Buying a Macbook Air - Uni Student

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by JBM1234, Apr 9, 2010.

  1. JBM1234 macrumors newbie

    Apr 9, 2010
    Hi, I am a uni student seeking advice on getting a macbook air. My uni is about 1.5 hours away from my house, counting the bus trips and train rides to get from one side of the city to the other. I have a Toshiba A300 with an Intel Core 2 duo T9300 @2.50 ghz with 4gbs of Ram. Unfortunately the laptop weights close to 4 kilos and isn't worth taking to Uni. Should I get an MBA for the portability? and if so, with which processor?

    P.S. I am a Law/Arts student so most of what I do is research/online based so needing to use a CD drive is not necessary, gaming isn't a priority and I really need something portable which isn't a windows based system!!!!!!!!
  2. pol0001 macrumors 6502


    Apr 15, 2008
    Since you don't want a Windows based OS you have three choices:

    1. MacBook
    2. MacBook Pro 13"
    3. MacBook Air

    Since you are looking for a laptop for uni, I would recommend you the first or the second choice. You don't need a powerhouse, so your primary concern should be battery live. And unfortunately the current generation of the MacBook Air doesn't even come close to the MacBook and MacBook Pro.

    Just my 2 cents.
  3. halledise macrumors 65816

    May 7, 2009
    Hamilton Island, Whitsundays, QLD Australia
    fully agree.
    MB Pro 13" is the lightest and sleekest (after the Air of course) and gives the best battery life by far which I'd say is crucial for the situation described.

    and Aluminium trumps polycarbonate any day.
    go the 2.53 if you can afford it.

    here's the comparison:
    (scroll to lower half of page)
  4. theappleguy macrumors 6502

    Apr 19, 2005
    I'm a law/commerce student and have been using a MacBook Air for the last two years - so the Rev A model. It's absolutely fine in terms of power for taking notes in class, battery life (I still get 90% of the original battery capacity after 700 cycles) and heat (because you are not doing anything too processor intensive). That means the Rev B and Rev C would be more than ok for uni work.

    My Rev A isn't really powerful enough for my non-uni needs anymore (photo editing, video editing etc) so I will upgrade when Apple announces new MacBook Pros and Airs, but I'm pretty sure I'll go for an updated Air (with SSD this time round) since the portability still outweighs the extra power of a MacBook Pro for me (public transport to and from uni, carry gym gear and other stuff in my bag as well). I would suggest waiting for these new models as well, because I think 4GB of RAM is essential if you are purchasing this computer to use with a time frame of 2-4 years and the MacBook Air doesn't offer this at the moment. :)
  5. gimmi80 macrumors member

    Apr 10, 2010
    I had a macbook pro 13' 2Ghz for 6 months. In January 2010 I switched to the macbook air and I don't notice any difference in performance (for the uses I do: intense keynote, pdf, pages, safari, occasional imovie for 15-20 minutes video, aperture to organize and touch up photos).
    It's considerably lighter and I've more free space in my bag.
    Battery life it's ok for me. I used to bring the adaptor, now I leave it at home.
    I bought a superdrive I used once to rip a CD. that's it.

    EDIT> I've the 2.13 with apple SSD
  6. lucifiel macrumors 6502a


    Nov 7, 2009
    In your basement
    A thinner laptop is actually more important than you'd think, allows for a much easier time carrying the thing from A to B.

    As to which version, well you can either wait till June to see if it gets updated, but otherwise the SSD in the 2.13 makes the MBA a much more snappy and viable option as turning it on and off, etc. will be much less frustrating...and when you're running on battery this is important.

    for the record I study a similar course, and the MBA is good. And I game on it, admittedly not Crysis, but it's doable with bootcamp.
  7. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    I would say wait and see if the MBA gets updated. The MBA is the perfect Mac/laptop for your needs. However, it's currently a bad value vs. itself ten plus months ago. If it gets an update, or a huge price cut for the current model, buy one. Or even wait until the new MBA is introduced and buy the current generation on clearance. However, thinking years into the future, you're better off with an MBA with at least 4 GB of RAM. How about at least wait and think for a few days (Tuesday is the new rumor for a potential update).

    If you buy the current MBA, for your needs right now, either 1.86 or 2.13 GHz would probably be sufficient. However, again you need to think about the future. Also, of the two MBA models, the SSD model is much much faster. I believe you could be greatly rewarded in the long run by waiting out and at least seeing if a new model is released.
  8. JBM1234 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 9, 2010

    Ok, so it's a choice between the MacBook pro 13" and the Macbook air. The longest I am in a lecture is for 5 hours when I have two behind each other, so battery life is important. Forfunately the campus has wireless available in every building. Having a light laptop as said above is VERY important. Standing on the train to uni and back means that I really don't want to break my back. What are your ideas?
  9. tsubikiddo macrumors regular

    Mar 15, 2008
    Melbourne, AUS
    That's the deal breaker.
    The battery of the current MBA (HDD & SSD) can never last that long.
    It isn't very helpful if your Air runs out of battery in the middle of the lecture.

    You will have to go with the MBPs, and have to walk in the 5hrs session fully recharged.
    I am expecting the MBPs can last longer than 5hrs even if you stay connected via WiFi throughout the entire session.

    just my 2 cents, hope this may help a little :)
  10. JBM1234 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 9, 2010

    So... Mbp it is. Defenitely 13". Which processor? 2.13ghz or 2.53ghz. How big a harddrive and how much ram? Considering I'm a uni student? And one other vital question... iWork or Office for Mac? Sorry I am asking so many questions but I really want to get it right.
  11. Raje macrumors member

    Mar 2, 2010
    As for the processor; updates are coming soon, most likely tuesday from recent evidence. It would be in your best interest to wait for the update. If you can't wait 2.26 would be fine(2.13 is only in the air). HDD depends on what you do. RAM-4gb at least. iWork imo, but this is based on personal preference, download the iwork free trial for 30 days and if you don't like it get office for mac
  12. JasG macrumors member

    Jul 12, 2009
    Some decisions like this are hard. Yours is easy.

    Let's me start by saying: My MBA is Revision C and it is my only computer. I use it day in and day out. I love it. My battery would get you through a six hour class. It would get you through too, unless you are watching movies while you professor is lecturing, which (as a professor myself) I hope you are not.

    All that said, I am also the parent of two college aged people, and you should without hesitation buy the MBP. Unless you are physically challenged in some significant way, the 1.5 pound is not going to make a big enough difference. I carried the 4.5 and 5 pound machines around for years, so I know from whence I speak. Yes, it is a difference, especially for a fifty or sixty year old. No it is not enough of a difference for a 20 year old, especially considering that with a MBP you get:

    --a much more powerful computer for the money.
    --a better screen for games and movies and all sorts of other graphic intensive stuff that kids are inclined to do
    --a built in optical drive (I don't use it, my kids use theirs all the time)
    --a much sturdier machine; the air is relatively fragile at the hinges and if pressure is applied at the top of the case
    --a full assortment of ports
    --a better trackpad

    I would go on and on.

    Again, I wouldn't trade my AIR for anything out there.

    But neither of my kids would chose it over their 13 inch MBP--and neither should you. Unless you have money to burn, now and a couple of years from now.
  13. Rizvi1 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 29, 2006
    Laurel, MD (Baltimore, MD / Washington, DC area)
    I think this could be the model I got for my wife unless there was a bump right around then. I bought her the MACBOOK AIR 13/1.6/2GB/120GB MB543LL/A. Had a friend who worked at Apple so he hooked us up w/ a little discount making the final price $1,349.00 + $80.94 tax.

    Her computer gets annoyingly slow though even on normal tasks after a little while. She can't watch any videos online it seems, something like hulu. I just wiped everything off and put in snow leopard thinking it might help but still slow. I'm wondering what I can do to it - if a RAM upgrade is possible.. maybe I could change it to an SSD. not sure what rev I have but seems from this thread the later revs could be better?
  14. CRAZYBUBBA macrumors 65816


    Mar 28, 2007
    I'd go for a regular macbook. It's powerful has all the drives inside, costs less than a pro model and is ALOT lighter than 4 kilos.
  15. JBM1234 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 9, 2010

    Okay, MacBook pro 2.26ghz it is then! Thanks so much for the advice. Just for the record in response to the proffessor, I always listen to my lecturers - because we don't get the lecture notes posted online.

    Thank you again!
  16. skate71290 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 14, 2009
    Hey matey, i have the exact same model as you apart from my HDD is only 80GB (PATA) and basically if you are watching videos on Safari it is Safari + Flash, they are both a waste of space, use Google's Chrome, in addition Flash player is just beyond useless on Mac OS X and cannot be helped until Apple pulls their head out their ass and helps Adobe fix it, try to limit Flash Player use.... i.e. try not to watch videos on Hulu. A RAM upgrade is impossible, and SSD will not help, basically the only reason the laptop slows down on Hulu is because it is Flash Based and it is ***** on Mac OS X... if you really like to use Hulu on the Air a lot... install Windows and it will be fine :)
  17. Rizvi1 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 29, 2006
    Laurel, MD (Baltimore, MD / Washington, DC area)
    ^ Thanks for the response

    I've been hearing about coolbook, I was thinking maybe I would check that out. I also read something somewhere about taking compressed air to the air ducts. I think it's not just flash, a lot of browsers etc, it's just the computer in general starts having serious slowdown if there's a lot going on, but it should be stuff it can handle.
  18. stoconnell macrumors 6502

    Mar 22, 2009
    Rockville (Despite REM's plea.)
    An SSD can help you with the multitasking involving file I/O. Flash movies, etc are bit problematic as the heat generated by the CPU pushes the machine well into the high end of its thermal envelope. Coolbook can help in that you can tune a lower voltage for a given CPU clock speed thus allowing the machine to run a bit cooler.

    My Rev B gets toasty if I try to watch a few shows on Hulu. It's also very sensitive to the ambient air temperature.

    Other things people have done is to peel the machines apart and apply better thermal paste/grease between the CPU and heat sink and the GPU and the heat sink.

    Good luck.
  19. Rizvi1 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 29, 2006
    Laurel, MD (Baltimore, MD / Washington, DC area)
    ^ It makes me nervous to get in there for the thermal paste/grease. I'd like to try coolbook out. If I pay the $10 for it and install, do you know where I can go to figure out the settings?

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