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MBP 15" 2.4/8gb/750gb 7200rpm vs MBA 13" "Ultimate"

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by s1lv3r, Feb 4, 2011.

  1. macrumors member


    Hey Guys.. kinda need an opinion on what to get.

    1) MBP 15" i5 2.4ghz with 750gb 7200rpm / 8gb ram - arround $2.000
    2) MBA 2.13 ghz with 256gb SDD / 4gb ram with 1tb external USB drive - arround $1800

    Most of the time i'll be using it at home, probably plugged in my HDTV or over my bed on my lap. i'll be running 1080p movies/series (if MBA, i'll store them on the external drive), internet browsing, iTunes, iLife, Office. Maybe i'll be playing Starcraft 2 on it - plugged on the HDTV at 1080p, but don't plan to play other games (i've already have PS3/X360 for that).

    Don't know if i should change to the Air. The MBP is going to receive an update soon but i can't wait for it. I'll need to buy it during the next week. And the MBA was uptaded not so long ago.

    I like the MBA portability and it might be useful in the future. And it is really gourgeous IMO. But i can't say that the 15" MBP is too big and too heavy to carry. For me would be ok to carry it when i need.

    Also, i'm considering buying it now and keep it for one year or so when i could sell it and get and updated version and maybe selling an updated MBA would be easier then an out of date MBP.

    Don't know if i need all the power it will get on the MBP, and i don't think i'll need all that portability from the MBA. I'm also considering getting an 13" MBP maxed out, but IMO it will be *really* uptated on the new release and i don't like the ideia of having a brand new laptop totally out of date (but it would be much cheap - arround $1500 considering 8gb/750gb 7200rpm)

    Also, the backlit keybord is a great feature on the MBP, but i don't think i won't be able to live without it (i've always used the computer at night and I almost never look to the keyboard when typing).

    Would appreciate any help you could give.

    Which would you guys buy?
  2. macrumors 65816


    I had exactly the same dilemma as you. Difficult choice, partly because of no backlit keyboard on the MBA anymore. I still went with option 2) and I'm very glad that I did.
  3. aznguyen316, Feb 4, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2011

    macrumors 68020


    I am in a similar boat of thinking as you, although my concern is with my 2010 13" MBP.

    I play SC2 and WoW on my MBP, that's really it for gaming. I feel the MBA would be competent for that. I want the higher res screen over anything else...if the MBA did not have the screen it has now, I would not consider it at all. You have the same res so it's a matter of screen size. I like either size, it's the resolution that affects me.

    I hook up my MBP to a samsung 32" a lot to game and dual screen, but when I'm in class etc, I want the higher res screen for powerpoint etc, it's just easier when it comes ti multitasking IMO.

    But I like your point about reselling a year down the line. That's just kind of how I roll, I resell often. I would rather resell my MBP now and get the most money out of it and get the MBA b/c it was just recently updated. Although if I could find an i5/i7 15" + hi-res optino at a reasonable price (Craigslist lol) then I would like that as I feel that would not be as outdated.

    I don't regret buying this current MBP as I put SSD into it and 8gb, even the C2D doesn't bother me much, but I'm afraid to buy a "new" Air that still has C2D in it and is much harder to upgrade in the future. I would ditch the Mac lineup if I could but I enjoy the OS and trackpad far too much... As for the backlit, yeah that's something I never had before, but after having it, I love it. I am often in the dark, I prefer to be when it comes to using the computer - unless I'm taking notes or watching a video lecture archive and people say touch typing etc, which I do, but sometimes you just want to look down at your keys for whatever reason and having it backlit is a big difference. I use my GF's white UMB and even though those keys are white it's hard to see in the dark! I could live without it though, but it's one of those luxuries that would've been nice in a premium product that is the air.

    To answer your question, if you had the high res screen I would keep it. But you don't lol, so I honestly probably would consider my needs, which only intensive thing I do is game, then I would think about the MBA.. but honestly I think you should hang onto your 15" unless you needed portability, but you say you don't mind the 15" size. As for resale, you'll still get a fair amount out of the 15" I feel, since it's 2.8ghz and 8gb ram not like 2.4ghz which were really older models. Sorry if I didn't fully answer your question, just providing my perspective..


    @torn - what did you have previously? Can you share some insight on things you miss/lost and what you've gained from going to the MBA? If you had the 15" why did you purchase a 15" in the first place, when it seemed so easy to go down to an Air?
  4. macrumors member

    Had the same choice, except i had to choose between the 13" Pro (2.53) and the Air. Im glad that I bought the Air. The SSD is doing all the hard work. The processor (1.86) isnt that great, but like you said: You'll probably sell it next year. At least I wont keep it for that long.

    I'm way to happy with my Air!
  5. macrumors 601


    I'd probably go with the MBP, it's just more practical. You get a lot better "bang for your buck" with it than the MBA, IMO. I think I might pass on the 8GB RAM though, as it sounds like your uses would be perfectly fine with 4GB. It wouldn't be a bad idea, it just might be extra money that's not necessary to spend. If you do go that route, definitely don't upgrade from apple (although it sounds like you already know better than to do that).

    Either machine really would suit your needs well, although I think you'd see considerably better performance from SC2 with the MBP, if that's something that is really important.
  6. macrumors member


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    Tnx everyone for your opinion.

    One think that concerns me a little is the temperature. I live in Brazil and as everyone know, it's hot in here during most of the year.

    I'll be using the computer over my bed or my lap when not using it connected to the HDTV... And I've been reading that many MBP owners think that it is too hot to have over your lap.

    Having he extra performance may be good for playing or eventuel photoshoping/premiering.

    Maybe also.. If considering the 13"MBP + 8gb + 750gb 7200rpm I'd spend much less money on that, even allowing a optibay switch to a small SSD, which could get me a great perfomance. Maybe even superior to the i5.. Keeping some of the portability. What do you guys think?
  7. macrumors member

    The pro 13" = 1280x800
    For the rest it's a good buy, but everybody expect a update for the pro's.
    Just wait 1/2 months and then decide again.
  8. torbjoern, Feb 4, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2011

    macrumors 65816


    Then you will end up paying the same as you would pay for the Ultimate MBA 13" anyway, I think - plus you will have less portability. But you will have backlit keyboard, and the optibay switch to SSD will make your system work real fast (provided you have Mac OS X installed onto that drive). This will most likely void your warranty, and I'm quite frankly not sure about how it will affect the resale value if you intend to sell it in a year anyway.

    I was considering that option too, but because of the glossy screen and low resolution of the MBP 13" (1280x800), I eliminated it from my list of alternatives and bought the MBA instead.
  9. macrumors 65816

    It will probably be another month or so before the MBP update. If you need it now you might be able to justify the value by purchasing a refurb model. The 15" i5, which I have is plenty powerful and the i7 does run a bit hotter with slightly less battery life so if heat is a concern then the i5 is a better choice.

    I am biased toward the MBP because you get much more bang for the buck and backlit keys are important to me. More RAM and bigger hard drive can be installed by yourself later without violating warranty and cost much less. You have power, backlit keys, more ports and bigger screen than the MBA and this gives you more for the future. Those that need a MBA know who they are, they want the ultimate portable machine. So decide you needs for now and tomorrow and then get what you need. Too bad you can't wait for the MBP refresh but a refurb from Apple, which includes a 1 year warranty might be worth it if you need know.
  10. macrumors regular


    Well, you know that the MBP will give you far more bang for your buck. The MBA gives you portability and that is it for the most part. I have a MBA, completely maxed out, and I take it *everywhere* with me, so it really is ideal. One thing you mentioned it that you will use it in bed a lot, or around the house. I have found that the 13" MBA is *awesome* for using while you are lounging around on the couch or in bed. My girlfriend has a 15" MBP, and it is kind of a pain in the ass to curl up with in bed, -just too heavy and large IMO. My MBA is way better for that use case. This is one of those things that I would not have thought was a big deal before I got it, but it turns out it is in practice (for us anyway). Just wanted to throw my thoughts in on this point, since you talk specifically about this.

    I know that the maxed out 13" MBA will be fine for watching 1080, and for everything else you mentioned, but again, you are getting far more for your money with the MBP, including a larger screen (which could be ideal, or worse depending on how you use it). At any rate, I know you said you couldn't wait, but there is no way I would buy a MPB now. I would definitely wait till they get refreshed, -it's not that far away, and you'll be kicking yourself if you get a MBP and you see the new ones roll out ;)

    Edit: Almost forgot. The maxed out MBA is cool as a cucumber. It's winter where I am, and I actually *love* how my girlfriend's MBP acts as a lapwarmer in the chilly weather :) My MBA doesn't really get that warm at all, so that may be nice for you as well. But how knows how the next generation MBPs will be. The last generation MBAs ran hot, but that is definitely not the case this time around.
  11. macrumors member


    hey all.. first of all, thank you very much for you help and sorry for the not adequate reply i gave last week - i was running cuz it was the day of my fight to NY.

    today it's my last night there and i'm very happy about my purchase: i got the Ultimate Air, and yeah, it is amazing. It's my first Mac and i'm impressed with the OSX and how easy it is to use. Also i'm impressed with the Air itself. It doesn't weights nothing and its portability is amazing. I'm willing to take it everywhere cuz it doesn't bother me as my previous laptop used to do.

    Until now i couldn't try all the thing i'd like to, but as soon as i'm back in Brazil i'll do so and plan to post here my comments on SC2 playing and 1080p playback.

    Once more i thank you all who helped me deciding. It wasn't easy, but i'm happy with my decision.
  12. macrumors 6502a

    I play WoW and Dragon Age: Origins with no issue on my 13" ultimate, but the fans do flare up pretty loud.

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