MacBook Air or MacBook + iPad?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ImperialX, Oct 20, 2010.

  1. ImperialX macrumors 65816

    ImperialX

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    #1
    Hey guys, I'm in a bit of a dilemma.

    Right now I'm the owner of the "Trinity" as they like to call it - a laptop, a smartphone and a tablet. Below are the specs:

    Polycarbonate MacBook 4,1:
    Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz
    4GB DDR2 RAM (667MHz)
    500GB HDD (5400rpm)
    Intel GMA X3100 + 144MB VRAM
    13.3" 1280 x 800 LCD Backlit Display

    iPad:
    32GB
    Wi-Fi

    iPhone 4:
    32GB
    Black

    I'm still in high school and I'll be starting Uni next year. The MacBook right now serves as my only and primary computer. I never thought I'd be interested in the new MacBook Air, but the announcement today was awesome and now I'm torn between keeping my MacBook and my iPad or sell them both in favor of a MacBook Air and a 1TB portable HDD. This is what my new equipment will be:

    MacBook Air 3,1:
    Intel Core 2 Duo 1.86GHz
    4GB DDR3 RAM (1066MHz)
    128GB SSD + 1TB External
    NVIDIA GeForce 320M + 256MB VRAM
    13.3" 1440 x 900 LED Backlit Display

    iPhone 4:
    32GB
    Black

    Right now, I have the following apps open. This is my normal usage:
    Safari, Mail, uTorrent, iTunes, Adium (4 conversations), Tweetie, MPlayer OSX (playing a 720p MKV anime)

    Occasionally I'll open Photoshop for a quick edit. So what do you guys think? The MacBook is quite heavy and I don't want to carry it around. I can just carry the iPad by itself, but it's is not quite so powerful and may be inconvenient for certain things. Do you think I should sell my MacBook and iPad for the MacBook Air + a 1TB external HDD?

    P.S. I don't want a new MacBook Pro. My current MacBook works perfectly and the current MacBook Pro has no obvious advantages at all. The MacBook Air really appeals to me since it's super light (like an iPad) and I have to lug it around Uni, and the iPad may not be powerful enough. Also, the fact it has a cold boot of 15 seconds is mind-blowing. It's perfect for Uni, isn't it?

    All suggestions welcome!
     
  2. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2006
    Location:
    Somewhere
    #2
    The macbook air would work for your usage, I use one as my main machine and it works fine. But since your macbook works fine, it may be a better idea to wait and see if your iPad is powerful enough for what you need to do while on the go, and only buy the air if it isn't.
     
  3. ImperialX thread starter macrumors 65816

    ImperialX

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    #3
    Thanks for your advice. Do you have an SSD? Does it really give performance a significant boost?
     
  4. AAPLaday Guest

    AAPLaday

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2008
    Location:
    Manchester UK
    #4
    I would say that there are two types of portable user. The ones that buy a laptop because they want a computer that they can take everywhere. Only browsing the web and simple tasks when away from home. The other buy one because they need os x specific apps such as final cut etc and need to do work like this whilst 'on the road'.

    Considering you are going to uni, and not knowing which course you are doing, I would recommend the Air over the MacBook/iPad combo. Only one machine to carry about. Depending on what course you do you might not find iOS suitable. With the Air you are covered for most eventualities. :)
     
  5. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2006
    Location:
    Somewhere
    #5
    I do have a SSD, I haven't spent enough time on a macbook air with an HD to know how much of a performance boost it gives. The only times I've really noticed it slowing down was when I had a lot of programs open or was trying to run Win 7 in Fusion.
     
  6. AAPLaday Guest

    AAPLaday

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2008
    Location:
    Manchester UK
    #6
    Which hopefully the 4GB upgrade should solve :cool:
     
  7. ImperialX thread starter macrumors 65816

    ImperialX

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    #7
    This leads me to my second question. With 128GB, my storage is very limited. Is it possible to install Windows 7 on my USB external and boot it there with boot camp?

    Don't mind that it will take significantly longer to start up. I will probably never use it.
     
  8. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2006
    Location:
    Somewhere
    #8
    You can boot from a USB drive so I don't see why not, unless bootcamp has a weird restriction that I don't know about.

    Edit: apparently you can't
    That seems kind of weird, and you may be able to get around it, otherwise use something like fusion or parallels those let you have windows on an external drive.
     
  9. ggf macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2008
    #9
    The real issue from my perspective is what do you want to use the portable part of you kit for when you are at uni

    If you're mainly going to use it to web browse and email stuff and do most of your writing when you are back in your room - keep what you have

    If you are planning to take notes live in your lectures ( to do this you need to be a reasonably good touch typist) or write your essays in the library or coffee shop -buy the air -the advantages of a keyboard and the ability to use full mac os applications on the go are worthwhile

    One other possibility is buy yourself a Bluetooth keyboard for the iPad but that involves carrying another bit of kit.
    Wrst an external hard drive consider buying a smaller 2.5" portable drive which doesn't need a separate power cord. It won't give you the same capacity but much more portable
     
  10. Play Ultimate macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    #10
    I concur; wait and see what your computational needs are.
    By the time Uni starts, you may even have the want to buy a refurb and save some $$. (But with Edu. discounts, the difference is minimal)
     
  11. 3N16MA macrumors 65816

    3N16MA

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2009
    Location:
    Space
    #11
    Your experiencing gadget lust right now. The MBA is new and everyone is trying to find a reason to justify a purchase. I would wait and see what your needs will be in the future since your current set up is fine. MBP updates could be coming and a 13" might make more sense. If your still craving the MBA after the buzz dies down then go ahead and purchase one. No need to buy now if your starting university next year. Make a purchase in the summer or what you estimate to be the last update before you start .
     
  12. shadowbird423 macrumors regular

    shadowbird423

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Location:
    Chapel Hill
    #12
    Windows on a USB Drive

    I think you can use the HDD for a Virtual Machine. But boot camp refuses to install to an external hard drive (Windows HATES it.) It is possible, but you would need eSata (which no macs have) and a WHOLE lot of patience.
    However, OS X has no problems being installed on a hard drive, so that is an alternative solution. I wouldn't worry too much about it.
    Good luck!
     
  13. Abstract, Oct 22, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 4, 2011

    Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #13
    You only said, "Lug around", because you want to convince yourself that your MacBook is heavy.

    I'm not a massively huge guy, but the fact that you think your laptop is heavy for uni is laughable.

    If you really want to get a MacBook Air, then get it. ;)
     
  14. ImperialX thread starter macrumors 65816

    ImperialX

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    #14
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8B117 Safari/6531.22.7)

    Yup, thanks for all the input. Hugely appreciated. I haven't even seen the new MBA yet so I think I'll wait for more reviews and go play with one in the store before making a decision.

    From what I see in the MBA initial impressions thread, the people there are saying it feels even faster and snappier than their i7 MacBook Pros with HDD. The SSD does make a significant difference, I think.

    And there's not much point to wait for refurbished since I have educational discount anyway. I'm just going to wait for some more reviews and a personal hands on session before deciding on a solution.

    And yes, saying the MacBook is heavy is laughable. I'm so spoilt by the iPad. :p
     
  15. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #15
    Well that's exactly why I agreed with the other guy that you shouldn't bother getting anything. Having a 13" MBP and an iPad is a great combo, and getting the 11.6" or 13.3" MBA isn't the same at all. And if the SSD is what's preventing your laptop from feeling fast, then get an SSD. :confused: Then your 13" MBP would be as portable, in "real world" terms, as the 13" MacBook Air, and your computer would also get a speed upgrade. That, and you'd still have your iPad.


    Besides, "feels" snappier isn't the same as being snappier when actually needing to process something. My new-ish 15" 2.4 GHz i5 MBP doesn't feel any faster than my old 13" MB with 2GHz Core 2 Duo. However, there's certainly a difference when it comes to doing things that require the slightest bit of processor work.
     
  16. mattwolfmatt macrumors 65816

    mattwolfmatt

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    #16
    Beware of impulse buys. High School students are especially susceptible to this. It just got announced the day you wrote this.

    Since you won't be going to University until next year, wait till the fall - or whenever Uni starts for you Kiwis. By then your needs may change, there may be a lighter MBP, or maybe you'll see that what you have is just fine.

    Don't get the air just because "it's awesome." Get it because it will fit your needs better than what you have now.
     
  17. iWoz macrumors 6502a

    iWoz

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2009
    Location:
    East Midlands, U.K
    #17
    Very good response! I agree!
     

Share This Page