MacBook Vs MacBook Air

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by BPapillon, Mar 1, 2008.

  1. BPapillon macrumors newbie

    Mar 1, 2008
    I know that's an odd question but please try to help.
    I know that they are not even in the same laptop category but i can't find which one is better for me. I have only one week to choose before my birthday and my father would be in the states.
    I have tried to search the web before i posted this thread but i didn't find anything.

    My needs are first of all that it would be strong enough for running office, net, movies, music and most important software developing applications [ computer science student ].

    I have 2,000 bucks to spend for my birthday, and i am deliberate between the macbook air and the black macbook.

    i know that if i buy the mba i would also have to buy external drive and usb hub, but can he handle my needs ?

    if you could choose, what did you pick ?

    thanks in advance
  2. Mitthrawnuruodo Moderator emeritus


    Mar 10, 2004
    Bergen, Norway
    If you need a large (and expandable) Hard Drive: MacBook.

    If you don't care about HD space and just want an übercool, light and portable laptop: MacBook Air.

    I really is that simple.

    I couldn't care less for ports, more RAM, slightly better CPU and the other apparent differences, but at the moment I couldn't really live with a smaller HD than the 320GB@5400 WD so I'm sticking to my MacBook... for now...
  3. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location

    I'd choose the MacBook. You're in Computer Science. Get the one that's more capable. For yourself, there's no benefit of getting an MBA. The MacBook is already quite thin. Getting a thinner laptop doesn't make it more compact or practical to carry around. You wouldn't even notice.

    Not having a 2nd USB port would matter. Also, I do programming on my laptop, and I'd want as much RAM as possible. Sure, my programming is a bit different (I run short, test simulations on my MB to see if it's functioning properly before moving that simulation onto a 28 CPU cluster), but I don't know what I'd do with a slower processor.

    Also, smaller HD of the MBA makes it useless to me. Once you're in uni, you'll want to take lots of photos of your friends. Your 80 GB HDD would fill up sooooo fast.

    I also like having an ethernet port. It's very useful, as you're not always at a wireless accessible place. Sorry, but true. There will be occasions where you'll need an ethernet port for internet, and if you can't find one, you're out of luck.
  4. astudentis macrumors regular

    Oct 7, 2007
    consider getting the macbook pro? it is also sub 2k now ( with edu discount) and it is also quite thin... and the screen is just amazing, and also the graphic card is quite good for possible graphic intesive tasks in future, if i had the option between the 3, i would most definately go for the pro
  5. mckyvlle macrumors 6502a

    Nov 21, 2007
    London, UK
    I am post-grad computer science (strictly Electronic Engineering, but I mostly do programming/simulations) and I say go for the MacBook. Get the black one if you want more 'cool' factor.

    You can get 4Gb of RAM, and fit in any 2.5'' hdd of standard 9.5mm thickness, so that's 320Gb now, and 500Gb really soon. Unless you're like living on an island, CS students have plenty of 'stuff' to share ;)

    Having more ports is useful too. You can have a mouse, external drives and other peripherals plugged in at the same time. Hubs are an alternative, but don't always work properly.
  6. nsbio macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2006
    The main advantage of owning an MBA is to impress your colleagues since the thing is still very new. "Wow, it is so thin, etc". However, this novelty will wear down and the advantage will dribble away.

    If you are not traveling all the time, then the weight difference between MB and MBA is negligible, in a sense that the MB is very manageable.

    If you are traveling all the time, then having to have a separate adapter dongle for this and that is a huge liability because if you lose one you are screwed for the duration of the trip.

    If you have firewire peripherals and own only an MBA, you might well get creative as to where to stick these firewire cables.

    MBA is a cute toy that only makes sense as a secondary computer. If you depend on one computer for extended periods of time, MB is a better choice.

    On the other hand, since it is your birthday money, it is blasphemy to buy yourself birthday presents based on their practicality. Go for the most unpractical but cooler looking of the two - you will figure something out with those ethernets later. :)
  7. elppa macrumors 68040


    Nov 26, 2003
    This $2,000 -will you get to keep any you don't spend?

    If you do, then I would definitely say MacBook, as you'll have more cash left over to spend on other things.

    Without taking into account form/appearance, here's what you get if you pick the MacBook over the MacBook Air:
    1] Firewire 400
    2] Gigabit Ethernet
    3] Optical Drive
    4] Optical digital audio line in
    6] Faster processor
    7] Faster Spinning HDD
    8] Ability to upgrade HDD
    9] Bigger HDD
    10] up to 4GB of RAM
    11] Ability to upgrade RAM
    12] stereo speakers (mono on Air)

    Here's what you don't get:
    1] LED backlit screen
    2] multitouch trackpad (which only works with selected Apple apps for now)
    3] backlit keyboard
    4] Bluetooth 2.1 (only 2.0 on the MacBook)

    I'm not bashing the Air, I understand why people like it, but in your case I'd really go for the standard MacBook.
  8. iMpathetic macrumors 68030


    Oct 7, 2007
    Go with the MacBook, you won't be sorry. I had been considering getting both a MBP and an Air, but the deal that I got on my 2.2GHz BlackBook was too good. I don't understand how anybody could think the MB is heavy, it's actually very sleek/suave-looking, especially when you have the black model like I do.

    If you're in Computer Science, the Air shouldn't even be a consideration. An extra 2 pounds in your bag each day won't kill you, and you get so, so, many features for the $300 less!

    No contest.
  9. BPapillon thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 1, 2008
    thank you all so much, i can't believe that there are so many answers in no time.

    so i choose the black macbook but i have no idea what do i need to buy beside him.
    what is this apple care ? do i need it ? what about sleeve, any recommendation ?
    does the 2 more gb of ram makes much difference ? is it prove the value ?
    sorry but i am new to mac and i have no idea what is essential and what isn't.
    for how long is the battery life ?
    if you have more ideas please raise them..

    thanks you all again :)
  10. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    You're going to get 3.5 to 4 hours of battery life.

    The 2 GB of RAM you have in there right now is probably fine. I survive on 2 GB of RAM, and I multitask a lot, doing many stupid things with my computer at once. Get a 2 GB stick of RAM if you find that 2 GB is not enough. I might, but I'm not desperate for more RAM.

    Sleeve? Get an STM shock absorbing one (ie: the grey coloured one). You could drop your MB all day in this thing, and I'm absolutely certain it would be free of dents and cracks.

    AppleCare is an extended warranty that makes your warranty a total of 3 years. Without Applecare, it's only 1 year. It only protects your laptop from manufacturer faults, meaning if something inside stops working for no reason, Apple will fix or replace it for free. However, if YOU break something, the warranty doesn't cover that.
  11. Hankster macrumors 68020


    Jan 30, 2008
    Washington DC
    Do a Google search for Apple sleeves. You'll get a lot of options there. In regards to RAM, get your laptop first and use it for a bit. If it can't handle what you're doing them upgrade the RAM, else you don't need it. Battery life is based on what you're doing, there are many things that determine this factor: programs running, number of programs, screen brightness, functions turned on/off.
  12. ChrisN macrumors 65816


    Aug 27, 2007
    Demarest, NJ
    With 2000 you can get a refurb macbook pro for 1449 and it is thinner than the MB and faster too.

  13. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    i'd go for a stock low-end mbp..

Share This Page