Is a MacBook Air for me?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by NikFinn, Jun 22, 2009.

  1. NikFinn macrumors 6502a

    NikFinn

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    Location:
    MA
    #1
    Hey guys,

    I'm going to college next year and I'm in need of a new laptop. I currently have a windows laptop (hackintosh) that runs at 1.7 ghz with 1.5 gigs of ram. I know I want to get a Mac and I have decided between either the new 13" MBP or the MBA with SSD. I love the portability the Air offers but am slightly concerned about the horsepower. I will generally use the notebook for web browsing, email, iTunes and downloading some torrents. I am not a graphics design major or anything requiring any sort of intense graphics but I do not want to constantly get the beach ball. I love the portability the air offers to carry from class to class but I'm unsure if it's a good idea to use the MBA as my primary computer with only a super drive and an external hard drive with it (not at the same time of course :p ).

    Any help would be greatly appreciated,
    Nik
     
  2. youssefm macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2008
    #2
    I'd get the air personally. What your doing is handled extremely well by any mac, and for portability the air is perfect. The price is a bit higher than the macbook pro 13", but the weight and thinness make up for it.
     
  3. ayeying macrumors 601

    ayeying

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Yay Area, CA
    #3
    I'm using my 2.13GHz/128GB SSD as a primary mac. I'm also using virtual machines via VMWare Fusion through it. No problems, no studdering. Even have a dedicated 250GB external drive with several dozen games installed for the "down times" at my desk
     
  4. Disavowed macrumors regular

    Disavowed

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    Location:
    Midwest
    #4

    What kind of external HD? Any reason for particular choice?

    Thanks. :D
     
  5. zedsdead macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    #5
    I say go with the Macbook Pro. As a standalone machine, it has more options and you have no chance of getting a screen with lines.
     
  6. IgnatiusTheKing macrumors 68040

    IgnatiusTheKing

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    das Fort
    #6
    You'll be paying more for the MBA, so if a few hundred dollars is a deal-breaker for you, go for the 13" MBP. That being said, for the things you say you'll be doing, I doubt if you would ever notice the difference between the two machines, speed-wise.

    Checking email, listening to iTunes and surfing the web just don't tax the processor enough to make any noticeable difference. Of course, with the MBP you would have the ability to put up to 8GB (or 6GB more than the max the MBA can use) into it if you ever decided to did want to tax it more might be a deciding factor for you.
     
  7. phatcat macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    #7
    definitely macbook pro if you're keeping the machine all throughout college. It's performance life span will greatly outpace an Air over the years.
     
  8. wheezy macrumors 65816

    wheezy

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Location:
    Alpine, UT
    #8
    The MBA is a fantastic 2nd machine for someone, at least for me. I have a Mac Pro at home to handle all the work, I would just need the air for trips and off-site work. For college though, get the much better workhorse in the MBP.

    If you're main concern in preventing the beach ball then plug 4GB RAM in there and you'll never cap out if you stick with what you do - but even if you venture into Photoshop/Final Cut/Logic etc, you'll have enough RAM to play around.
     
  9. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    Always a day away
    #9
    Based on that statement alone I wouldn't recommend an Air.

    The tasks you listed should easily be handled by your current PC, and the Air probably won't handle them any better. Why spend more money to get something that doesn't do the job any better?

    Now, about your going off to college - you say right now you're just going to surf, email, etc. - but you have four (or more) years ahead of you where you're likely going to be doing much more than that.

    Don't cripple yourself early in the game by buying the Air. Take your Hackintosh to college and use it as long as you can, then you'll have a better feel for what you're going to need in a computer. Trust me on this.
     
  10. NikFinn thread starter macrumors 6502a

    NikFinn

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    Location:
    MA
    #10
    Thanks for all the speedy replies, to answer a few...

    1.) money isn't a huge deal unless we're talking about more than $500.

    Tomorrow,
    I def don't want to take this beast to college, it's big, heavy, slow, runs vista :eek:, and the battery lasts about 12 minutes. Hopefully I'll be able to get a new laptop before my 4 year stay is over but, of course there is no guarantee of that.

    Keep the suggestions coming :)
     
  11. IgnatiusTheKing macrumors 68040

    IgnatiusTheKing

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
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    das Fort
    #11
    Have you ever even used a MacBook Air? While I don't use my Rev A for any heavy lifting very often, I have successfully used Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Dreamweaver on it without issue. Nothing the OP is going to do comes anywhere close to using the machine's resources like those programs do, and the newer MBA's are a lot more capable than mine.

    If you go the MBA route, you will spend $1499 on the base model. Once you take into account the cost of a SuperDrive and an external HD, you are looking at $1700 at a minimum...before tax.

    For $1649, you can get the 13" MBP with a faster processor, twice as much RAM and the 500GB HDD (which probably eliminates the need for an external).

    So the bottom line is, unless you are in love with the thinness/lightness of the MBA and really need that little extra bit of portability, the 13" MBP is probably the better buy for you. Buy don't listen to the people who say the MBA can't handle your everyday needs.
     
  12. NikFinn thread starter macrumors 6502a

    NikFinn

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    Location:
    MA
    #12
    I don't plan on getting the basemodel if I get a MBA, I would get the one that is $1699 with the education discount plus the superdrive as i already have a 500gb external with all my stuff nicely organized. It would be a bit more than the 13" MBP I could get, but it wouldn't be that much more as for the time being I am employed
     
  13. ayeying macrumors 601

    ayeying

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    Location:
    Yay Area, CA
    #13
    Its just a external drive where I install all my games
     
  14. RubberShoes macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    #14
    I'm in almost the EXACT same situation except I already have a 24' iMac (7,1) and I'm torn between the MBP or MBA

    Is it worth an extra $300 for a slower machine that's not as expandable but extreeeemely thin and light?

    and to go with previous posts, really with 4GB of ram on my current iMac I only tap its potential when virtualizing windows or editing 1080 footage in final cut. So really that extra horsepower isn't much of an issue..not to mention snow leopard is optimized for this exact GPU chipset so it'll only get faster
     
  15. aleksandra. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2008
    Location:
    Warsaw, Poland
    #15
    I'm a student as well and I'm perfectly happy with MacBook Air. You seem to realize what are Air's limitations (graphic design, serious gaming), so I think you won't be disappointed with it. One thing to consider is longer battery life - Air's power adapter is small and easy to carry around, but if you want to use your laptop away from power source for 5+ hours, MBP's additional weight may be worth it for you.
     
  16. NikFinn thread starter macrumors 6502a

    NikFinn

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    Location:
    MA
    #16
    Yeah I don't plan on playing crysis or editing 2 hour long movies in 1080p. I do wish it had the 7 hour battery but when i look at my classes, my longest one is and 1:15. I would assume that the battery could last that long, if it couldn't it would be quite sad haha.
     
  17. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    #17
    I would recommend the MBP. It has several options that can be upgraded over the life of your machine. Taking into account, you said that college was next year + 4 years in school, you'd really want a computer that would last 5 years not counting any catastrophes or Mac envy that would force you to upgrade earlier. While any Mac purchased today would function, performance of future software is debatable. With a MacBook Pro, you could upgrade your ram to 4,6 or 8 GB along the way, and make plenty of room by installing a 500 (1 or 2TB?) drive in your MBP in the future. With the Air, you are limited to 2GB RAM max for the lifetime of the machine and have limited options when it comes to upgrading the internal drive as well.

    Of course, if you're planning on upgrading in 3-4 years anyway, then disregard what I just said. :p

    I do also think battery life should be considered more than in just one class. You say your longest one is 1:15, but that only considers your current class schedule. It doesn't take into account any longer classes, labs, back-to-back classes, or long group study sessions.
     
  18. ShadowMind macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Location:
    Washington State
    #18
    I am also a student, and I use my MBA for all of my coursework and note taking. Previously, I used a MacBook to accomplish those tasks, and switching to the MBA was a decision I do not regret. It is lighter, faster, and easier to carry around. I recommend buying a refurb from the Apple website, getting the three year warranty, and reaping the enormous discount that comes with buying refurb. That way, you have money left over for an upgrade in the future.
     
  19. NikFinn thread starter macrumors 6502a

    NikFinn

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    Location:
    MA
    #19
    J,
    Hopefully I will be able to upgrade after my second year (summer of 2011) but of course that isn't guranteed. I also clearly, didn't put that much thought into the battery situation haha.

    Shadow,
    I thought about getting the refurbished as it is cheaper, but I really want the newer 2.13. Hopefully the MBA will only cost me somewhere around $300-$400 due to some graduation money (and some luck).
     
  20. Disavowed macrumors regular

    Disavowed

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2009
    Location:
    Midwest
    #20

    Going BACK to grad school mysel and KNOWING that my program lasts two years coupled with having very specific idea of what my needs are, I decided to go AIR. If I was going to be in college for F-O-U-R years, I would go with MBP. As people have already stated, flexibility of upgrades to match you interests, which will more than likely change, or at the very least expand, is a big deal.

    My advice? Walk right past the MBA during your next visit to your local apple store. I could NOT put the newest SSD version down. :D
     
  21. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #21
    Yeah, I test drove one and found it to be slightly less snappy than my white MacBook, which I wouldn't try to rely on for 4+ years of college. That, and I like having a built-in optical drive and the extra USB port. I routinely get 4 or more hours of use on a single charge, so battery life isn't really much of an issue there.
     
  22. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    #22
    While this hasn't been in anyone's suggestions yet (including my own), if you can stand to wait, do it. If you've got some time, there will be some big advancements in both machines. Who knows, the Air could get 4GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD for the same price as it is currently.

    Also, don't be afraid to ask your parents for their advice.
     
  23. aleksandra. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2008
    Location:
    Warsaw, Poland
    #23
    Less snappy than a white MacBook? Sounds like HDD... ;)
     
  24. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #24
    Actually, it has:

     
  25. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    #25
    My bad, I guess that's what I get for not RTFT. :)

    Although that wasn't exactly the point that I was trying to make. Was going more for the "wait until right before you go to see what's out then."
     

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