leaning for a MBA but unsure - student, mobile youth

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by pnyx, Mar 6, 2011.

  1. pnyx, Mar 6, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2011

    pnyx macrumors newbie

    Mar 6, 2011
    So, I know like half the posts on here are about basically buying advice, but I figured it could be interesting to have alternate opinions.

    I'm graduating from college soon and thinking about picking up a new laptop for grad school. I've got a few options in mind but I'm leaning for the air. As I'm moving cities and not going to be stable for a while, a desktop is out of the question. Therefore, I'm going from two computers to one.

    I'm looking at a few things; my main limit there is that I do have a budget not to go over and that my messenger bag can't handle a laptop much larger than 13 inches (I've tried to fit a 15 inch dell already and it was a bad idea). Also I do enjoy playing some games, and so I'm not looking at the i5 MBP13 as a serious option thanks to the intel graphics.

    My options, right now, would be
    - 2,66ghz C2D MBP13 on clearance, with a third party 128GB SSD
    - MBA13 with a 4GB ram upgrade
    - MBA11 with fully maxed out specs.

    "Future proofing" is not a concern, my last few computers have been anything but future proof and have worked for years like a charm; besides nothing is ever future proof.
    The main pros and cons of the 11" MBA seem to be that
    - Specs are relatively weak when it comes to CPU, the rest, however, is pretty much equal. It also lacks the internal SD card reader of the others, but I can live with that. It's light and has better screen resolution than the MBP which is a nice boost.
    For the 13 inchers
    - The MBP is heavier, and I tend to be aggressive at weight shavings, especially as I walk or (sometimes) bike everywhere. I don't think an optical drive is worth the added pound or two. It's more powerful, CPU-wise, that's a given. It can also be expanded more easily. It's the cheapest of the lot. It has the worst resolution of the lot, too.
    - The MBA 13 is, again, slightly heavier. In exchange for 1 pound more and a rather larger footprint, I'd get a slight CPU boost, a resolution boost and a SD card reader.

    All have reasonable battery life, in that if I get a laptop running 6 hours or more on my settings is already good enough (20% light, bluetooth off, CPU clocked down, flash blocked) for a school day. But, admittedly, the advantage there is to the 13" ones. My biggest school use is as a glorified typewriter, with some database, and a bit of digital darkrooming (but it's just minimal processing :p ) because my field lends itself to photography.

    So basically all the options available cost more or less the same. But I'm more or less unsure which to go with. I know a lot of the time, my main problem in games is overheating, and I play fine with the CPU clocked down to increase the time before it starts getting hot and throttling. Footprint is often a bit of a concern.

    Advice? And no, "get both/all three" doesn't count as advice.
  2. gordonhooker macrumors newbie

    Mar 6, 2011
    Queensland, Australia
    I have a 13" MBA tricked up to 4GB ram and 256 GB drive and it is an excellent roadie. I does everything I ask of it and it is fast and light as a feather compared to 13" MBP I used for work.
  3. shstiger2009 macrumors 6502

    Jan 30, 2011
    I think you should go with the 13" Air. It seems like the happy medium of which you should get. I got a 13" Air 2 days ago and I absolutely love it. It'll be more portable than the 13" MBP and more powerful than the 11" Air. I think your best best is to meet in the middle and go with the 13" Air. :)
  4. pnyx thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 6, 2011
    The goldilocks option :p
  5. zenio macrumors 6502

    Feb 2, 2011
    I have all three you are considering. Here's my suggestion as a longtime Mac laptop user who travels for business both domestically & internationally.

    Based on your post I would highly endorse the MBA13 with a 4GB ram upgrade. In addition I bought the Apple matching external optical drive. It's nice looking, light & very reasonably priced.

    I feel that you would be very happy with this fast, durable, light laptop.

    Cheers :)
  6. Retops macrumors regular

    Feb 10, 2008
    I travel a lot and am involved in higher education at several different locations. I find my MBA 13 just perfect for all aspects of my work including classroom presentations, writing, researching and keeping track of lots of personal things.

    I've had both the MBP 13 and the MBA 13 and both are fine machines, but the one I'm keeping is the MBA. Slim and light has never seemed like a disadvantage.

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