Need a new laptop soon, some advice would be appreciated

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by BounouGod, Nov 5, 2010.

  1. BounouGod macrumors newbie

    Nov 5, 2010
    In the market for a new laptop soonish, i need something for school mostly but will use it at home as well, i am a gamer so steam will be loaded on it and used when i am out of the house and bored!

    Considering the air because my last laptop was a 15 inch MBP and carrying it around with me everywhere i went would give me pretty bad back pain, something lighter hopefully would make this less of a problem. It's not been an issue at all with the iPad so hopeful it wont be with the air.

    The flip side is i want something that will last me 3 years and not feel sluggish in a couple of years, not really going to be doing much that requires too much power on it (my desktop PC will take care of that), mostly browsing, word processing and light gaming. I will be getting a 27 inch cinema display to go with it so worried about the computer being able to run that display well.

    All things being equal i would rather get the air (top of the line 13 inch model) if it would get the job done for the next 3 years but if it won't i will get another 15inch MBP and deal with some back pain, maybe look into a better laptop bag for it or something.

    So i guess the question is the fully loaded 13 inch Air good enough for the next 3 years or should i look into a 15 inch MBP?
  2. kyleen66 macrumors regular

    Jan 29, 2008
    Did you consider the 13inch MBP? That's a VERY nice computer and would easily last you three years. It's lighter than the 15inch, and if it's your primary computer, you maybe happier with it.

    The Air's are nice (I'm on my second with the 11inch MBA) but my daughter who will be a freshmen next fall opted for the 13 inch MBP because it had the DVD, better video card, and more external ports. We plan on that making it through all four years of college for her. She does a lot of digital art, so she needed a little more horsepower than what an MBA had to offer.

    Really, it's all in what you plan on doing with it. But I'd say you'll get three years out of whatever you choose easily.
  3. elwood58 macrumors member

    Oct 26, 2010
    The computer will run the display very well, and for what you are doing, it sounds like the system should serve you well for several years. I question your Back Pain issue thought. If less than five (5) pounds difference is going to have an impact on your back pain, there are other issues at play here.

    Lots of people talking about lightening their load, but most of the time the difference is a rounding error compared to all the other stuff they are carrying around. I suspect that this is the case with you as well, especially if you are carrying things around in a backpack. Look at everything you are carrying, not just your laptop.
  4. gwsat macrumors 68000


    Apr 12, 2008
    I have a fully loaded 13 inch MBA and am now satisfied that it will be able to handle my needs for the next three years. Nevertheless, the price penalty for the MBA, compared to the 13 inch MBP is steep, $1,799.00 compared to only $1,199.00 for the MBP. Further, the MBP has a full suite of ports, many of which the MBA lacks. Another factor favoring the MBP is that its 4GB of RAM is upgradable, while the MBA's RAM is not. The MBA, however, does have a higher resolution display than the MBP.

    I held my nose and bought the loaded 13 inch MBA anyway, because its incredible thinness and lightweight, 2.9 pounds compared to the MBP's 4.5, coupled with its high res display, made its extra cost and paucity of ports worthwhile tradeoffs for me.
  5. foodle, Nov 5, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2010

    foodle macrumors 6502

    May 14, 2008
    Pennsylvania, USA
    Gamer + last 3 years = 15" MBP i7

    Ok, to be a little more verbose, I've got a 15" MBP i7 w/ intel SSD and am being sorely tempted by an 11" MBA. But I'd use it solely as a 2nd string portable machine for things like email/browsing on the couch and to not look like a jerk in meetings (i.e., cracking open the 15" in a meeting is a pretty clear sign that I'm not paying attention). For many people the new MBAs can work as their sole portable machine, but there are times when I just need a portable that's nearly as powerful as my desktop. If you're a gamer and you want the machine to still be decent in 3 years (e.g., to be as good as the future bottom-of-the-line machine), then I think your only option is another MBP.
  6. BounouGod thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 5, 2010
    The 15 inch MBP is like 5.6lbs, the 13 inch is 4.5lbs. Honestly i don't really see much difference between the 13 inch air and 13 inch MBP power wise, same graphics and the cpu is very close, 2.13 compared to 2.4, even if i upgrade to a SSD the 13 is 100$ more expensive for a slightly faster CPU and almost the same weight as the 15.

    Its either a core i7 SSD equipped 15 or the 13 inch air i think.

    Price is not really an issue, my budget is 3-3.5k for the computer, the screen and the accessories so i can make either of those fit.
  7. FuNGi, Nov 5, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2010

    FuNGi macrumors 65816


    Feb 26, 2010
    Sweden & California
    Based on all the vids I've been seeing gaming via Steam should be no problem for the 1.86 Ghz processor and 320 M. I've found Left 4 Dead 2 is played similar on both my 2.4 GHz 9600 graphics chip on my 15" MBP and my 1.86Ghz 320M Air. I don't game much though so am not sure how it might hold up to several hours of play time (e.g. GPU heat).

    Since you are getting an external display AND want a computer to lug from class to class I would get the 13" Air with 4GB ram and 256 GB storage. This thing is portable and stylish. Not sure if 2.13 is going to help you much over the 1.86. As far as future proofing, it depends on if you might get into video coding etc. where an i5 processor will save you allot of time.

    Even if you begin accruing mad amounts of pictures, movies, TV shows, and music in the future you can always pick up a pair of cheap 500GB externals to store these items on (get 2 so you have 1 backup of the external). Just leave one or both plugged into your external apple display so that they appear every time you dock with the display. Hell in 3 years you can probably afford to get a 512GB replacement flash for the thing too.

    Edit: I see you are deciding between the i7 SSD and the Air. With both at 256GB SSD storage you are talking about spending an extra $1000 on the 15" MBP. THink about it. With the AIR you are getting the 27" ACD for free. Again, if you don't need upgradable storage and the fastest processor for video encoding or running complex statistical models overnight the answer should be simple.
  8. BounouGod thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 5, 2010
    Ok, lets be clear, i have a very high end gaming rig that i do all my gaming on when home, this is a computer that is upgraded regularly and religiously so i only would be playing games when out of the house and bored (not something that happens often honestly but it does happen)

    The laptops primary purpose is school, i know i will use it for other stuff so i would like it to perform well for the full 3 years.

    If the computer is so so for games after 2 years thats fine, but it needs to be able to handle the tasks i need it for primarily for the full 3 years.
  9. foodle macrumors 6502

    May 14, 2008
    Pennsylvania, USA
    Any laptop will be so so for games compared to a tricked out desktop. The MBAs are already using dated hardware that first appeared a couple of years ago. Three years from now, they're going to be looking pretty long in the tooth. Games or no, if you want the machine to be a decent performer in 3 years, I'd still say you need at least a Core i5. It's an unfortunate truth that the software (OS and applications) tend to scale in complexity and requirements with the available CPU/system performance. If you want to run the cutting edge OS build and apps in three years, buying two year old hardware today is probably not a good idea.
  10. hcho3 macrumors 68030

    May 13, 2010
    If you care about gaming, then get a laptop with i5 at least.

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