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View Full Version : 13" air vs 15" pro. need help deciding




hypertc13
Oct 6, 2011, 09:39 AM
So i have been going back and forth about upgrading to a new macbook for over a year now. I currently have a late 2006 15" Macbook Pro. This thing has been great for me. Really got me hooked in the world of mac/apple. I thought i would finally pull the trigger today in honor of one of the most brilliant people. I was deeply saddened by the news because he was such a visionary and leader for the company.

Here is my reasons for each:
15" pro=bigger screen, better performance(however im not sure i would put it to its full use), I like the fact that it is user upgradable(I would probably eventually put 8 gb of RAM in and maybe an ssd).

13" air= very portable(I carry my laptop around most of the time, I am in college and take it to class with me almost everyday. I also travel quite a bit so the small form factor would be nice. My main concern with it is that you cant upgrade the RAM so i dont think it is very future proof.

Thanks for any help



KohPhiPhi
Oct 6, 2011, 09:43 AM
Simply ask yourself the following 3 questions:

"Do I prefer top-notch portability with pretty acceptable performance, or do I prefer power performance with limited portability instead?"

"Do I actually need the power performance for the tasks I intend to do?" (do you game? do you encode high-resolution video? do you do autocad? etc)

"Do I actually need the portability?" (do I often take the laptop away from my desk? do I travel? do I like to surf the net from the couch?)

Seriously, there's no other factor to take into consideration here. Forget the RAM, forget the SSD, forget the GPU, etc. Simply answer those three questions and purchase accordingly.

simsaladimbamba
Oct 6, 2011, 10:36 AM
The MBP from 2011 can accept up to 16GB of RAM.
While the MBA has its pluses, especially the small form factor and weight, it might be not what you want depending on your computational needs.
Upgrading RAM in MacBooks and MacBook Pros (http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=12403893&postcount=6)

Btw, there is no need to make duplicate threads about the same subject. To alert a moderator about moving your thread to another sub-forum (Buying Advice would fit), just use the REPORT POST icon looking like this: http://cdn.macrumors.com/vb/images/buttons/report.gif

jmgregory1
Oct 6, 2011, 10:36 AM
If you're doing college work on it and not game playing (although I think the two may be inseparable), the mba is the way to go. There really is no such thing as future proofing a piece of technology - you'll want and/or need a new computer in 4 years for reasons beyond needing more ram.

I am few years (isn't 25+ considered a few?) out of college and have used a 2007 mbp 15" since I got it new - it still works fine, albeit it eats up batteries and runs really hot. My kids have no issues with using it still and I'm really digging the 13" mba I got about a month ago. It's super fast and can't imagine going back to a spinning hd - ever. I'm hoping Apple takes what they've learned with the air and implements similar tech across the mbp line. Would love to see a 15" mbp 's' version that is half the weight, ssd equipped and offers more battery and better graphics.

xpcker
Oct 6, 2011, 10:38 AM
if you game or make graphics, 3d design forget macbook air

i love macbook air its amaizingly fast! if u only work, go for it. otherwise go for 15

Takashi
Oct 6, 2011, 11:12 AM
So i have been going back and forth about upgrading to a new macbook for over a year now. I currently have a late 2006 15" Macbook Pro. This thing has been great for me. Really got me hooked in the world of mac/apple.

Here is my reasons for each:
15" pro=bigger screen, better performance(however im not sure i would put it to its full use), I like the fact that it is user upgradable(I would probably eventually put 8 gb of RAM in and maybe an ssd).

13" air= very portable(I carry my laptop around most of the time, I am in college and take it to class with me almost everyday. I also travel quite a bit so the small form factor would be nice. My main concern with it is that you cant upgrade the RAM so i dont think it is very future proof.

Thanks for any help

First of all, you should ask yourself whether you want to get a 13" MBP or 15" MBP, and then ask yourself if you are willing to settle with a MBP or MBA. Comparing 15" MBP and 13" MBA opens up too many variables that can easily cause a person to fall apart.

The funny thing is that my future wife went through the same dilemma last year. We ended up getting a 13" MBP (model with 4GB of RAM...etc) with minimum system upgrades. I told her that the MBA is more portable, more "Wow" factor, but less flexible. Both of us each have a 13" MBP and we enjoy using it.

As someone already mentioned above, you can never future proof a computer. A simple OS release can easily sent your computer to obsolete regardless of your computer hardware (E.g. Snow Leopard OSX 1.6 no longer supports power-PC based macs). So my suggestion is to spend the least amount of money you possibility can to complete the required tasks. In other words, don't blow your $$ on a top of the line computer unless your line of work requires that kind of power.

Good luck and enjoy your new computer.

Snesley Wipes
Oct 6, 2011, 11:44 AM
Kohphiphi said it best, ask yourself those 3 questions.

I recently dumped my MBP 15" for the new Air and have no regrets. Only thing I needed the MBP for was gaming. Since I have an external monitor, I plan on buying a cheap desktop just for that purpose. Other than that, the new AIR screams performance and I can carry it with my fingertips!

AFPoster
Oct 6, 2011, 12:05 PM
Simply ask yourself the following 3 questions:

"Do I prefer top-notch portability with pretty acceptable performance, or do I prefer power performance with limited portability instead?"

"Do I actually need the power performance for the tasks I intend to do?" (do you game? do you encode high-resolution video? do you do autocad? etc)

"Do I actually need the portability?" (do I often take the laptop away from my desk? do I travel? do I like to surf the net from the couch?)

Seriously, there's no other factor to take into consideration here. Forget the RAM, forget the SSD, forget the GPU, etc. Simply answer those three questions and purchase accordingly.

I'm just as portable with my 2011 15" MacBook Pro as I am with my 2011 MBA. I don't think this is a good question to ask yourself, either way you're carrying a suitcase or backpack.

RLesko
Oct 6, 2011, 12:24 PM
Ask yourself this too:

"Am I simply enamored with the MBA's beauty and want to tailor my needs to fit the intended usage of the product?"

What will you be doing your mac over the course of the next 3 years? That will easily narrow the decision for you.

KohPhiPhi
Oct 7, 2011, 07:18 AM
I'm just as portable with my 2011 15" MacBook Pro as I am with my 2011 MBA. I don't think this is a good question to ask yourself, either way you're carrying a suitcase or backpack.

Sorry but that's simply not true.

You can slide a MBA 11" into an executive briefcase, or a small school backpack, and you won't notice a thing. Throw in a MBP 15" instead and it will take up most of the space and it will double the weight. On top of that, the size of the backpack needs to increase significantly. Heck, my (female) friend carries her MBA 11" in her (female) hand-bag to work!

No disrespect man, but saying that a MBA 11" and a MBP 15" are just as portable is simply silly.

Coarseman
Oct 7, 2011, 07:41 AM
My main concern with it is that you cant upgrade the RAM so i dont think it is very future proof.

Starting with stating the obvious mate-that it will ultimately be your decision to pick what would be best for you,and no one is in better position to say what is best for you, I would just like to share the experience I am having on a daily basis with two MBA's-my colleague's (at the next desk) and mine.

Hers is last year's MBA 13" 2 gigs of RAM, C2D and mine is this year's 13" 4 gigs i5.

For the normal day-to-day things you do at the office-mail,Office 2011 (we both prefer that to iWorks suite)-spreadsheets, documents, presentations etc. there is no noticeable difference in performance. Or at least I cannot say that mine is much faster than hers-both are blazingly fast.

They even both open documents FASTER than my MBP 17", no matter how difficult to believe that is.

So,I think that with this year's MBA 4 gigs i5 or i7 you will be quite safe for at least couple of more years in the future.

Having said that, again-up to you to pick what suits you most..