Air over Pro

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by GreatestDane, Oct 26, 2010.

  1. GreatestDane macrumors member

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    Oct 26, 2010
    #1
    Hi.

    Right now I am a Windows user, but I really want to switch to Mac. Soon!
    I am going to school and I will continue to for the next few years and I therefore need a portable computer.

    All it has to be able to is handle iWork, iTunes and Safari (I don't game since I have a PS3).

    I really want the new Air, but I am afraid it will slower than a MBP 13" 2.4.
    Also, at least where I live, the Air is a fair bit more expensive than a Pro and I don't know if a little less weight is worth the money?
     
  2. Paulywauly macrumors 6502a

    Paulywauly

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    #2
    Any of the current Macbook models would be able to do what you need with ease so i wouldnt worry about that too much. Each has its pros and cons.

    The Pro is heavier, but still light compared to alot of windows laptops. has more connectivity options, the hard disc and ram will be upgradable in the future, it also has a faster cpu and an optical drive.

    The Air is smaller and will most likely boot up quicker, but has less connectivity options, no optical drive, slower cpu and no upgradable components at all. You also pay a premium for the fact its so thin.

    overall it really depends on what you want out of it, if you dont need a tonne of space and are happy with its limitations the Air would a fine choice, but overall the Pro is a much more well rounded machine.
     
  3. GreatestDane thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 26, 2010
    #3
    Do you think that the Air will feel a bit slower than the Pro for doing what I am doing? And is really that thin (I haven't seen it in real life yet)?
     
  4. iPhysicist macrumors 6502a

    iPhysicist

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    #4
    What the Air has now will find its way into the MBP 13 (hopefully soon), so do not compare the new Air with the current MBP.

    For your needs the Air has plenty of power - and so does every other Apple Laptop.

    If you will go for the 13" 2.13 GHz 4GB RAM, you mostly benefit from the nice screen, the SSD Card and the less weight you have to carry around. So your question should be how important is weight, and "better" screen to you?

    I do not bother to lug my 13MBP around by bike, tram or foot. It fits perfectly in my bag and there is room for 2 -3 books and 2-3 College blocks, pens etc. I was a bike messenger for years so maybe I am biased.

    But all in all I do not care if my bag is 1kg heavier or not. So I would go the MBP way - with the next revision.
     
  5. GreatestDane thread starter macrumors member

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    #5
    So you would wait? (I don't quite understand the meaning of the word revision, because, as the username suggests I am a foreigner)
     
  6. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    Jan 6, 2005
    #6
    For your sort of usage, I actually think the Air will be faster, as it has the solid state drive, which has a far bigger impact on day to day use than processor or video card speed. Look at the latest benchmarks posted on the main page here today - with everything taken into account, the 13" Air is quite competitive with the MBP line.
     
  7. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    #7
    The air is actually a lot more powerful then people credit it for. I'm a definite computer power user (see my sig for other macs I own) and I bought the air as a supplimental machine for when I travel and its phenominal. Unity, ZBrush, Maya, Photoshop, XCode, etc all run awesomely in it. I was extremely extremely impressed.

    Its great having a light, thin machine that can keep pace with my workflow.

    The macbook air config I have is:

    2.13 ghz
    4 gig ram
    13 inch screen
    256 gig solid state drive.
     
  8. dissolve macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 23, 2009
    #8
    Agreed. The MBA will get pretty hot and fans are going to run, but it'll certainly handle a lot that you can throw at it. That said, I could never use it as my only computer. I had it as my main for several months before getting my MP and it was terrible. My main uses are Aperture and Xcode and some gaming. Wasn't a fun few months. As long as you know what the Air is intended for and are okay with it's limitations, it can definitely handle your stated uses.
     
  9. Epsilon88 macrumors 6502

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    Oct 26, 2009
    #9
    If you enjoy using the optical drive to watch movies or install software on the go, then the Macbook Pro would be best. Overall, it has more ports and connections than the Macbook Air, and I think it would be best suited for your needs. It will also give you a much larger hard drive to store your music.

    On the other hand, if you are planning to be highly mobile, then you should consider the Air. Honestly, though, there is only a 1.5 pound difference I believe.
     
  10. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #10
    That doesn't sound right. The cheapest MBA should be cheaper than the 13" MBP. If you're looking at the 13" version of the air, then I suppose you're right.

    Personally, I think you should either buy an 11" MB Air, or get the 13" MB Pro. The 13" MBA is nice, but the MBP isn't much heavier than the Air. Forget the kg. Just pick them up and put them both in a backpack or messenger bag.
     
  11. Velin macrumors 65816

    Velin

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    #11
    OP:

    I have both a 13" Macbook Pro unibody, and a newly decked-out 13.3" Macbook Air. My strong advice to you is, get the Macbook Air 13" for school.

    Holding both the notebooks, the Macbook Air is significantly lighter, even in the 13" range. The Macbook Pro feels like an absolute brick by comparison.

    Also, Macbook Air screen on the 13" is better than Macbook Pro, no question.

    Does the 13" decked out Macbook Air seem slower than a Macbook Pro? For your type of usage, absolutely not. The standard SSD storage, instant-on from sleep, and 4 gig of RAM means performance is excellent.

    I'm telling you straight up, in school you will have to take your laptop everywhere. You will get sick of lugging around the Macbook Pro, I know I did because I regularly travel across the country. When you get the Macbook Air, you will know you made the right decision and will never look back.

    Finally, is it really that thin? Answer: yes. My girlfriend just saw it for the first time this evening and was amazed they fit this laptop into something so light and thin.
     
  12. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #12
    I strongly believe that the next 13" MBP (after the next update), will have a better screen than the MBA, or perhaps the same screen.

    If the OP wants to buy one now, then it's a factor. If he can wait a few months, I doubt it will be.



    And with regards to uni, your needs really depends on what you study. I suggested that you get the 11" MBA or 13" MBP. However, if all you're going to do is type essays, and your classes involve nothing else, then just get the 13" MBA. It's what you want, right? ;)
     
  13. mr0c macrumors regular

    mr0c

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    Virginia, US
    #13
    MBP 13" = 4.5 lbs
    MBA 13" = 2.9 lbs

    I'd call 55% more weight significant, but then again I am a weakling :p
     
  14. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    #14
    Every little bit makes a difference when traveling. Especially to certain countries with severe weight restrictions on their airplanes.
     
  15. Perdification macrumors regular

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    Sep 22, 2010
    #15
    Are you going to get one with 2 or 4 GB of RAM? Upgrade is not an option, you'll have to BTO.
     
  16. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    #16
    From the benchmarks that are out there, the 13" MBA is as fast if not faster then the 13"MBP. The costs are nearly the same, though the MBA will run you a bit more money.

    The only piece of advice is to max out the ram and the SSD drive.
     
  17. GreatestDane thread starter macrumors member

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    #17
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_1 like Mac OS X; da-dk) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8B117 Safari/6531.22.7)

    I think I have made my mind up. I am going to look at the 13 Air on friday and if I like it I shall order the top spec version. If not, I am going to wait for apple to upgrade the 13 Pro and maybe get an iPad too.
     
  18. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #18
    I've been waiting for a 13" i5 but so far it hasn't happened. Not that I have the cash now for such a machine but one can certainly hope :)
     
  19. urkel macrumors 68030

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    Nov 3, 2008
    #19
    I'm typing this now from a Macbook Air 13 and I think its an adequate 2nd computer but for a primary then you really need to question this device in your life.

    How Long Will You Use This?
    You say all you need is iWork, iTunes and Internet. Sure, the MBA13 will do the job, but are you buying a computer that will be good enough for now or for the next few years?

    2GB is sufficient for Snow Leopard but what about 10.7 Lion? What about 10.8 Hellcat? On a Macbook Pro you can upgrade but on the Air then 2GB is all you get.

    Same goes for your disk capacity. Are you REALLY never going to do photos and videos in college? Because non-upgradeable Hard Drive and Memory means you are stuck with 2GB and 128GB storage until you sell this.

    How much has Hard Drive Speed EVER meant to you in the past?
    So many people brag about SSD speeds but this is more about bragging rights than actual usage. I say this because prior to the Air they were fine with the standard 5400rpm drive. But now SSD is some amazing new Apple invention that they must have?

    SSD is NOT a Macbook Air exclusive. The benefits of SSD can be experienced on ANY notebook with a simple hard drive replacement. Buy most people don't do that because if this is your only computer then more internal capacity is more important than super fast access to your email app.

    How much is 1lb really?
    People pretend the Air is significantly lighter when travelling. Well, it's 1lb lighter than a MBPro so in your hand it's lighter but how about in your bag? Is that 1lb really affecting people the way they claim? For me then the Air forces me to carry an external drive that I formerly never needed.



    Again, I'm not slamming the MBAir13. My wife might still keep hers because she thinks its cute so we're giving this thing a fair shot. But I just feel this is a secondary computer for those who can afford it rather than a primary system for a college student who has yet to determine exactly how a computer will positively affect their college life. A macbook air will cover most of your needs but a macbook pro will cover all of them.
     
  20. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    #20
    Hard drive speed hasn't meant much to most people because most people haven't realized that the hard disk has been the primary bottleneck in computer speed for 5 years now. Most computers have more cpu, gpu, and RAM than they really need. You've just spent a couple of paragraphs trying to convince people that cpu, ram, and disk space are of primary importance. I'd argue that it's just the opposite - that a SSD will make a FAR bigger difference in how fast your computer feels than anything else. And honestly, even when doing cpu intensive tasks - I'd still take the SSD over the faster cpu, as the much higher disk i/o means that the system NEVER lags - even when all my cores are pegged 100%. I don't care if my video render takes 5 minutes or 10 - so long as I can still use the computer un-interrupted in the meantime. A ssd makes this possible in a way you can't comprehend until you've lived with one for a while - and then tried to go back. It's painful.

    Lack of space is not the primary reason that most people don't get a SSD - it's cost. The MBA brings the benefits of a SSD to the Mac line at the price-point people are used to paying.
     
  21. urkel macrumors 68030

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    #21
    Cost is a reason why people dont get SSD, but I'd say the bigger deterrent is capacity.

    I agree it's speedy and once you use it then it's an eye opener, BUT when discussing an ultra portable computer then 64GB-128GB of incredibly fast disk access won't be more important than disk capacity, battery life and port variety. The MBA13 is adequate as a 2nd system for travellers but this user is looking for a PRIMARY computer in college.

    A wired connection = $29 Ethernet dongle. Installing
    Installing software / Borrowing friends music = Ext DVD or Access to CD on network
    Large iTunes Movie/Music Collection = External HDD

    Im not trying to argue over this or anything. Obviously using an Air as a primary college computer CAN be done. But with the MBP being slightly cheaper then just put the $100 savings towards SSD if thats such a big selling point? (Lets be honest. Most people won't do that because the only people who understand the speed benefits of SSD aren't making compromises based on aesthetics)
     
  22. GreatestDane thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 26, 2010
    #22
    @urkel:

    Do you think that I will regret my choice in a year or two if I go for the MBA?
    And if you were in my shoes would you then wait for Apple to upgrade the MBP?
     
  23. urkel macrumors 68030

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    Nov 3, 2008
    #23
    Obviously everyone is different so any amount of regret is hard to measure. For my wife then she went and returned her MBA13 today expecting to get a MBP13, but instead she walked out with nothing. Here's her thought process on it all.

    MBA11: A computer she'd love to own as a secondary computer. It's powerful enough but priced to be a luxury item. We can't really determine if it's even a great travel computer because at 5hr battery life then if all you need is email/web then a smartphone or iPad is more fitting.

    MBA13: Very nice aesthetics but the best word for it is "adequate". It CAN do the job but in terms of future-proofing then it's limited if you get a stock 2GB/128GB version. 128GB SSD is fast but over time you start collecting music, movies etc and then you end up carrying a 2nd hard drive.

    MBP13: The computer that fits her best. Most software is still on DVD (including iLife 11), the price is reasonable and it's plenty expandable for future use. We recommend this to anyone looking for a good compromise on size, expandability, battery life and power.
     
  24. Perdification macrumors regular

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    Sep 22, 2010
    #24
    The toughest decision is between a MBP13' and a MBA13'. Both have performance on par too, but we all suspect an update for the MBP soon, and by then, performance of MBP should be heaps better than MBA. It depends really on if you can wait.
     
  25. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #25
    Agreed.


    And zhenya, if you think the SSD is a bigger deal, then buy an SSD for the MacBook Pro and get even better performance and battery life than the standard 13" MBP.
     

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