In rough conditions would you choose an Air or a Pro?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Troglodrew, Feb 3, 2010.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Feb 3, 2010
    Florida and Nicaragua
    Hi everyone,

    I'm completely new to this forum. I just searched around about the Air's durability. I have a Macbook which I love. However, for work, I use my macbook outside, in damp conditions, and it travels a lot. Thus, my macbook is on its last legs after 2 1/2 years (I've already broken the screen once). I am about to purchase a new computer and I really want an SSD drive. Would you recommend an AIR or a pro with an installed SSD drive. I've heard that the pro has some durability issues and I really like the idea of the portability of the AIR, as I have to hike with it.
    Thanks, in advance, for your advice!
  2. macrumors 6502

    Jul 13, 2009
    I would choose the Air. It seems to me that the Air is more durable and less prone to denting. It may just be a function of the weight... about half the weight means half the inertia with falling.

    The Air also has less area for dust and moisture to enter the body of the case... unless you are setting it on a damp surface or something, then I would suggest the Pro, because the vents of the air are more on the underside than they are on the pro.

    Hope that helps... and you won't be disappointed no matter which you choose.
  3. macrumors 65816

    Sep 14, 2009
    It would be a toss up... I think the uMBP is stronger than the air in rough conditions... But maybe a uMBP with an SSD...

    Just my 2 cents.
  4. macrumors 65816


    Sep 29, 2008
    United States of America
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_1_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile/7D11 Safari/528.16)

    In terms of failing from a drop etc the Air is a better choice with SSD no SuperDrive or other extras to worry about breaking.
  5. macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
  6. macrumors 65816


    Jul 13, 2009
    Because its not durable?

    OP, what is your job? im curious
  7. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 3, 2010
    Florida and Nicaragua
    Thanks for all of the advice. I really like the idea of getting an air. Now to figure out if they're going to update it soon!
  8. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 3, 2010
    Florida and Nicaragua
    I study primate vocalizations for a rainforest conservancy. If you analyze the spectrogram of alarm calls of certain monkeys (capuchin) you get enough individual variation to statistically get an accurate count. The vocalizations with the software needed to analyze them require a lot of speed and memory.
  9. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 23, 2006
    coool. I'd get an Air
  10. macrumors member

    Sep 18, 2009
    I'd go for MBP. The Air is too pretty to subject to those conditions.
  11. macrumors 601


    Dec 5, 2007
    Yay Area, CA
    I'd say get whatever the OP wants. Rather have something you'd want instead of having something you didn't want or didn't like.

    And I feel bad for my Air now that goes through constant abuse... holding the system by the top lid only when opened, thrown into backpacks, stuffed in between books, used in a dusty/workshop area, outside, while working on the car or motorcycle... my air's been through hell and back and its still kicking with no dents or scratches.
  12. macrumors member

    Nov 18, 2009
    Seattle, USA
    Wow, your job sounds interesting. I am doing science too. I am a graduate student. I have a macbook (black), which I bought a few years ago. I am eyeing on the Air as my next laptop. Just waiting for the next update!!
  13. macrumors 6502a


    Jul 15, 2009
    Personally I would go for an MBP with a hard case and keyboard cover. That way if you spill something on your keyboard it's unlikely to damage the system.

    My uMB feels like a solid brick next to the fragile Air. But then again the OP should figure out if he wants to lug all that extra weight around. If not, just get a protection package of shell + keyboard cover for your Air and treat it nicely.
  14. macrumors 68040


    Jul 30, 2007
    I would get a MBA with InCase or Speck shell. These can be lifesavers!
  15. macrumors 6502a

    Dec 1, 2008
    OP: Don't know what your power (i.e. electrical) situation is going to be, but maybe consider a current MBP for its improved battery life over the MBA, or even a 1st-gen UMBP so you can pick up some extra batteries. If mobile power isn't an issue, than I'd say MBA for its lightness, although the MBP can also give you a slight processor boost as well as extra RAM/HD space, all of which can be useful if you're editing/processing a lot of large sound files.

    It's also a better candidate for dropping because it's much lighter. FMA!
  16. macrumors regular

    Sep 13, 2008
    This will overload the Air

    The Air has terrible heat management issues. I would strongly advise avoiding the Air here and going with a computer that has proven itself capable of handling major processing tasks.

    It would be a mistake to rely on the Air in the field for real computing, particularly in a hot climate. Asking for trouble.
  17. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2008
    I'm afraid if I was hiking in tropical conditions I'd have to forgo OS X and choose a Panasonic Toughbook. They have several relatively small and light units that are weather sealed, have long battery life and will work well in hot or cold conditions.

    If you absolutely need OSX I don't think there is much toughness difference between the MBA and MBP. I'd choose the MBA for its thin and light attributes or a MBP for its battery life advantage. I think there are more case options out there for the MBP, but there are several fairely protective cases for the AIR.
  18. macrumors 601


    Dec 5, 2007
    Yay Area, CA
    Actually, according to this post, it seems that the 13" MBP has the same heat issues as the Air with its downclocking. Someone should try using MSR tools under OSX and see if it randomly downclocks to a lower speed when stressed. It could explain all these awkward 13" MBP Posts saying how the computer randomly gets slower after 15 minutes.
  19. macrumors regular

    Sep 13, 2008
    Air's problem is limited internal volume

    One reason the Air can't be used as a serious computer is that the volume of air in the box is too restricted to provide adequate cooling. In the thread you mention, people are talking about temperatures in the 70-75 degree C range as responsible for the forced underclocking. I think those must be more common on the Air; I run an alu 13"Macbook and my normal base temperature is around 43 degrees; rarely does it go above 55 C (admittedly I under*volt*). I doubt an Air could be capable of that. You can fry eggs on those things. Taking one to a tropical jungle would be coals to Newcastle.
  20. macrumors 6502


    Jun 1, 2009
    New Jersey
    Troglodrew... The MBA feels nice and solid, but I would in no way call it durable for the kind of use you're looking to put it to. And with the well known hinge issue the MBA gets over time just from everyday use, it really can't be placed in the durable class as of yet.
  21. macrumors 601


    Dec 5, 2007
    Yay Area, CA
    You are vastly under-estimating the MacBook Air.

    70-75 deg C is not hot. Both the MBP and the Air's processors are capable of reaching a maximum temperature of 105 deg C before any damage is incurred.

    The downclocking is more common on the Air, however, it seems so that the 13" MBP are also having this problem. Furthermore, 70-75 deg C should NOT force the MBPs to downclock. The air, maybe because of uncontrolled increase in temperatures, but even under 3D gaming, my MacBook Air has yet to pass 85 deg C for CPU or GPU in warm (80+ deg F ambient) environments.
  22. macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    Most of the people that bash the MBA either have never used it or haven't used anything other than the first version which was problematic to say the least.

    Since October 2008, the MBA has been an excellent computer capable of being a primary Mac for anyone that doesn't need gaming, advanced computing, or several virtual machines requiring a lot of RAM.

    I would think it's going to be hard to get a factual test on durability. It's not like any of us are going to go drop our MBP and MBA from five feet onto concrete to see which one fares better. I would assume the lighter MBA would be better, but I am sure people will argue both ways.

    When making your decision, I would encourage you to look at a few things.

    Battery requirements.
    RAM requirements.
    Port requirements.
    Drive space requirements.

    If the MBA meets all of those needs, go for the MBA. It is my favorite computer ever!

    Also realize the SSD will greatly improve the entire MBA's performance. I feel it's worth the extra and I would advise you to buy refurbished 1.86GHz w/128GB SSD at a lower price ($1349) than the new 1.86 GHz with HDD costs ($1499). Or wait for the update and pay full price with the rest of us, LOL.
  23. macrumors regular

    Jan 25, 2007
    It wasn't one of the listed options, but I'd get a $399 Acer from Best Buy and just plan to replace it every year (or when you break it, whichever comes first). You'd likely come out ahead that way.
  24. macrumors regular

    Sep 13, 2008
    Not normal

    The OP is taking the machine into tropical climates; you can easily add 15-20 degrees to your quoted temperatures and you're already pushing the envelope before you even start loading the machine.

    OP also wants to do serious data crunching in these conditions.

    The Air would be highly risky.

    (Also, just a note: I think anything over about 55 degrees C is uncomfortably warm when the machine is on my lap. My Macbook is currently showing 38 degrees C. I can't even imagine running something that burns at 75 degrees. This would also shorten the life of the machine, since it runs all the metal components through more extreme warming-cooling cycles. None of this is worth the extra pound and a half or so you save with the Air. I have owned two Airs, and returned them both.)
  25. macrumors 68020


    Apr 3, 2009
    i took my air to Afghanistan with me and it held up fine.

    the heat was not a issue, the machine ran hot but it still runs to this day without any issues.

    i also took my pro with me and it held up fine also.

    i was in some searing hot weather too :p

    i had to replace my zagg shield when i got took a beating in the field.

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