Good Article: Which is the best MacBook for you?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by iPhone1, Mar 1, 2011.

  1. iPhone1 macrumors 65816


    Apr 2, 2010
    San Diego, CA

    Article --- (Prices in euros?)
    By Gary Marshall

    The latest versions of the MacBook, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air are the kind of kit you'd happily swap your kidneys for.
    But which one should you go for, and much kidney would you need to sell?
    Here's everything you need to know about the MacBook range: specs, prices and how much it'll cost to replace those internal batteries.

    MacBook vs MacBook Pro vs MacBook Air: Price
    Entry to the MacBook family starts at £867 for both the MacBook and MacBook Air, with the 2011 MacBook Pro starting at £999 - although of course if you head for the top of the range and start adding custom options you can easily make a Mac that costs more than a car.
    There's only one MacBook, but there are two base MacBook Air models - an 11-inch for £867 and a 13-inch for £1,122 - and three MacBook Pros: a 13-inch (£999), a 15-inch (£1,549) and a 17-inch (£2,099).

    MacBook vs MacBook Pro vs MacBook Air: Processors
    The MacBook and MacBook Airs have Intel Core 2 Duo processors: 2.4GHz on the MacBook, 1.4GHz/1.6GHz on the 11-inch MacBook Air and 1.86GHz/2.13GHz on the 13-inch MacBook Air.
    The MacBook Air's solid state drives more than compensate for the comparatively slower processors: they have a dramatic effect on performance, making the Airs genuine flying machines.
    The entry level MacBook Pro has a dual-core 2.3GHz Intel Core i5, with a dual-core Core i7 in the 2.7GHz model. The 15-inch and 17-inch Pros have quad-core Core i7 processors: 2.0GHz, 2.2GHz or 2.3GHz in the 15-inch and 2.2GHz or 2.3GHz in the 17-inch.

    MacBook vs MacBook Pro vs MacBook Air: Graphics
    MacBooks and MacBook Airs have Nvidia GeForce 320M graphics processors with 256MB of DDR3 SDRAM shared with the main system memory, while the 13-inch MacBook Pro has an Intel HD Graphics 3000 with 384MB of DDR3 SDRAM. Again, that's shared memory.
    The 15-inch and 17-inch Pros have the same Intel HD system supplemented by AMD Radeon processors: the 2.0GHz 15-inch gets a Radeon HD6490M with 256MB of GDDR5 (Graphics Double Data Rate) memory while the 2.2GHz 15- and 17-inch Pros get the Radeon HD 6750M with 1GB of GDDR5 memory. Having two graphics systems boosts battery life, with the Radeons napping until they're actually needed.

    MacBook vs MacBook Pro vs MacBook Air: Displays
    Every MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro gets an LED-backlit glossy widescreen display, with anti-glare available as an option on the 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pros. The MacBook display has a 13.3-inch viewable area and 1280x800 resolution; the MacBook Air a choice of 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch displays running 1366x768 or 1440x900 respectively; and the MacBook Pro is available with a 13.3-inch, 15.4-inch or 17-inch display. Resolutions are 1280x800 on the 13-inch, 1440x900 on the 15-inch (1680x1050 is available as an option) and 1920x1200 on the 17-inch.

    MacBook vs MacBook Pro vs MacBook Air: Memory and storage
    MacBook Airs ship with solid state flash storage, with either 64 or 128GB in the 11-inch model and 128GB or 256GB in the 13-inch model. The MacBook has a choice of a 250GB, 320GB or 500GB Serial ATA drive running at 5,400rpm, and the MacBook Pros have a choice of Serial ATA or solid state storage. Plump for SATA and you can choose between 320GB, 500GB and 750GB drives; go for solid state and the options are 128GB, 256GB or 512GB. That last option adds a whopping £1,000 to the price of your MacBook Pro.
    The MacBook and MacBook Airs have 2GB of 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM, with 4GB as an option; the MacBook Pros have 4GB of 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM, with 8GB as an option.
    The MacBook and MacBook Pros have eight-speed SuperDrive CD/DVD rewriter built in. There's no room for one in the MacBook Air, but you can add an external SuperDrive, designed specifically for the MacBook Air, for £66.

    MacBook vs MacBook Pro vs MacBook Air: Battery
    The entire MacBook range boasts internal lithium-polymer batteries delivering 5 hours of wireless web browsing in the 11-inch MacBook Air and up to 7 hours in every other MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. The batteries aren't user replaceable, but Apple reckons they're good for around five years. Battery replacement currently costs £139 including installation and responsible disposal of the depleted battery.

    MacBook vs MacBook Pro vs MacBook Air: Audio/Video
    All of Apple's portable computers have integrated cameras: an iSight in the MacBook, a FaceTime camera (iSight with a new name) in the Air and FaceTime HD in the MacBook Pro. The MacBook and MacBook Air have Mini DisplayPort connectors, while the MacBook Pros have the new Thunderbolt connector, which combines DisplayPort and PCIe in a new kind of port.
    The MacBook and MacBook Pros have integrated stereo speakers with subwoofers, but the thinner Air loses the subwoofers and gains an integrated omnidirectional microphone instead. The MacBook has a combined headphone/line in socket and microphone, as does the 13-inch MacBook Pro; 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pros get a digital/analogue audio line-in mini-jack, a digital/analogue headphone/line out mini-jack and an integrated microphone.

    MacBook vs MacBook Pro vs MacBook Air: Expansion
    The bigger the laptop, the more ports you get to play with. The MacBook has twin USB 2.0 ports. The MacBook Air has twin USB 2.0 plus an SD card slot in the 13-inch model, and the MacBook Pros have twin USB 2.0 (three in the 17-inch), one FireWire 800 port and one Thunderbolt port. The 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pros have an SDXC card slot, while the 17-inch gets an ExpressCard/34 slot.

    MacBook vs MacBook Pro vs MacBook Air: Wi-Fi, keyboards, bits and bobs
    All Apple laptops have 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR. Keyboards are full-sized (illuminated with an ambient light sensor in the MacBook Pros) and the touchpad is large, glass and multi-touch. The MacBook is made of polycarbonate, but the other models' construction is precision aluminium unibody.

    By Gary Marshall
  2. opera57 macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2009
    Very useful. Should be used as a starting point for anyone that is considering buying a new Mac. [​IMG]
  3. Buck987 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 16, 2010
    nice to have in one place I guess..but we can get all this info from

Share This Page