13" WAR: MB Air or MBP for Graphics + IT admin work?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by george81, Jan 22, 2011.

  1. george81 macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2010
    Hi, I'm looking into buying a new MBP 13" or the new Macbook Air 13" and wanted to ask you your thoughts.

    I'm mainly going to be using it for digital media applications like Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, some video work too, windows network administration with rdp, but also for regular web/email use, on both OS/X and Win 7.

    My comparison and dilemma:
    Graphics and CPU: almost same, MBP wins due to higher cpu frequency
    **Screen: MB Air wins with its 1440 native resolution
    **Disk: MB Air wins with the 128 SSD.
    **Ram: MBP wins due to 4GB ram vs 2GB on the MB Air (is it easy/inexpensive to upgrade RAM on MB Air to 4GB? I really need this)

    I don't really need an optical drive except from occasionally burning video dvd's, will be traveling with a USB dvd-recorder that I may use from time to time (Which one do you guys recommend?)

    I'm literally living in a plane and frequently work outdoors, so my main objective is portability and battery life. Also, resale value is something I have to consider, as it will be easier to sell the last generation MB Air versus last year's MBP, as I plan to upgrade to the new 15" MBP later this year.


    Thank you
  2. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    The macbook airs are surprisingly powerful. I use mine for Maya, Photoshop and ZBrush if I need to travel and am away from my desktop.

    I would go with the 13 inch air and upgrade it to 4gb. I bought it with the 4gb in it so I'm not sure how easy/possible it is to upgrade it on your own.
  3. DoghouseMike macrumors regular

    Jan 18, 2011
    I think you'll need a USB-Ethernet dongle for the air if your IT work ever involves hooking up to a wired network. And the Air is only available with 4GB of RAM if it's ordered that way, as far as I know.
    Where the MBP already has the ram, and an ethernet port, and you wouldn't need to bring your external optical drive "just in case". And the battery lasts longer!

    Just points to consider
  4. jasonph macrumors member

    Jan 22, 2011
    Very impressed with MBA

    I've been very impressed with the Air I bought just before xmas (I had a custom build 4GB/2.13GHz/256GB SSD Air). I wanted some of the ipad features of long battery life, 'instant on' from standby, and very lightweight, but with a bigger screen and more horsepower for running bigger apps.

    I have to say that the Air has more than matched my expectations. It is virtually instant on from standby (and no more than 10 seconds from coldstart) and it flies when running apps (Google Chrome loads in one bounce on the dock and safari isn't far behind). I run Microsoft's RDP app that came with office and it works well (now the updates have sorted out most of the bugs) for talking to a Windows 2008 R2 server.

    I was a bit concerned about the CPU but Graphics apps run quickly and Stellarium, Celestia, Equinox and SolarWalk (all intensive CPU/GPU astronomy apps) run like its no effort - though the fan will run after a while with some so it is using CPU and GPU time.

    I have purchased a USB to ethernet adaptor but haven't used it yet.

    Overall it's a well built and nippy machine but expensive. Then again it's pointing to the future and you really do get what you pay for. No regrets here at least. :D
  5. george81 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2010
    Exactly my sentiments guys, thank you for the insights. Will give it a go for 3-4 months and see how it goes, will go for the 4GB Ram version. Will keep you guys posted on my adventures :) I think it will be good as a first introduction to apple portables and I will be looking forward to my upgrade to the new pro once it's out. Thanks!

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