Mac book Pro or Air??

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by AustinH17, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. AustinH17 macrumors member

    Feb 11, 2012
    I'm a senior in high school and all my friends have macs but they have mostly the pro's. I was wondering if i should go for the pro or the air. The only thing i don't like about the air is that it has no "superdrive" and they cost an extra 80 dollars and I'm going to need that for my printer and other things that i may have to download.
    I currently have a dell inspiron that i bought 4 months ago, i don't want to get rid of it because it has Microsoft office pro that i got for 10 dollars and it will come in handy so i don't want to completely get rid if that but i will only use it for the office pro mostly.
    I'm going to school for pharmacy and i was wondering if the air or pro would be better for me and my needs. I'm swayed more towards the pro but i was wondering what the difference between them was and if the 13 inch pro would be enough or if i should go big(i dot have much money). I would buy a referb to save some money but I'm asking the people of the forums what they think would be best for me.

  2. mrsir2009 macrumors 604


    Sep 17, 2009
    Melbourne, Australia
    If you're only going to be doing basic stuff (MS Word, internet etc) then any Mac currently on the market will be more than enough, spec wise :)
  3. MonkeyBrainz macrumors regular


    Feb 18, 2012
    You can get an external DVD drive for as little as 30 bucks. A base MacBook Pro is $1199 and you could get a student discount... or you could get a refurbished Mac because honestly, even a 6 year old Mac would be enough for your needs. Since specs aren't really an issue, just find one with a screen big enough to suit whatever you'll be doing with it.
  4. Broph macrumors 6502


    Jun 23, 2010
    New Zealand
    Serious question, why are you looking at a Mac if you don't have much money to spend, want to keep Office & want a CD drive?

    What will a Mac do that your Dell won't?
  5. MonkeyBrainz macrumors regular


    Feb 18, 2012
    Maybe he wants to feel more accepted by his friends.

    But in all honesty, Broph is right.

    You absolutely don't need a Mac for what you do. Your DELL will suffice. If you want you could upgrade your RAM or something to make your DELL a little zippier.
  6. AustinH17 thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 11, 2012

    I'm getting it as a graduation gift so my moms paying 1000$ of it so i just have to pay the rest. So i might as well get a new mac since im hearing alot of good things about them.


    When you say "specs", what are the different specs between the 13 inch air and pro, and between the 13 and 17 inch pro models. And if the differenece if huge, when would those specs come in handy.
  7. jwm2 macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2012
    Personally i'd spend the few bucks extra and get a macbook pro. Its bigger and heavier but will allow you to do some gaming vs virtually none with the air.
  8. rdas7 macrumors regular


    Nov 17, 2002
    London, England
    Get an 11" Air. It's the least expensive of the whole lineup, and will do everything you want it to do.

    Pro's with optical drives are almost certainly going to be discontinued within the next few months.

    Specs in general are meaningless. Every machine from the past 5 years is adequate for most common tasks (exceptions being: media production, gaming or data modeling). I should note that the 2011 MacBook Airs benchmark at similar performance to 2009 MacBook Pros.

    The Air is lightweight, lasts forever on battery, and can easily be plugged into an external monitor if you want a bigger screen. The weight and battery life are significant "features" (even though it may not seem like it initially) as it means you can use the computer in more situations and locations.

    You could even dual boot it into Windows and use Office on it that way. Even sell your Dell on ebay or something and get some cash back. $1000 from your Mom can go a very long way if you're smart about it.

    Hey and congratulations on graduating! Good luck!!
  9. AustinH17 thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 11, 2012

    What do you mean by dual boot it into windows? Is there any way i could get the office pro from my dell onto the new mac or would i just have to buy the mac office which is only like 3 of the 14 things that i have now?
  10. MonkeyBrainz macrumors regular


    Feb 18, 2012
    You can install Windows on a Mac using Boot Camp and you can have two operating systems on your Mac. You can choose at startup whether you want to boot into Mac OS X or Windows. Or you can go the virtual machine route with Parallels or VMware Fusion and you can have both operating systems running side by side at the same time.
  11. marioman38 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2006
    Elk Grove, CA
    Here ya go bud

    I'd recommend the 13" Air at the bottom. It has the 4GB Ram upgrade, and the 256GB SSD, and the 2.13GHZ Upgrade. Its a C2D, but should do great for what you need!

    My GF just bought a 13" C2D 1.86 with 2GB Ram and 128GB SSD and she loves it, great machine, with an AWESOME display!
  12. jj48 macrumors regular

    Oct 15, 2011
    Firstly, you won't need that superdrive for your printer. I'm surprised no one has pointed this out so far, but you will be able to download the appropriate drivers for your printer quite easily without the need for an optical drive. Read the summary on this support page. I have an air and I have never needed an optical drive.

    Secondly, get the air. It's cheaper, it's lighter, it does everything you want. What makes you want the pro?
  13. AustinH17 thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 11, 2012

    To be honest, most of my friends have the pro and like one of the air, ive heard many great things about each but mostly the pro version. I've never really played around with the airs to much, i most mess with the pro at best buy. I saw the 11 inch air and the screen looks to small for me. So would it all come down to personal preferance? because idk what ill need it for in college and if i wanted to upgrade to 8gb can the air do that?
  14. Jb07 macrumors 6502

    Oct 31, 2011
    If you want a 13" screen, the Air is the way to go. The SSD also makes it a bit faster than the MacBook Pro in day to day usage.
  15. Cubytus, Feb 22, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2012

    Cubytus macrumors 65816

    Mar 2, 2007
    The Air can't be upgraded to 8GB. To my knowledge, there's not even a free RAM slot, as, for thinness sake's, it's soldered to the motherboard. This was a deal-breaker, for me.

    The Pro has more battery life than the Air. Do you expect to be far from a power outlet for hours at a time?

    Plus, at least in my university, they have a mandatory MacBook requirement in pharmacy-related programs. I don't know the exact reason, but since the whole uni has a contract with HP and Mac-based computer labs closed a few years ago, I strongly suspect there's a software requirement somewhere.
    As I never saw any Air in pharmacy, I strongly suspect a DVD drive is needed. FYI, legal Microsoft Office 2011 Student Edition is still delivered on two DVDs. Campus' libraries commonly lend optical media, and many textbooks still provide optical media containing addenda to the text. Really, you can't say with a straight face that "optical media are dead", despite all its shortcomings. Not in the scholar field, at least.

    Even if your Dell is running fine, you never know what may happen to Windows. I'm talking from experience, Windows, although it made great strides to keep up with the competition, is still a delicate OS that may not survive college's requirement for too long. Apple's service is also un-matched.
  16. Nostromo macrumors 65816


    Dec 26, 2009
    Deep Space

    You mean the cool kids have MacBook Pros and you have a Dell and now you want a MacBook Pro?

    If you like your Dell, then keep it.

    It's of no importance what brand of computer you have.

    If you really love a MacBook pro, then go for it.

    But if you don't do video editing or work with large Photoshop files, a MacBook Air is lighter and snappier because of its solid state drive.

    By the way: I wouldn't buy a 13" MacBook Pro. This line will die anyway with the next upgrade. The line-up will be 11, 13" MBA and 15, 17 MBP.
  17. Cubytus macrumors 65816

    Mar 2, 2007
    Who cares if the 13" MBP goes away in the next line revision? If he needs (or has access to a $1000 credit from his parents) a computer now, there's no point in arguing about a line's future. If waiting isn't a concern, then go for whatever suits you needs when times come.

    In fact, I guess there will be loads of people wishing for a return of a truly mobile powerhouse the way 12" PowerBook G4 was, in its time. 13" Air + external ODD isn't as mobile as 13" Pro, and 13" Air + external SSD may not be as mobile as 15" Pro.

    BTW, all the "cool kids" have 15" Pros around here ;)
  18. AustinH17 thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 11, 2012

    What's the difference between the 13 and 15 inch pros?
  19. nate13 macrumors 6502


    Feb 16, 2004
    Fargo, ND
    Personally, from what it sounds like what you will be using it for, I suggest waiting for the new 15' Air. The Ivy Bridge abilities makes the Air a much more appealing option. It will have more than ample processing power, but will be light enough to carry around in your book bag in college...
  20. Cubytus macrumors 65816

    Mar 2, 2007
    In short: 4-core CPU, much stronger GPU (integrated+dedicated), larger screen as well as high-resolution and antiglare options.

    From what you stated you intend to do, choosing the 15" would have more to do with resale value than real requirement. "Cool kids" don't necessarily have a requirement of anything beyond larger screen. I valued portability above raw (useless) power in my case, so bought a high range 13". It's 16GB compatible if you wish (!), but I will probably put 8GB. I'm still hesitant to put a much smaller SSD inside, not knowing if the speed/size tradeoff is worth it (yet).
    If I happen to land a great PhD project requiring more power, or simply a larger screen and at the same time get more personal security, I'll get a 15" and sell the 13".

    2.5kgs + charger isn't extremely light, but it's not terribly heavy, either. Most textbooks are the same weight, or heavier. It may also depend on your build. If you're closer to the 115kgs colossus playing football during his free time than the 55kgs dried baboon I happen to resemble, you won't notice much of a difference in the former.

    I hope that, if a 15" "Air" comes out, it will be 8GB compatible. Apple has always been cheap with RAM. Since you'll probably encounter a fair share of optical-media during your courses, better off getting an internal ODD is available, or an external one if you can live with sitting at a table to read those ODDs.
  21. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030


    May 20, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    13" MacBook Pro. The 15" MacBook Pro gets you a faster CPU and better graphics and 2.1" of additional screen real estate. If that's not important to you, don't bother. Same with the 17". A 13" MacBook Pro will last you longer than either of the two MacBook Air sizes as you can upgrade the RAM and replace the main internal boot drive. Neither are accomplishable on a MacBook Air. If you want to preserve your $10 copy of Office, either don't get a Mac or use Boot Camp/Parallels/VMware to run Windows on your Mac. Or just get Office for Mac.

    And your factual evidence to prove this is where again?

    You could transfer the license over from your PC to your Mac (assuming you're running Windows on it somehow).

    This isn't bad advice.

    Better graphics, two extra processor cores, more cache on said processor cores, and 2.1" of screen real estate. Not much else.
  22. jj48 macrumors regular

    Oct 15, 2011
    FYI I bought a legal copy of Microsoft Office 2011 and downloaded it. OP while you may well decide you need an optical drive for some things, and Cubytus has good advice on this, getting Office should not be one of them.
  23. Cubytus macrumors 65816

    Mar 2, 2007
    This is partly incorrect. At least one vendor has MacBook Air-compatible SSDs, which is OtherWorldComputing.

    [QUOTE[You could transfer the license over from your PC to your Mac (assuming you're running Windows on it somehow).[/QUOTE]Microsoft doesn't have a reputation for customer friendliness. How can one ask a license to be transferred to another platform?

    Agreed. Installing one piece of software is sufficiently infrequent it could reside on some external, storage hard drive. It was just to show that optical media isn't dead (yet), and many high-profile software editors still use it. Microsoft's website is a nightmare to browse, and sometimes they have an inexplicable tendency to either ignore legacy technology, or trail it behind them.

    Having no media whatsoever is simply too impractical when you need to reinstall. Wi-Fi routers have a nasty tendency to stop working when overloaded, or the modem dies, or you happen to only have a 3G internet plan, or be in an older plane where there's no Internet, or you have caps. Too many possible points of failure, plus it's slow as hell. With a physical media, you can't go wrong. Heck, I read that you could boot a laptop Mac from its SD slot.

    If a Windows user asks me what to do first after installing, I always answer "create a reinstall disk using the provided tool in Windows, before it starts corrupting through wear and tear." A single DVD or USB stick (if the PC can boot from it, which is not as obvious as it seems) is well worth the added peace of mind.

    At the very least, download a vanilla ISO, preferably from Microsoft, and place a tape on your install key and copy it somewhere else you won't loose it.

    For a pre-Lion user, this would be "clone your install DVDs before you scratch the originals.". For a Lion user: "Use Lion DiskMaker" (link)
  24. Yumunum macrumors 65816


    Apr 24, 2011
    Buy a $30 superdrive/external disk drive off Amazon. Doesn't need to be Apple branded, if I know correctly. Look it up, you might be pleasantly surprised! You may not even need this though. What would you use one for?

    I'm in school too, and I got the 13" Air... As it's my only computer, I'm going to be writing my essays and such on it. The Air has a slightly higher res screen, which allows more content to be displayed at once. So I can have windows side by side and it's more bearable than it was on my 13" Pro.

    Also, my backpack is pretty light with this thing. The solid state drive is super fast. Hard disk drives are getting outdated, and you'd be stuck with one if you got the Pro.

    Unless you do a lot of graphically intense tasks (gaming, video editing, ect) you might want to get the Air. Not to say the Air can't do those things, but the Pro would do them better. Don't get the idea that the Air is slow or anything
  25. MonkeyBrainz macrumors regular


    Feb 18, 2012
    Just to clarify, you can get a Solid State Drive for any of the MacBook Pros through Apple or installing it yourself via third-party options. He wouldn't be stuck with an HDD if he wanted to upgrade later.

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