MacBook Air vs. MacBook

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by DaleMassey, Sep 13, 2008.

  1. DaleMassey macrumors member

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    England
    #1
    Right, so I'm in need of a bit of buying advice!
    I know its a possibility new MacBooks are coming out soon, but I've got money burning a hole in my pocket. I'm getting tempted into buying a MacBook Air!

    Now you see I'm mainly going to be using the laptop for college work, but I'm also wanting to run Logic, Reason, Cubase, Sibelius, GuitarRig, etc for Music Tech stuff, and if possible I'd like the laptop to be used at University next year.

    Which laptop would be best for me? Base model MacBook (when they get refreshed) or MacBook Air?

    I'm in the UK, and should be able to get the new MacBook for £700 (- Student Discount, + Price hike due to strong Dollar).
    I can get the MacBook Air for £700 as well though, but I'd need to buy a USB sound card.

    Help!
     
  2. scienide09 macrumors 65816

    scienide09

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    #2
    At least the MacBook. It's got more horsepower than the MBA, and will probably last longer for your usage.

    Also, I'm not familiar with all of those programs. You may find that you need a MBP to handle some of the intensive tasks. Maybe someone else can fill you in on that score.
     
  3. DaleMassey thread starter macrumors member

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    #3
    I was able to run (albeit older) versions of those apps on my G4 PB with 512MB RAM and a 1.67 PPC, so I'm pretty sure they'll work on the MacBook, not to sure on the Air though.
     
  4. Chris Rogers macrumors 6502a

    Chris Rogers

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    #4
    I'd prefer the macbook more horse power, storage, USB ports, Fire Wire (I may be wrong but I'm sure te MBA doesn't have FW), and a CD ROM drive.

    Next rumor is saying Oct 14th for new Apple notebooks if you can stick it out
     
  5. PowerFullMac macrumors 601

    PowerFullMac

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    #5
    The MBA sucks if you want to do anything over reading e-mail and browsing the web, get a MacBook, slap a bit more RAM in there, and your done!
     
  6. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    #6
    I'd say Macbook, as mediocre (and still as ludicrously hot-running as ever) as it is for a laptop. As others have said, if you must cripple yourself running OS X (albeit with a less-compatible Windows machine bonus) and want to keep it to below MBP price-wise the Macbook is better in the long run as a sole machine.

    The MBA is a very pretty pile of crap, period - even if all you do is Office-y stuff (which is what I attempt on the Air). If it's your only computer you're not only shooting yourself in the foot, you're sticking a fork into your eye and snipping off your testicles with a pair of garden shears.
     
  7. DaleMassey thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 27, 2007
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    England
    #7
    Thanks for all your feedback.
    The laptop I choose isn't going to be a desktop replacement, it's so I can carry my projects from my iMac at home into college easily. Hence why I require OSX (Try using a PC Cubase file on a MAc, or the other way round and you'll see the problem!)
    It doesn;t have to be insanely powerful, as the bulk of the work is going to be done on the iMac; but whichever laptop I chose is going to be more powerful than the college Music suite.
    Looking at the amount of external dongles and adapters I'd require for using it for the Music stuff, I'm leaning towards getting the MacBook, if it gets revised in the next month.
    Really not fond of the current design though, so if it isn't aluminium I guess I'll be making do with the Air.
     
  8. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #8
    Eeeee-ouch. Graphic. That's calling it as it is. With that in mind, I suppose I had better concur with the above posts and suggest the MB over the MBA. Are there any reasons to recommend the MBA, other than sheer portability, and good looks?
    Cheers
     
  9. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    #9
    No, and not even for sheer portability. Only sheer supported OS X portability.
     
  10. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #10
    The MBA still puzzles me. It's not a practical machine in any sense of the word. It's underpowered and really not capable of all that much. Is it thin? Yeah! SO WHAT? It's not much lighter than a MacBook and it does far less for what you pay. It's also uglier than sin. Go for the middle MacBook at least. You'll be glad you did.
     
  11. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #11
    I think that the best use of an MBA is to complement a desktop setup.

    If you have only one computer, then a MB or MBP is a better option.
     
  12. PowerFullMac macrumors 601

    PowerFullMac

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    #12
    +1

    Couldnt have put it better myself
     
  13. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    #13
    2lbs out of 5? Really? You don't carry laptops much, do you?
     
  14. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #14
    Agree.

    Seemingly little differences in weight add up.
     
  15. Mr$Whale macrumors member

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    #15
    Please don't just 'settle' for a product of this cost. If this is something you're thinking of hanging onto, especially for university, carefully consider what you're using it for and what can truly meet your needs. Do you need the ultra-portability of the air compared to a macbook. Yea it's a bit smaller, but for the stuff you're talking about doing, it seems the macbook would be the best choice.

    Also, as a current college student, a solid laptop is something very useful to have. I carry my ibook everywhere, and wouldn't think of using a desktop at school unless it's in a lab (which is usually just once or twice a semester). My roommate had a desktop for the past couple years and got tired of it since he couldn't take it to his art studio, and was just kinda stuck to doing work in the room.

    And it's also handy having a laptop from a musical perspective...I'm in a band and it allows me to portable and to be able to practice anywhere we can fit. We do rough recordings into the macbook (i know the mic isn't great, but it helps us remember stuff we wrote), and i can write out lyrics quicker on a laptop with pad and pen.

    Wow. I got offtopic.

    Go with the macbook.
     
  16. polar-blair macrumors regular

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    #16
    Ha... There is no real contest... get a macbook, the Air will not be good for any of the programs you want to run, the only reason why I can imagine a person would get an Air is, firstly the already have another computer at home, iMac or something and all they need was a laptop to read email and surf the web and have an extra £1000+ in the bank they would like to go and waste. Unless your going to go round a go oh look at my macbook air, its so thin and light and look its so thin and thats it then get one but if you intend on using it to do work get the macbook.

    Also you will save yourself some money as the macbook is cheaper.
     
  17. DaleMassey thread starter macrumors member

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    England
    #17
    Thanks again everyone.
    It's looking more and more likely that I'll be getting a MacBook.
    The mid-range MacBook costs £829, and with an education discount it'll be looking more like £750, which is good for the specs they're in now... If the MacBook's are updated as everyone seems to think, what's the chances that the hardware gets significant upgrades as well as cosmetically?
    The base machine should definetly have a superdrive and 2GB RAM as standard to be competitive, so maybe the mid-range one will get a similar bump?
     
  18. hogfaninga macrumors 65816

    hogfaninga

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    #18

    I needed a good laugh. I love to read stupid comments sometimes.
     
  19. cb31 macrumors member

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    #19
    Where can you buy a macbook air for £700?
     
  20. DaleMassey thread starter macrumors member

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    #20
    Theres a lot of American exported ones running (not literally) around Manchester. They come with Official UK Power Adapters though, bundled in.
    It's the base model, check eBay or Gumtree.
     
  21. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    #21
    You try being the idiot that bought two Airs - just for Apple starters.
     
  22. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #22
    One nice thing about the MB and MBP, is that you can upgrade your hard drive via third party to 500GB.

    Makes it nice to be able to carry around your files -- especially a large photo and iTunes library.
     
  23. Jak3 macrumors regular

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    #23
    fix'd...I can only ever imagine filling up 500GB if over half of it were games...unless you have millions of photos and hundreds of thousands of songs... :eek:

    now that I think about it, how large are the libraries of people maxing out their 1TB drives with music? :eek:
     
  24. ascender macrumors 68000

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    Dec 8, 2005
    #24
    I've had both and have ended up with a Macbook. The thing about the Air from my experience is that while its fast enough for most normal things, I found it noticeably sluggish when compared to a Macbook. Now, on one hand that's not a problem depending on your expectations or what machine you're coming from, but if you're used to running OS X on a recent Mac with 4Gb RAM, I think its a noticeable downward move to go to a MBA with 2Gb RAM.

    FWIW, I think the MBA has massive potential, especially for people to use as a second machine. If they can bump the CPU speed (and sort out the core shutdown issues) and stick in 4Gb RAM, I'd buy one in an instant. I don't even think the relatively small HDD is a problem in these days of cheap external and network storage.

    Have a play with them in a store and see what you think. I know that people have OS X running fine on G4 PBs and the like, but its difficult when you then see how much more responsive a Macbook is when compared to the Air, not to mention the price difference.
     
  25. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #25
    Both an MBA and MacBook are fast enough to run the software you want to use. No problems there at all. It's all stuff you could have run on hardware from 3 years ago, and since the current Intel Core 2 Duo processors in the MBA and MacBook are both faster than the old Core Duo and G5 processors from way back when, you're more than OK in terms of speed.

    However, for your situation, I'd get the MacBook because you'll likely need the 2 USB ports and Firewire for all sorts of music peripherals. I'm certain you're going to use the USB port for some music-related peripheral (e.g. the USB sound-card you mentioned), and you may want a fast external harddisk with Firewire to keep all that music.

    The MBA is a great second machine (as ascender mentioned), but if you need it for work that's more involving than MS Office, Mail.app, Firefox, and something like iPhoto or Adobe Lightroom, you're going to need a MacBook.
     

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