I'm totally stuck at what to do, someone convince me please!

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by linkandzelda, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. linkandzelda macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2010
    I've been looking at the MBA 11" and 13" for a while and have decided to get one. I'm constantly switching between getting the 11" and the 13" and just cant decide over which one to go for. I'm sure theres lots of threads like this but I thought i would explain my sort of plan.

    I currently have two Hackintoshes which i use on a daily basis. An MSI Wind U100 which i take to college and for doing work and other stuff. At home I have a Dell Inspiron 6400 with 2.16GHz, 4GB RAM and 250GB HDD connected to an external display at VGA resolution. My plan is to ditch both of these devices and replace them with a MBA + iMac/Custom Hackintosh build.

    Due to limits on funds ive decided to go with upgrading to the MBA first as college is the higher priority for me. I've got it in my head that I have to have a desktop and not one laptop for both uses. I was originally just gonna get a 15" MBP and be settled on that but i found out its rather heavy to carry around after using the netbook for a while.

    So the big question is for me. Shall i get the maxed out 11" or the medium spec 13"? Im thinking to myself that if i went with the 13" then its more expensive than the MBP 13" so im thinking why not go with that as money is an issue being a student. But the other half says i want the 11" because its so small and sweet and the res is enough for me. You can imagine im just switching between the two models all the time.

    I do and don't care about specs. I can run Dreamweaver, inDesign and a VMWare Virtual Machine of XP on an MSI Wind with 2GB RAM and 1.6GHz single core processor. But on the other hand the higher the specs the better which was why i was leaning to the 13". But then im thinking again that if its specs, go with the MBP as it has better specs. I really don't know what to do as i've reached a stall here.

    So guys help me lol. This will go on forever if i don't get convinced to lean one way or another.
  2. netdog macrumors 603


    Feb 6, 2006
    Do you want the bigger screen or don't you?

    I couldn't live with the 11.6" as my every day machine.

    Personally, I think that the 11.6" is for chicks. Fits great in their purses and it's so cute.

    (Flameproof suit on)
  3. Peter.Howard macrumors regular


    Oct 28, 2010
    Only you can decide which screen size is best for you.
  4. lasuther macrumors 6502a

    Feb 13, 2004
    Grand Haven, Michigan
    The 13" will give you an internal SD reader, larger screen, and a better/faster processor. Get a 1.86GHz 13" with 4GB RAM.
  5. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    I would definitely go with one of the 13" models. Personally, I like the performance and slight expandability of the MBP over the minimal weight loss of the MBA. You get a lot more features for less money with the 13" MBP, and it's by no means a heavy computer. Sure it's not as cool and sleek as the MBA, but it's more sensible for a college student.
  6. i7QuadCoreMania macrumors 6502

    Nov 10, 2009
    personally I got the 13" ultimate, cause I was tired of my dell 10v hack, wife still uses it, but I'm over the low res screen. Besides, installing updates are a pain, everytime you want to keep your fingers crossed that the patches wont break the system.

    Also, the highest cpu available on the 11" is 1.6ghz, I wanted something that was less Netbook'ish, went with the 2.13 and 4gb ram.

    Seen the 11" at the store many times, love the size and portability, although would get sick of the size of the screen quickly if I had to use it as my main machine.

    Just my personal take, but if you are strapped for cash, buy neither both of your machines should be good enough for college work, (unless you are doing processor intensive applications) as a former poor college student myself, I know the feeling too well of wanting the latest toy yet struggling to find the cash for it. But hey, we all got our priorities right? lol.
  7. shootingrubber macrumors 6502

    Mar 7, 2009
    That's actually what I thought too when deciding between the 11.6" and the 13.3" lol. That was not the basis of my decision though.
  8. linkandzelda, Nov 9, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2010

    linkandzelda thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2010
    Im living at home and weekends with a 22" screen (from the dell) and in college i live with 10" with a 1024x600 res so tbh, anything would an upgrade for me.

    Yes im aware of that. I'm living with 10" currently as stated above, so i can live with 11"

    Yes.. If i decide on the 13" then that would be my option.

    The MBP is nice but being in college, i need things to work fast and quick and the SSD will do that greatly. 15 seconds startup time is great from the MBA. Also i cycle in each day with my bag holding books, food and drink and the netbook which all in all weighs around 2.5KG. The weight between the MBP and the 11" is a large factor to consider for me.

    I would love the 13" but part of me says its becoming more like a main computer (which i can see happening) and then i end up using it with a adapter to my external display. For some reason i dont want that to happen but dont know why. Its like i'm forcing myself to use 2 computers...

    Well, my current machines are usable but i've had enough of them really.. I want to introduce new things to my life which i cant currently do with my devices such as iPhone programming, 3D graphics design and of course, gaming. I've seen reports and videos of COD 4 running flawlessly on the stock 11" model which was truly amazing to me. Theres no way i would consider gaming as a deciding factor though. Its a shame my college forces me to use Visual Studio for programming, otherwise i wouldn't need the virtual machine. I wish there was some solid benchmark results and gaming tests performed on each model. Which, for all other uses I will be doing when i get my MBA.
  9. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    A slightly used Pro with an SSD will cost a similar Amount.
  10. Apple OC macrumors 68040

    Apple OC

    Oct 14, 2010
    sounds like the 11 inch will get the job done for you.

    plus the chicks will love you :cool:
  11. linkandzelda thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2010
    Haha yes, the chicks.. :p. Well the SSD MBP is an option but a) don't like used products and b) the weight difference is still a problem.
  12. neteng101 macrumors 65816

    Jan 7, 2009
    13" MBP + SSD upgrade
    13" MBA + 4GB

    Both are good options.
  13. bcaslis macrumors 68020

    Mar 11, 2008
    I'm still unclear from the OP posts. Do plan to have an iMac also?

    Have iMac? Get 11" MBA.

    No iMac? Only one computer? Get maxed out 13" MBA.
  14. snorkelman macrumors 6502a


    Oct 25, 2010
    do you tend to carry the U100 and its power supply with you to college?

    If so then carrying the 13" MBA on its own will be of similar all up weight to that (actually a teeny bit lighter)

    Depends what you consider 'medium spec 13' ..if that's the 1.86 with 256GB SSD and 4GB RAM then you could replace both your current machines with one package with no noticeable downside (the 1.83 SL9400 is roughly equiv to the older 2.16 T7400, both have same RAM and storage capacity) Only potential sticking point being the additional footprint you need to deal with over the U100

    If you tend to carry the U100 on its own, leaving its power pack at home, and can't bear the thought of carrying something with a significantly larger footprint than the U100, then the 11" would be best bet ...Provided you can accept that you may still want a little more poke for your main machine than it offers, so would likely still need to buy a separate replacement for your Dell at a later date.
  15. pjfan macrumors regular

    May 24, 2009
    Columbus OH
    My personal experience

    I currently have:
    -iMac 7.1 @ 2.8 GHz Core2Duo w/ 4GB Ram
    -MacBook Pro 15" 5,1 @ 2.4 GHz Core2Duo w/ upgraded the HDD to an Intel 80 GB SSD and 4 GB RAM

    I started the Mac conversion with the iMac and found that I got work and everything else done more efficiently when working out of my office on OSX. With in the next year, I purchased the MBP. Although I love the idea of my "home office" iMac, and bolting myself down to a desk to work - I personally like working on the MBP at my desk w/ external Monitor more than the iMac. When I upgraded to SSD (waited WAY too long to do so, and refuse to own an HDD in a system again), my iMac immediately started collecting dust. The MacBook Pro is wicked fast and I have no reason to upgrade for years regarding speed...... Then Apple releases these killer MBAs to screw my world up ;).

    So my mobile device is going to be the 13" 1.8 GHz 4GB RAM Air, probably selling the iMac, and leaving 15" MBP for the desk while monitoring myself to see if the 13" Air can displace it as well. If I could cycle a MBA every two years for my main system, it would be more economical than having two systems every three years as long as I'm not losing productivity.... four years would be much closer, but I don't think I could hold out that long at the rate Apple is releasing new technology. I'm attempting all this due to travel and convenience. Whether I'm working on concrete floors in server rooms, on the plane, or carrying it around for miles and miles a week in a briefcase - the MBA should make all of them more pleasureful while handling my main needs. I constantly have numerous windows open at once, so 11" was out of the question for me.

    So for you - using my theory - if I could be as happy with a 10" screen as you are, then I'd buy a maxed out 11" (really more like 12") and avoid the iMac with eyes on purchasing the next best mobile thing in two years.

    Good luck with whatever you do,
  16. nfl46 macrumors 604

    Oct 5, 2008
    The 11.6" screen was too small for me. I took it back for the 13".
  17. linkandzelda thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2010
    I plan to have either an iMac base model with the i3 for £999 or i build my hackintosh with 1.5TB, ATI 5770 and i5-760 quad core for £580. I think its probably obvious which one i would choose.

    The U100 is thick and the battery only lasts around 3.5 hours at max, usually only 2.5 using the VM so i have to bring the power cables with me too. As for the footprint, I have a 15" laptop backpack with a 1.2" thick padded laptop compartment so I can fit anything up to a 15" MBP (my original choice a while back). So the 13" wouldn't have a major impact on me carrying it compared to the U100, in fact as its so thin its better than the thickness of the U100.

    When i say medium spec, i was thinking of the base model upgraded to 4GB RAM. Im plenty happy with 128GB as all my apps take up only 45GB, then I use iDisk for my files. As for the main machine, both Airs and 13" Pro lack raw processing power both using old C2D. The main machine will be on all the time, used as a main media server for the house as well as over the internet incase i need files while not at home. I use live conversion software to watch 480p mkv files wirelessly, which the Dell cannot handle very well, but its ok. Of course all my content is at 720p max which would need to be converted on the fly which the i5 wont struggle with.

    The MBA could be used as a main machine but not for processing tasks. For every day average tasks yes its fine, also i'm not sure how either one performs at a 1080p resolution of an external display. It definitely wouldn't handle games at that res so again, i would be limiting myself in what i could use it for if the Air was my main machine.
  18. linkandzelda thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2010
    Hmm... So your saying i live with the 11" as my main machine and mobile machine? And then have two mobile devices when Apple releases something else? Not so sure.
  19. snorkelman, Nov 9, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2010

    snorkelman macrumors 6502a


    Oct 25, 2010
    As a replacement for your existing 2 pieces of kit the 13" air would fit the bill if that was all you were wanting to do

    However throw a desktop hackintosh with an i5 into the mix (which I didn't notice first time around) then yep its only ever going to be a secondary machine regardless of which spec you go for.

    for me 11 or 13 would then come down to following:

    Can 11" last me a typical day without having to bring a PSU?
    Yes? buy that one, if not

    Can the 13" last me a day without PSU?
    then buy that one

    Am I going to have to carry a PSU along with me no matter which I buy?
    Buy the 11"

    Personally I bought the 11/4/64 Neither model was ever going to replace my i7 hack, it was always going to be a secondary machine and as such the performance difference between the 11 and 13 was irrelevant. The 11" had sufficient battery capacity to see me through a typical day, which for me made the additional capacity of the 13" nowt but dead weight to needlessly carry around.
  20. linkandzelda thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2010
    Come to think of it... My longest day is from 9 until 5 with 2 hour break in the middle which is 6 hours of constant use. I would of course like for the MBA, regardless of model be able to last the whole time with an extra 30 mins to spare. Being in the red without power is a pain... if IIRC the 11" only has a stated time of 5 hours which some pushed 6 on it with light word processing and browsing use. I don't use wifi during the whole time so its possible the 11" could last the time for me. But to be 100% the 7 hour 13" would be guaranteed to last i would of thought. Seems like im leaning closer to the 13" now!
  21. pjfan macrumors regular

    May 24, 2009
    Columbus OH
    Yes on 11" - up to you on next best thing

    Well, I was trying to put myself in your shoes - so, If I were completely happy with the 11" screen size - I would absolutely try the maxed out version while you still have the home system to use as needed. Primarily because you seem to be happy with the netbook; which the 11" will kill. When the time comes for more power (when you are planning to buy the iMac or Hackintosh upgrade), all the MBP's could be lighter, faster, and more SSD options - while the iMacs will likely have more SSD options too. How long will this system last you?... When I was in college, I never had time to get into anything new and exciting for computers - just the SW development & presentations that I had to do. For that, I'd expect that you'll be fine for longer than 2 years.

    I feel that 13" MBA can be my system replacement due to it's HW comparison to my current MBP & Screen real estate on 13" is killer for me. If the 11" screen real estate is fine for you, and the 11" works on the Software you mentioned above (as the netbook currently does) - I would certainly try the 11" out as primary. Another note - considering the footprint of 11" since you're biking to school. If you go down on the bike, a large 13" - 15" screen has to be more susceptible to breaking than the mini 11" MBA, even if it only weighs 3 lbs like the MBA.

    If you go MBP 13" route, no doubt, go SSD for sure. I personally don't think I would be happy with the weight. When you go iMac/Hackintosh, or even MBP later on - totally go SSD as it's hard to ever go back.
  22. pjfan macrumors regular

    May 24, 2009
    Columbus OH
    Worth noting - all of my opinions didn't even touch on the Battery life. Sounds like the 13" is definitely the right one for you. It'll slaughter your netbook - and be extremely mobile. I'm going with it (not b/c of battery, but nice to have it).

    I would love to try 11", but that screen can't do it for me. I would've bought the 11" otherwise.
  23. sjinsjca macrumors 68020


    Oct 30, 2008
    Better battery life and junkies storage and RAM options would push me to the 13. Get it fully stuffed, you won't regret it.
  24. linkandzelda thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2010
    I understand. im on my last year of college so i have about another 7 months left. After that, I start university for 3 years. I'm aiming for this to last me 2 years maximum as its a large investment. Hopefully it lasts the full 3 years by which time i can upgrade again if needed. Its most likely that the MBP's will be upgraded around january-March 2011 which would add SSDs and probably dedicated graphics in the 13". As for biking, Its possible that i do fall off but i'm very careful not too. The route i take is a secluded one with all flat ground but I cant be too careful. After all the MSI is a netbook worth £200, compared to the MBA at £1000+. I'll give it a protective padded sleeve which goes into the existing padded area for a 15" laptop in the back for added protection.

    I think the 13" would defiantly future proof me more than the 1.6GHz of the 11" as in university i'll be doing Games Development which will require 3D graphics design and 3D game design too.
  25. shadowbird423 macrumors 6502


    Sep 8, 2009
    Chapel Hill
    If you go this route, you will eventually end up using your home computer a lot. Get the 13" Air with 4Gb of ram and a nice iMac/Hackintosh (you will be able to upgrade video cards as course needs change in the next year if you get a hackintosh). Either would be a nice choice. Dont skimp now (If you've got the money, somewhere).

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