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Old Dec 15, 2012, 03:02 AM   #1
NilesPaul
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: SFO
Student seeks advice: New 13in Pro or Air?

Hello all, first post here.

I need to buy a new laptop. The one I own (Macbook vintage late 2006) is on its last legs, the HDD is about to fail, the fan stopped working and the second superdrive has basically failed. It served me well, lasted six years of intense travel, got dropped a few times and god knows what TSA did to it. It probably could be picked up on a geiger counter its been x-rayed so many times. All in all, I'm really impressed, it was a real trouper.

So here is my situation.

I am a student that needs this next laptop to give me hopefully another 6 years, I would be ok with 4-5. I travel a ton, and I always need my laptop with me, very critical. I do not use the laptop for processor intensive work, rather, a ton of writing. Battery power is very important. I need to keep the cost down on this purchase, but I'll plunk down a couple more bills if it means I will be prolonging the useful life of the product.

Here are the machines I'm looking seriously at:

MacBook Pro 13in (NON-retina)

Option One
2.5GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz
8GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM — 2x4GB
500GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm
SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
AppleCare Protection Plan
Today's driveout price: 1372USD

Option Two
2.9GHz Dual-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz
8GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM — 2x4GB
750GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm
SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
AppleCare Protection Plan
1582USD

Macbook Air 13in

Option One
1.8GHz Intel Dual-Core Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 2.8GHz
8GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
128GB Flash Storage
Apple USB SuperDrive
AppleCare Protection Plan
1501USD

Option Two
2.0GHz Intel Dual-Core Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz
8GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
256GB Flash Storage
Apple USB SuperDrive
AppleCare Protection Plan
1891USD

So I have a few thoughts about compromises here.
  • I feel that I will not be using the optical drive often but it would nice not to need to decide to bring it or not. I will buy one anyway if I choose the Air. Should I just go Pro?
  • The Air weighs 3lbs, the Pro 4.5lbs, my old one 5.2lbs. So in either case it will be an improvement. If I go with the Air the improvement in weight will be quite noticable. Will .7lbs be noticable if I go Pro?
  • The Pro can more easily be upgraded, especially in terms of HDD to SSD later on after the AppleCare ends. This makes me wonder if the Pro might have a potentially longer useful life.
  • i5 vs i7? Regretfully the i7 seems to be only available with a few configurations. If I went with the Air and got the i7 would this really be so great an improvement? Would the faster i5 on the Pro cut the mustard over the long term?
  • The pro is more easily serviced by myself if I can get stuck with something that needs fixing while on the road.
  • I really like the AIR, so sexy and light which is sooo good for travel. The Pro looks a lot more sturdy which is good for dealing with TSA (just threw up a bit).
  • The Pro claims 7hrs wireless web, the Air 5hrs. Thoughts?
  • Finally, the Pro is least expensive so that is appealing, especially considering I feel that I am getting more horsepower. The more horsepower combined with more easily upgraded HDD to SSD later on seems like it might help extend the useful life.

Any thoughts you might be interested in contributing I will appreciate greatly.
__________________
Thanks,
NilesPaul

Last edited by NilesPaul; Dec 15, 2012 at 03:09 AM.
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