Decision Help: 13" MBA or 15" MBP?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by ejperry09, Dec 20, 2011.

  1. ejperry09 macrumors newbie

    Dec 20, 2011
    Hi all,
    I've been in and out of my local Apple store 4 times in 4 days. When I've asked what to recommend between MBA and MBP I've gotten a 2/2 split. I need some help on here clearing things up for me.

    Here's my debate:
    13" MacBook Air 1.8 GHz Dual-Core i7, 256GB SSD, 4GB memory
    15" MacBook Pro 2.2 GHz Quad-Core i7, 500GB HD, 4GB memory

    Here's what I plan on using the chosen device for:
    Operating 12-15 1MB rich, macro-enabled MS Excel spreadsheets via Parallels Desktop simultaneously, ~100GB of iTunes music, ~30GB of iPhoto pictures, and Apple TV. I plan on configuring 3-4 user accounts on it, each relatively customized.

    Here's what I don't plan on using the chosen device for:
    Hardcore video-editing, gaming, anything requiring intensive graphics, photoshop, or Garageband.

    Here's what I need help with:
    Does the read/write quickness of the SSD trump the horsepower of the Quad-Core i7 when it comes to doing heavy spreadsheet design, data lifting, sifting through a large iTunes library responsively, and quickly booting multiple Parallels Desktop windows? Or does the raw power of the Quad-Core make sense despite the conventional hard drive?

    Please advise. I welcome any/all advice as I've been swinging back and forth depending on the day.

  2. RedRallyeZ macrumors regular

    Nov 15, 2010
    Is upgrading the RAM/storage device on the MBP a possibility for you? of course its more efficiently done aftermarket to save money, but you could possibly have the best of both worlds with a Quad core MacBook Pro with an SSD installed. Also if you are running a VM, an 8GB upgrade to your memory would be beneficial. you're looking at about $40 from new egg for that.
  3. theipadkid macrumors newbie

    Dec 18, 2011
    on average id say theres one of these threads every week. do some research and its all personal preference. USE THE SEARCH BAR for previous threads first.
  4. ctboys macrumors newbie

    Dec 20, 2011
    i think MBA 13" is sweet choice.It very portable and more sexy than MBP.Quite powerful too.
  5. dontwalkhand macrumors 601


    Jul 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Because you said Parallels desktop, I immediately will say MacBook Pro :).

    Though the Air is a nice machine, the Pro looks great too, but will give you more bang for your buck, and more power when you need it.
  6. toothache macrumors member

    Dec 18, 2011
    I was debating hard but when you see AG on MBP.

    Really worth it.

    BUT MBA 13 with ssd is hard to pass.
  7. ethics101 macrumors regular

    Apr 16, 2011
    Are you going to be taking this laptop around a lot. Also, bootcamp instead of vm is recommended coming from someone who uses access and vba daily.
  8. mofunk macrumors 68020


    Aug 26, 2009
    This is a no brainer. If you are editing go with the 15in screen which is roughly 11x8 screen. Maybe 2in wider. But basically you can do all that on a 15 MBP.

    I'm running basically that on my 2008 MBP , plenty of processing and more.
  9. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    You will need more RAM. The MBA can't be upgraded, so you should go with the MBP and upgrade to 8GB RAM (this can be done aftermarket for $40, the upgrade that Apple offers is overpriced).

    The speedups a SSD provides are orthogonal to what a quad-core CPU does for you. Ideally you want both. I think RAM is a killer here which makes the MBA not an option. If you can't afford the SSD (256GB is expensive for MBPs), consider at least taking the 7200 rpm drive.
  10. motoracer1486 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 26, 2006
    Get a 13" MBP and an aftermarket SSD + 8GB RAM, you will LOVE it. :apple:
  11. chrisvee macrumors regular

    Jul 2, 2010
    Winnipeg, Canada
    +1 for the MBP 15" and aftermarket upgrading it.
  12. ano0oj macrumors 6502

    Apr 20, 2010
    100 threads by now, but i was in the same debate and ultimately came to the '15 in mid 2010. It's a little bit of a "at home" laptop, but not unmanageable to carry around..liked the bigger screen because I like having multiple things up at once and the '13s screen didn't seem to accommodate that
  13. sliesnham macrumors newbie

    Dec 12, 2011
    I nearly bought the MBA 13" after much thought and deliberation but in the end I bought a 13" MBP i7 which I dropped 8GB RAM in and a Vertex 3 SSD and I am very pleased. If you are running VMWare or Parallels I'd try and avoid the 4GB limitation of the MBA, 8GB of RAM will most likely make a big difference to the overall user experience. I am a fairly average user and I'm not currently using VMWare and I am almost always using more than 4GB RAM. I make best use of resources by keeping all apps open now which is nice.

    The only downside of the 13" MBP spec is the screen resolution but Lion makes it easy to live with and I love the depth of colour it has, it marginally trumps the MBA screen but they are both good at the end of the day.
  14. Wicked1 macrumors 68040


    Apr 13, 2009
    New Jersey

    I am holding out on the hopes that sometime Quarter 1 of 2012 they will release a 15" Air type MBP. I have a 2009 uMB 2.4 and I am holding out for a newer Air, no need for me to get MBP anymore, prefer lighter device. That being said like one of the other posters stated, it is all preference and what you will be using it for.
  15. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England

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