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Old Jun 16, 2013, 12:18 AM   #1
antipode
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Cool MacBook Air vs. Non-Retina MacBook Pro?

It's time. The 2006 white Macbook needs to be put down.

I'm a teacher, so I mostly use the computer for documents, web browsing, email, netflix, some light photo display and editing, and itunes. No gaming.

It won't travel very much.
It can be plugged in frequently.

So here's the match-up:

A) Newly announced 13" Macbook Air ($1050 edu. price)
- 1.3 Ghz i5 dual-core
- 4 GB *soldered* RAM
- 128 GB *soldered* Solid State HD
- 12 hour battery

B) Non-retina 13" Macbook Pro ($999 edu. price)
- 2.5 Ghz i5 dual core
- 4 GB *upgradable* RAM
- 500 GB *removable* platter HD (*strongly* considering +$200 for 128 SS HD upgrade)
- 7 hour battery

Considerations:
- Looking to make it last a few (3-4) years
- Solid State HD is nice for speed and durability (I'm a jostler)
- Looking to migrate files to cloud storage (already using External Drive)
- Am fearful of Macbook Pro Buyer's Remorse if new one comes out in ~4 months (I need something now)

Any thoughts out there?
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Old Jun 16, 2013, 12:21 AM   #2
Neeyul
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As a fellow teacher, I'd suggest getting the Air and just enjoy it! You'll get a happy 3-4 years out of it.

Last edited by Neeyul; Jun 16, 2013 at 12:29 AM.
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Old Jun 16, 2013, 01:06 AM   #3
RAPTORSKI
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If you do need MAJOR power I do not see why you would need a Macbook Pro. It's weight and bulk will just slow you down. Get yourself an Air, I am sure you won't regret it.
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Old Jun 16, 2013, 01:28 AM   #4
antipode
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RAPTORSKI View Post
If you do need MAJOR power I do not see why you would need a Macbook Pro. It's weight and bulk will just slow you down. Get yourself an Air, I am sure you won't regret it.
OK, but I don't travel much wit h my current computer. Just move about the house...
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Old Jun 16, 2013, 01:32 AM   #5
lixuelai
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I would get the MBP if you use it with an external monitor most of the time and the MBA if you do not. The MBP will last longer in terms of specs and upgradability. The main downside is the resolution (in a stationary environment).
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Old Jun 16, 2013, 01:35 AM   #6
filmbuff
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Apple has positioned the Macbook Air as their every day consumer laptop. I'm not sure why they are still keeping the non-retina MBP around, but it is an old design with outdated technology. The only reasons to buy one are if you really need lots of internal storage but can't afford a 512gb SSD, or if you need an internal DVD drive (for some reason). The MBA has more than enough power for what you do, better battery life, a better screen, easier to carry around, you get the picture. If you can afford it get the 8gb RAM upgrade, that will help it last longer since the RAM is soldered to the board.

I think the SSD is actually user replaceable (not soldered) but no aftermarket SSDs are available for it yet.

Final point - if you pay to upgrade the MBP to a solid state drive, it will be a lot faster but not nearly as fast as the drive in the MBA. The MBA should be able to read files 2-4 times faster which is helpful for loading large documents and programs.
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Old Jun 16, 2013, 01:42 AM   #7
lixuelai
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You are not going to notice the SSD improvement (assuming you put in a decent SATA3 SSD in the MBP) in the MBA unless you run benchmarks for a living.
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Old Jun 16, 2013, 01:44 AM   #8
antipode
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Originally Posted by filmbuff View Post
Apple has positioned the Macbook Air as their every day consumer laptop. I'm not sure why they are still keeping the non-retina MBP around, but it is an old design with outdated technology.
How is it outdated compared to the r-MBP? (Aside, obviously from the screen?)


Quote:
Originally Posted by filmbuff View Post
Final point - if you pay to upgrade the MBP to a solid state drive, it will be a lot faster but not nearly as fast as the drive in the MBA. The MBA should be able to read files 2-4 times faster which is helpful for loading large documents and programs.
How is that true? If they both are SSD, but the Pro has a faster processor... how can the Air be faster?
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Old Jun 16, 2013, 01:47 AM   #9
lixuelai
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The Air has a faster SSD. A good SATA3 SSD reads/writes at about 500MB/s. The Air's SSD is like 800MB/s. In reality though the difference won't be noticeable. In fact you won't notice anything after you hit SATA2 speeds 250MB/s. There are a lot of reviews on this but the gist is that the main benefit from SSD is the seek times.

Btw I have both the new MBA13 and a uMBP (2012) among others. For your usage the only reason to get the MBA is for the resolution (which is a pretty good reason tbh).
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Old Jun 16, 2013, 01:50 AM   #10
Neeyul
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filmbuff View Post

Final point - if you pay to upgrade the MBP to a solid state drive, it will be a lot faster but not nearly as fast as the drive in the MBA. The MBA should be able to read files 2-4 times faster which is helpful for loading large documents and programs.
Absolutely! Since you mentioned using cloud storage, the disk on the Air is more than adequate space-wise and, more importantly, substantially quicker than on the Pro - even if you were to replace it with an aftermarket SSD.

Moving around the house, you will want more battery life years from now when the overall capacity decreases. If I'm out grading on my deck for several hours while music is streaming, entering stuff on class management software, and emailing drafts and comments to students, I'd love to have that Haswell Air's battery life. And if I take a gaming break, I want to know it wont just drain and make me go inside to plug in. Also if you're carrying around several things, the Air will just slip right in and let you carry more folders, an extra binder or book, etc.
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Old Jun 16, 2013, 02:08 AM   #11
DisplacedMic
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My kids' teachers use macbooks - one has a huge "clunker" and the other has the air. The reasoning for the one with the Air is obvious, so I asked the one with the clunker and her reasoning was that for all of those same reasons, the Air is much more likely to vanish.

Either way make sure you get education pricing!
good luck
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Old Jun 16, 2013, 09:41 AM   #12
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Air. You may not value the weight right now b/c you have a MB, but once you have a modern lighter weight computer you won't be able to go back.

The retina is nice. If you feel afraid of buyer's remorse then hold off another couple of months. You'd waited this long to upgrade another couple of months won't kill you unless the '06 is completely unusable. Then you really have no option so should feel remorseful.

But you could always buy the Air now and sell in a couple of months if you do decide you like the Retina. Macs have amazing resale so you probably wouldn't lose more than $150 if you put it on Craigslist. Since you keep your machines for a while, $150 amortized over 4-6 years is a small price to pay for an upgraded screen.

RAM and storage are soldered on the MBA & rMBP but again not huge issue in real life, just theoretical since we are use to user upgrades. Get 8GB RAM. That is a must if you are keeping for 4-6 years. Storage isn't a huge issue though w/ the cloud and external storage. I have a 256GB rMBP and with my new storage management protocols I'm only using 60GBs. 128GB is manageable in this era.
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Old Jun 16, 2013, 10:30 AM   #13
tann
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Would say 13" MBA. If you can get the 8gb upgraded ram.
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Old Jun 16, 2013, 10:38 AM   #14
kahkityoong
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Any of the base model MBAs will be fine for your needs. The lightness of the MBA makes it a real pleasure to use over the clunky MBP. You could get a refurbed 2012 MBA; don't know if these have education discount though.
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Old Jun 16, 2013, 10:39 AM   #15
NameUndecided
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Originally Posted by tann View Post
Would say 13" MBA. If you can get the 8gb upgraded ram.
Curious why you think 8gb of ram is worthwhile for the relatively-light amount of use original poster described.

I don't have the knowledge or experience to know how impactful that double the ram could be and I'm looking around at options myself.
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Old Jun 16, 2013, 10:47 AM   #16
tann
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Curious why you think 8gb of ram is worthwhile for the relatively-light amount of use original poster described.

I don't have the knowledge or experience to know how impactful that double the ram could be and I'm looking around at options myself.
For a non-user upgradeable machine bought in 2013 and hoping to last for 4+ years I'd say it's a good investment.

Future OS upgrades and application updates might run a lot better with the extra ram available.

For what OP does at the moment 4 would be enough, but who knows where they'll be in 2-3 years. I just think it's good to put it in now, so you hopefully won't have to worry about it after a few years. I believe some of the other people in this thread have also suggested this upgrade.
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Old Jun 16, 2013, 10:56 AM   #17
NameUndecided
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Originally Posted by tann View Post
For a non-user upgradeable machine bought in 2013 and hoping to last for 4+ years I'd say it's a good investment.

Future OS upgrades and application updates might run a lot better with the extra ram available.

For what OP does at the moment 4 would be enough, but who knows where they'll be in 2-3 years. I just think it's good to put it in now, so you hopefully won't have to worry about it after a few years. I believe some of the other people in this thread have also suggested this upgrade.
Thanks. It all makes enough sense. I also just saw this thread about the whole subject http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1595976 just after posting my post. So, carry on then.
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Old Jun 16, 2013, 11:36 AM   #18
Stetrain
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Since it sounds like portability and battery life aren't a big deal to you, I think the main considering will be the screen.

You should really try to compare them in person at a store to see which one you like.

The 13" MBP has a lower resolution 1280x800 screen, but it has better viewing angles and better colors.

The 13" Air has a higher resolution 1440x900 screen, but worse colors and viewing angles.

It's really a matter of personal preference.


If you do go with the 13" MBP, definitely upgrade to an SSD. This is something you can do yourself if you're comfortable with it, and it will make a big difference in how fast the computer feels in daily usage.

I wouldn't worry too much about buyer's remorse, it's likely that the non-retina Macbook Pro will not be upgraded again in the future, and you're getting a pretty decent discount on it already.
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Old Jun 16, 2013, 11:42 AM   #19
james1758
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I'd say for your usage definitely a macbook air (my Dads a teacher and its what he has as well)

As far as upgrades go...
- ALWAYS upgrade to 8gb RAM
- Recommended upgrade to 256gb ssd
- Depending on your usage upgrade to i7

But with your usage I wouldn't bother with i7, just stick with i5.
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Old Jun 16, 2013, 02:39 PM   #20
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I was in an apple store today and I forgot just how big and heavy the non retina 13" MBP really is.

I considered a retina 13" mbp but after seeing it again I will be getting the new air to replace my 2011 air.

Can't beat how light and thin it is and excellent battery life.

i5 with 8gb and 256gb ssd is unbeatable. More than enough power for most people.
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Old Jun 17, 2013, 08:57 AM   #21
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I would get a new MBA if a) you're set on a new machine, and b) set on 13" screen. You could also consider a refurb 2011/12 15" MPB with a high res screen since you a) don't need to be mobile, and b) watch movies on the thing. Just another suggestion.
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