13" MBA+ 27" iMac vs. 17" MBP?!

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by thisisarcadia, Mar 8, 2011.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2008
    Location:
    New Orleans, LA
    #1
    I am a college student looking to upgrade my mid 2007 MB. I've had it for almost 4 years and it still runs great but I just want something new that will last me through the rest of college which is about 2 years and then many years after. I am currently looking at getting a 13" MBA with 1.86GHz, 128Gb SSD, and 4Gbs of ram and then getting a portable HD to put my music and movies on when I am on the go. I would use this most of the time when I am at school just to take notes, browse the web, maybe some light photo editing and just other normal day to day things you use a computer for. I then would use my iMac, which would be the 2.93 i7 model with 1Tb and 8Gbs of ram. This would be used at home for watching movies and TV, doing photo editing and video editing and using it for school and other things.

    So my question is would it be better to get this combo or just get the 17" MBP with everything maxed out?

    I feel like the combo would last a lot longer because the mba would be used mainly for basic stuff and the iMac is a hell of a machine. So what do you think? I want some opinions Thanks
     
  2. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #2
    I pretty much have the first set and I would recommend it. The MBA is really light and it does what most people need on the go. The MBP is pretty heavy compared to the MBA and if your just gonna be doing notes it makes more sense to just get the air. I love my iMac, self explanatory with the 27' screen.
     
  3. entatlrg, Mar 8, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2011

    macrumors 68040

    entatlrg

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Location:
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    #3
    I've spent time making the same decision. One computer or two, (or three) :)

    As much as I'd like to have everything on one machine for simplicity I think the MBA and desktop is a far better idea.

    MBP's are just heavy enough that you may not reach for them to use as often as you would the MBA, it's a very nice, capable computer. Having an iMac along with it will be incredible.

    Best of both worlds no compromises.

    Post back what you end up buying along with how you like it!
     
  4. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2010
    #4
    You might consider the iMac + 11" MBA.
     
  5. macrumors 6502

    wingsabr

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2008
    #5
    I faced the same dilemma and went with the 17. It's my only computer and just fits in well between portability and usability.
     
  6. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2008
    Location:
    New Orleans, LA
    #6
    I will, I plan on getting the combo in the fall so when I do I will repost with impressions of the 2
     
  7. macrumors 6502

    artivideo.nl

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
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    The Netherlands
    #7
    xxxxxxxxxx

     
  8. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    Location:
    Kitchener, Ontario
    #8
    I've gone through this as well. I had a 15" MacBook pro and an iPad, and decided that for my needs, it wasnt the best combo. So I sold both and got a 13" MacBook air ultimate, and am getting an iMac sometime during the we when they update them.

    And after a week of having the MacBook air, I know I have made a great decision. I absolutely love it!
     
  9. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2007
    #9
    iMac + 13 MBA.

    I have a 17 MBP + 13 MBA and I can tell you that the MBA is perfect for most portable things.

    If I didn't need to do heavy processing on the go I would sell my 17 for an iMac.

    Although the 17 MBP is 'portable', its nowhere near as convenient as the MBA. You'll want/need a desk to work on it, whereas the MBA you can use it anywhere without any issues (e.g., couch, bed, kitchen, etc). In contrast, the MBA is nowhere near as powerful as the 17 MBP, so if you need to do extensive processing on the road the MBP is more suitable. However, if you can wait till you get home to the iMac, well, to me its a no brainer.

    Desktop + ultraportable > Mobile workstation (IMO) [or as in my case, get all three of them :D]
     
  10. macrumors 6502a

    christophermdia

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2008
    #10
    your back will feel it after a while, trust me. I struggle with my 15 lately which made me go right to the store and pick up an air.....
     
  11. KohPhiPhi, Mar 9, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2011

    macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    #11
    My old setup: a 27" iMac and an aging Macbook White which I used to use while away from my desk.

    Trust me, the dual-computer setup is a pain because you need to be synchronizing your two computers on a daily basis: your files, your emails, your photos, your bookmarks, your passwords, etc. Every time I was on the road I'd be searching for files or passwords I had accidentally left on my iMac, and viceversa.

    Eventually I decided that I prefer a one-computer setup that allows mobility AND power at the same time. So I sold my iMac and my Macbook White, and bought a 13" MBA Ultimate hooked to a 27" Apple Cinema Display. This is the perfect setup for me because I have an ultra mobile laptop while on the go, plus plenty of real state while on my desk, and all that in one single computer which means no more daily sync'ing back and forth.

    To sum it up: A powerful yet mobile computer (13" MBA Ultimate or 13" MBP) hooked to a 27" monitor gets you the best of both worlds. I TOTALLY recommend this setup.
     
  12. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Location:
    Fort Myers Florida
    #12
    I have a 27" i7 2.8 iMac and an 11" MBA Ultimate. its the perfect combination n my opinion.
     
  13. macrumors newbie

    foursomer

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    BKK
    #13
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148a Safari/6533.18.5)

    the iMac and 11" MBA would be awesome combo. trust me carrying MBP around is not that fun.
     
  14. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    #14
    13" i7 and 27" ACD is the route i'd go if i was in college.

    i'm doing a multi system setup right now (15" mbp and mini) but in all honesty i find keeping two machines up to date (ie. making sure the files you need are on both machines) is a bit of a pain even with dropbox (but it's definitely doable). with the i7 you get longevity in your processor (same as the imac you mention) along with the portability of the mba (c'mon the 13"ers are basically one in the same when being used) and if you were to toss an ssd in there later on it'll FLY way faster than your imac or mba IMHO.
     
  15. macrumors 68040

    entatlrg

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Location:
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    #15
    The 13" MBP is not "one in the same" as the 13" MBA.

    There is noticeable weight difference in your bag, on your lap etc. MBP is just heavy enough that you'll think twice before you bring it.

    Screen resolution, it sucks on 13" MBP is excellent on 13" MBA
     
  16. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    #16
    My same set up but switching the 13" MBP for a 13" MBA.

    My same experience too: keeping up both machines sync'ed ends up being a pain in the butt. That's why I believe that going for a 13" laptop + External Monitor single-system setup is the way to go.
     
  17. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    #17
    says the guy with two macbook airs and a macpro...OP make sure you listen to this guy, i'm positive he's full of rational ideas.

    BTW if the OP didn't mention the 17" MBP i would've never had mentioned the 13" MBP, which is both faster than the 17" i7 and his iMac he mentions and has just as small a footprint as the macbook air which is still pretty damn portable and light barring any iron deficiency issues that make 1.5lbs "noticeable". Yeah, I'm sure that external he's going to have to lug around with the air because of the limited HD size weighs nothing right?

    Listen OP, if you're not going to find yourself editing any movies or using processor intensive apps then go for the air...obviously it looks cool as hell and you'll get the same performance of the MBP w/ssd. BUT if you think you'll be using your computer with any big boy applications that aren't found in the app store then you have to consider the MBP, especially for the fact that you're considering keeping the machine for a while and for god sakes listen to kohphiphi and myself when we say two machines are a pain (unless you use one solely for media and ****ing around on or need a backup).
     
  18. macrumors 6502

    grawk

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2004
    Location:
    Southern York County, PA
    #18
    I'd get the 13" mbp, upgrade the drive to an ssd, get an external 2tb drive and 27" display, and then you have the best of both worlds.
     
  19. macrumors 68040

    entatlrg

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Location:
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    #19
    Hey ******* no need for the smart *ss or condescending posts if you've got nothing nice to say, shut up.

    I spend a few minutes here once in a while offering advice based on my experience. When I made my switch to mac, members here where REALLY helpful ... now that I've learned as I go I share my experience.

    Now about your post "says the guy with two macbook airs and a macpro...OP make sure you listen to this guy, i'm positive he's full of rational ideas" ...

    Actually if you need the full picture it's:
    Mac Pro dual ACD's, 13" MBA, 11" MBA ... in our main office my recent purchases include 24 and 27" iMac's, 2-3 15" MBP's, 2 15" MBP's AG, 3 13" MBP's, 2 MBA's pre-2010 update ....

    Since I can have any set up I want and I've owned and USED every recent model of Mac except the 17" yea, maybe I am full of rational idea's :rolleyes:

    Maybe you're not capable of keeping two computers in sync but with just a little research and learning you'll find it's very very easy.

    You write like carrying a portable HD is a huge burden, LOL, a portable HD 1 TB HD isn't much larger than a deck of cards and about 140 grams in weight. So carry a little light air and tiny HD or carry a MBP that weighs DOUBLE and takes up more space.

    Where is the good advice in all this?

    OP - You have the option of getting one computer two, that's great. As per my original post take advantage of that, no need to lug extra weight and bulk around with you everywhere if you almost never need it. Having an iMac at home for heavy lifting or just to enjoy working from two computers instead of one all the time seems worth it.

    Based on my multiple mac experiences that's the best advice I can offer. My wife went from a 13" MBP to a 15" MBP then to an iMac and 2010 13" MacBook Air ultimate and absolutely loves the combo ... otherwise she was always plugging and unplugging her ACD and when mobile she was carrying far more computer than she needed in both weight and power. It's not about the Air looking "cool as hell" it's about the ultimate in function, light weight, adequate power, takes very little room in a bag ... excellent screen, keyboard it's quite a machine.

    NO compromises. :)
     
  20. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2008
    Location:
    New Orleans, LA
    #20
    Thank you for all the advice, I am still weighing in all the options. As far as syncing the 2 computers i'm sure that wouldn't be a problem at all. Isn't there an easy drop box tool that allows you to sync computer pretty easily? I did have a questions about transferring data. Right now my macbook has about 250Gbs of stuff on it and when I migrate all of that to my MBA is there a way to split what goes on the SSD and what goes on the external drive during the migration instead of manually doing it? I plan on putting all my apps on the SSD and media on the external drive. More than likely it'll be a 500Gb portable external drive. If you know a way could you please provide a step by step instructional? Thanks
     
  21. macrumors 6502

    gglockner

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Location:
    Bellevue, WA
    #21
    Syncing two Macs is surprisingly easy. You can sync documents to the cloud (MobileMe, DropBox, etc.). Or use Chronosync to sync locally. I use Chronosync; it works beautifully, and I always have local copies of all my working files.

    OTOH, the new Sandy Bridge MacBook Pros are awesome machines. Get an SSD, an external monitor, keyboard and mouse, and you'd have one fantastic setup. This would be easier to manage and more future-proof, but it would be heavier to carry, depending on which MBP you purchase.
     
  22. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2007
    #22
    I find it paradoxical that you're attempting to sound condescending when you, yourself, oppose the use of two computers because of your incompetence in keeping two computers in constant sync. You might want to educate yourself from the post below.


    I have 4 computers (locally and remotely) and 2 portable harddrives in constant sync with Chronosync and ChronoAgent. They work well in keeping 100's of GBs in sync. The initial step is laborious but thereafter it will keep things in working order. Furthermore, if you have a decent router, you can open AFP and VNC ports for any remote file/screen sharing, respectively. In my opinion, have the iMac at home for the heavy lifting and a MBA for remote working. Unless you need to do intensive processing on the road, then it becomes obvious that the 17 MBP will fit your needs.
     
  23. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    #23
    Dual computers aren't that bad... Just prepare yourself by doing the following:

    1. Move your Email to the cloud with something like Gmail
    2. Move your Passwords to the cloud with something like LastPass
    3. Move your bookmarks to the cloud with something like Chrome Browser Sync or XMarks
    4. Synchronize your local desktop folders using a synchronization tool. Look in the App Store for a great selection

    And anything else, use dropbox. You get the additional feature of having multiple backups of all of your stuff this way--just in case something happens. Trust me, I have two desktops and two laptops in this configuration for anything more.

    I don't even think about it anymore. I want a file. Bam, there it is.
     
  24. macrumors regular

    treynolds

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Location:
    Seattle
    #24
    You think so? REALLY?

    I run ACAD and CS4 on a 13" MBA Ultimate with NO issues. ACAD runs under Parallels and XP Pro.

    Get your facts straight next time please.
     
  25. macrumors regular

    treynolds

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Location:
    Seattle
    #25
    To The OP...

    I have the combo you mentioned and love it. The 27" iMac and 13" MBA is the best of both worlds. Right now my "sync" solution is an 8GB SD card swapping files between the two machines as necessary. Eventually it'll be DropBox or SpiderOak, but for now it works fine.

    Go for it.
     

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