A hard decision regarding my hopefully future computer.

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by ¶Eric, Jun 2, 2013.

  1. ¶Eric macrumors newbie

    Jun 2, 2013
    Syracuse, NY
    So hello. I'm actually new to the forums here, I've always read but never posted so I am starting today! By the end of the summer I will hopefully be buying a new MacBook. I am a high school student who has always enjoyed Apple products and enjoyed them but I've never gotten around to getting a Mac. So by August I will hopefully be getting one!

    However I am stuck in a weird situation. I will most likely be buying through the education store for obvious reasons (discounted products!) I do have an iPad and love it but feel like I would benefit from also having a computer as well. I will most likely be using it for word processing, minor gaming (Sims geek here), web browsing, and just storing my iTunes library and photography I may take. I am unsure in weather or not I would want to get a MacBook Air or a MacBook Pro. I am definitly leaning towards a MPB because of the SuperDrive and the fact that I can get a 13in. model for the same price as the base model MBA. And well in my case I like bigger and better things.

    Wat are your opinions on it? I also know that the MBP sports a larger hard drive which is a plus for me because I like to save almost everything and I do also use creative suite applications.
  2. KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020


    May 16, 2013
    Kansas, USA
    It sort of depends on how long you want to use the machine. The classic MBPs can have their RAM and other parts switched out if you need to, although they are HDDs as opposed to SSDs. Both the Air and the Retina MBPs have solid state, but you can't really change anything yourself. In my experience, the 13" classic MBP is a fairly good machine for students. I've used my 2009 for the past 4 years in college. Despite having to swap out hard drives, it still runs pretty well. I haven't owned a retina or an air, so I can't speak for those. The classic MBPs do still have a disc drive if that's a deciding factor, especially if you plan to game. The 500 gb drive will also have plenty of room to dual boot with Windows if you want to.
  3. Dr Charter macrumors 6502

    Feb 26, 2011
    The 13 inch MacBook Pro you mention is the way to go for a college student IMO. Most of my students opt for that model. This gives you plenty of hard drive space and options to upgrade RAM and the HD later. This will make the computer easily last until graduation. The iPad will be great for taking notes in class and the MacBook can be used for heavier lifting. A white, plastic MacBook served me well in college, and this is much better than that was for the same type of use.
  4. ccapman670 macrumors regular

    May 31, 2012
    New Orleans / Baton Rouge
    As mentioned above get the MBP. You have an iPad for light portability, I wouldn't want the Air as well. You'll get more use out of the 13" pro. I've had a 15" Pro for the last three years and it's still running great. I'm a senior in college now.
  5. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    Since you like having a dvd drive, the 13" pro sounds like a good idea. Also, it has a big HD for all those photos you want to take.
  6. pgiguere1 macrumors 68020


    May 28, 2009
    Montreal, Canada
    I generally recommend the 13" MBA over the 13" cMBP, but in your specific use case, I think the 13" cMBP would be the ideal choice, especially now that it has just been discounted to $999 in the education store. It's (relatively) cheap, has lots of storage capacity, and if you ever need more performance in the future you'll be able to upgrade the RAM and swap the HDD for a SSD once prices will have come down.
  7. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
  8. lcseds macrumors 6502a

    Jun 20, 2006
    NC, USA
    I think the cMBP 13" will have a longer life span than the MB Air when tossed into a backpack like most other computers at university.
  9. ¶Eric thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 2, 2013
    Syracuse, NY
    Hmm, I suppose I will have to have a look. I've considered refurbished before but some of them costed more tan the models I was looking at.
  10. Krazy Bill macrumors 68030

    Krazy Bill

    Dec 21, 2011
    What's your hurry to decide?

    Curb your zeal, get on with normal life and just wait to see what the upcoming refresh specs bring. Pricing might even change in a couple of months.

    Plus, there's a near-miss asteroid coming in July I think. :eek:
  11. Brandon263 macrumors 6502

    Sep 12, 2009
    Beaumont, CA
    I had the 13 inch MacBook Pro in my first semester at college and it was a really horrible experience. The resolution is way too low to do anything useful with papers or web browsing.

    I'd suggest the base MacBook Air upgraded with 8 GB RAM if you can afford it. That should last you a good four to 5 years, and the resolution is much better for web browsing, gaming, and word processing.
  12. ericp99 macrumors newbie

    May 31, 2013
    I have the 13 inch rMBP, but considered the 13 inch non-Retina. One cool thing you can do with it is get an optical drive caddy and put your HDD in there. Then get a 128 or 256GB SSD and put that in your main drive bay. You can put your SuperDrive in an external enclosure. This way, you have a boot SSD with your OS a few apps on it, and an HDD for everything else.

    Being a high school student with the rMBP, I can say that I like the high res screen for schoolwork. I can scale it and open a bunch of windows on one screen. I picked mine up refurbished from Apple for $1270.
  13. devilcm3 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 3, 2011
    South Melbourne, Australia
    thats right, lets get the highest specced machine we could and enjoy it before we share the same fate as dinosaurs. :D


    or you can keep your rMBP, get a 128GB SD card and a "nifty drive" ;)
  14. DTKblaster macrumors member

    Aug 3, 2012
    How often do you REALLY use discs? If its once every few months to install a game, then forget the classic MBPs.Laptops without optical drives are either thinner or have much bigger batteries instead.

    The 13" cMBP is easily the worst value out of all apple products. Its pretty much a normal bargain bin $300 laptop in a metal case with an apple logo on the top to let them sell it for 3x the price.

    Not only is that screen a terribly low res TN panel, its also a god damn mirror, and using one in a room with any windows will just give you a headache when also trying to read papers with nasty pixilated text.

    The larger capacity of standard HDDs is absolutely not worth the sluggish experience you get compared to SSDs, and just adds another point of failure and data loss from slights bumps while spinning.

    The upgrade argument is the dumbest thing I've ever heard, especially against the rMBPs which come with 8gb ram standard. by the time you need more, the other more important components such as CPU or GPU will be so slow that its not worth it. Imagine trying to put an extra 4gb ram into a 4 year old C2D laptop to try make it play current games… you'd just be wasting your money.

    Either get the air, or cough up the extra for the retina 13 inch.
  15. ericp99 macrumors newbie

    May 31, 2013
    lol. I have a 1TB USB 3 external drive I picked up for like $80 that I keep the bulk of my pictures/movies on. I only keep a few movies on my laptop, because the portable drive comes with me in my bag. I thought space would be a big issue with only 128GB, but I find that I have a good 40GB free being good about what I keep on it.
  16. devilcm3 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 3, 2011
    South Melbourne, Australia
    Its their best selling. cheap yet more powerful than MBA

    Yes, because all apple computer users are designers, artists that can get their eyes bleed due to reading low res panel.

    most computers are not that savvy to even know what SSD means, but they do know that 500GB > 128GB of space.
    and yes, theres this thing called SMS in mac .. go RTFM.

    you are welcomed to buy a windows laptop if you are bothered about the specs.
  17. red321red321 macrumors regular

    Jun 3, 2013
    This post is right on point.
  18. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    Dear OP, I believe that for all the reasons you posted, the 13'' MacBook Pro is fine for you. Also at $999 it's really a good deal.

    The main advantage of the Air is portability, and the higher screen resolution. This comes at a price of $150 extra, but actually it is more since you should probably get the RAM upgrade and a larger SSD right away, while this can easily be done later with the Pro.

    Finally, I still think there is some value in having a disc drive.

    If you have $500 extra, you can go for the Air with 256 GB storage and 8 GB RAM, and get an external disc drive, or go for the 13'' rMBP, which is also a really nice machine. However this is significantly more expensive than the cMBP.
  19. fratey macrumors regular

    May 6, 2010
    User will not notice a couple MHz difference. An SSD, though? Huge difference! The Air feels soooo much faster.

    It's an awful experience reading papers on -and- "designing". Trust me, engineering student and photographer here.

    You don't have to be tech savvy to notice that the Air will boot in ten seconds still after a year of usage, while the Pro will take 3 minutes or more

    Or an air.
  20. devilcm3 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 3, 2011
    South Melbourne, Australia
    fast is relative, sure it loads programs faster however you can compare them on processor heavy tasks.

    its not awful, its decent enough to not impede productivity. you're speaking from an elitist point of view.

    I'm using a HDD equipped mac and it boots in approx 1 min, not three.
    your assumptions are off the charts.

    mac OSX unlike windows are optimized, the performance don't degrade heavily over time like windows.
  21. DTKblaster macrumors member

    Aug 3, 2012
    I think these two are connected…

    For the informed among us, including those clued up enough to ask in forums such as this, probably appreciate the vast improvement an SSD brings.

    In fact I find it funny that you refer to the 13" cMBP as "more powerful" in the OPs context, when that measly 0.3ghz turbo increase on the CPU (2.8 vs 3.1ghz) isn't going to do anything when its sat there waiting for data from an archaic storage device.
  22. devilcm3 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 3, 2011
    South Melbourne, Australia

    IMO the turbo boost is kinda gimmicky, because it switches off all but one core then boost it up to 2.8GHz which is not the case in most applications nowadays .. either its idle at single core or full load on all cores, which in this case you'll comparing 1.7GHz*2 on MBA vs 2.5GHz*2 on MBP.
  23. Erasmus macrumors 68030


    Jun 22, 2006
    Hiding from Omnius in Australia
    If you have an iPad, and cost is an issue, perhaps you could consider getting an iMac? You can get something far more powerful for your money, and you still have the iPad for taking to classes.
  24. fratey macrumors regular

    May 6, 2010
    * Booting the computer, starting applications, multitasking (swap file on SSD vs swap file on HDD) is several orders of magnitude faster on the Air than the Pro. You know, the stuff OP just listed.
    * Rendering a movie in Final Cut is a few percent faster on the Pro versus the Air.
    But it does impede productivity, even for simple tasks as viewing PDF:s!

    * In the best case for the Pro, it takes at least four times as long to boot.
    * In the worst case as the hard drive gets filled, it can take minutes. I know plenty of base 13" Pros bought quite recently that approach two minutes or even three once they start getting really filled up. My point is that SSD performance very rarely degrades unless you're filling the SSD to the absolute brink - and even then, it's still several orders of magnitude faster.

    I'm assuming this part is a joke, so I'll ignore it.
  25. devilcm3 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 3, 2011
    South Melbourne, Australia
    Processor performance isn't just all about "Final Cut Pro" you know. :cool:

    It is FUNNY because i'm more productive in my "pixelated" Dell 24" which has lower PPI compare to my macbook pro.

    Yes it is faster, we all know that.
    And you'll be carrying external HDD around when it did. :rolleyes:

    do you even use windows laptop? I assume not, so I'll ignore it.

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