Buying Advice for a Liberal Arts Student

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Ach111es, Jun 15, 2011.

  1. Ach111es macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2010
    Next year I am going off to a nice little liberal arts school.

    I currently have a Dell Vostro 1510 with a 2.1 core 2 duo and 8400m chip
    I am currently using 70 GB which is all my music, pics, and a bunch of programs. It currently lasts about 3 hours on normal use which is horrendous.

    I am not interested in the 11 because the battery life is a bit weak, and I can't handle the midget screen. I do not plan on having an external in my dorm, I will plug in to one in a library if need be.

    The following are my personal needs:

    --battery life, battery life, battery life
    --decent mobility (I don't really have a huge issue with my 15, its bigger than most 15s, but I deal with it)
    --fast wake
    --solid color gamut>>current screen is a crappy matte 1280x800 on a 15.6
    --capable processor>>RAW files, ripping CDs, converting music/video files for personal use
    --bootcamp w/ win7 (I have a disk already)
    --a loooong excel file (been using it for 2 years now)

    Class stuff:

    word processing
    note taking

    I don't want to lose a ton on this if I resell in 2-3 years also.

    Is it worth it to wait for the MBA upgrade too?
  2. darknite38 macrumors regular

    Nov 18, 2010
  3. KylePowers macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2011
    Almost every liberal arts major at my school can fall into 3 categories: MacBook, MBP, or MBA.

    If I was a liberal arts major... I'd probably go 13in MBA (refurb 2010 or refreshed 2011). It could definitely handle what you need it to do, while also cutting down on the weight you lug around. Plus the 1440x900 resolution is something to definitely consider. Also, long battery life (7 hours) and instant-wake ;)
  4. Ach111es thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2010
    thanks for the second opinion, I was leaning that way but w/ the new MBA's was unsure. I will be putting in aftermarket SSD though.

    Also, Kyle how is the screen quality of the MBA--I kinda dig the glossy, it makes colors pop. Any reason to
    Think the new airs will have better screens or just a minor adjustment
  5. Peteman100 macrumors 6502

    Apr 28, 2011
    Berkeley, CA
  6. RyeMN macrumors member

    Jun 15, 2011
    I agree with him. Baseline MPB would get your needs done, and the screen is great.
  7. fkhan3 macrumors 6502

    Apr 28, 2010
    Another vote for upcoming MBA. Since you like glossy, you'll love MBA screen. You will also appreciate the portability of MBA.

    Resale value should hold up fairly well compared to current MBA models.
  8. KylePowers macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2011
    From what I understand, the MBP's screens are glossier and of higher quality (perhaps marginally). I don't own either of them, so that's just what I've read. But I'd take a (marginal, I'd suspect) hit in quality/glossyness in exchange for a higher resolution any day.

    I'm waiting for the refreshed MBAs, which from a culmination of rumors from the last 4 months, are supposed to be released in late June or some time in July. If you're not in any particular rush, I'd just wait to see if anything substantial is added (aside from the CPU).
  9. Ach111es thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2010
    I plan on running VMware also for windows 7, I cannot replace OneNote.

    Will 4gb of ram cover that?
  10. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    I'd agree with you. To the OP, remember that you'll be carrying that laptop around a lot of the time, and the you will notice the weight difference between the MBA and MBP.

    I have had both the MBP and the MBA; both are excellent computers, but the weight and form factor of the MBA make it an ideal computer for life as a liberal arts student.

  11. ojaysimsanson macrumors member

    Jul 15, 2010
    Yes I was running that on my old 2008 MBP. I would recommend bootcamp though cause VMware is like running 2 OS (OS X and Windows) Bootcamp only runs one. I had Vmware and then realised Bootcamp was much faster.
    And also you said you wanted to rip cds and dvds, you cant with a MBA, but you can buy an external drive i guess....
  12. 0007776 Suspended


    Jul 11, 2006
    Yep, it's usable with only 2gb, I've done it but it's slow, 4gb should be plenty.
  13. sumone macrumors regular

    Mar 23, 2011
    I'm going to start out by saying that I don't know a whole lot about the MBA.

    But in my opinion I would go for the 13" baseline MBP. The MBA seems more like a niche item it cost almost as much as the baseline MBP and doesn't even have as much under it's hood. The one plus is the lighter weight which, as a college student myself, I know can make a big difference. But, please correct me if I am wrong, would it not be pretty much as sufficient to get a $400 netbook and just hackintosh it?
  14. Michael383 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2011
    I think the base 13" MBP would be a good choice.

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