MacBook Air or MacBook Pro?

alphaod

macrumors Core
Original poster
Feb 9, 2008
22,046
1,104
NYC
I'm in a predicament at the moment. The back story is a dear friend had a MacBook Air that he was having problems with. Because he was unable to get it fixed (being a new to computers and English not as his first language), I erased mine and sent it to him and had him send his computer to me, so I could diagnose the issue. Realized the problem was just broken drivers that was fixed with a reinstallation; however I'm not going to ask for my computer back.

Anyways, I'm need a laptop computer and as much as I love the Air, I'm not going to use a Rev. A MacBook Air which to me is a too big of trade off with respect to portability and performance. When I sold my last MacBook Pro for the MacBook Air, I did regret it for a bit, but have gotten used to the lighter machine. Now that I'm in the market again, I can't decide for myself.

Why I want an Air:
- Really light and portable; I can slip anywhere in my bag and it's pretty solid. It's not terribly slow (at least the current 2.13/SSD model isn't).

Why I'm thinking of a Pro:
- I really need more than 2GB of RAM and my original plan was to buy the next revision of the Air should it have 4GB, but that has gone out the window. If I do buy a Pro, I will replace the HDD with an SSD and call it a day.

As much as I'd love to wait for a MacBook Pro/Air revision, my purchase right now is based on need, so I'll need to make a choice this week.

What do y'all think?
 

ditzy

macrumors 68000
Sep 28, 2007
1,710
156
If you really do need more than 2GB of RAM, I think that the decision has been made for you. The MBA doesn't fulfil this need.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,179
5,533
I'm facing the same choice. It's a matter of "desire" vs. "reason", so to speak.

Choices (from the Apple online "refurb" store):
- MB Pro, 2.53, 4gig RAM, 250gig HD, 1,299 .... or.....
- MB Air, 1.86, 2gig RAM, 128 SSD, 1,349.

The prices are roughly equal.

"Reason" says to get the MB Pro, but the one I'd really like is the Air!

Been waiting until the new MB Pros and Airs come out, and expecting to see the [refurb] prices on these drop even more to clean out old inventory.

I won't spend the $$$ on a new Air (the refurb deal above is one of Apple's better buys). I _might_ spring for a new MB Pro if the specs are compelling enough to do so.
 

alphaod

macrumors Core
Original poster
Feb 9, 2008
22,046
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NYC
If you really do need more than 2GB of RAM, I think that the decision has been made for you. The MBA doesn't fulfil this need.
Well I'll put that in the want category. Right now I can make do with 2GB of RAM. Just requires me to restart it every other day to clear out the swap file. VMWare struggles a bit, but gets by.

My issue here is I cannot decide between the fixed RAM of 2GB but very compact chassis or the flexibility but added weight of the MacBook Pro.

I usually make last minute decisions which end up with me stressed over the what-if scenario had I purchased the other machine. Therefore I want the decision made beforehand, so I do not have to do it at the store. I'm very bad at making planned decisions.
 

Alaerian

Guest
Jan 6, 2005
1,926
0
A barstool, Innis & Gunn in hand
How much traveling do you plan on doing?
What are you doing with this machine, including programs?
Is a built in optical drive important to you?
What kind of bag are you carrying this machine in, and how important is weight?

It's hard to make a recommendation without knowing a bit more about your personal situation. :)
 

techound1

macrumors 68000
Mar 3, 2006
1,977
7
The pro is not a cement block - all things considered, it's only marginally larger and heavier than an air. From your description, I think you'll be much happier with the better performance (and greater flexibility) in the pro.
 
As desire is a strong consideration (damn Apple and their sexy hardware) I would go with whatever will cause you the least buyer's regret, which is probably getting the MacBook Pro.

When updates finally arrive, the relative difference to you of the new MBP will be small, both new and old models exceed your performance needs, you wouldn't notice the difference.

The MBA will *probably* be the laptop you really want and you will be annoyed by the performance of your MBA, or specifically, the performance and form factor combination you *could* have had.

Convince yourself the MBP is the right, sensible and pragmatic choice, that the MBA was never a contender, and make your purchase.

Or join the club, make do for now and wait :)
 

nefan65

macrumors 65816
Apr 15, 2009
1,345
14
If you're near a store, go and take a look at them. Both Apple and Best Buy carry them. Pick up an Air, and look. Then the 13" MBP.

Personally, the 13" MBP is cheaper, has more, and not a lot bulkier/heavier compared to the Air. Unless you travel a lot, and really only care about a "Netbook" like system, the Air seems a waste to me...
 

alphaod

macrumors Core
Original poster
Feb 9, 2008
22,046
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NYC
Okay basically the two I'm deciding between is the 2.13GHz MacBook Air and the 15" 2.8GHz MacBook Pro.

I'm not going to consider a 13" because to me, I cannot justify buying a 13" computer that is not much faster than a MacBook Air, doesn't offer much more screen real estate, and adds a lot more bulk. It feels like way too much of a compromise.

This is also why my decision is more difficult as the 15" is a lot bigger, but also a lot faster.
 

Alaerian

Guest
Jan 6, 2005
1,926
0
A barstool, Innis & Gunn in hand
I'm not going to consider a 13" because to me, I cannot justify buying a 13" computer that is not much faster than a MacBook Air, doesn't offer much more screen real estate, and adds a lot more bulk. It feels like way too much of a compromise.
That doesn't make a lot of sense to me. You seem to be ignoring every other difference between a MBA and a MBP. There is MUCH more to consider than simply processor speed and weight.
  • Pro memory is upgradable, Air is not
  • Pro has a larger HDD, but Air has the option for SSD
  • Pro has 2 USB ports, Air has only 1
  • Pro has a Firewire port and SD card reader, Air has neither
  • Pro has an optical Superdrive, Air has no optical drive
So you're saying that NONE of the above makes any difference to you, whatsoever? I honestly find that a bit hard to believe.

If you want to go 15", more power to you. However, don't discount the 13" simply because you seem a bit misinformed. If you like the form factor and size of the MBA, a 13" MBP may very well be exactly what you're looking for.
 

nefan65

macrumors 65816
Apr 15, 2009
1,345
14
That doesn't make a lot of sense to me. You seem to be ignoring every other difference between a MBA and a MBP. There is MUCH more to consider than simply processor speed and weight.
  • Pro memory is upgradable, Air is not
  • Pro has a larger HDD, but Air has the option for SSD
  • Pro has 2 USB ports, Air has only 1
  • Pro has a Firewire port and SD card reader, Air has neither
  • Pro has an optical Superdrive, Air has no optical drive
So you're saying that NONE of the above makes any difference to you, whatsoever? I honestly find that a bit hard to believe.

If you want to go 15", more power to you. However, don't discount the 13" simply because you seem a bit misinformed. If you like the form factor and size of the MBA, a 13" MBP may very well be exactly what you're looking for.
My thought, and recommendation exactly. I picked up both, and found little difference. I mean yes, the MBA WAS lighter. But not so much that I the 13" MBP was twice as heavy, or twice as bulky. For the cost of a new Air vs. 13" MBP, I get all the things you mentioned, for a lot less.

I have an older White MB, and would NEVER trade for an Air, just for the reasons you mentioned. And it's not that heavy to carry around.
 

roland.g

macrumors 604
Apr 11, 2005
6,523
1,407
And what do you use VMWare for. Are you running fusion or some other virtualization. Can you use CrossOver instead. Isn't as boggy and resource hoggy as two OSes.
 

alphaod

macrumors Core
Original poster
Feb 9, 2008
22,046
1,104
NYC
That doesn't make a lot of sense to me. You seem to be ignoring every other difference between a MBA and a MBP. There is MUCH more to consider than simply processor speed and weight.
  • Pro memory is upgradable, Air is not
  • Pro has a larger HDD, but Air has the option for SSD
  • Pro has 2 USB ports, Air has only 1
  • Pro has a Firewire port and SD card reader, Air has neither
  • Pro has an optical Superdrive, Air has no optical drive
So you're saying that NONE of the above makes any difference to you, whatsoever? I honestly find that a bit hard to believe.

If you want to go 15", more power to you. However, don't discount the 13" simply because you seem a bit misinformed. If you like the form factor and size of the MBA, a 13" MBP may very well be exactly what you're looking for.
1) Yes that is a good thing which is why I'm considering the Pro.
2) I only need about 40GB of disk space. Everything else is stored on a network server.
3) Yes the additional USB port would be excellent, but not a dealbreaker as I have gotten used to accessing everything wirelessly.
4) I used to love Firewire, but now it doesn't really matter. And my camera uses CF, so the SD slot is useless.
5) I don't use optical media anymore. If I do, I have the MacBook Air superdrive.

So the things you did list, are good to have, but pretty much only the added RAM and better processor are the dealbreakers.

So overall it breaks down to pretty much am I willing to trade portability for more power and performance.

And what do you use VMWare for. Are you running fusion or some other virtualization. Can you use CrossOver instead. Isn't as boggy and resource hoggy as two OSes.
Yeah it's mostly to run Windows only applications, namely proprietary software I can't name and don't run on Crossover or Wine. The only two ways to run them are to use a PC/BootCamp or virtualization.

----

Thanks all for the help so far, BTW.
 

alphaod

macrumors Core
Original poster
Feb 9, 2008
22,046
1,104
NYC
Alright I made the decision to buy a MacBook Pro; I just ordered an Intel X25 on NewEgg which should be here on Wednesday.

Now should I buy it at the store tomorrow and have the possibility of a update within the next 2 weeks, or buy it online for around $600 off as a BTO (and therefore unable to swap for a update if it does come)?

Decisions……
 

techound1

macrumors 68000
Mar 3, 2006
1,977
7
You're going to love the X25.

As far as your last dilemma - that's a toughy. Shot at an i5 vs. $600 savings... The ability to upgrade without hassle or cost would be nice, but go for the $600 savings now. When the upgrades do come out, you can always buy a new one and sell the one you just bought - and probably for more than you paid for it. You come out ahead, minus the hassle of having to sell the old one.
 

DHart

macrumors 6502
Jan 17, 2008
398
12
alphaod... where can you get such a good deal on MacBook Pro? Which one did you go for?
 

alphaod

macrumors Core
Original poster
Feb 9, 2008
22,046
1,104
NYC
alphaod... where can you get such a good deal on MacBook Pro? Which one did you go for?
I have a ADC discount that came with the subscription I purchase last summer. Turns out I forgot about it last year when I ordered a Mac Pro, but it came in handy this time around.

The 15" MacBook Pro was about $600 less than retail when configured with a 3.06GHz processor and 8GB of RAM. Of course decided not to get the memory from Apple, but instead bought a 8GB RAM kit from OWC (which was still $120 cheaper than Apple). The computer totaled to $2120 with the processor and antiglare upgrade (which is still $520 less than retail) and then the RAM kit from OWC was $360. If I sell the existing RAM I'll probably get some back, but odds are I won't and will keep it for warranty or give it to a friend who may need it. Also bought a 160GB Intel SSD to top it off making this a great computer for a next few years (even though it's at the end of the product cycle).
 

DHart

macrumors 6502
Jan 17, 2008
398
12
very nice set-up, my friend. No worries about the new machines coming in... you're well set at a great price! You can always sell it, if you decided to, and upgrade to the new model somewhere down the road a piece.

OWC is a great source for Mac stuff, memory, bigger HDDs, etc. I've bought a bunch of memory and laptop HDDs from them over the years. I would never buy RAM and bigger HDDs from Apple, unless I had no choice.

What's the ADC discount? Is that Apple Developers or something like that?
 

alphaod

macrumors Core
Original poster
Feb 9, 2008
22,046
1,104
NYC
What's the ADC discount? Is that Apple Developers or something like that?
Yes the Apple OS X developer subscription. It's now only $99, but does not include any hardware discounts.
 

Metlin

macrumors newbie
Jun 5, 2010
22
0
Cambridge, MA
That doesn't make a lot of sense to me. You seem to be ignoring every other difference between a MBA and a MBP. There is MUCH more to consider than simply processor speed and weight.
  • Pro memory is upgradable, Air is not
  • Pro has a larger HDD, but Air has the option for SSD
  • Pro has 2 USB ports, Air has only 1
  • Pro has a Firewire port and SD card reader, Air has neither
  • Pro has an optical Superdrive, Air has no optical drive
So you're saying that NONE of the above makes any difference to you, whatsoever? I honestly find that a bit hard to believe.

If you want to go 15", more power to you. However, don't discount the 13" simply because you seem a bit misinformed. If you like the form factor and size of the MBA, a 13" MBP may very well be exactly what you're looking for.
Air is super thin, about 1.5 lb lighter, and none of the above makes a difference for someone who just needs to use it for basic office applications, email, and surfing.

  • Pro memory is upgradable, Air is not -- Office apps run quite well with 2GB; for most people that's plenty.
  • Pro has a larger HDD, but Air has the option for SSD -- And the 128 GB SSD is a great deal.
  • Pro has 2 USB ports, Air has only 1 -- The only thing most people I plug in are their phones or the occasional USB memory stick.
  • Pro has a Firewire port and SD card reader, Air has neither -- There are FW to USB adapters, and most cameras come with USB adapters.
  • Pro has an optical Superdrive, Air has no optical drive -- I cannot remember the last time I used an optical drive, and there is always the option to read remotely from another drive or get a SuperDrive.
 

alust2013

macrumors 601
Feb 6, 2010
4,776
1
On the fence
Air is super thin, about 1.5 lb lighter, and none of the above makes a difference for someone who just needs to use it for basic office applications, email, and surfing.

  • Pro memory is upgradable, Air is not -- Office apps run quite well with 2GB; for most people that's plenty.
  • Pro has a larger HDD, but Air has the option for SSD -- And the 128 GB SSD is a great deal.
  • Pro has 2 USB ports, Air has only 1 -- The only thing most people I plug in are their phones or the occasional USB memory stick.
  • Pro has a Firewire port and SD card reader, Air has neither -- There are FW to USB adapters, and most cameras come with USB adapters.
  • Pro has an optical Superdrive, Air has no optical drive -- I cannot remember the last time I used an optical drive, and there is always the option to read remotely from another drive or get a SuperDrive.
Psst, you might want to check dates before you post. This thread is two months old, I assume it is already resolved. No need to bring a thread back from the dead unless you have a question to ask. Just a heads-up, no offense intended.
 

brayden8181

macrumors newbie
Jun 8, 2010
9
0
Ontario, Canada
I'm in a predicament at the moment. The back story is a dear friend had a MacBook Air that he was having problems with. Because he was unable to get it fixed (being a new to computers and English not as his first language), I erased mine and sent it to him and had him send his computer to me, so I could diagnose the issue. Realized the problem was just broken drivers that was fixed with a reinstallation; however I'm not going to ask for my computer back.

Anyways, I'm need a laptop computer and as much as I love the Air, I'm not going to use a Rev. A MacBook Air which to me is a too big of trade off with respect to portability and performance. When I sold my last MacBook Pro for the MacBook Air, I did regret it for a bit, but have gotten used to the lighter machine. Now that I'm in the market again, I can't decide for myself.

Why I want an Air:
- Really light and portable; I can slip anywhere in my bag and it's pretty solid. It's not terribly slow (at least the current 2.13/SSD model isn't).

Why I'm thinking of a Pro:
- I really need more than 2GB of RAM and my original plan was to buy the next revision of the Air should it have 4GB, but that has gone out the window. If I do buy a Pro, I will replace the HDD with an SSD and call it a day.

As much as I'd love to wait for a MacBook Pro/Air revision, my purchase right now is based on need, so I'll need to make a choice this week.

What do y'all think?
Im in the EXACT same position!
I'm leaning towards the Air because I'm used to lugging around my old 15inch Powerbook G4 Aluminum which is extremely heavy, and very similar to the new Pro's
But the extra power you get from the Pro's is attracting me in, especially that multitouch glass trackpad and glossy edge to edge screen.

I'd say get the Pro!
However if you still have the Air, I'll buy it off you! Save me some bucks buying from the Apple store!