inch MBA. You are also right that the MBP has a better battery rating. I do have some questions about the rest of your analysis, though.

First, I seem to recall that based on early benchmark tests the inclusion of flash storage in the MBAs means that they are at least as fast as the 13 inch MBP, which comes standard with a slow 5400 RPM hard drive, or at least the speed difference between the two machines is so small, it would not be noticeable in real world use. Next, the screen resolution of the 13 inch MBA is 1440 X 900, which is superior to the MBP's resolution of 1280 X 800. Finally, the conventional wisdom seems to be that the MBA's screen, as well as others with antireflective coatings, provide better color rendition, not worse, than glossy screens such as the one used on the MBP.

I would contemplate adding an SSD to the MBP. Combined with the faster processor, the performance would be an improvement over even a MBA "ultimate" configuration.

Screen resolution is better on the MBA, but not color rendition. MBP has better color gamut, and if you place them side by side, which I have done, the MBP images look noticeably better. Also keep in mind that the superior resolution of the MBA means that text is smaller, arguably too small for some.

I have the MBA, but am considering returning it for a 13" MBP with 2.6 GHz and 256Gb SSD. Same price range, much more computer.

benpatient
Nov 9, 2010, 04:17 PM
I have the MBA, but am considering returning it for a 13" MBP with 2.6 GHz and 256Gb SSD. Same price range, much more computer.

Say what?

13" MBP with C2D 2.66 and the 256 SSD is $2,249.

13" MBA with C2D 2.13 (the upgrade) and the 256 SSD is $1,799.

I think $450 difference is fairly substantial. Especially when you consider the 50% weight increase for the MBP.

fuzzielitlpanda
Nov 9, 2010, 04:23 PM
The 13" MBP is probably the best laptop I've had the chance of owning. You really can't beat the value of the system in terms of all the specs you get. However, I too am debating whether to get the smaller, lighter MBA.

BENJMNS
Nov 9, 2010, 04:45 PM
going from an mba 13 to mbp 13 is an absolute downgrade.

i can't imagine going back to the brick (a nice brick).

jameskohn
Nov 9, 2010, 05:08 PM
Yup, on paper there is no comparison. 2.6GHz, 256Gb SSD, Ethernet, IR, Backlit keyboard, SuperDrive, (significantly) longer battery life... and upgradeable to 8Gb. A MBA is a toy compared to a MBP configured this way.

But... it's such a cool toy that we're willing to forego the prcatical considerations so when we're sitting in Starbucks people ooh and aah at our MBA's. Hey, I'm guilty of it too!

BENJMNS
Nov 9, 2010, 05:15 PM
Yup, on paper there is no comparison. 2.6GHz, 256Gb SSD, Ethernet, IR, Backlit keyboard, SuperDrive, (significantly) longer battery life... and upgradeable to 8Gb. A MBA is a toy compared to a MBP configured this way.

But... it's such a cool toy that we're willing to forego the prcatical considerations so when we're sitting in Starbucks people ooh and aah at our MBA's. Hey, I'm guilty of it too!

it's like comparing a tarted up audi s4 to a porsche carrera. no matter what you do to the s4 with a chip, tune, wheels, aerokit, etc... the carrera is the one u want to drive and be seen in. :D

gwsat
Nov 9, 2010, 08:46 PM
I would contemplate adding an SSD to the MBP. Combined with the faster processor, the performance would be an improvement over even a MBA "ultimate" configuration.

Screen resolution is better on the MBA, but not color rendition. MBP has better color gamut, and if you place them side by side, which I have done, the MBP images look noticeably better. Also keep in mind that the superior resolution of the MBA means that text is smaller, arguably too small for some.

I have the MBA, but am considering returning it for a 13" MBP with 2.6 GHz and 256Gb SSD. Same price range, much more computer.
Screen resolution is derived simply by counting pixels. but the decision as to which images look better is subjective. If you think the MBP looks better then by all means buy it. I on the other hand cannot abide glossy glass screens and their maddening reflections It's a matter of personal choice.

I agree that a 2.14Ghz MBP with an SSD is likely to be somewhat faster than a top of the line 13 inch MBA. I suggest, though, that the difference will not be discernable in the real world. But there is factor that makes the 13 inch MBA ultimate a far better choice than the than the MBP, even with an SSD, to me. Although the relative power of the two machines is so close as to be negligible in real world use, the 4.5 pound MBP is more than 50 percent heavier than the 2.9 pound MBA. That's a lot, it seems to me.

Don't misunderstand me, I think the base 13 inch MBP provides the best value in the MBP lineup. In fact, when I was starting to think that Apple might discontinue the MBA, I seriously considered getting a base 13 inch MBP and upgrading its RAM to 8GB and adding the biggest SSD my pocketbook could accommodate. But Apple saved me by finally upgrading the MBA, with the result that the 13 inch MBA ultimate, which is what I bought, handles the serious demands I make on it as well as the MBP that preceded it, although the MBP had 6GB of RAM. That's a lot of power in a laptop whose thickness is, on average considerably less than .5 of an inch and that weighs less than 3 pounds.

jameskohn
Nov 10, 2010, 09:43 AM
The 1 1/2 lbs. is one advantage of the MBA. It's display is also brighter, and it happens to be gorgeous looking.

I'm coming from a 15" MBP. At 4.5 lbs the 13" is a noticeable weight loss. Hefting it in comparison to the 13" MBA I can notice the difference, but unless I'm hiking for days with a full back pack, 1 1/2 pounds just is not going to matter.

The 13" MBP with a 2.6 GHz processor and SSD would perform better. How much of that I would notice in real world use I'm not exactly sure. But if going from 1.8GHz to 2.1GHz in the MBA is worthwhile, then going from 2.1 in the MBA to 2.6 in the MBP is too, perhaps more so. I doubt I would upgrade to 8Gb RAM, but it would be nice to know that I have that choice and it may come in to play at resale time.

Battery life is a serious factor: MBA rated at 7hrs, MBP at 10hrs. THAT is huge. Missing Gigabit Eternet could be a real problem. Just last week I visited a client and the only way I could connect to the internet was by using their Ethernet hookup.

I miss the IR receiver that they left off of the MBA too. That means I can no longer use the Apple remote when I do presentations, and I have to carry another dongle (in addition to the usb ethernet one, AND the one for the projector.) My MBA is going to look like an octopus with all these things sticking out all over the place!

Back lit keyboard is a luxury I have really come to appreciate, and I do much prefer the look of the black glass bezel of the MBP. The metal around the MBA display looks dated to me.

Firewire, optical drive... may never use them. On the other hand, they might come in handy once in a blue moon, and then it would be very nice to have them.

This is a tough decision!

billy baxton
Nov 10, 2010, 10:27 AM
really the only question is.

what will your wife be using her computer for. for (most) people the mba is powerfull enough to fullfill all their needs. shouldn't kid yourself into thinking you need more than 1.4 ghz and 2 gigs of ram to type notes in microsoft word, or surf the net. and as for battery life, how often will she be away from an outlet? you say portability is not that much of an issue, since she will be not taking it outside the house much. so then it shouldn't be a big deal to keep in plugged in.

when suggesting a laptop/computer to friends I often make the mistake of recommending something that would fit my needs. but then I remember most people wont be worried about photo retouching or video editing.

I've also noticed that alot of the people who complain about not being able to edit videos efficiently or retouch raw images, have never even edited a video before, or retouched a photo, and dont really plan to. but they are in that "what if sometime in the future I NEED to do those things" frame of mind. but in reality they may never need to do anything more than messing around with word docs for work.

billy baxton
Nov 10, 2010, 10:29 AM
really the only question is.

what will your wife be using her computer for. for (most) people the mba is powerfull enough to fullfill all their needs. shouldn't kid yourself into thinking you need more than 1.4 ghz and 2 gigs of ram to type notes in microsoft word, or surf the net. and as for battery life, how often will she be away from an outlet? you say portability is not that much of an issue, since she will be not taking it outside the house much. so then it shouldn't be a big deal to keep in plugged in.

when suggesting a laptop/computer to friends I often make the mistake of recommending something that would fit my needs. but then I remember most people wont be worried about photo retouching or video editing.

I've also noticed that alot of the people who complain about not being able to edit videos efficiently or retouch raw images, have never even edited a video before, or retouched a photo, and dont really plan to. but they are in that "what if sometime in the future I NEED to do those things" frame of mind. but in reality they may never need to do anything more than messing around with word docs for work.

or maybe your wife needs something for heavy graphic editing. then go MBP, otherwise. go air, or whatever the cheapest option is.

gwsat
Nov 11, 2010, 10:58 AM
The 13" MBP with a 2.6 GHz processor and SSD would perform better. How much of that I would notice in real world use I'm not exactly sure. But if going from 1.8GHz to 2.1GHz in the MBA is worthwhile, then going from 2.1 in the MBA to 2.6 in the MBP is too, perhaps more so. I doubt I would upgrade to 8Gb RAM, but it would be nice to know that I have that choice and it may come in to play at resale time.

Battery life is a serious factor: MBA rated at 7hrs, MBP at 10hrs. THAT is huge. Missing Gigabit Eternet could be a real problem. Just last week I visited a client and the only way I could connect to the internet was by using their Ethernet hookup.
Although my loaded 13 inch MBA has performed beyond my fondest expectations, I would certainly not try to dissuade you from getting a 13 inch MBP with an SSD. I would, however, urge you to reconsider getting the model with a 2.66Ghz processor. Such an upgrade would cost you $300.00 more that the 2.4Ghz model. (http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/shop_mac/family/macbook_pro?aid=AIC-WWW-NAUS-K2-BUYNOW-MACBOOKPRO-INDEX&cp=BUYNOW-MACBOOKPRO-INDEX\) It seems to me that such a modest bump would mean nothing to your user experience and would not be cost effective in any event. For what its worth that has been the conventional wisdom in the Macbook Pro Forum ever since the current lineup of MBPs was introduced.

Unless your demands on a battery are pretty extreme you won't have to worry about battery life on a 13 inch MBA. I am sitting in a Barnes & Noble now and have been using my MBA for about 20 minutes with the display's brightness at about 50 percent. The life remaining on the battery still shows 8 hours 20 minutes. It wouldn't be that good in continuous use, of course, but when the MBA is used sporadically one charge goes a long way.