Can't decide between any of the macs!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by stickyfingers85, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. stickyfingers85 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2010
    #1
    First, my current spec mac and situation:

    Macbook Pro 15inch - mid 2009
    2.8ghz core 2 duo
    8gb ram (upgraded from initial 4gb)
    750Gb Hybrid drive (upgraded from initial 500Gb, went for hybrid as couldn't afford SSD of a larger size)

    Used for internet, watching films/tvshows, listening to music, work documents (word, excel, powerpoint etc), emails, occasional small video editing, virtualization with vmware fusion, very very occasional gaming

    I'm from the UK but currently finishing my 1st year of a 2 year secondment to Paris. I'm normally based in Paris and haven't done much travelling, however for my 2nd year my company has said that i will most likely be travelling to India, Canada and Chile several times for approx 2 weeks at a time.

    It would be great to upgrade my macbook pro as its really starting to be a bit sluggish. The CD Drive has now failed, its starting to be slow for even internet browsing, and whenever I use skype (or anything else cpu intensive) it overheats so much that the other person on the call can't hear me over the noise of my fans!

    However, i'm finding it difficult to make a decision over macbook air, macbook pro, and the imac. Could anyone make a suggestion or opinion?

    In an ideal World I would purchase an imac, however my apartment in Paris doesn't really have the room for one. I dont have a desk or the space to put one in, and if I'm going to be doing any travelling I wouldn't be able to take it with me. Although, i have thought about purchasing an ipad along with it for travelling.

    When i compare the macbook air and pro, i would like to go for the air, however storage would be an issue for me. On my current 750Gb internal HDD i've used close to 600Gb. I have a large itunes library (music, films, tvshows etc), and a 100Gb iphoto album. I've read some info about storing the iphoto and/or itunes library on an external disk but i've no idea really where to begin or if its a good idea. I would also be worried about backups if everything is stored on an external disk.

    I could go for a macbook pro with enough storage for what i need and just put up with the extra weight, or go for a macbook air and spec it up to 512Gb of storage. However that still wouldn't be enough space and i'd still have to buy an external hard drive. I may as well save myself £300 and keep with the stock 256Gb hard drive and buy an external drive.

    A the moment i'm considing this:

    Macbook Air 13 inch
    2.0Ghz core i7
    8gb ram
    512Gb hdd

    I'm really confused about what I should do. Any advice?

    Sorry for the long post!

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    #2
    Macbook Air - Pick your model and an external drive to store all media. There are many many websites about how to do this, just do a search on Google.

    Traveling, the MBA is amazing. The new retina Macbook pros supposedly are nice as well, but now you are well over $2K USD and is completely unnecessary for what you do.
     
  3. RUGERMAN macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    #3
     
  4. thuchu1 macrumors regular

    thuchu1

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2010
    Location:
    Auburn Hills, MI
    #4
    he Air Ultimate as you spec'd out is definitely your best bet. An all in one is cool, but for someone travelling who really doesn't need a quad-core's power you can't beat a light portable and a nice external monitor at the home base. The pro is a very nice computer, but your usage really wouldn't take advantage of it.
     
  5. stickyfingers85 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2010
    #5
    THanks for the replies

    Is it worth going for the 512Gb Hdd for the air or sticking with a 256Gb as i'd still have to get an external hdd?

    With the air i can max out all the options and it comes to about £1900 with applecare

    Or i could go for the top spec macbook pro 13inch, use my current 750Gb hybrid drive, and it only comes to about £1200

    From what i can tell the air is better for the portability and hdd speed, but the pro would be better for cpu speed and storage space

    It's a real tough one!
     
  6. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    #6
    If you are going to have to use an external, why not even drop down to the 128GB model? Maybe the base 13? The processor speed bump isn't much more than about a 10% increase in power which won't be noticeable in the things you do and all you are using the SSD for is programs and OS which 128GB is more than sufficient.
     
  7. entatlrg macrumors 68040

    entatlrg

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Location:
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    #7
    13" Air, 2.0/8 all the way.

    13" MBP screen res too low, too glossy, heavy, and you won't likely take advantage of the CPU.
     
  8. stickyfingers85 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2010
    #8
    THanks

    I think i'm going to go for the Air with 2.0ghz, 8gb ram, 256gb hdd, and then buy a usb3 1tb external hdd for storage

    The only thing that worries me now is backup. At the moment i have a 1tb 3.5inch external hard drive plugged in running timemachine for my backups

    If i go for the air, my most critical data will already be stored on an external hdd. Do i use the same, new, 1tb usb hdd for storing my data and the time machine backup of the air, or buy 2 external hard disks.

    I wouldn't have a backup of my critical data on the external hdd

    The only thing i can think of is to back my music, videos, photos etc into the cloud, like google drive, but thats a lot of data, around 400Gb
     
  9. RedCroissant Suspended

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2011
    #9
    This is why I would recommend a base or mid-level 13" MBP. It won't be as powerful as processor, but you'l be able to install a SSD yourself, replace the stock HD with your own current one to use as media storage and then you have a machine that's more powerful, can store more, and is more capable as far as expandability without the need for TB adaptor cables. Max out the RAM and then you'll have an awesome machine.

    You could probably also set the HDD to go to sleep while the SSD main drive is active in order to conserve energy. And since you seem not to care about the ODD because you were considering the MBA, then no loss there and you can always make into an external one.
     
  10. quasinormal macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2007
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia.
    #10
    If you do decide to get Air, these great guides from iLounge might be useful in gaining an insight into how iTunes operates with external drives.

    Ilounge- Using a itunes with an external hard drive

    Tranferring Your Itunes Library

    One way to back up (against HD failures anyway) on an external drive is to grab a dual 2.5" RAID 1 (2 mirrored drives) enclosure. You'll probably need the Thunderbolt to FW800 adapter as the enclosures USB2 port probably wouldn't supply enough power to both drives.

    http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/firewire/EliteALmini/RAID/eSATA_FW800_FW400_USB
     
  11. jhnnyby macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    #11
    another alternative

    Like RedCroissant said, you could stick with a MBP and mod it.

    or even keep your current laptop...
    Since your optical drive has failed and storage is a big issue for you, why don't you get a tray and put an SSD drive where your optical disk was, with your OS, applications and important files on it? You could get a small (like 128 GB) and cheaper SSD and I'm sure you'll find that loading off that is a lot snappier. However, you did say you have a hybrid drive which is still pretty good, so perhaps you do indeed need to just get a new computer if your finding it sluggish.

    just a moneywise thought :D
     
  12. RedCroissant Suspended

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2011
    #12
    Regarding the slowing down of your computer... have you considered backing up, reformatting, and then reinstalling the OS to see if that fixes the problem? Because of that's all it needs, then you(like jhnnyby said) keep your current machine and save a lot of money by focusing on upgrading the internals. I would try the reformat and reinstall before truly making a decision though.
     
  13. stickyfingers85 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2010
    #13
    I did a fresh install when i changed my HDD to a hybrid one about 3 months ago

    But, yeah, I guess it is worth giving it a try before a spend a fortune on a new one :rolleyes:
     
  14. RedCroissant Suspended

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2011
    #14
    The reason I would do that is because my 2009 iMac was slowing down a bit, and then I replaced the 320GB HDD with a 3TB one, maxed out the RAM, and did fresh install of everything and it works like it's brand new. So I don't think that your 2009 should be slowing down to the point that it's becoming unusable or even making you consider another purchase.

    After all it's still recent enough to be able to run Mountain Lion when it's released, so there has to be another fix for the decreased speed.
     
  15. barkmonster macrumors 68020

    barkmonster

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2001
    Location:
    Lancashire
    #15
    Use your optical drive bay for an SSD, problem solved!

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Akasa-Stor-...TF8&colid=11EEGOKOKZ46R&coliid=I223ZIS7AT46S3

    You have a HDD for storage, you no doubt didn't partition it so it's slowing down because as a HDD fills up, they tend to do that if you don't have a smaller partition for the OS and use the larger one for storing files. (Also those hybrid drives are pure marketing hype).

    SSDs have gone down a lot and you'd be surprised how slim your OS actually is compared with your music, video and documents.

    I know your optical drive is out of action but an external one solves that problem and you can get a 120Gb SSD for as little as £65 these days.

    A Macbook Air wouldn't be a step forward apart from the additonal CPU power either. You'd have to put your existing HDD in an external case to use it with the Macbook Air, you'd still need an external DVD in either case and you'd save a fortune over buying a new mac
     
  16. stickyfingers85 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2010
    #16
    Yeah, i'm gonna give my macbook pro a complete fresh install and see what happens, and then if worse comes to worse i'll put in an additional ssd into the optical bay slot

    I did think of another solution, if i had the money; Buy a mac mini server setup in raid to store all my data, and then use a mba for daily use
     
  17. RedCroissant Suspended

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2011
    #17
    Let us know how it goes and if the fresh install does anything for you.
     
  18. coodem macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2012
    #18
    Change your 750gb to an SSD256, then move 750gb to your optical bay, as backup storage.
    The 750gb drive is probably slower than the original drive you had in there in the first place.
    SSD is the secret
     
  19. takezo808, Jul 26, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2012

    takezo808 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2011
    #19
    2012 Mac Book Pro 13.3

    It's probably the most popular MBP model. Why? because it hast the raw power to keep up with most apps. If your old MBP feels slugish, moving to an AIR would not be wise. AIR is the ultra portable. While it will run cricles around any PC ultra portables, it may not be quite fast enough comming form a hig end laptop. The Intel 4000 HD on the new MBPs and MBA is also a surprisingly fast Intergrated GPU. In fact only high performance laptops will have the faster AMD or Nvida gpus installed this year. But clock speed on MBA for the 4000 HD GPU may be limited to reduce power consumption.

    The 13.3 MBP is also very light portable. not quite MBA but for it's capabilites it's pretty darn light and portable.

    It's no wonder the 13.3 MBP is one of the most popular Macs this year.

    The 13.3 MBP is also cheaper than MBA 13.3.
     
  20. chiguy20002 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2012
    Location:
    MI
    #20
    I agree with this. I have a 13.3 MBP (mid 2012) and it is very portable. The reason why I went with this over the 13.3 MBA is storage space, and upgradability. 128 GB SSD or 500 GB Mechanical Hard Drive.

    The difference in weight is about a pound and a half. If you need to carry an external superdrive, it is .75 pounds and is something else extra you have to carry.

    You will see a difference in boot up speed and application launches with the different types of drives, but the beauty of the MBP is that you can eventually upgrade that mechanical hard drive to an SSD drive when budget allows, or even reformat your 750GB drive for it and install.

    13-inch : 128GB MBA

    1.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
    processor
    Turbo Boost up to 2.8GHz
    4GB memory
    128GB flash storage1
    Intel HD Graphics 4000

    2.96 pounds

    13-inch: 2.5 GHz MBP

    2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
    Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz
    4GB 1600MHz memory
    500GB 5400-rpm hard drive1
    Intel HD Graphics 4000
    Built-in battery (7 hours)2

    4.5 pounds
     
  21. Synergie macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2011
    Location:
    Halifax, Canada
    #21
    Sell you current MBP, get the new 13" 2012 higher end MBP... the Core i7 2.9 GHz one. It will come with 8 Gb RAM installed. Then, swap out the included 750 Gb Hard Drive and replace it with a Seagate Momentus XT 750 Gb drive (now about 200.00 USD) It's a hybrid drive that combines a small SSD portion and a 7200 RPM platter drive. It dynamically knows which apps you launch most and automatically puts key files from them in the SSD portion so the boot time and program loading times are pretty near SSD. Plus you get the added advantage that it's a 750 Gb drive.

    I would never go with Macbook Air because the screen colour reproduction on the Pro screen is WAY better (wider gamut) The Air has a tiny bit more resolution, but suffers in the colour repro. You have upgrade options with the Pro (RAM and larger HDD down the road). Plus as people have said you can always opt to remove the superdrive and replace it with more storage.
     
  22. stickyfingers85 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2010
    #22
    I did a fresh install when i upgraded to ML yesterday, and everything seems to be running much smoother.

    I even managed to repair my optical drive! Cleaned it using a credit card, some paper, and screen cleaner.

    However, i'm still tempted to sell it and go for a MBA, simply for the portability when im travelling over the next year
     
  23. RedCroissant Suspended

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2011
    #23
    Well that's awesome! a MBA would be fun because it's lighter, but at only 1.5 lb more, you can shave that off by getting a SSD and removing the ODD. It won't be a MBA, but it would still be more powerful.

    However, if you're interested in using the Airplay feature in ML, then it might be in your best interest to get a new one since your current machine won't.
     

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