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View Full Version : In rough conditions would you choose an Air or a Pro?




Troglodrew
Feb 3, 2010, 08:33 PM
Hi everyone,

I'm completely new to this forum. I just searched around about the Air's durability. I have a Macbook which I love. However, for work, I use my macbook outside, in damp conditions, and it travels a lot. Thus, my macbook is on its last legs after 2 1/2 years (I've already broken the screen once). I am about to purchase a new computer and I really want an SSD drive. Would you recommend an AIR or a pro with an installed SSD drive. I've heard that the pro has some durability issues and I really like the idea of the portability of the AIR, as I have to hike with it.
Thanks, in advance, for your advice!



coast1ja
Feb 3, 2010, 08:38 PM
Hi everyone,

I'm completely new to this forum. I just searched around about the Air's durability. I have a Macbook which I love. However, for work, I use my macbook outside, in damp conditions, and it travels a lot. Thus, my macbook is on its last legs after 2 1/2 years (I've already broken the screen once). I am about to purchase a new computer and I really want an SSD drive. Would you recommend an AIR or a pro with an installed SSD drive. I've heard that the pro has some durability issues and I really like the idea of the portability of the AIR, as I have to hike with it.
Thanks, in advance, for your advice!

I would choose the Air. It seems to me that the Air is more durable and less prone to denting. It may just be a function of the weight... about half the weight means half the inertia with falling.

The Air also has less area for dust and moisture to enter the body of the case... unless you are setting it on a damp surface or something, then I would suggest the Pro, because the vents of the air are more on the underside than they are on the pro.

Hope that helps... and you won't be disappointed no matter which you choose.

MasterDev
Feb 3, 2010, 08:44 PM
It would be a toss up... I think the uMBP is stronger than the air in rough conditions... But maybe a uMBP with an SSD...

Just my 2 cents.

Airforcekid
Feb 3, 2010, 08:47 PM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_1_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile/7D11 Safari/528.16)

Hi everyone,

I'm completely new to this forum. I just searched around about the Air's durability. I have a Macbook which I love. However, for work, I use my macbook outside, in damp conditions, and it travels a lot. Thus, my macbook is on its last legs after 2 1/2 years (I've already broken the screen once). I am about to purchase a new computer and I really want an SSD drive. Would you recommend an AIR or a pro with an installed SSD drive. I've heard that the pro has some durability issues and I really like the idea of the portability of the AIR, as I have to hike with it.
Thanks, in advance, for your advice!

In terms of failing from a drop etc the Air is a better choice with SSD no SuperDrive or other extras to worry about breaking.

thejadedmonkey
Feb 3, 2010, 08:59 PM
Why not just get a MacBook with an SSD?

lionheartednyhc
Feb 3, 2010, 09:04 PM
Why not just get a MacBook with an SSD?

Because its not durable?


OP, what is your job? im curious

Troglodrew
Feb 3, 2010, 09:11 PM
Thanks for all of the advice. I really like the idea of getting an air. Now to figure out if they're going to update it soon!

Troglodrew
Feb 3, 2010, 09:14 PM
Because its not durable?


OP, what is your job? im curious

I study primate vocalizations for a rainforest conservancy. If you analyze the spectrogram of alarm calls of certain monkeys (capuchin) you get enough individual variation to statistically get an accurate count. The vocalizations with the software needed to analyze them require a lot of speed and memory.

ventro
Feb 3, 2010, 11:11 PM
I study primate vocalizations for a rainforest conservancy. If you analyze the spectrogram of alarm calls of certain monkeys (capuchin) you get enough individual variation to statistically get an accurate count. The vocalizations with the software needed to analyze them require a lot of speed and memory.
coool. I'd get an Air

gnr319
Feb 3, 2010, 11:14 PM
I'd go for MBP. The Air is too pretty to subject to those conditions.

ayeying
Feb 4, 2010, 12:00 AM
I'd go for MBP. The Air is too pretty to subject to those conditions.

I'd say get whatever the OP wants. Rather have something you'd want instead of having something you didn't want or didn't like.

And I feel bad for my Air now that goes through constant abuse... holding the system by the top lid only when opened, thrown into backpacks, stuffed in between books, used in a dusty/workshop area, outside, while working on the car or motorcycle... my air's been through hell and back and its still kicking with no dents or scratches.

highADP
Feb 4, 2010, 12:30 AM
I study primate vocalizations for a rainforest conservancy. If you analyze the spectrogram of alarm calls of certain monkeys (capuchin) you get enough individual variation to statistically get an accurate count. The vocalizations with the software needed to analyze them require a lot of speed and memory.

Wow, your job sounds interesting. I am doing science too. I am a graduate student. I have a macbook (black), which I bought a few years ago. I am eyeing on the Air as my next laptop. Just waiting for the next update!!

Synchromesh
Feb 4, 2010, 12:35 AM
Personally I would go for an MBP with a hard case and keyboard cover. That way if you spill something on your keyboard it's unlikely to damage the system.

My uMB feels like a solid brick next to the fragile Air. But then again the OP should figure out if he wants to lug all that extra weight around. If not, just get a protection package of shell + keyboard cover for your Air and treat it nicely.

ntrigue
Feb 4, 2010, 02:19 AM
I would get a MBA with InCase or Speck shell. These can be lifesavers!

El Cabong
Feb 4, 2010, 06:10 AM
OP: Don't know what your power (i.e. electrical) situation is going to be, but maybe consider a current MBP for its improved battery life over the MBA, or even a 1st-gen UMBP so you can pick up some extra batteries. If mobile power isn't an issue, than I'd say MBA for its lightness, although the MBP can also give you a slight processor boost as well as extra RAM/HD space, all of which can be useful if you're editing/processing a lot of large sound files.

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In terms of failing from a drop etc the Air is a better choice with SSD no SuperDrive or other extras to worry about breaking.

It's also a better candidate for dropping because it's much lighter. FMA!

phoobo
Feb 4, 2010, 10:34 AM
The vocalizations with the software needed to analyze them require a lot of speed and memory.

The Air has terrible heat management issues. I would strongly advise avoiding the Air here and going with a computer that has proven itself capable of handling major processing tasks.

It would be a mistake to rely on the Air in the field for real computing, particularly in a hot climate. Asking for trouble.

jimboutilier
Feb 4, 2010, 11:50 AM
I'm afraid if I was hiking in tropical conditions I'd have to forgo OS X and choose a Panasonic Toughbook. They have several relatively small and light units that are weather sealed, have long battery life and will work well in hot or cold conditions.

If you absolutely need OSX I don't think there is much toughness difference between the MBA and MBP. I'd choose the MBA for its thin and light attributes or a MBP for its battery life advantage. I think there are more case options out there for the MBP, but there are several fairely protective cases for the AIR.

ayeying
Feb 4, 2010, 12:45 PM
The Air has terrible heat management issues. I would strongly advise avoiding the Air here and going with a computer that has proven itself capable of handling major processing tasks.

It would be a mistake to rely on the Air in the field for real computing, particularly in a hot climate. Asking for trouble.

Actually, according to this post, it seems that the 13" MBP has the same heat issues as the Air with its downclocking. Someone should try using MSR tools under OSX and see if it randomly downclocks to a lower speed when stressed. It could explain all these awkward 13" MBP Posts saying how the computer randomly gets slower after 15 minutes.

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=857046

phoobo
Feb 4, 2010, 01:08 PM
Actually, according to this post, it seems that the 13" MBP has the same heat issues as the Air with its downclocking. Someone should try using MSR tools under OSX and see if it randomly downclocks to a lower speed when stressed. It could explain all these awkward 13" MBP Posts saying how the computer randomly gets slower after 15 minutes.

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=857046

One reason the Air can't be used as a serious computer is that the volume of air in the box is too restricted to provide adequate cooling. In the thread you mention, people are talking about temperatures in the 70-75 degree C range as responsible for the forced underclocking. I think those must be more common on the Air; I run an alu 13"Macbook and my normal base temperature is around 43 degrees; rarely does it go above 55 C (admittedly I under*volt*). I doubt an Air could be capable of that. You can fry eggs on those things. Taking one to a tropical jungle would be coals to Newcastle.

nj-mac-user
Feb 4, 2010, 05:01 PM
Troglodrew... The MBA feels nice and solid, but I would in no way call it durable for the kind of use you're looking to put it to. And with the well known hinge issue the MBA gets over time just from everyday use, it really can't be placed in the durable class as of yet.

ayeying
Feb 4, 2010, 06:26 PM
One reason the Air can't be used as a serious computer is that the volume of air in the box is too restricted to provide adequate cooling. In the thread you mention, people are talking about temperatures in the 70-75 degree C range as responsible for the forced underclocking. I think those must be more common on the Air; I run an alu 13"Macbook and my normal base temperature is around 43 degrees; rarely does it go above 55 C (admittedly I under*volt*). I doubt an Air could be capable of that. You can fry eggs on those things. Taking one to a tropical jungle would be coals to Newcastle.

You are vastly under-estimating the MacBook Air.

70-75 deg C is not hot. Both the MBP and the Air's processors are capable of reaching a maximum temperature of 105 deg C before any damage is incurred.

The downclocking is more common on the Air, however, it seems so that the 13" MBP are also having this problem. Furthermore, 70-75 deg C should NOT force the MBPs to downclock. The air, maybe because of uncontrolled increase in temperatures, but even under 3D gaming, my MacBook Air has yet to pass 85 deg C for CPU or GPU in warm (80+ deg F ambient) environments.

Scottsdale
Feb 4, 2010, 07:13 PM
Most of the people that bash the MBA either have never used it or haven't used anything other than the first version which was problematic to say the least.

Since October 2008, the MBA has been an excellent computer capable of being a primary Mac for anyone that doesn't need gaming, advanced computing, or several virtual machines requiring a lot of RAM.

I would think it's going to be hard to get a factual test on durability. It's not like any of us are going to go drop our MBP and MBA from five feet onto concrete to see which one fares better. I would assume the lighter MBA would be better, but I am sure people will argue both ways.

When making your decision, I would encourage you to look at a few things.

Battery requirements.
RAM requirements.
Port requirements.
Drive space requirements.

If the MBA meets all of those needs, go for the MBA. It is my favorite computer ever!

Also realize the SSD will greatly improve the entire MBA's performance. I feel it's worth the extra and I would advise you to buy refurbished 1.86GHz w/128GB SSD at a lower price ($1349) than the new 1.86 GHz with HDD costs ($1499). Or wait for the update and pay full price with the rest of us, LOL.

segfaultdotorg
Feb 4, 2010, 09:20 PM
It wasn't one of the listed options, but I'd get a $399 Acer from Best Buy and just plan to replace it every year (or when you break it, whichever comes first). You'd likely come out ahead that way.

phoobo
Feb 5, 2010, 08:41 AM
You are vastly under-estimating the MacBook Air.

70-75 deg C is not hot. Both the MBP and the Air's processors are capable of reaching a maximum temperature of 105 deg C before any damage is incurred.


The OP is taking the machine into tropical climates; you can easily add 15-20 degrees to your quoted temperatures and you're already pushing the envelope before you even start loading the machine.

OP also wants to do serious data crunching in these conditions.

The Air would be highly risky.

(Also, just a note: I think anything over about 55 degrees C is uncomfortably warm when the machine is on my lap. My Macbook is currently showing 38 degrees C. I can't even imagine running something that burns at 75 degrees. This would also shorten the life of the machine, since it runs all the metal components through more extreme warming-cooling cycles. None of this is worth the extra pound and a half or so you save with the Air. I have owned two Airs, and returned them both.)

MacModMachine
Feb 5, 2010, 08:52 AM
i took my air to Afghanistan with me and it held up fine.

the heat was not a issue, the machine ran hot but it still runs to this day without any issues.

i also took my pro with me and it held up fine also.

i was in some searing hot weather too :P

i had to replace my zagg shield when i got home...it took a beating in the field.

ayeying
Feb 5, 2010, 02:17 PM
The OP is taking the machine into tropical climates; you can easily add 15-20 degrees to your quoted temperatures and you're already pushing the envelope before you even start loading the machine.

OP also wants to do serious data crunching in these conditions.

The Air would be highly risky.

(Also, just a note: I think anything over about 55 degrees C is uncomfortably warm when the machine is on my lap. My Macbook is currently showing 38 degrees C. I can't even imagine running something that burns at 75 degrees. This would also shorten the life of the machine, since it runs all the metal components through more extreme warming-cooling cycles. None of this is worth the extra pound and a half or so you save with the Air. I have owned two Airs, and returned them both.)

The system will handle up to the heat. I'm 100% sure of it. Tropical areas are fine for the air or any laptops in fact. It'll be slower compared to the MBP, should be, but beyond that, it's the same.

I'm sorry if you believe you'll have a bomb on your lap if it reaches over a xx amount of temp, but I'm pretty sure many people have used their systems at higher temps for a lot longer time without any problems.

nick9191
Feb 5, 2010, 02:32 PM
Because its not durable?

Yes, it is.

Drop a MacBook Pro from a height, then drop a MacBook from a height, see which is worse off.

I can guarantee the MBP will be dented to feck, shattered screen etc. Whilst the MacBook will be pretty much unharmed.

MacModMachine
Feb 5, 2010, 04:02 PM
Yes, it is.

Drop a MacBook Pro from a height, then drop a MacBook from a height, see which is worse off.

I can guarantee the MBP will be dented to feck, shattered screen etc. Whilst the MacBook will be pretty much unharmed.

i have seen several dropped macbook's they were also ruined...broken plastics and bad hdd's...even with the freefall sensor.

a macbook pro would take more damage possibly...really depends.

rgrwatson85
Feb 8, 2010, 08:09 AM
Just thought I would throw my two cents in. I am new owner of an MBA RevC and am currently deployed to the Middle East. I won't give a long story, so just so you know my MBA fell from the top bunk of my bed (about 5') onto a wooden floor and only suffered 3 small dents. Two on each side of the trackpad and one on the bottom corner of the right palm rest. Did a hardware test with no problems showing. I would say that is pretty durable. Im pretty sure my sony vaio here would have kersploded from that ordeal.

Veinticinco
Feb 8, 2010, 03:47 PM
I study primate vocalizations for a rainforest conservancy. If you analyze the spectrogram of alarm calls of certain monkeys (capuchin) you get enough individual variation to statistically get an accurate count. The vocalizations with the software needed to analyze them require a lot of speed and memory.
Far better to be a monkey-counter than a beancounter.

I'd go with the MBA on the basis that there's no open ports to expose to fecal projectiles.

jahala
Feb 8, 2010, 04:11 PM
I don't know about the pro, but I recently dropped a 17" CRT monitor on my macbook air and the air only suffered a very minor dent on the front edge of the top-case. Everything works fine and the screen was untouched. I think I was very lucky. Still, I was amazed that it suffered no other damage.

1appleAday
Feb 8, 2010, 04:16 PM
To OP's question, I'd bring the MBP, as it feels more sturdy than the MBA. Just my 2 cents

Wehrwolf
Feb 8, 2010, 04:18 PM
I study primate vocalizations for a rainforest conservancy. If you analyze the spectrogram of alarm calls of certain monkeys (capuchin) you get enough individual variation to statistically get an accurate count. The vocalizations with the software needed to analyze them require a lot of speed and memory.

That there's the key phrase. The Air has neither. The MBP does, but...

Do you actually take your notebook out in the field with you to record these vocalizations, or do you use a separate recorder, then dump them back onto your notebook at base camp? Which also begs the question, what's your base camp like? Permanent abode? Tents? I'd be hesitant to take something as expensive and mission critical like a computer into a rainforest clime that hasn't been properly designed to handle the rigors of such an environment. Moisture, heat, insects, being handled over rough terrain....as much as I'm opposed to using Windows wherever possible, I'd have to say practicality should take precedent in this case, and would have to agree with a previous poster -- Panasonic Toughbook.

Now OTOH, if you're going to be primarily using the notebook in a relatively climate controlled interior, and not exposing it to the outside elements all that much, then the MBP might be fine. I don't know what the conditions are like exactly where you work, so you'll have to be the judge of that.

DarwinOSX
Aug 16, 2011, 12:46 PM
One reason the Air can't be used as a serious computer is that the volume of air in the box is too restricted to provide adequate cooling.

You are hilariously wrong. I know a number of people in Iraq with Airs that are used in very tough conditions including extreme heat.

iApple Mania
Aug 16, 2011, 01:26 PM
MBA is the final answer

Azathoth
Aug 16, 2011, 03:26 PM
Hi everyone,

I'm completely new to this forum. I just searched around about the Air's durability. I have a Macbook which I love. However, for work, I use my macbook outside, in damp conditions, and it travels a lot. Thus, my macbook is on its last legs after 2 1/2 years (I've already broken the screen once). I am about to purchase a new computer and I really want an SSD drive. Would you recommend an AIR or a pro with an installed SSD drive. I've heard that the pro has some durability issues and I really like the idea of the portability of the AIR, as I have to hike with it.
Thanks, in advance, for your advice!

MBA due to less mass - but I would not consider either robust.

Lots of reports of minor spills ruining the motherboard, broken screens, bent ethernet ports (MBP). Drop either and there is a large chance that it won't survive. Have it outside in a rain shower and it's likely to die.

Thinkpads are *my* rugged laptop of choice (old T60 or new light T420s) - too bad they don't run OS X.

alecgold
Aug 16, 2011, 03:49 PM
can't believe I'm saying this, but why not buy a ToughBook? they are made for those uses. not cheap, true, but they are really strong.

It's not pretty...
http://www.panasonic.com/business/toughbook/fully-rugged-laptop-toughbook-31.asp

but it will take a lot.

adnoh
Aug 16, 2011, 03:55 PM
get the air

jsolares
Aug 16, 2011, 04:34 PM
It really does depend in your camp site, where you plan to use it, if it's a tent in the jungle i would get a toughbook you never know when you'll get lots of rain out there, if it's something more permanent the air should be fine.

Chipg
Aug 16, 2011, 04:53 PM
I'd get the AIR but if you do go with a Pro remove the hard drive and put a SSD drive in.

bursthead
Aug 16, 2011, 05:05 PM
I recommend a Macbook Air also, if battery life is an issue get a hyperjuice.

http://www.hypershop.com/HyperJuice-External-Battery-for-MacBook-iPad-iPhone-USB-s/91.htm

DarwinOSX
Aug 18, 2011, 10:50 PM
There are no durability issues with the MBP. It's one of the best made laptops you can find. Ask people who use them in places like Iraq if they are durable or not.

2IS
Aug 18, 2011, 11:00 PM
I'd get a $300 Acer netbook

MacRumorUser
Aug 19, 2011, 02:33 AM
I study primate vocalizations for a rainforest conservancy. If you analyze the spectrogram of alarm calls of certain monkeys (capuchin) you get enough individual variation to statistically get an accurate count. The vocalizations with the software needed to analyze them require a lot of speed and memory.

You have the coolest job :-) get a MacBook air and a hard case protector. Will still be smaller and more portable, but with added security.

And if you need someone to carry it for you on an expedition to the rainforest my C.V. is attached ;)