Getting a laptop (Macbook Air possibly) Help?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Mozzalicious, Jul 18, 2012.

  1. Mozzalicious, Jul 18, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2012

    Mozzalicious macrumors member

    Jul 16, 2012
    Disclaimer: I am new to this forum so this might be in the wrong section, it didn't seem like anywhere was perfect for this so I put in here, but if it gets moved no hard feelings lol. I'm also sure this forum is chock full of posts about people buying a macbook or such xD sorry for the clutter in advance

    So, I'm getting a laptop for college and I thought a Mac would be a great choice as I've only really used PCs before and Macs have many advantages, but my only option is to get a refurbished one. I've done a lot of research into Macs as of late and Airs and Pros differences, but I'm not at all an expert. That's why I'm seeking you guys ^^Right now the Apple website offers quite a lot of Macbook Pros and Macbook Airs that are refurbished, I'm trying to figure out which would be optimal for me. So,

    I don't know my budget because (spoiled-sounding discalimer) my parents are going to pay for a laptop except Macs are a bit out of the price range for them (about $700ish, I'm going to find out ASAP exactly how much they'll put in). If the need arises I plan to pour my own money into it which could be a couple hundred dollars, so I'll say my budget is 1,000 though I do not want to spend that much unless I really have to.

    My needs/uses:
    -I mostly just use the internet
    -The biggest/most demanding program I use is probably ITunes, everything else is like Audacity (I plan to switch to Garage Band), Skype, simple stuff
    -I do upload videos to Youtube too
    -I would like to be able to run programs like ITunes simultaneously with --multiple tabs on the internet or a program like Bittorrent and not have the computer slow down a ton
    -I also watch videos a lot like on or Netflix
    -I'm not sure how much space I'll need, but a good amount would be nice I use a decent number of programs and have thousands of MP3s and
    -I also might get into art and the programs for that that come with Macs
    -I also might get into gaming a little bit with either Mac games or Windows and then PC games

    If it's less exspensive I might get a small harddrive to begin with (like 32 or 64 GB) and buy a larger one individually if thats a good idea, it seems like generally the larger the harddrive the larger the processor (1.6 ghz for example) and the only reason i could see getting a small harddrive to begin with is i needed a large processor which is more exspensive but could get it with a small amount of gigs at first to save money.

    My one friend, who is a Mac opponent, said the Air has no vents and heats up like crazy which I do not want. I had a Dell where the entire laptop body was basically a heat sink -_- it didnt end well.

    I also heard of someone who wanted to run Pro Tools and couldnt run it on his first Mac (it was a straight-up macbook, not pro or air I believe) because it couldnt process it.

    I've also heard in reviews that a MacAir or maybe just the cheaper MacAirs have horrible screen resolution when you move your head (like colors dim, etc). Is there anything else like these I need to take into account/are these true/worrisome?

    I should also say though I don't really care about screen size, though I might prefer a 13'3 over an 11. AND, I like the portability and cheapness of the Air (except a Pro with three times as much GBs and better processor seems to be as much as the air :/ I guess the most inexspensive/lowest quality air is cheaper than the most inexspensive pro), but I've heard in terms of being a powerful, highly capable computer it falls short of the Pro. I guess part of the reason I listed out my needs is to know if this is a problem for me

    I guess thats it for now. Sorry for all this information and this long post. I just need to decide which Mac is best for me
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    For $1000 you'll only be able to afford the entry-level 11.6" MBA.

    ...indicate a Windows machine will be fine for you.

    MBA hard drives are available in 64, 128, and 256 capacities, not 32 GB.

    The MBA does have vents, but it also heats up - like any other Mac.

    Shouldn't matter for you.

    It's not too bad, but perhaps you should go to a store and look for yourself.
  3. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    I recommend the MBP. Maybe a refurbished model to help out with your budget. It's a more flexible computer then a MBA. The MacBook Air is set in stone. You can't upgrade the SSD. You can't upgrade the RAM. You could potentially upgrade the SSD but the cost is rather high and it's not "reasonable" or worth it.

    if you really want a MBA then I suggest buying off Amazon. The 128GB model costs around $1050, free ship and no tax. Apple sells the same model for $1,199 plus tax. Sure, you don't get the educational promotion, but the tax you pay already exceeds the value of the $100 gift card. Not to mention, the additional $150 before taxes.

    As for heat, Macs do better with heat for various reasons. One, the enclosure is aluminum which makes it easier to spread heat. That means with the same amount of heat, a plastic PC will probably concentrate the heat in one area whereas a Mac will spread it across the entire body, making the overal temperture per unit area much less. Two, Macs have relatively low power consumption. My friend's HP laptop consumes 120 watts. My MBP consumes 45 watts. That's about a third of power consumption. Albiet his HP laptop is 15.6" not a 13" but the 15" MBP consumes 60 watts which is still one half of his.
  4. Retina MacBook macrumors regular

    Jul 19, 2012
    The MacBook Air is perfect! And it will be a perfect timing since Apple just released their new MBA.
  5. koigirl macrumors 6502a


    Jul 29, 2011
    Raleigh, NC
    I'd look for a refurb 2011 13" MBA with 4GB RAM or a 2011 13" MBP (which you can upgrade to 8GB RAM, which is even better). Advantage for MBP is upgradeability and larger memory. If/when hard drive dies on MBP, you can also add an SSD. Plus you can upgrade RAM when/if you need it. Advantage for portability goes to MBA. At least 4GB RAM with either will enable you to run any Windows programs you might have need for in college through Parallels or Bootcamp.
  6. Mozzalicious thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 16, 2012
    I can get a 13.3 Air too and a macbook for $19 over 1,000, I'm looking here

    Aside from Garageband which is Mac exclusive though there are alternates available that you can get on Windows like SONAR, Mixcraft. I have heard that for comparable prices it's possible to get a really good Windows computer and a few of my friends who hate Mac are encouraging me to go that route which I'm considering.

    My bad xD

    That's reassuring ^^ thanks

    Thanks :)

    That's not a bad idea, I take it anywhere like BestBuy or Walmart will have MacAirs to see?

    Whats SSD? and RAM is like the processor, right? Which reminds me, how exactly do processors work like the differences with dual-core and stuff?

    It's only 929 refurbished, but im assuming tax will make it a lot more xD Also, do people think refurbished is a bad idea? I've read reviews of refurbished macs on powermax and they always say the computer is reliable, but my friend and mom said not to go refurbished. ive also heard a lot about this student discount, how exactly do i get it?

    That heat and watt thing isreally interesting too, more advantages for Mac. And my friends had gotten close to dissuading me from a Mac too.

    Which one is that and how much will it be? This looks to be what you're saying with the air and it comes with 500 gigs apparently o_O and this is a macbook pro

    Should I expect the harddrive to die at some point? And what do you mean by parallels and bootcamp?

    Thanks so much for all the help everyone ^^ You're seriously helping me out
  7. lukekarts macrumors regular

    Mar 16, 2009
    SSD = Solid State Drive. New versions of hard drives, basically. Unlike standard Hard Drives, they have no moving parts, so no 'clicking' sound. Read and Write speeds are much, much faster. They're like a giant, ultra high speed SD card, in the simplest sense.

    Processors do all the processing - so the faster the processer the faster things will run e.g. editing videos, music etc.

    As a general rule (in Macs) Intel Core i7 > Core i5 > Core 2 Duo.

    Apple refurbished have a great rep. As for student discount, go to -, you will see 'Education Store' on the middle-left, or here:


    Parallels is a piece of software that allows you to run windows in a 'window' on your Mac - so you boot up into Mac OSX as usual, but can then run Windows via Parallels.

    Bootcamp is Apple software that allows you to install Windows on your Mac, effectively giving you the option to boot into OSX or Windows when you switch on. Parallels is naturally more demanding on resources.

    Personally, I think the 2011 13 inch MBA / 128GB SSD is ideal for you. It's quick, the screen size is ideal for a primary PC, you can do some light gaming (Valve games via Steam, Starcraft 2, World of Warcraft all run well), and most importantly everything else you said you want to do on a Mac. Air's do get hot when you push them hard, but thats because the latest Intel processors have much higher operating temperatures - up to 105 degrees C.
  8. Tfb macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2012
    I wouldn't have any quality concerns on an Apple refurb. For your purposes it would be more a question of the trade-off between the education discount/gift card and the refurb discount.
  9. Mozzalicious thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 16, 2012
    Thanks for that SSD info, it makes sense ^^ And the processor layout too, thanks :)

    That's good cause I'm definitely leaning towards refurbished. Unfortunately you can only get the student discount if you dont go refurbished apparently and it's also only 50 dollars for Air so I think I'll just stick with the refurbished.

    The explanation of parallels and bootcamp makes sense, I want to say I'd lean towards bootcamp cause it's less demanding, but I have to admit the option of switching instantaneously instead of with start-up is tempting.

    That suggestion is very helpful. I definitely don't think I'll need bigger than a 13,3 and a Macbook Pro would be nice, but if I don't need the superior capabilities/upgradability than I'll save the money gladly ^^

    Does have SSD?

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