Is the Air right for me ?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by iDanny12, Jul 3, 2012.

  1. iDanny12 macrumors newbie

    Jul 3, 2012
    Hey, Im a college student currently using a late 2007 Macbook with 2.2GHz intel core 2 duo with 1 gig of ram. Generally I only use a computer for word, powerpoint, pdf viewing, watching movies and itunes. For time to time I do use photoshop and dreamweaver for some light web design but nothing to intensive at all.

    Right now the Macbook isn't cutting it at all. Im considering the 13 inch MBA 1.8 Ghz with 8 gigs. Should I notice a large increase in performance ? Or would I be better off going for the pro. The main thing drawing me to the air is the better screen res.
  2. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    You would notice a huge performance increase with that upgrade. If you need the built in ethernet port and optical drive, go wit the Pro model... if neither of those is important to you go with the Air.
  3. jeremyx macrumors member

    Jun 15, 2012
    How about portability? If you mainly use it as a desktop MBP might be a better option, but since you're a student MBA probably suits you better. Both are fantastic for the tasks you mentioned.
  4. TyroneShoes2 macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2011
    While your current computer should not really be considered all that shabby, the speed increase of an SSD alone is significant. The i5, even last year's Sandy Bridge version, will run rings around a Core2 duo.

    Nothing you are doing would benefit from 8 GB of RAM vs 4. The only benefit of 8 GB of RAM might possibly be when that computer becomes 4 or 5 years old, and apps and OS can then benefit. Today, they really can't.

    The value of more RAM is that there is less VM paging to the HDD, and that will speed things up (assuming you use more than 4 GB which you will not for some time to come), but since the modern Mac laptops have SSDs, VM paging is already RAM-fast, so the advantage of more RAM is really a moot point, even if you could use more than 4 GB, which you can't (for the programs you are using).

    From that point, you have to balance weight, speed, and whether you need an optical drive and ethernet port. Generally speaking though, the MBA is probably the right choice for you.
  5. Apple... macrumors 68020


    May 6, 2010
    The United States
    Speed increase? Definitely. I would recommend it.
  6. Mjmar macrumors 65816

    May 20, 2008
    Went from 2008 White MacBook to a new Air and the difference is night and day.
  7. kukheart macrumors regular


    Aug 22, 2003
    I'm going from a MacBook Pro 2009 with a dual 1.5 Core Dou to a new maxed out 2012 Air ordered last week. I hope it's a significant speed jump too.
  8. idunn macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2008
    Air wouldn't you?

    Having waited far too long to update a similar MacBook to yours from 1GB to the max 4GB of ram, my advice it makes a big difference, particularly in some applications.

    As your interest is possibly in an Air, and myself no expert, I can only speculate that it would be a mistake opting for 4GB versus 8GB. It doesn't cost that much more, you of course cannot update it later, it probably will improve the resale value—and you might even find a need of it.

    Ram aside, the 13" MBA, when maxed out (or somewhat so), seems in several respects a better option than the 13" MBP. If similar specs, in 8GB of ram and both with a 256GB SSD, the Air is even $100 less expensive. It may be due the internal architecture that the Air can even use its SSD more effectively than the MBP.

    With screens a consideration, you may wish to look at the two very closely in person. Opinion is divided, but even though the Air has a higher resolution, not everyone favors its appearance. Some do, some do not, it falls both ways. But since the screen is so vital to the experience, it may be wise to determine in advance which type you prefer. For instance, even with less resolution, some feel the MBP offers a better color gamut, and generally more pleasing to the eye. Your feeling may vary.

    Insofar as ports, who cares? Some may fee lost without an internal optical drive, but many could care less, and even welcome its absence. There are dongles to compensate for whatever port the Air might lack; so perhaps a non-issue unless one just feels they have to be constantly plugging in an ethernet jack.

    Not exactly last, and surely never least, the issue of portability. Presumably a student will often be traveling with their laptop. You already know how heavy near five pounds can be. Unless pumping up to be the next Schwarzenegger wouldn't something svelte and appreciably lighter be nice?
  9. gmanist1000 macrumors 68030


    Sep 22, 2009
    The MBA is calling your name! You'll be very happy if you buy it!
  10. idunn macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2008
    MBA screen

    Not to confuse the issue further, but there is an issue with the MBA screen you should be aware of. In comparing it in person (highly recommended) with that of a MBP, you may perhaps prefer it—but possibly find the unit you purchase NOT the same.

    The unfortunate reason because Apple apparently sources the screen for the MBA from different manufacturers. There is one seldom used, and seemingly little liked, but those principally used are either from Samsung or LG. Most seem to prefer the Samsung screen, feeling it is brighter with better contrast than the LG version.

    Unless buying a MBA in person, and checking prior, there is no way to know which screen you'll end up with. Many consider this dilemma a lottery of sorts. One has the option initially of returning a new MBA they are not satisfied with—and more than a few do—but still a pain, and then quite possibly no way of knowing what the next provided will end up being.

    There is a fuller discussion of this on Macrumors at the following link. A few elsewhere, but page 7 has a number of comparison pictures provided:

    Another consideration may be the keyboard. Try this in person as well. Most, me included, feel Apple provides quite good keyboards. Although the MBA in being thinner is said to have somewhat less depth in keystroke versus the MBP. No idea on this, as at a glance they seemed much the same to me. If again, this may matter to one.

    Back to screens for a moment. One may perhaps be tempted to just fling up their hands at this and fork out for a new 15" retina MBP, and lug that around. If possibly no more satisfied. There are discussions elsewhere about new RMBPs with at least four dead pixels, ghosting, or areas of light bleed. Others of course with no obvious problems and loving it. So ones experience may vary, and even in this no guarantees.

    The closest one may come to that would be the standard 13" and 15" MBP, with screens many like, if often feeling the resolution should be higher. That is why some favor the Air—but on examination have second thoughts. Or not.

    In any event, on any new purchase inspect the screen, and all else, closely. With a sad fact of life being prepared to immediately return it to Apple (within 14 days, asap basically) if any defects found.

    Beyond that, you'll probably love it.
  11. athletejmv macrumors member

    Mar 19, 2011
    Went from MBA to a MBP

    Hello, I too am a college student. I use my laptop for everything. I decided to go with the pro over the air as you stated having a memory upgrade (I first bought the MBA and exchanged it for the 13" MBP). However, I also do not consider 128GB adequate for my main system storage.

    What I decided to do is purchase the base model MBP 13". I then purchased a 240GB SSD in-store from Compusa for $209. I then ordered 8GB of DDR3 1.6Ghz memory from for $55 since bestbuy did not have the 1.6Ghz memory speed in stock. In total, I spent $1100 for the MBP, $209 on the SSD and $55 for the memory totaling $1364 plus tax on the SSD and MBP.

    I am very pleased considering I have 6-8 hours of battery life easy from the SSD upgrade, the fan does not become loud when watching netflix as it it did on my MBA (this was my greatest appreciation), I have the CD slot for movies (I use a 23" IPS external monitor at home with the MBP) and the speakers sound much better in the pro considering the MBAs do not have a built in sub-woofer as the pro does.

    I hope this helps. Regardless of what you decide, I'm sure you'll be happy.
  12. iDanny12 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 3, 2012
    Thanks for all the feedback... I've decided to shell out for the high end modal coz I think ill need the extra space (I'm down to about 5GB right now on the 120GB HD).

    Just wondering which is the better upgrade, the i5 to the i7 or 4GB to 8GB of RAM.

    Like I said the most intensive thing I use regularly is photoshop or the odd game, so my guess is the ram upgrade is better, just wondering what ye think ?
  13. kodeman53 macrumors 65816

    May 4, 2012
    Like every other thread where this same question is asked, the ram.
  14. tsboy69 macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2010

    Hands down, RAM dude!
  15. GBlansten macrumors regular


    Jun 13, 2012
    Thick Ascending Limb

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