Macbook Air vs Macbook Pro (For my needs)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by xXxJeremy71xXx, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. xXxJeremy71xXx macrumors newbie

    Aug 9, 2011
    Hey guys I just joined your site today looking for some advice from you guys. I know there are a million threads like this but I believe I'll get the best answer if people respond to my personal needs.

    Anyway, I'm looking to purchase either the base 11 inch Macbook Air, the 13 inch base Air or the 13 inch base Pro. I think between the the two Air models the 13 inch would be better since it comes with more storage and RAM by default. What do you guys think?

    Also, I would like to note that this would be pretty much my sole computer, since I have a PC in my house that COULD hold files but not much else since it only has 1GB of RAM.

    So now for my needs:
    -My budget is around $1300, that`s why I say the base models.
    -I would surf online with Chrome probably with about 20 tabs open.
    - I would also like to be able to stream video well. (Not sure if this has to do with the Mac)
    -Use iTunes for a bit of music, and TV Shows and Movies. (Some shows take a lot of storage since they are the H ones from iTunes. I won`t really be playing music too often though)
    - Maybe have a video editor for stuff like editing video for a YouTube channel. (Not montage edits just like adding voice and stuff)
    -I don`t game on computers, so I don`t need super video cards.
    - Maybe the occasional Word processor to make texts for school
    -Maybe hooking the Mac up to my HDTV.

    So that`s basically all I can think of right now. I like the Pro but it seems that the Air could maybe do the same as the Pro while being smaller.

    If anyone took the time to read this and give me some advice, it would be much appreciated. Thanks!
  2. cawesjmu macrumors 6502

    Apr 4, 2004
    Richmond, VA
    I think your biggest question should be "how often will I carry it around." If it's daily, then the argument for the Air is strong. If you'll just take it out of the house every once in a while, then the Pro will give you more horse power, HDD space, and external options. Both have thunderbolt now yes, but the Pro has FW800 and Superdrive without adapters or dongles. With the Pro you could replace the harddrive for a bigger one in the future. HD video will take up a lot of space very quickly.

    The Air is awesome for the road warrior, and it's a very capable machine. I'm sure it could do all you need it to. If it were me, the biggest factor would be the portability. If you need it ultra-portable, go with the Air. If you're only going to take it on an airplane twice a year, go with the Pro.
  3. xXxJeremy71xXx thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 9, 2011
    OK thanks for the advice. I`m not really a traveler so it`s more for home use. I think you are pretty much right that the Air is a road-warrior. Thanks again!
  4. cebritt macrumors member

    May 1, 2003
    Austin, TX
    Maximum RAM

    I'm doing the same comparison but the deciding factor for me is the maximum RAM. If I'm not mistaken, the MBA is limited to 4GB of RAM which is not enough to run Mac OS X and Windows in Parallels or VMware simultaneously. The MacBook Pro can go to 8GB so you can allocate 4GB for each OS.

    I work all day on a Black MacBook with a 23" external monitor. When I do travel, the 13" is the perfect size.
  5. xXxJeremy71xXx thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 9, 2011
    Yeah I see that too but to me it`s not too much of a big deal since I have another PC that runs slow but at least it works.
  6. cawesjmu macrumors 6502

    Apr 4, 2004
    Richmond, VA
    You're not mistaken on the max amounts of RAM. As to what's enough for Parallels I can't really say, but yeah, the more the better.
  7. xXxJeremy71xXx thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 9, 2011
    But do you guys think that everything will work well that I wanna do on the Air?
  8. rwlcpa macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2011
    Dallas, TX
    I have been running Windows 7 Pro 32-bit on my MBA through VMWare without any problems at all. I have the 2010 13" ultimate and it is a sweet machine.
  9. Epic Xbox Revie macrumors 6502a

    Epic Xbox Revie

    Jun 15, 2010
    Washington, D.C.
    Everything except storing movies from iTunes. Each movie can take up 2-5 GB of hard drive space. A couple things you need to ask yourself are:

    1.How often will I move this thing around?
    if less than 3 times a week: add a point for the MBP
    if more than 3 times a week: add a point for the MBA

    2.Will you need a ethernet, firewire,or DVD port?
    if yes to 2 of these: add a point for the MBP
    if no to 2 or more: add a point for the MBA

    3.What apps will you be using other than Word and Chrome?
    if apps include Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, VERY graphic intensive apps: add to the MBP
    if apps include iTunes, FaceTime, and Mail: add a point to the MBA

    If the MBA has 2 or more points you need to consider between the 11 and 13 based on your preference and how much you will be taking it out of the house.

    If the MBP has 2 or more points, go for the 13" MBP, it's a solid machine and will do everything you need, except extreme extreme portability.

    Enjoy your new laptop.
  10. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    You aren't mistaken on MBA RAM, but you are on 4GB not being enough for OS X and Windows in Parallels. I regularly run a Parallels VM with Windows 7 running CAD programs while simultaneously doing screen recordings with iShowU HD. This is on a 2.5 year old MacBook with 4GB RAM. It does just fine. I also run Windows XP in a Parallels VM 24/7 on my Mac mini server (with 4GB RAM) but it doesn't do any more than run Quicken.

    That said, and with an 11" Air also in the house, the Air will be limiting not only for no future memory upgrades but also the limited drive capacity. The MPB is a better choice as ones sole (or main) computer.
  11. peejay3 macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2009
    Minneapolis, MN
    Don't forget to check out the refurbished Macs. Max out the hardware and save $$$$.:D
  12. jbyun04 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 31, 2008
    Honestly if I didn't have to deal with big PSD files and have a big library of songs I would downsize to the 13" Air in a heart beat. That's the only thing holding me back.
  13. xXxJeremy71xXx thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 9, 2011
    Ok thanks everyone for the replies. I think I'm leaning more to the MBP just because I don't need EXTREME portability.
  14. rockyroad55 macrumors 601


    Jul 14, 2010
    Phila, PA
    With $1300, I would get a 13" MBP from Microcenter for $999 and use the money that I saved to spend it on 8GB RAM (about $80, but there are various deals for lower that pop up almost every week) and a 750GB HDD Scorpio Black ($120 at MC currently).
  15. Papanate macrumors 6502


    Jul 21, 2011
    North Carolina
    The Air 13" seems like the best fit for you. IMO of course.
  16. jbg232 macrumors 65816


    Oct 15, 2007
    Just remember that the main difference between the MBP and MBA is the graphics card. If you need strong graphics performance (pro apps lke photoshop, aperture, or games) then get the MBP, if not, go for MBA.
  17. YEEZY macrumors member

    Jul 29, 2011
    The MBA will perform your needs perfectly, and with much more power to use for whatever else you want. It'll cost around $1300 to get a base 13 Air though. If you're not moving it around a lot, maybe you should get a Macbook Pro and use the extra money for the other things (like peripherals or an external monitor if you ever want it).
  18. Knoxifier macrumors member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Dallas, TX
    Only the 15" and the 17" has a dedicated graphics card. The 13" Macbook Pro and the Macbook Air have THE SAME intergrated Intel HD 3000 graphics.

    So really the difference lies in the processor(low-voltage on the Airs), the ports(ethernet, FW800), the superdrive and the storage(larger, though not flash - but you can upgrade that yourself) when it comes to components. As far as mobility goes, ofcourse the Air has an edge(it's ultra portable - duh!) but as mentioned above - if you aren't going to be moving around a lot then go for the PRO.
  19. treestar macrumors 6502

    Feb 28, 2010
    Dear OP,

    You do not need a MBP. No need for an optical drive. No need for Firewire. MBA have higher resolution screens and SSD based makes them wonderful. I suggest getting the 13" MBA for the longer battery life and larger screen. Take care!
  20. Kafka macrumors 6502

    Mar 10, 2011
    It's pretty simple basically: how often do you use ethernet? FW? An optical drive? Would you consider upgrading your hard drive or RAM?

    No one can answer for you. The MBP is great, so is the Air. I chose the Pro, until the Air has a better screen: don't forget that you also trade display quality for resolution when going Air.
    Your call!


    You're basically telling him what his needs are?

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