15" MBP and maxed out 13" MBA same price. Which one?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by rockyroad55, Nov 7, 2010.

  1. macrumors 68040


    I'm a student and like to do the basic needs, such as Word, PPT, Excel, some games like Left for Dead 2, and a lot of web browsing and watching movies. I have no idea which to keep. I already have the 15" but keep thinking about the MBA!

    I also like to think in the long run which will last me better and longer. I can't see myself do much more gaming since I have a PS3 and my current apps will stay the same, which means no video or pic editing and no dual boots.
  2. macrumors 6502


    mba no question.
  3. macrumors 65816

    really no question, why
  4. Moderator


    Staff Member

    The MBP has a larger screen, more expandability and a faster CPU.

    The MBA small, lighter and is more portable.

    It all depends on which model best fits your needs, high portability, or power and expanability
  5. macrumors 6502

    In general, if long-life is the primary concern the Pros are the way to go. You can upgrade the RAM, HDD and even SuperDrive. You also have high speed Firewire 800 to add fast external storage. Keep in mind that the cost of RAM and SSD will drop quickly over time.

    The most interesting upgrade will be replacing the HDD with SSD. Right now 250 GB costs around $500, but in another year...? The other thing tht people are doing is replacing the SuperDrives with an aftermarket 2.5" bay for SSD. Some are even installing two SSDs than striping them (RAID 0) for really wicked performance.

    The MBAs are nice if they meet your needs and you don't see yourself needing more internal storage over time.
  6. macrumors member

    I think the MBP (as stated above) will last longer (faster CPU-upgradable RAM & Hard Drive). For portability, MBA. If I had just one computer, I'd take the MBP 15-best combo of portability and performance. Also, if you watch a lot of movies, it's a pain if you get DVDs to carry around the USB Drive on the MB Air.
  7. macrumors 6502


    Macbook Air would be great :) for you.

    Reasons why :

    The cosmetic look
    The Solid State Drive
    Mobility and light weight
    Great for gaming when it comes to Nvidia 320M

    And one last thing, i got it and i gotta tell ya that it made my macbook pro 17" collect dust hehe, it feels soo much better and does my everyday tasks :)

    oh yea App store for mac is coming soon so thats gonna be great for gaming ;)

    Good Luck on deciding.
  8. macrumors newbie

    I was in pretty much the exact same situation. I'm a student and my usage is quite similar to yours, except that I also occasionally use Photoshop and Ableton Live. The 15" MBP with the high-res screen and 7200rpm HDD costs only slightly more than a maxed-out 13" MBA.

    Things the Macbook Pro had going for it:
    - 1680x1050 screen
    - i7, and I could later upgrade to 8GB RAM and an SSD if needed
    - Slightly better battery life
    - It's not a brand new product so I know what I'm getting

    Things the Macbook Air had going for it:
    - Amazing portability. Almost half as light. I don't take my laptop to campus every day, but with the amount of books I'm usually lugging around every pound makes a difference. Also it might sound like a small thing, but with the weight restrictions on airplanes getting worse by the day, saving weight everywhere is helpful.
    - The 13" screen has the same resolution as my current MBP, and a higher pixel density than even the high-res 15" screen
    - Specs aren't THAT great obviously, but they're faster than my current MBP, which has been fast enough really, except...
    - Really the only bottleneck on my current MBP is the Hard Drive. The only performance issues I get is when it starts paging and the HD chokes and I get to look at a beach ball for a few seconds. The SSD in the Macbook Air should help with that. The Macbook Pro wouldn't have had a SSD unless I pay another ~500.
    - Hate to admit it, but the fact that the MBA looks so sexy was probably a deciding factor :eek:

    Really the big question is if a C2D and 4GB RAM will cover your performance needs for the amount of time you want to keep the MBA (personally I get a new computer every ~3 years).

    Another note: I highly recommend getting an external display for either laptop. Doesn't have to be a cinema display, but just any 20-24" LCD. They're so cheap now, and it makes a huge difference when writing an essay to have two screens. Also 13" vs 20" is a huge difference when watching a movie.
  9. macrumors 603


    MBP, without a doubt!
  10. macrumors 68020


    What's more important?

    MBA is lighter but has less power and on-board storage.
    MBP is more powerful with more storage but heavier.
  11. macrumors member


    I would get the MBP, its faster and more powerful. The MBA is more for play in my opinion.
  12. macrumors 65816


    I had a MacBook and sold it for the MBA 13". No regrets.
    I am a student too, and if gaming or power use is not your priority then MBA is your choice. You are going to love the weight factor when you'll be carrying it.

    The MBP weight a Kg more, is bigger in size, has an HDD. You do not want this when you carry a laptop around. I have been there.

    Plus you are going to get more power with the MBP and you won't even use. There is no need for that.

    Enjoy your MBA :)

    PS: check the gaming benchmark thread, they were talking about L4D on the MBA. Also this.
  13. macrumors 65816


    Faster? The MBA feels faster because of the SSD, not the MBP that actually have to purchase separate.

    Powerful? If you talking about the processor, I hardly think he would notice the difference in Word.

    Play? You mean like games? In this case MBP is a better choice because of the 330m, but I don't think will suit his student needs.
  14. macrumors 6502

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    As a primary computer, Mbp all the way.
  15. Moderator


    Staff Member

    Secondary computer, the 11" MBA would be great.
    Primary computer, the 13" MBA would be decent, the 15" core i5 MBP would be better.

    I purchased the 15" MBP and thought I over bought in so far that I should have gotten the 13" model. Depending on the needs the 13" MBA could be a good fit for a primary computer. In fact the 13" MBA is quicker then the 13" MBP and is more mobile then the 15" MBP, i.e., smaller, lighter.

    It really depends on the OP's needs. As I already posted above. The 15" MBP, you get expandability and speed. The MBA you get more mobility and lighter laptop.
  16. macrumors member

    The key question is how much do you travel? All the sacrifices that the MBA makes are for size and weight. Do you plan to commute with it daily? Do you fly often?
  17. macrumors 601


    I wish the Mac Mini had the i7 Quad and disk & memory of the MBP and the laptops were MPA in design. That would go well together. The MBA should replace the MBP for most people.
  18. macrumors 6502


    u really can't go wrong with either but since the whole premise of a laptop is mobile computing, the diff between the two is like running with just the nike dri-fit skivvies or with a 5lb water pack strapped around your waist. it's that BIG of a difference and i felt that diff even with the smaller 13" MBP i owned for like 2 days total.

    many will call out mbp'supgradability as a plus and in turn i will call out all the things that stand out each time you even look or touch your laptop.

    -looks (MBA)
    -weight (MBA)
    -display (mba so tight)
    -launching apps/rebooting/shutting down (MBA)

    don't underestimate the speed and snappiness of the ssd, bud. don't underestimate the weight and size advt, thus the no question to go with the MBA from me.

    the MBA is the future of macbook. MBP is on its way out. it was great while it lasted.
  19. macrumors 65816


    I agree on everything but the last comment you made.

    The MBP is not on its way out, is going to be enhanced not removed.
  20. macrumors 6502


  21. macrumors 6502


    Could some one give me advice please? I will be going to college next year, and will be going into business major. I also, do decent amount of importing/exporting HD video and editing. The late 08 MB Unibody I have now is a bit slow. When I export/import and surf the web, it slows down/freezes up.

    I really like the design of the MBA and how small it is. Also, it is pretty fast. If I get the MBA 13" 4GB will I be okay? or should I wait until next year and get the 15" MBP?

    Please let me know
  22. macrumors 6502

    How much RAM do you have in your current machine? It never hurts to max out the RAM to 8 GB -- and costs around $150. The next upgrade would be HDD to SDD. The cost of that depends on how much internal storage you need. One cost effective option is to replace your SuperDrive with a lower capacity, lower capacity SSD and keep the HDD for additional capacity.

    The biggest weakness of the MBA is related t storage -- the internal SSD fairly limited capacity and you only have USB to connect to external drives. HD video file are pretty big and with only USB to move then around...
  23. macrumors member

    I had pretty much the same question and problem... student etc

    I went to the Apple Store today and decided to pick up the MBA 13inch maxed out...
  24. macrumors 6502


    Currently my machine has 4gb, 250gb, and 2.4ghz. So the only thing it comes down to is will the MBA export/import with decent speed and if everything else will run fine while that is happening. Thats why Im thinking MBP 15" or MBA 13"
  25. macrumors 6502


    Yeap. I think a lot of people do. But I heard from a lot of people MBA is okay for students and for regular uses (papers, surfing the web, etc). For graphic designers etc some said to get MBP.

    I just dont know how good it will be with video editing, exporting/importing HD video, and multitasking while those things happen.

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