13" MBA (upgrade to 8gb) vs 13" MBP w/ Retina for Medical Student?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by qwertynoob, Jul 29, 2014.

  1. qwertynoob macrumors newbie

    Jul 29, 2014
    Hey everyone,

    I will be a medical school student in less than a month and am looking to purchase either a MBA or a MBP (as my current base model late 2009 white MacBook is incredibly slow and beat up).

    From my research, most people recommend upgrading the 4gb memory to 8gb memory, which I will plan to do, especially since OS X Yosemite will be rolled out very, very soon.

    I imagine that I will mostly be using my future MBA or MBP for studying (word processing, lots of pdfs, images here and there, video watching here and there) and entertainment (streaming videos, using AirPlay with my Apple TV, might store a little bit of music, but definitely not a lot (~1000 songs for sure, I mostly stream from Pandora)).

    Also, I noticed the MBP has a direct HDMI port, which I think would be convenient to connect to a TV, but I know Amazon also sells an HDMI to DisplayPort for ~$10 so I'm not that invested in having the HDMI port.

    I have heard that the retina display is beautiful~, but I do absolutely 0 video/image editing and think that staying with a non-retina display would be fine with me since I would see the retina display as a big luxury more than a necessity (again, I'm using the late 2009 MacBook right now and have absolutely no problem with the way things look).

    For my purposes, should I just go with the 13" MBA upgraded to 8gb RAM or the 13" MBP with Retina (comes with 8gb RAM)?

    Also, will 128gb be enough for my purposes? Or is upgrading to 256gb recommended?

    Thanks so much for any help/tips/useful advice that you all can provide! Your help would be much appreciated!
  2. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
  3. seyhee0919 macrumors newbie

    Oct 26, 2013
    As a medical student myself, it seems like people at my school are very content with either/or. I know, that's kind of a crapshoot answer, but it's true. If you really like the retina screen, go for it; it won't give you any advantage when studying for anything really (in fact, in rare cases it could be a disadvantage because some apps might not be optimized for retina displays. Example app includes the Visible Human Dissector, a virtual anatomy app). The MacBook Air is more portable, and if you're going to be lugging books + the computer around, any weight difference matters.

    8GB RAM is probably best though no matter what (I'm all about "future-proofing"), and 256GB is probably best. You'd be surprised how much lecture files and associated study guides or what not add up quickly in addition to your music, movies and photos and whatnot.

    If you value weight and saving money, go for the Air. I wouldn't take too much into account the fact that OS X Yosemite might not look that great on non-retina screens; it's not something that couldn't be fixed w/a software update anyway. I personally, however, like the rMBP just because that retina screen is ultimately too good to resist.

    Hope that helps, and best of luck. Also, if you go for the Air, put it towards "books" aka a good night at the bar post-exams.

Share This Page