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Old Aug 7, 2012, 12:02 AM   #1
ChEmNeRd23
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2.9 vs 2.5 GHz Macbook Pro

Greetings fellow Mac users:

I have enjoyed my 2011 MBA for one year and decided to let the wife have it lol I am looking at the 13" MBPs as a "processing" upgrade from my current MBA and was wondering what your recommendations would be. I am shooting for around $1500 for the computer. I wanted to know if I am shooting for computing power and running programs/software as a chemistry graduate student, would the following be advantageous:
1. Get the 2.9 GHz versus 2.5 GHz?
2. 8GB versus 4GB RAM
3. 750GB > 500GB? What about 128GB SSD > 750GB hard drive?

My MBA is a great computer but I want to be prepared in case I need to run some program on my laptop or if I need to design a program for my research in something like C++ or visual basic (or if somehow I end up doing computational work haha). I understand some of these questions may be arbitrary but I would like to hear a few other opinions on what you think would suit my needs best.

Thanks for your help in advance everyone!
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Old Aug 7, 2012, 12:04 AM   #2
cherishzm
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I would recommend getting a refurbished 2011 MBP 15 with quad-core i7 and upgrade the RAM and SSD aftermarket if necessary.
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Old Aug 7, 2012, 12:25 AM   #3
T5BRICK
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I'm not using a MBA, but an older 13" MacBook Pro and I'm thinking about upgrading to the same laptop.

Here's what I've got in mind. Buy the top end 13" model from the refurbished store. Use the cash I save towards a 512GB SSD.

Although, if Apple put a quad core CPU into the 13" model, I'd be buying that in a heartbeat. I don't even care how much it would cost.
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Old Aug 7, 2012, 12:27 AM   #4
Spink10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cherishzm View Post
I would recommend getting a refurbished 2011 MBP 15 with quad-core i7 and upgrade the RAM and SSD aftermarket if necessary.
Refurb - is excellent value
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Old Aug 7, 2012, 06:56 PM   #5
ChEmNeRd23
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Alternative Question to My Original Post

Thanks for the advise everyone. I was sifting through other posts and something else peaked my interest. If I decide to get the standard 128 GB SSD option on my 2.9 GHz 13" MBP with 8 GB Ram, can I upgrade the SSD at a later date (i.e. buy a 512 GB SSD when I can afford it)? If you can do this, would it void the Apple Care warranty I would buy when I purchase the computer? I like the idea of a larger hard drive space (500 or 750 GB) but I have thoroughly enjoyed the 128 GB SSD I have on my MBA and would like to keep the quickness. Besides I have a 500 GB external hard drive for my files.
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Old Aug 7, 2012, 08:01 PM   #6
T5BRICK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChEmNeRd23 View Post
Thanks for the advise everyone. I was sifting through other posts and something else peaked my interest. If I decide to get the standard 128 GB SSD option on my 2.9 GHz 13" MBP with 8 GB Ram, can I upgrade the SSD at a later date (i.e. buy a 512 GB SSD when I can afford it)?
Yup. You can upgrade the drive, on the 13" MacBook Pro it's a standard 2.5" SATA drive.

Quote:
If you can do this, would it void the Apple Care warranty I would buy when I purchase the computer?
No, you won't void your warranty, but the drive you install won't be covered by Applecare. It is a good idea to keep your stock part(s) for warranty purposes, just in case the tech who is working on your computer tries to blame the 3rd party parts.
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Old Aug 7, 2012, 10:04 PM   #7
borisiii
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If you don't use your laptop for anything processor-intensive, such as photo/video editing, gaming, handbrake etc, the MacBook Air You already have is more than adequate for your needs. The programming you describe is unlikely to tax the sandy bridge processor in your current laptop, and besides the difference in performance between a 2011 MBA and 2012 13" MBP really is not that large. Anything that makes your Air struggle will likely also struggle on a 2012 13" pro - you would want to carry out serious computational/modelling work on a desktop workstation anyway.

Your usage needs seem moderate so, due to the lack of SSD in the standard configuration, a 13" pro would actually feel slower in day-to-day use (boot times, app launching, software installation); for the casual user, moving from an air to a pro without SSD is a downgrade in performance.

If you need a new computer because your wife needs one, another air seems the best choice. Otherwise, if you want a noticeable upgrade in performance from your air, you need to go to a quad core (15") pro, or a desktop, with a SSD. The MacBook air really is the direction in which modern laptops are heading - nowadays there are few usage scenarios where a 13" pro is the best option; even if you upgrade it to a SSD, the performance and 'snappiness' will be on par with an air but you will have spent a lot more money.
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