MBP or MBA & MacMini for college?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Emrtr4, Mar 30, 2008.

  1. Emrtr4 macrumors regular

    Feb 6, 2006
    As I am accepted to college and not doing anything the last couple of months of high school, I was thinking about my future computing options.

    I am seeking the advice of Macrumors members, because I was originally planning on getting a nice 15 inch MBP with a dell 24 inch monitor (so I can connect my 360) in my dorm, but then of course Apple had to release a new product that does a lot, but not quite everything. The Macbook Air simply isn't powerful enough to be a primary computer, so my question is

    a. Fully loaded MBP


    b. MBA & Mac Mini
  2. mwpeters8182 macrumors 6502

    Apr 16, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I'd go for the MBP. It's got more features than the two of the others combined.
  3. airjuggernaut macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2007
  4. miniConvert macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2006
    Kent, UK - the 'Garden of England'.
    The MBP is definitely the most capable machine. It'll do everything you need and more.

    However, if it goes wrong you're left with nada. Having a MBA and a mini gives you some redundancy should something go wrong. It also gives you a far more portable laptop.

    So it's swings around roundabouts really :D Good luck with your decision!
  5. mac17 macrumors regular

    Dec 18, 2006
    Im thinking the same exact thing I am selling my MBP....the Air would make an awesome college laptop, it so easy to carry around and I was looking at a refurbished iMac..

    edit:I thought you were going to college I read wrong...
  6. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    MBP. First, the mini wouldn't really allow you to do anything that the air wouldn't anyway (with an external screen). Second, if you want this computer to last 4 years, you need to get something fairly powerful so that it will be able to run software coming out in a few years. "Powerful" rules out the mini and the air. :p
  7. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    My question to you is, "what are you going to do in college?"

    If it's just writing papers, taking notes, etc, then why can't the MBA work for you?

    I also don't know what you mean by "not accepted to college" but then go on to state that this is for your dorm room. :confused:

    In any case, two computers is a waste for a college student IMO. You'll mostly end up just using one or the other.
  8. Adokimus macrumors 6502a


    Jun 2, 2007
    Boston, MA
    I'll be the first to say go MBA if you want to take your laptop to every class and use it for notetaking. Books weigh enough without a MBP. But, your question should really be "MBP or MBA + superdrive + large external hard drive?" Either way, you need an external hard drive for backing up all your HW and data.

    I would go 15" MBP as it will fit the bill and be able to hack anything you need for time to come, but the MBA is a fairly capable device and I would go that route if you plan to carry it EVERYWHERE. Again, going to need to know what you are doing.... english lit major or engineering major or design major? All carry different needs.
  9. spacecadet610 macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2006
    as long as you aren't doing heavy computing, i say go for the mini and the MBA. you can get a nice monitor, keyboard and mouse. it's what i've done..

    plus the new mini out soon should match up much better to the current hardware
  10. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    If you don't need the power, get an Air and use an external hard drive.

    If you need the power, neither the air or the mini will be sufficient, and you should get a MBP.
  11. FanOfMac macrumors newbie

    Jan 1, 2008
    MacBook 2.2 Ghz! Lovin' it!

    In December 2007, I purchased my MacBook 2.2 Ghz; it's been all the computer I need. I realize you're looking at either MBP or MBA and mini, though I recommend looking at the MacBook instead.

    The MBA looks cool and holds tons of bragging rights, I'm sure, but with no superdrive built in, it is less portable. That is, if you want to make use of a cd drive, you'd have to pull it out of your bag and connect it with a cable. That is not my idea of portable and fully functional. MBA is great for what it is, which is a wireless solution.

    I must say that when looking over the past year, I was really torn between the MBP and the MacBook. I thought the independent graphics card of the MBP would offer better graphics. It does for gaming for sure. I'm not much of a gamer, so MacBook graphics work great for me. No problems. Though, I must say that I've enjoyed playing CivIII in the past, and it appears that the MacBook would not be a really workable choice based on a review I read.

    In the end, the lower cost of MacBook won me over, as well as being more portable; yet, it is very functional, having it all under one clean looking case.
  12. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
    Thank you, this seems to solve most of your problems, as you have a 360 - I assume you won't be gaming much on your mac.
  13. DaveF macrumors 6502a

    Aug 29, 2007
    1) Two computers == worrying about data synchronization.

    Choose one computer that fits your needs. You don't want to worry about which computer has the current version of your term paper at 2 am the day it's due.

    2) MBA == new hotness == greater risk of theft

    3) Think affordable. I've never know anyone in their mid-twenties say, "Gee, I'm really glad I've got this extra debt to pay off from buying computers and stereo five years ago in college."
  14. jay1097 macrumors member

    Mar 6, 2008
    I have to agree with the people that said macbook. It's cheaper than the MBA and MBP and offers the same performance as the MBP minus the graphics card. Also it is worth noting that the macbook has a better battery life than the MBA and in a year you can replace the battery yourself without having to send it in to apple. Another advantage with the macbook is that you can use the money you save to buy a new laptop sooner than if you were to spend it all on the other options.

    If it was between the MBA+mini and MBP. hands down the MBP. The MBP would cost less than your MBA+Mini combo (because you need a monitor, keyboard, mouse for the mini). also like others have said the MBP is much more powerful than either the mini or the air.

    I think a good alternative might be the middle or lower macbook, with a refurbish or used iMac.
  15. iJesus macrumors 6502a


    Jun 30, 2007
    Reno, Nevada
    I agree with you. If you try hard enough you could find an iMac + a MacBook for under $2,000 bucks.
  16. wako macrumors 65816

    Jun 6, 2005

    thats what im doing right now....

    seriously for college, you DO NOT need a laptop for EVERY class. Even for those that do, you will easily find having a laptop is more of a distraction that anything else. On top of that, aside from maybe social science, english, and government majors, i seriously cannot see having a laptop as a primary way of taking notes. Especially in science, math, and science field it is IMPOSSIBLE to take notes with only a laptop. There is absolutely no way you will be able to take notes with them. How are you going to draw the diagrams that they draw?

    I say just do the smart thing and go with your original idea. Thats what Im doing now and its working just fine.
  17. NAG macrumors 68030


    Aug 6, 2003
    I went the iMac MBA route. Getting a MBP setup to replace a desktop actually ends up costing more than buying even that combo and in my opinion is more cumbersome to try to use one machine for everything. Oh, and I also agree with a laptop not being required. I only have one so I can do work in the lab and such (making figures and writing protocols...science notes are best with pen and paper).

    Oh and if you do decide to get a mini or an imac I'd wait since they're probably going to update them soon.
  18. vga4life macrumors 6502

    Jun 16, 2004
    Get a refurb macbook for $800. It will do everything you want and be much less fragile or theft-prone than the MBA or MBP. Buy an external monitor and keyboard for your desk if you need them. Save the rest of your money for books and beer.

    P.S. Get used to taking your Macbook with you every time you set foot outside your dorm room. Seriously. Never leave a Mac laptop unattended in a university setting, even in a locked room. I guarantee there will be five people living in your dorm and ten crooks who don't - excluding the RAs and security staff - who will have master keys they shouldn't have and/or will be familiar with picking the locks.
  19. zioxide macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2006
    By the fact that you're considering a Mini and MBA, I'm going to assume you're not going to be doing anything graphically intensive.

    Therefore, your best option is by far the regular (mid-level) Macbook. It's more powerful than the Air and the Mini, and more portable than the Macbook Pro. Oh, and it's over $1000 less than either of the things you were thinking about.

    That $1000 can go a long way towards books, pizza money, and other stuff. I ordered all my books on line for way cheaper than the bookstore and I still spent over $300 this semester.

    College is extremely expensive and you won't even spend a ton of time on your computer when you're living in dorms. There's always **** going on that's more interesting than playing on your computer.

    Worrying much? Theft is definitely not that big of a deal at college. To the OP: just leave your door locked when you're not there and you'll be fine. Oh, and get insurance for all your **** in your dorm. Many colleges have deals or something with insurance companies to give you cheap options. I have $4,000 of coverage for less than $100 a year and only like a $25 deductible.
  20. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    On the contrary, a college campus is one of the most likely places to have expensive property stolen (especially laptops). Dorm room thieves are notoriously efficient and Apple products are usually good targets because of their higher value.

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