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CFoss
Sep 18, 2012, 02:40 PM
My friend is in need of a new MacBook for college. Right now, most of their work will be for note-taking and portability is their first priority. However, one of the courses does utilize Logic and basic photography editing. It has pretty much come down to one of the MacBook Airs and the MacBook Pro 13". Few things to note:

- I'm trying to determine if 11" is enough workspace for Logic and other needs. The extra 2" also increases the price of AppleCare by $100.
- Is there much of a difference between the 1.7 GHz i5 and the 2.0GHz i7? Is it worth the extra $160?
- Again, seeing how the RAM is soldiered into the MacBook Air, I assume it's worth the extra $90 for the 4GB RAM (8GB total)?
- They will be going with a SSD. For the MBP13", they would either go with the Apple option, or I would add a 3rd Party SSD. Remember, we're in Canada, so ordering from sites like NewEgg.com is not really an option. 128GB should be sufficient, any additional media can be stored on external storage.
- How does the CPUs in the MacBook Air compare to the CPU in the MacBook Pro? (1.7GHz i5 vs 2.0GHz i7 vs. MBP 2.5GHz i5).


After consideration, I think it comes down to one of these options:

MacBook Air 11" - $1,278.00 to $1,528.00
1.7 GHz i5 (OR 2.0 GHz i7 for $160)
4GB RAM (OR 8GB RAM for $90)

+ Most portable of the options.
+ Most affordable of the options.
- Lack of upgradability.

MacBook Air 13" - $1,678.00 to $1,878.00
1.8 GHz i5 (OR 2.0 GHz i7 for $110)
4GB RAM (OR 8GB RAM for $90)

+ Bigger screen (and highest resolution)
+ Comes with 256GB SSD.
- Most expensive of the options.
- Lack of upgradability.

MacBook Pro 13" - $1,568.00
2.5 GHz i5
4GB RAM (OR 8GB RAM for $60 at Canada Computers)
500GB 5400rpm HDD (+$200 to purchase 3rd party SSD, and use 500GB HDD for backup).

+ Most powerful of the options?
+ Easiest to upgrade.
+ Comes with various luxury ports (optical drive and Ethernet port).
- Heaviest of the options.
- My friend is NOT computer savvy, and would not be able to upgrade the machine themselves.


My friend and I are leaning towards the MacBook Air 11" option at the moment. If anyone has any experience with this model, please post your thoughts here. Thanks. :D



Mrbobb
Sep 18, 2012, 03:38 PM
Either one should be fine.

Some courses, they want u to have a Windows machine because they are using a Windows App. Good thing Mac machines are now Windows compat but if that's the case then you are looking at more$ to get a separate license for Windows. That's all.

stchman
Sep 18, 2012, 03:43 PM
Macmall.com ships internationally, you just have to place the order over the phone.

I personally would go with the MBA 13" with Core i7, 8GB RAM, and a 256GB SSD.

This will give you the ability to run Windows either via Boot Camp or using virtually.

tiwizard
Sep 18, 2012, 05:01 PM
MacBook Air 11" - $1,278.00 to $1,528.00
1.7 GHz i5 (OR 2.0 GHz i7 for $160)
4GB RAM (OR 8GB RAM for $90)

+ Most portable of the options.
+ Most affordable of the options.
- Lack of upgradability.

MacBook Air 13" - $1,678.00 to $1,878.00
1.8 GHz i5 (OR 2.0 GHz i7 for $110)
4GB RAM (OR 8GB RAM for $90)

+ Bigger screen (and highest resolution)
+ Comes with 256GB SSD.
- Most expensive of the options.
- Lack of upgradability.

MacBook Pro 13" - $1,568.00
2.5 GHz i5
4GB RAM (OR 8GB RAM for $60 at Canada Computers)
500GB 5400rpm HDD (+$200 to purchase 3rd party SSD, and use 500GB HDD for backup).

+ Most powerful of the options?
+ Easiest to upgrade.
+ Comes with various luxury ports (optical drive and Ethernet port).
- Heaviest of the options.
- My friend is NOT computer savvy, and would not be able to upgrade the machine themselves.


My friend and I are leaning towards the MacBook Air 11" option at the moment. If anyone has any experience with this model, please post your thoughts here. Thanks. :D

I would reconsider the MBP 13 inch position and go with either the 11 inch Air or 13 inch Air, as you mentioned.

I wrote a post on why this is on Macbook Tips (macbooktips.info/macbook-pro-13-inch-vs-macbook-air-13-inch/). tl;dr: The MBP 13 inch is not that much more powerful, and if you don't plan on upgrading it because you or your friend doesn't know how, you lose one of the only advantages of the Pro.

CFoss
Sep 18, 2012, 07:06 PM
She already has a copy of Windows 7 (from upgrading her parent's desktop), so obtaining a copy will not be an issue. Also, from what I can tell, she's only using around 30GB of storage at the moment. 128GB SSD will be more than enough space.

I would reconsider the MBP 13 inch position and go with either the 11 inch Air or 13 inch Air, as you mentioned.

I wrote a post on why this is on Macbook Tips (macbooktips.info/macbook-pro-13-inch-vs-macbook-air-13-inch/). tl;dr: The MBP 13 inch is not that much more powerful, and if you don't plan on upgrading it because you or your friend doesn't know how, you lose one of the only advantages of the Pro.

Ahh, so the MacBook Air IS faster. I suspected so due to the i7 architecture. Your site actually looks very helpful. I think we're pretty much set on one of the MacBook Airs, and will make a verdict sometime today.

tiwizard
Sep 18, 2012, 07:11 PM
Ahh, so the MacBook Air IS faster. I suspected so due to the i7 architecture. Your site actually looks very helpful. I think we're pretty much set on one of the MacBook Airs, and will make a verdict sometime today.

It is most of the time, especially with the i7. If the MBP and MBA both have i7 processors, it becomes a little more ambiguous and it's closer. I'm glad you find it helpful :)

CFoss
Sep 18, 2012, 07:38 PM
It is most of the time, especially with the i7. If the MBP and MBA both have i7 processors, it becomes a little more ambiguous and it's closer. I'm glad you find it helpful :)

Thanks again. I'm assuming performance between the 11" and 13" is similar, if not the same? Either way, we're set on these options:

CPU: 2.0GHz Intel Dual-Core Core i7
RAM: 8GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
SSD: We'll probably stick with the lowest default of either model (in this case, 128GB for 11", 256GB for 13").
AppleCare.

We're pretty much debating between the two sizes. The 13" has better battery life, more screen estate, and a larger SSD by default. The 11" has a smaller footprint, and is cheaper overall (which, as a student, helps). I think we're edging towards the 11", simply due to budget reasons, and due to how the loss of screen estate is not much of an issue.

tiwizard
Sep 18, 2012, 07:51 PM
Thanks again. I'm assuming performance between the 11" and 13" is similar, if not the same? Either way, we're set on these options:

CPU: 2.0GHz Intel Dual-Core Core i7
RAM: 8GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
SSD: We'll probably stick with the lowest default of either model (in this case, 128GB for 11", 256GB for 13").
AppleCare.

We're pretty much debating between the two sizes. The 13" has better battery life, more screen estate, and a larger SSD by default. The 11" has a smaller footprint, and is cheaper overall (which, as a student, helps). I think we're edging towards the 11", simply due to budget reasons, and due to how the loss of screen estate is not much of an issue.

Yep, especially with the i7. Technically the i5 on the 11 inch and 13 inch are different clock speeds and therefore will be slightly different, but upgraded they will be the same. In fact, if you are running on the internal laptop's monitor, the 11 inch should theoretically be slightly smoother due to the lower resolution. But then again, it's really not much of a difference :)

If you wanted to mitigate the screen size difference, you could also get a cheap external monitor as well and stick with the 11 inch Air. That way, you get portability and a larger screen when you need it. Of course, the battery is a different problem. I'd look up some threads and reviews on the 13 inch Air and 11 inch Air and determine whether the shorter battery life on the 11 inch is worth the trade off. The 13 inch Air has a pretty good battery life-- I regularly get through the entire day with no issues at all (though, I do use the screen at a couple notches from the lowest brightness).

Also, depending on where your friend lives (and if you are considering buying from the Apple Education Store), you may want to check MacMall. In some states they don't charge tax (where I live Amazon, Best Buy, and Apple do but MacMall doesn't) and that's a 10% discount right there. Plus, you can get an extra few percent off from Apple Insider (http://appleinsider.com/mac_price_guide/) (3%). Just make sure you compare those to the education price to get the best deal :)

EDIT:

Just saw you're from Canada-- not sure if you get charged tax (or how much/if MacMall or other places are exempt), but the same "look around" idea applies :p

stchman
Sep 18, 2012, 11:18 PM
She already has a copy of Windows 7 (from upgrading her parent's desktop), so obtaining a copy will not be an issue. Also, from what I can tell, she's only using around 30GB of storage at the moment. 128GB SSD will be more than enough space.



Ahh, so the MacBook Air IS faster. I suspected so due to the i7 architecture. Your site actually looks very helpful. I think we're pretty much set on one of the MacBook Airs, and will make a verdict sometime today.

Windows 7 takes approx 20GB just for the install. So 30GB means there was not a lot installed.

The MBA air will "feel" a lot faster than a MBP simply becasue the MBA has an SSD stock while the MBP has a traditional spinning HDD.

CFoss
Sep 18, 2012, 11:57 PM
Yep, especially with the i7. Technically the i5 on the 11 inch and 13 inch are different clock speeds and therefore will be slightly different, but upgraded they will be the same. In fact, if you are running on the internal laptop's monitor, the 11 inch should theoretically be slightly smoother due to the lower resolution. But then again, it's really not much of a difference :)

If you wanted to mitigate the screen size difference, you could also get a cheap external monitor as well and stick with the 11 inch Air. That way, you get portability and a larger screen when you need it. Of course, the battery is a different problem. I'd look up some threads and reviews on the 13 inch Air and 11 inch Air and determine whether the shorter battery life on the 11 inch is worth the trade off. The 13 inch Air has a pretty good battery life-- I regularly get through the entire day with no issues at all (though, I do use the screen at a couple notches from the lowest brightness).

Also, depending on where your friend lives (and if you are considering buying from the Apple Education Store), you may want to check MacMall. In some states they don't charge tax (where I live Amazon, Best Buy, and Apple do but MacMall doesn't) and that's a 10% discount right there. Plus, you can get an extra few percent off from Apple Insider (http://appleinsider.com/mac_price_guide/) (3%). Just make sure you compare those to the education price to get the best deal :)

EDIT:

Just saw you're from Canada-- not sure if you get charged tax (or how much/if MacMall or other places are exempt), but the same "look around" idea applies :p

Aye, the price comes to about the same. Also, Apple will include a $100 gift voucher. So Apple Store wins. :)


Windows 7 takes approx 20GB just for the install. So 30GB means there was not a lot installed.

The MBA air will "feel" a lot faster than a MBP simply becasue the MBA has an SSD stock while the MBP has a traditional spinning HDD.

Actually, it was more an estimation. There's hardly any space left, but using WinDirStat, it seems like it's mostly junk/other stuff.

Also, if we were to go with the MBP, I would add the SSD myself. But yes, when you factor in all of the costs, the MBA seems to win in almost every aspect that matters.