Help me choose between these notebooks for college?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by DrJames, Jul 10, 2012.

  1. DrJames macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2012
    #1
    I'll be going to college in the fall and I'm wondering which you would choose between the two.

    Option 1:
    13" Macbook Pro
    2.5GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz
    8GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM — 2x4GB
    512GB Solid State Drive

    Option 2:
    13" Macbook Air
    2.0GHz Intel Dual-Core Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz
    8GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
    512GB Flash Storage

    Any more advice would be greatly appreciated! (They both end up to be approximately the same price.)
     
  2. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #2
    Those two options are useless to me unless I know your needs for college. What are you going to do?
     
  3. Trey M macrumors 6502a

    Trey M

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    Location:
    USA
    #3
    By default I always refer people to the Air. If you need a good, sturdy laptop to last you 4 years of college that'll easily get by for internet browsing, music, watching videos, microsoft office, etc., the Air is perfect.

    If, however, you have an interest in gaming or any sort of photo/video editing, the MBP might be the better choice.
     
  4. Ksubi macrumors member

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    Jun 12, 2012
    #4
    MBP for sure, you will regret if you get MBA

    If portability during lessons is a concern for you, then MBA is for you
     
  5. DrJames thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 5, 2012
    #5
    Nothing Serious

    Basic Internet Use/Email
    Word Processing and Other Productivity Suites
    Music Creating/Streaming/Storing
     
  6. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #6
    Will you carry your laptop around campus or will it stay in the dorm?
     
  7. Slivortal macrumors 6502

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    Jun 14, 2012
    #7
    Aren't both of these (or at least the second option) over $2000 with student discount? You could easily get an MBPR for less (that would be my option). As for weight, it would actually weigh less than option 1, and it would have a quad-core processor.

    I mean, it wouldn't have 512GB onboard storage, but is that really that much of a dealbreaker with externals, etc?
     
  8. Trey M macrumors 6502a

    Trey M

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    #8
    For your listed uses, the MBA is absolutely perfect for your needs. I imagine you want to have a lot of storage which is why you opted for the 512 SSD, so that should work great. The MBP will also work for you, but the Air is really a lot easier to carry around and you would never notice the performance difference for the uses you listed. If you can go thinner/lighter for the same thing, why wouldn't you?

    And if you really feel like you need an optical drive, get an external for the few times you'll need one. It's much smarter to spend $70 on an external than to lug around the drive in your machine everyday when you hardly ever use it, IMO.

    ----------

    Why would he regret a MBA?
     
  9. Slivortal macrumors 6502

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    #9
    Actually, if this is true, an MBA may be perfect just for weight alone. You're not really doing much taxing other than music creation.
     
  10. DrJames thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 5, 2012
    #10
    Sorry guys for the non informative thread. I'm quite new to this.

    I'd be carrying it around and keeping it in my dorm. It'd be my main computer.

    Including:
    In class, in the dorm, taking home when I get there, etc.

    (Thanks for bearing with me.)
     
  11. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #11
    So this computer will be a main and should be highly portable? By that I'd say the MBP, not the MBA.
     
  12. Slivortal macrumors 6502

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    Jun 14, 2012
    #12
    What would he need from his computer that an MBA couldn't provide? A 2.0 GHz ULV i7 should be more than enough for his needs, and that's the only real specs difference between the two.

    (Sorry to OP for third person text)
     
  13. jav6454, Jul 10, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 11, 2012

    jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #13
    MBA's are thermally limited. If they reach a certain temp they will throttle. MBPs are much more thermal tolerant due to their better cooling. If this laptop is to be the main machine, then OP should have something that can compute anywhere without a throttle.
     
  14. Slivortal macrumors 6502

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    Jun 14, 2012
    #14
    But what would OP do that would thermally throttle his computer? Edit music? And by virtue of ULV processors, DDR3L RAM, etc, shouldn't it have a lower thermal footprint to begin with?

    I've never heard of an MBA's bottleneck being thermals, but perhaps I just haven't heard anything from the crowd who's MBAs do throttle.
     
  15. stevelam macrumors 65816

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  16. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #16
    Yes, a ULV CPU would have a lower thermal output, but it still doesn't mean it won't make enough heat to throttle it.

    There are several articles discussing it.
     
  17. Trey M macrumors 6502a

    Trey M

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    #17
    He said he'll use the the computer for Basic Internet Use/Email, Word Processing and Other Productivity Suites , Music Creating/Streaming/Storing. Someone that doesn't need anything processor intensive isn't going to suffer from any sort of major throttling, and even if he did, he wouldn't notice it based on the use cases.
     
  18. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #18
    Clearly you haven't seen Flash run on a MBA... that alone will create so much heat throttling will occur.
     
  19. Trey M, Jul 10, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 11, 2012

    Trey M macrumors 6502a

    Trey M

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    #19
    I have a 2011 MBA in my sig, and I haven't noticed any heat throttling. Where in his use cases did he say anything about flash, btw?
     
  20. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #20
    Just search MR, plenty of articles discussing this issue.
     
  21. Trey M macrumors 6502a

    Trey M

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    #21
    I did search, and basically it seems the throttling occurs when playing a game or some video formats. Neither of which were in his use cases...

    I don't game on my MBA because I have a 15'', which is probably why I haven't noticed anything.
     
  22. gokart mozart, Jul 10, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2012

    gokart mozart macrumors 6502

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    #22
    You'll get by fine with the Air. I just graduated and I had a black 2007 MacBook for all 4 years. It has 2GB of RAM and no GPU, and it has definitely been showing its age. The Air has some similar specs with way more efficient modern parts. So it'll just get you by.

    If you want to do some serious music editing and composing, then you may want to look more at the Pro. It will also be able to burn CDs and DVDs for you, which you may want to do if you want to distribute your work in a physical medium. Weight-wise, I don't think the Pro is a big deal. Not like you need to take textbooks with you to class in the majority of cases. Plus, the GPU and CPU on the Pro make a difference in performance. HD videos on Netflix, HBOGo, Hulu, and Youtube (most of which being Flash) will also run better. These video services are huge in college (watching in between classes, or after moving out of the dorms you may opt for these over paying for cable), and you won't always have a video game system handy that'll play them on your TV for you (assuming you have a console and TV in the first place). Not to mention it gives you the option to play games if you want. It'll also run Windows better, especially in Parallels or VMWare.

    I vote Pro.
     
  23. TLewis macrumors 65816

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    Location:
    left coast, US
    #23
    Also, most of the people complaining about MBA heat issues seem to have the 11" MBA. The cooling on the 13" MBA seems to be a bit better (but can still have some issues).

    I'm also surprised that no one's mentioned that the 13" MBA has a higher-resolution (1440x900) display than the 13" MBP (1280x800). You have to splurge for the more expensive 15" MBP to get a 1440x900 or 1680x1050 display.

    The 13" MBA would be perfect for the OP, except that he's going to be in a college environment, and the MBA doesn't have a security slot. I think maclocks has a solution, but I don't know how good it is.
     
  24. Glockron macrumors member

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    Jun 16, 2012
    #24
    My advice - get the Air. But a 512 gig SSD is a HUGE waste of money. Those things are pricey. You could easily get by with 128 gigs, or maybe 256 if need be . Just get an external drive for movies and save yourself a lot of money...

    Also - you don't need the i7. Just go for the base 13" MBA i5/128/8
     
  25. TLewis macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Location:
    left coast, US
    #25
    Uh, no. It's not, "similar".

    The current Air -- especially with an SSD -- is a whole lot better than your ancient 2007 Macbook. For starters, just look at the geekbench numbers.

    Given what the OP wants to do, the MBA is perfectly fine, especially as it has a higher-res display than the 13" MBP. (The 13" MBP still has the same graphics chip as the MBA, and so games are still problematic.) I think the biggest issue might be the lack of a security slot in the MBA.

    ----------

    Given that the OP is (1) about to enter college, and (2) is considering $2300 laptops (before education discount), I don't think money is that big an issue. If he can really afford the 512GB drive, he should go for it. It's really nice not having to carry around another battery-sucking dangly box (not to mention that almost all external HDs are mechanical and, thus, fragile).

    On the other hand, you're 1000% right, when it comes to frugality. :D
     

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