College: MacBook Air or MacBook Pro?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by dustlin, Jun 15, 2013.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Jun 15, 2013
    Hey guys!

    I'm currently looking to decide whether or not to purchase one of the Macbooks as an attempt to upgrade from my HP EliteBook 8440, which tends to run really hot with less than 4 hours of battery life. I'm still new to the whole Apple merchandise scene.

    My current budget is $1,500 but I do prefer to spend under that range, and I will be having education pricing since it is for college.

    The college laptop specifications requires that I must have a Windows OS installed in my laptop, so I'm looking into boot camp/dual boot. The laptop will be used primarily for heavy programming as well as graphic editing with Photoshop and other Adobe tools. I assume that I will need a relatively good amount of disk space for this (more than 256GB, seeing as how my current laptop is contains more than this amount). I'm only an occasional gamer, but I would appreciate a display of good graphics (but I'm not a big fan of Retina).

    I'm specifically looking at the 13" Macbook Air 2013 with the Haswell Processor versus the current-stock 13" Non-Retina Macbook Pro, although I also have the option of waiting it out in case the Macbook Pro comes out with the Haswell Processor before the school year starts. I am also open to other options, such as refurbished products although the person funding for the laptop prefers I buy a new model.

    If I choose the MBA, I compromise durability (moderately rough traveling conditions and treatment), disk space, and memory. If I choose the nMBP, I lose in battery, and processor.

    What do you think?
  2. macrumors member


    Feb 2, 2010
    Geneva, Switzerland
    If you can wait a bit, I would and try to buy the new MBP that should be released in the next 4 months (it might be in 2 weeks or much later, who knows...).

    You should get a better battery life and processor which are the 2 weaknesses you quoted.

    In terms of advantages, the MBA is also lighter and a bit cheaper, but otherwise these machines are not that different in terms of performance. However getting an SSD will make a difference. You could buy one for the MBP after getting your machine and install it yourself, it will be cheaper.

    In terms of storage, you can always store data that you don't need to access all the time on an external hard drive. If you swap the hard drive in the MBP for an SSD yourself, you can keep the hard drive and use it as an external drive. Alternatively, you could remove the DVD drive and put your hard drive there...

    For gaming the current MBA is better than the current MBP, but this advantage should disappear with the update of the MBP.
  3. macrumors member

    Apr 25, 2013
    I'd go with the MBAir. You say the classic MBPro is more durable, but the Air is lighter meaning your less likely to drop it!

    Storage, CD, etc can all be added externally and left at home where you actually want/need them. The Air will be faster in almost all regards simply as a result of its default Flash Storage.

    The battery life, and recent updates in terms of performance are also equally helpful in the decision (IMO), but the simple factor of portability I would argue trumps everything else... especially for school.

    My only counter would be if you were a moderate to serious gamer then I would recommend going with the rMBP 15 (found on sales/CL for 1500) so that you had the quad core and discrete graphics... then just dealing getting use to lugging around a larger system.

    I've gone back and forth between a 2011 11" Air > 2011 15" MBP > 2012 11" Air > 2012 15" rMBP. I really have to admit I loved the Air -- it only fell short when I was at home and wanted to do a little gaming. In the end my desire to game trumped the Air -- but now that I'm doing very little gaming... I'm actually planning to go back to the Air again once the Back to School special kicks in.
  4. macrumors regular

    Dec 13, 2012
    2013 13" MBA 8gb ram, 256 gb ssd, i5
    1399 from apple :)
  5. macrumors newbie

    Jul 13, 2013
    You sir, must be thanked for your post. I came across this forum in a google search and the OP is in literally the exact same situation as me (in need of a new Macbook for college) and I was leaning towards the Air but your post solidified it for me. Ordering the Air today :D Thanks
  6. macrumors 65816


    The cMBP is faster and better than a MBA. 16GB of RAM makes a massive difference.
  7. macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2011
    More RAM doesn't make a computer faster... faster RAM makes a computer faster. Microsoft Word and Safari aren't going to perform any differently when considering 8GB vs 16GB (unless you had a huge amount of windows/tabs open)

    Besides, the SSD in the 2013 MBA's would blow away any sort of CPU/RAM advantage in a cMBP from a user perspective.

    For OP, go 2013 13" MBA. You'll need the battery life. I'd personally go 13" rMBP (especially when Haswell hits), but that's probably out of your price range.
  8. macrumors 6502

    Jul 3, 2011
    The 2012 rMBP simply doesn't have the GPU power necessary to drive Adobe CS at that high resolution without lots of hiccups. And hiccups are a bad thing to have on a new computer. MBA all the way!
  9. macrumors 65816


    My mom's cMBP 2012 15" with 4GB of ram can't handle word and safari. My 2011 MBP with 16GB, also heavily OCd can do anything but games.

    I also have a PMG5 Quad, with 4GB it was unusable, with 8 it was slow, with 12 it is OK, and I will soon be upgrading to 20GB, and hoping it works.

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