13" MBA or 15" MBP?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by alexhanh, Oct 21, 2010.

  1. alexhanh macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    #1
    I'm currently doing mainly Ruby on Rails development.

    My preferable requirements would be to get at least two code editors or one code editor and a terminal side-by-side.

    It should be portable.

    I've already dropped off 17" MBP, because it's simply too big. 11" MBA is too small.

    Both, 13" MBA and 15" have 4GB memory and both can be upgraded to SSD.

    My main concerns with MBA 13" is the Core2Duo processor and 1440x900 resolution. Will the screen size be enough? Processor speed is probably the bottle-neck in RoR development, so will I save a lot of time with the Intel i5 that ships with 15" MBP? Oh, and no matte screen option.

    On the other hand, 15" has almost twice the weight as the 13" MBA. But it can be purchased with the wide-screen matte display with 1680x1050 resolution. And it has the i5 processor.

    I would be very grateful to hear any comments and recommendations by developers who have experience with this kind of development on MacBooks.
     
  2. Nobita macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Location:
    La la land
    #2
    I have a 13" MB and a developer.

    It's a big big pain developing with 13" screem, but doable. I bought a 24" monitor, cheap laptop stand, keyboard, and magic mouse. Then I felt okay.

    How portable do you want this to be? I'd choose MBA if this is purely a development machine. I also play games and listen to lots of videos, music, and photo editing, so I'd pick MBP.
     
  3. alexhanh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    #3
    Hey man, thanks for the quick reply.

    I have an i7 power desktop machine at home, so this would be almost only for use outside of home.

    On travel, it would be nice to be able to play at least 720p video. I believe both will handle that?

    I don't play games, so the only graphics intense stuff would probably be HD video and desktop eye-candy (which I would keep to bare minimum).

    Please notice that 13" MB has 1280x800 and the MBA comes with 1440x900, which has ~26.5% more screen space. Not sure if this is enough tho.
     
  4. Nobita macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Location:
    La la land
    #4
    Well in that case you should be okay then. You'll do text editing fine in MBA. You probably want to test how your webpage looks like in your desktop though.

    The thing that makes the new MBA a screamer is not the processor, but the flash memory. At least that's what I think. It'd be more than enough to play 720p movies! The new MBA is pretty much a better machine than mine. I have a Core 2 Duo 2Ghz with 4GB RAM, yet there's almost nothing my MB can't do.

    I should probably mention that my MB is a unibody MB. Does this have the same resolution?
     
  5. Nobita macrumors 6502

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    Oct 5, 2008
    Location:
    La la land
    #5
    I assumed you develop websites because you said Ruby on Rails...
     
  6. GhostDZ9 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2010
    #6
    Well I am a Developer of many languages and to be honest, the 15" will do you much more justice simply because the more ports that you have and because of the longer battery life, I have a 13" MB and I get so annoyed when I program that have to connect my desktop monitor to it,

    What i suggest is the MBP 15" with the 1680x1080 res screen, you will thank me when you start programming :p
     
  7. alexhanh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    #7
    I should have mentioned that I have i7 SSD desktop machine with 24" display at home. So the laptop would be mainly for travel.

    Luckily the new MBA has two USB ports, and notably it also has a 1440x900 resolution (the same resolution that MBP 15" ships by default).

    The 1680x1050 gives 36% more total and 16.7% more vertical and horizontal space compared to 1440x900 tho, but I'm not sure if it's a deal breaker.
     
  8. GhostDZ9 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2010
    #8
    well the 9 hrs of battery life vs the 7 hrs of battery life should me a greater incentive to buy the 15"
     
  9. jetblk328i macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2010
    #9
    yea i would go MBP, better battery, bigger screen, better processor.
     
  10. Black.Infinity macrumors 6502

    Black.Infinity

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2010
    Location:
    Apple tree-Toronto
    #10
    i do not think you can get true 7 hours battery life.
     
  11. mchank macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2006
    #11
    Since you already have a great rig at home, my choice would be the MBA.
     

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