Not sure which one...

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Youngferds07, Apr 18, 2015.

  1. Youngferds07, Apr 18, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2015

    Youngferds07 macrumors newbie

    Apr 18, 2015
    At the moment I am a stay-at-home-mom. The most I use my PC for right now is finances, pictures, recipes, research, basic Excel & Word functions. I am an accountant and I don't anticipate using my Mac for work (when I go back to work).

    The first macbook that caught my eye was the Macbook Air. The size is very attractive for me. Its lightweight and with toting around 3 kids it makes for simpler travel when I need to travel with the kids. However, my husband is saying the 13.3" Macbook Pro is a better buy.

    I know the newest models, especially the Air, do not have CD/DVD drives. This doesn't bother me much, I don't really use the one on my PC. I do want the SD Card Slot which is why I want the 13" screen.

    I have been considering a refurbished. These are the refurbished Macbook Pro & Macbook Air that I have been considering:

    Refurbished 13.3-inch MacBook Pro 2.5GHz Dual-core Intel i5. $829.00

    Originally released June 2012
    13.3-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy widescreen display, 1280-by-800 resolution
    4GB (2 x 2GB) of 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM
    500GB Serial ATA @ 5400 rpm1
    8x double-layer SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    Intel HD Graphics 4000


    Refurbished 13.3-inch MacBook Air 1.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5. $889.00

    Originally released June 2013
    13.3-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy widescreen display, 1440-by-900 resolution
    4GB memory
    256GB flash storage
    720p FaceTime HD camera
    Intel HD Graphics 5000

    Overall (new or refurbished) I'm torn between which is a better buy: Macbook Air or Macbook Pro?

    Also, is buying refurbished a good route to go?
  2. martinm0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 27, 2010
    I recommend the Macbook Air. It will be faster due to having the 256GB SSD over the MBP 500GB HDD for your listed uses, lighter, longer battery life, better screen resolution, and graphics card. The only downside to the Air is that the RAM is not user replaceable (the MBP would be easy to upgrade RAM, and the HDD to an SSD), but I still feel the MBA is plenty fast enough.

    Hope that helps! Good luck!
  3. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2013
    I would get a macbook air (MBA). It has a nicer screen, weighs less, has much better battery life, and most importantly, it has an SSD.

    Also, I would not go refurbished. Not that there is anything wrong with refurb, there are just much better deals out there for new MBA's. This Easter weekend the 2014 4GB/256GB MBA was going for 810$ including discounts. There are good deals out there, especially for the MBA. If you can wait, keep an eye out for discounts.

  4. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    I would go refurb rMBP

    I don't think your husband meant that pro it is 2 chipsets behind the current (released in 2012) and has a spinning hard drive it'll be slow slow slow compared to the air.

    You want the retina screen it makes everything more pleasant especially text.
    they are also much thinner and lighter (only 1/2 pound heavier than the air) and actually smaller than the air footprint wise.

    Something like this
  5. Youngferds07 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 18, 2015

    Thank you!


    Thank you! I am not in a rush so I will definitely keep an eye out for a deal on the MBA.


    Thank you!
  6. Youngferds07, Apr 19, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2015

    Youngferds07 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 18, 2015

    How much ram is necessary? I've read a lot about upgrading to 8GB of Ram to "future proof" the computer. I don't do much except for basic tasks: Email, Word, Excel, research, watching movies on iTunes, music, etc.

    How much flash memory is necessary? The basic models have 256GB. Is this enough for what I would use it for or would I need the 512GB?

    Also, what's the difference between the:

    1.6GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 2.7GHz


    2.2GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz

    In terms of what I would use the computer for?
  7. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    I recommend the 13.3” Non-retina Macbook Pro or the 13” retina Macbook Pro.

    I LOVE the non-retina because it already has more storage than the MBA, it has a superdrive (which I realize you don’t use that often) but the Processor in the “2-chipset older machine” is just as powerful as the 2015 version used in the MBA. It also has more I/O capabilities and compatibility without the need for adapters, a good display, it’s still repairable/upgradeable by the user instead of what seems to be a machine designed to be used for a couple of OS refresh cycles, AND it will recognize 16GB of memory whereas the MBA and the retina MBP will only have 8GB at the most for the life of the machine unless you pay Apple the extra $200 to upgrade it at the time of purchase. and in case you're wondering, has a 16GB RAM kit for the non-retina that only costs $160.

    You can also easily upgrade the HDD to a SSD if you want to achieve the same boot speeds and increase battery life and breathe new life into the machine. It’s also possible to remove the built-in superdrive in the non-retina version and put in a second HDD or SSD and make it perform even better than the MBA.

    Upgrading RAM doesn’t necessarily future proof the computer as much as it helps take the processing load off of the CPU and the HDD. If you don’t have enough RAM, then your computer will start using the HDD for the memory instead of the Ram and that will slow things down considerably. So in essence, the amount of RAM you have in there will help make your computer last longer and be more useable later than if you only had the minimum amount of RAM.

    Overall, I think the non-retina 13.3” Macbook Pro is just a better machine and a much better buy than the MBA.
  8. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    Look here:

    From what you have described, you have no need for more than 4gb ram.


    While I agree that the non-retina macbook is often overlooked and has its charms, for what the OP is intending to do, the base macbook air is pretty much a no-brainer.
  9. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    I agree with your statement for the most part, however, 4GB RAM as a minimum will not be enough because Yosemite does not run great on only 4GB and would make that computer not a great option for the monetary investment in my opinion. As an example, right now I have the following apps open and running: Mail, Safari with 4 tabs open, iTunes and activity monitor. Those apps aligner using 3.87GB of memory. I understand the nice memory management included with Yosemite, but 4Gb is low for even basic tasks.

    SO yes, the MBA with 8GB RAM would be better but then that makes it cost more than the non-retina MBP and just as much as a retina MBP that also doesn't have a superdrive. I just think that even though the MBA is a nice lightweight machine that is very useful, its longevity is in doubt and why I would recommend either the non-retina MBP or the retina MBP.
  10. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    Your mac is not using 3.87gb of RAM. That was a bug in Yosemite. They just fixed that and now it shows the amount it really uses. I just worked on a macbook air with pixelmator, word, a few tabs in safari, preview and never reached the 3gb mark.
  11. RedCroissant, Apr 19, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2015

    RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    What bug was it and when was it fixed? The reason I ask is because my system is fully updated and now I am running one less tab in Safari, iTunes, and Mail and my memory used according to Activity Monitor is 3.74GB
  12. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    Since Yosemite the activity monitor always showed that nearly all the ram was occupied. The latest update seems to have fixed that.
  13. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    I heard that before but I have never experienced that even before I fully updated my system with the latest updates. I know that OS X compresses memory when an application is not being actively used or is in the background, but if activity monitor is being used to determine memory usage when more memory-intensive apps are minimized or in the background, then I don't think AM in a single snapshot is an accurate assessment of memory requirements.
  14. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    I always monitor activity monitor, while I am doing things. It's not just a snapshot.
    Without further explanation: What the OP is doing can easily be done with 2gb RAM. 4gb is quite sufficient.
  15. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    I do as well and notice a few things that make me lean in the other direction. 4Gb might be sufficient initially, but I respectfully disagree that it will be enough for continued use of the machine,
  16. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    I must've been using magic macbooks then ;)

    It's pretty much a fact that a macbook air with 4gb runs into no issues with the OPs usage.
    If with 'continued use' you mean in the future, then we are talking about predicitons of course.
    I highly doubt that word processing, media consumption and webbrowsing will require 4gb in the next half decade.
  17. SuperKerem macrumors 6502a


    Oct 29, 2012
    London, England
  18. Youngferds07 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 18, 2015
    Thank you all for your inputs! I'm still torn between the MBA and rMBP/MBP. I do like the idea of the MBP being upgradeable by the user, especially because my 2007 Macbook is still up and running (going to be upgrading the HD to an SSD and increasing the ram from 2GB to either 4GB or 8GB. (My first macbook has been taken over by my husband).

    Seeing as my first Macbook (2007) has outlived 3 PCs, I would hope that I would have enough space on the new Macbook to accommodate documents, scanned documents, pictures and various other items over the course of 8+ years as well as new software requirements . This is mostly why I question the 128GB vs 256GB vs 512 GB. The reason I question 4GB RAM vs 8GB RAM is because the new Macbooks are not upgradeable after purchase.

    Is there a time when Macbooks go on sale or is it random? I'd like to try and catch one when it's on sale.

    Is there a better place to buy them other than the Apple Store?
  19. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    Since you want something portable that you also seem to want to last for a long time based on what you as the owner can do to prolong its life, the non-retina MBP seems like the best option.

    The MBA (although nice and light) the 4GB RAM will not be enough considering how long you want the machine to last and fulfill your requirements for type of storage in the future. If you want more storage in the future, then you’ll be increasing the weight that you carry with you or at least temporarily so when syncing. That would make something ultra-portable into a mini desktop.

    In my opinion, 16GB RAM beats 4 or 8G especially when the machines that are other possibilities cannot be upgraded or repaired.

    Anyway, I’m pretty sure that you know my opinion by now but good luck with everything!

    Oh, and the best place to buy a Mac is at Best Buy! They price match, offer better financing options, have sales as well, you can use a student discount, and there are often open-box deals.
  20. Meister, Apr 19, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2015

    Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    Please consider that most parts in the non-retina mbp are not upgradeable either. Hdd and RAM are only two parts of many. The components in that machine are also at the youngest 3 years old. Of course, if your main objective is to hold on to a machine as long as possible, maxing out all the specs is your best bet for achieving that. For a variety of reasons I would advise you to do no such thing.
  21. Youngferds07 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 18, 2015

    What do you mean when you say "for a variety of reasons I would advise you to do no such thing?"
  22. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    I would not advise you to buy any upgrades with the purpose of possibly extending the usability of your macbook in the future. It's a pointless risk for various obvious reasons. I'd just buy for your needs now (the base model) and invest the savings into something profitable.

    The whole future proofing concept seems to be a money making scheme by :apple:
  23. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    My advice would be to get the MBA, as it will meet your current needs admirably.

    An SSD drive is faster, and much more stable than the old HDD. My 2008 MBP experienced a HDD failure (it was replaced under Applecare), and, ever since I bought my first MBA, I have become a huge fan of the SSD drive.

    The 2013, 2014 (and obviously), the 2015 13" models of the MBA are excellent. They are extremely portable, have terrific battery life, decent screens, and are nice and fast and reliable.
  24. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    That's true that most parts are not upgradeable, but it is true that the parts that are not upgradeable are at least still serviceable/replaceable by the user.

    I promise that I am not trying to be antagonistic but I could never agree with this because this mentality is actually what seems to be the real way in which Apple makes it money; by people upgrading or replacing their equipment too early either because the "new thing just came out" or they weren't aware of their needs to begin with and bought something that did not suit them. Why spend $800+ now and then spend another $800+ in a couple of years to replace the previous purchase? Even if the OP goes with the retina MBP instead of the non-retina, then the machine is better, will suffice for a longer period of time and will still cost less than such an early replacement.

    Buying upgrades at the time of purchase, sure. I agree completely that buying a memory upgrade (as an example) is kind of crazy except for the fact that there's no cost-effective way to upgrade the new line after the purchase.
  25. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    Why are you assuming that the OP will have to replace his macbook in a couple of years?

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