Not urgent anymore: 2011 MBA vs. MBP (13" versions)

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by defected07, Jun 30, 2011.


Which should I purchase?

Poll closed Jul 1, 2011.
  1. Forget financing, and wait for 2011 13in MacBook Air

    9 vote(s)
  2. Get the current 13 MacBook Pro -- it fits your needs better

    20 vote(s)
  3. Keep your C2D and wait until 2012 -- if you can!

    10 vote(s)
  1. defected07, Jun 30, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2011

    defected07 macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2011
    OK, so I've been torn between a 13" MacBook Pro (2.7 GHz i7) and the 2011 13" MacBook Air refresh.

    I signed up a month ago for the financing, and unfortunately, have until today to purchase a MacBook Pro and get the 0% APR for 12 months.

    I wouldn't get the current MacBook Air, but wondering if I should wait, try to cancel the card and attempt to re-sign up (pending approval) once the MacBook Air is released.

    Now, the main thing pulling me toward the MacBook Air is the thin body, light weight, and higher resolution. Also, SSD out of the box, but I would eventually upgrade the MBP to a SSD (when Lion is released, and probably an OWC model, instead of paying the $200 for whatever Apple provides) as well as go to 8GB of RAM.

    Now, if the MacBook Air is released with the Sandy Bridge chips, it would put itself closer to the current MacBook Pro performance wise--but I'm sure the MacBook Pro would still edge it out. A MBP refresh is not expected until at least 2012, and I'd rather not wait that long...

    Portability is not a must, as I wouldn't use it at work, but would bring it on vacation or to a friends' house, and I really don't think the extra weight of a MBP would really be the decisive factor here. What I want is the best performance, and be able to dock the MBP so that I can get a 23" monitor with external keyboard.

    I currently have a 2006 15" MBP (2.33 C2D with 4 GB (3 recognized) RAM). It's definitely slowing things down, though I would probably still find a use for it (maybe a server, or run mainly XP on it for WFH).

    My needs include Adobe CS suite (currently 4, but possibly 5), multitasking (many open applications), minor video editing in iMovie (just iPhone movies), and guitar/music recording (mostly Garage Band, but we'll see in the future...).

    What would you guys recommend? Obviously the MBP is more appealing as I'd like to use the financing, but I just don't want to buy this and learn the MBA would dominate it, or find out the dual-core i7 isn't much faster than my current C2D MBP.

    Sorry for the long winded, possibly confusing rant, but time is of the essence today!

    Feel free to point out anything else I may have missed. Thanks for your help!

  2. phpmaven macrumors 68040


    Jun 12, 2009
    San Clemente, CA USA
    0% credit card deals are always available. I would wait until the new airs come out and then make your decision.
  3. defected07 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2011
    Thanks. I spoke with Barclay last night as I hadn't activated my card yet, and that's when I found out today my 30 days were up. She said they might approve me again, if I were to cancel the card/re-sign up, but it was definite. So, who knows...
  4. FuNGi macrumors 65816


    Feb 26, 2010
    At this point you would be doing yourself a disservice to buy either the Air or 13" MBP. Wait until the update and then reevaluate your needs and price ranges. FYI, to put a 256GB apple SSD in the 13" pro you're looking at another $600 making it on par with the maxed out Air. Don't rush your decision - wait until you see the new 13" MBP's resolution, graphics options, etc. then buy the AIR :cool:.
  5. Typswif2fingers macrumors 6502

    Feb 17, 2010
    Dubai, UAE
    Mate, the way I see it.. and please forgive if I am misinterpreting this, but there are two issues here.

    1) What you want/what you need? and
    2) Rush to use up the line of credit.

    You have to figure out what you want/what you need. THAT is YOUR priority.

    Line of credit is there because you can get it.. Which means, do not rush because it is expiring, you can get another one whenever you figured it out (don't worry, THEY WANT you to go into debt.. its how THEY make money)..

    I can not give you advice as to item 1) above... It is your decision to make. But it is your decision to make "without undue pressure" from the bank, or anything or anyone else...

    In summary, figure out what you need, review and make a decision. Then re-apply.

    Good luck
  6. hayduke macrumors 65816


    Mar 8, 2005
    is a state of mind.
  7. defected07 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2011
    Thanks guys. Your outside perspective is helpful. I am definitely rushing this, and my judgement is clouded, just because I want to delay forking over $1500 in one lump sum :p

    Ideally, yes, I'd like to finance the machine, but, I think it is only fair to see the new MBA and the MBP side by side, play with both of them, and then make my decision.

    I do know that I want performance, and would rather it be in laptop form than get an iMac.

    I'm just not sure how to close this line of credit, so that I could re-apply when the time is right.

    But I may walk over to the local Apple store today to at least take a look at the 13" MBP.

    Also, in regards to the SSD, I may only go with a 120GB one, as I'd just use it for Applications (I have an unRAID server with 8 (and counting) TB of space, a 1TB external LaCie, and a few USB powered externals -- so space is not a real issue.
  8. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

    Jun 1, 2011
    i agree with this.

    don't let your current credit deal make a hasty decision for you.
  9. defected07 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2011
    OK, so let's eliminate the credit card situation then. So now that's not a factor in this decision. So we look at my needs (I'm a developer, part-time web designer, so would use mainly Photoshop.) I also do very light video editing, play music, occasionally watch videos (but only YouTube--have my Popcorn Hour for movies/tv shows), and record/compose music with Garage Band. I ultimately want the most powerful machine, without sacrificing a lot of space -- which is why I'm looking at the 13" versions.

    So currently, the 13" MBP is $1500. If I get the OWC SSD, it'll bring it to at least $1750. Add on 4 more GB of RAM--let's estimate $100. That's $1850. Either way I'm going to get a dock of some sort ($50). a 23" monitor ($200) and an external wireless keyboard ($70) or so. So we're looking well over 2 grand all said and done, for my needs. Now, this won't be all purchased up front, but I'd say the SSD will come first of everything.

    I'm not sure what the 13" MBAs will be, but they have the SSD built in, but will probably not perform as well as the 13" 2.7 GHz i7.
  10. ladytonya macrumors 6502a

    Oct 14, 2008
    I have basically the same usage as you minus the video stuff and I would go with the MBP. You said that portability isn't important, and that's the main advantage of the MBA. Personally, I have no interest in a computer that has no optical drive in it.

    I started looking at MacBooks in 2008 and kept waiting. You can keep waiting and there will always be something newer and better coming out next month, next quarter, or next year. In the mean time, you're stuck using the same old piece of junk that you've had for however long you've had it and now enjoying a new machine.

    Also, as others have said, I wouldn't let financing skew you one way or another. If you have good credit, there will always be some financing deal out there. Personally, I would never finance a computer because you end up paying way to much over time and by the time it's paid off, it's obsolete, but again that's just my opinion. YMMV. Good luck, and enjoy your new Mac whichever one you ultimately decide to buy! :apple:
  11. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

    Jun 1, 2011
    4gb should be enough for you, no? i use my 13'' for PS and i usually have it, a browser, and other apps (maybe itunes, i also have prefpanes and menubar stuff running) and i don't really come close to fulfilling even 4gb.

    i think you are overestimating your needs, a base model 2.3ghz i5 base 13'' model will be plenty for you, assuming that the 13'' has enough screen for you.
  12. defected07 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2011
    It has enough screen when I'm on the couch, or at a friends'/on the train--but when in Photoshop, or doing web development where I want my IDE open, with the browser open on another screen--or split the two on a larger screen--that's where the dock/larger monitor come in.

    I don't have much need for the optical drive, especially since I'll keep my 15" MBP which has one, I'd just like the speed/performance of a SSD--which, as long as it's easy to replace (unlike replacing the drive in my 15" C2D -- what a nightmare!), I will do in the near future.
  13. Apple Expert macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2010
    Wait for the refresh of the 2011 MBA. I think you will be fine with the 13" of MBA or MBP. I wouldn't go with the i7 MBP. The base model is much better value. The diffrence is only about 10 - 15% increase of cpu processing power. If your doing a lot of video encoding it might be worth it. But me personally I would go with the base MBP and put the difference toward the SSD. But I think this refresh of the MBA might be worth it to opt for that instead of the MBP. I can't wait to see the refresh MBA. Hopefully they are good. :)
  14. defected07 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2011
    I just went to the Apple store and played with an i7 13" MBP and a lower-end C2D MBA. MBA all the way! It was quick, light weight, and just felt nice to hold. The MBP was more of what I already have--of course with Thunderbolt and a nicer processor, but I just wasn't overwhelmed by it.

    The MBA with i5/i7 in it will be simply awesome. I even tested by quickly opening iTunes, then iPhoto, then iMovie, and Safari, and they seamlessly opened one after the other. Of course, these computers have a fraction of what mine will have on it, and I definitely need to re-format my MBP.
  15. DeadSoulive macrumors newbie

    Jun 25, 2011
    Buffalo, Ny
    13" 2011 MBP all the way

    The quote above explains exactly what a apple expert at the store told me. They ask you all your needs and tell you which machine to purchase. In my case this was the base model i5 13".

    The base i5 13" is perfect performance based on what you said above. In the first post you explained all the apps you would be running. The MBP is an amazing new machine with newly upgraded power. The only reason to upgrade is for increased power. However at times for long work i have found the 13" screen a little small. But that is nothing a external monitor can't fix. I love the portability. I carry it with a cooling pad, it's so small.

    By purchasing the base model you can save $$ and purchase apple care, accessories, applications etc. I personally found the $100 to the app store for students a great offer.
  16. Prodo123 macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2010
    Already it's pretty clear what you need is a MBP. 11.6" real estate for Photoshop? Forget about it! I have eye pain from squinting at a 1280x800 12.1" screen, 11.6" is just unbearably small.
  17. tombubi macrumors regular

    Jun 15, 2011
    I agree.
  18. defected07 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2011
    I'm looking at the 13" MBA not the 11". And the MBA has a larger resolution than the MBP. Also I will purchase a 23" monitor for home use.
  19. Heavertron macrumors regular

    Jun 2, 2011
    The MBA you tested has an SSD. You should test a 13" MBP with an SSD for a fair comparison. An SSD does make that much difference in the "speed feel" of a machine. Much more so than paying for the i7 upgrade.
  20. defected07 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2011
    I'm sure. However, I think it was the fact that I already have a Macbook Pro, that made me feel underwhelmed. I really love the small form factor of the MacBook Air, and if it's capable of being docked at home, to use with a larger display and external keyboard/mouse, then I'll be very happy. My brother works with a web developer who uses the current Macbook Air -- with Photoshop, and programming, etc.. and loves it. So I really feel the new MBAs will be all I really need -- as long as I keep my machine cleaner than I've kept my current MBP (in terms of number of applications/processes running).

    We'll see though. Again, I'm not going to rush it, and will definitely wait until at least the new MBAs are announced or released.

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