MacBook Air or MacBook Pro?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by alphaod, Mar 28, 2010.

  1. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #1
    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?
     
  2. ditzy macrumors 68000

    ditzy

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    #2
    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.
     
  3. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #3
    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.
     
  4. alphaod thread starter macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #4
    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.
     
  5. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #5
    I'm admittedly biased against the MBA, but I'd recommend the Pro. Yeah you can "get by" with 2 GB of RAM, but you're going to want more.
     
  6. Alaerian Guest

    Alaerian

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    Location:
    A barstool, Innis & Gunn in hand
    #6
    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. :)
     
  7. techound1 macrumors 68000

    techound1

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2006
    #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.
     
  8. AlmostThere macrumors 6502a

    #8
    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 :)
     
  9. nefan65 macrumors 65816

    nefan65

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
    #9
    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...
     
  10. alphaod thread starter macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #10
    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.
     
  11. Alaerian Guest

    Alaerian

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    Location:
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    #11
    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.
     
  12. nefan65 macrumors 65816

    nefan65

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
    #12
    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.
     
  13. roland.g macrumors 603

    roland.g

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Location:
    One mile up and soaring
    #13
    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.
     
  14. alphaod thread starter macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #14
    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.

    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.
     
  15. alphaod thread starter macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #15
    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……
     
  16. techound1 macrumors 68000

    techound1

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2006
    #16
    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.
     
  17. alphaod thread starter macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #17
    I just ordered a 15" MacBook Pro.

    Thanks guys.
     
  18. DHart macrumors 6502

    DHart

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    #18
    alphaod... where can you get such a good deal on MacBook Pro? Which one did you go for?
     
  19. alphaod thread starter macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #19
    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).
     
  20. DHart macrumors 6502

    DHart

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    #20
    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?
     
  21. alphaod thread starter macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #21
    Yes the Apple OS X developer subscription. It's now only $99, but does not include any hardware discounts.
     
  22. YsOuucK macrumors newbie

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    Mar 31, 2010
  23. Metlin macrumors newbie

    Metlin

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2010
    Location:
    Cambridge, MA
    #23
    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.
     
  24. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2010
    Location:
    On the fence
    #24
    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.
     
  25. brayden8181 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2010
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #25
    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!
     

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