Perfect MacBook Pro/Air For A College Student...?

Prof.

macrumors 601
Original poster
Aug 17, 2007
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Okay so here's the story. My 2007 MacBook is beginning to kick the bucket after five years of service and four different operating systems. Therefore, I am looking to buy a new MacBook Pro or MacBook Air within the next six months. My question is: should I go with MBP or MBA? I would like my new MacBook Pro/Air to last at least as long as my current 2007 MacBook.

In your opinion, should I get a MacBook Pro or a MacBook Air and with what specifications? Like I said, I'd like it to be "future proof" for as long as possible.
 

Stetrain

macrumors 68040
Feb 6, 2009
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Depends on what you want and how much you want to spend.

I personally wouldn't look at the 13" MBP.

I think that the 2012 Macbook Air 13" with 8GB RAM for $1299 is a very good value for the money. It's very portable while maintaining pretty nice specs.

The Retina Macbook Pro is really powerful and will probably serve you well for a long time, but it's also expensive.

The 15" Non-Retina Macbook Pro is cheaper than the retina version and lets you upgrade the RAM and HDD yourself, but it's heavier and thicker than the other two options.
 
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Prof.

macrumors 601
Original poster
Aug 17, 2007
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Thanks! I was thinking about the 15" MacBook Pro for $2,165. I figure with all that horsepower, it'd last me at least five years!
 
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Stetrain

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Feb 6, 2009
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If you're already up in that price territory, it might be worth checking out a 15" Retina version in person at an Apple Store.

For a college student I think the non-Retina 15" is going to be a tad big and heavy, especially since you're coming from a Macbook. The Retina Macbook Pro weighs less than a 13" MBP and has very similar specs to the model you posted (except for total storage space). The Retina version will also feel faster in a lot of tasks because of the SSD.

I'm not recommending for sure either way, I just think it would be worth comparing them in person, especially since you want to use it for a long time.

Either one is going to be a performance beast compared to your 2007 Macbook.
 
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Dangerdog3000

macrumors member
Aug 26, 2009
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If you're going to spend $2014 you might as well opt for the Retina MBP. If you use the student discount it's priced at $1999 + a $100 gift card which I recommend putting towards AppleCare somewhere down the road.
 
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Prof.

macrumors 601
Original poster
Aug 17, 2007
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Can I add more RAM later, or is it soldered to the board like the MBA?
 
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Stetrain

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Feb 6, 2009
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cambookpro

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Feb 3, 2010
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Can I add more RAM later, or is it soldered to the board like the MBA?
Soldered to the board unfortunately.
I think someone mentioned that you can take out the flash storage and theoretically replace it, but it's a proprietary SSD so no one makes bigger ones yet.

Edit: Beaten while typing :p
 
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Prof.

macrumors 601
Original poster
Aug 17, 2007
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Oooooh! I thought the SSD was soldered! I didn't know you can change it at a later date. Okay, I'm sold. I'm gonna get the retina MBP later on this year when School starts. I'd rather have the retina MBP and have it last me 5+ years, than having to keep upgrading every 3 years.
 
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Stetrain

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Feb 6, 2009
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Oooooh! I thought the SSD was soldered! I didn't know you can change it at a later date. Okay, I'm sold. I'm gonna get the retina MBP later on this year when School starts. I'd rather have the retina MBP and have it last me 5+ years, then having to keep upgrading every 3 years.
:D

Also remember that you get $200 off with the student discount, and the $100 gift card if you buy within the Back To School promotional period.
 
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Rizzm

macrumors 6502a
Feb 5, 2012
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Can I add more RAM later, or is it soldered to the board like the MBA?
You can't add RAM and it'll be difficult (expensive) to add a larger SSD, since it's an Apple proprietary design. It's a niche size, so it'll be a specialty part with a premium price, made only by few manufacturers. If you're looking at the rMBP then configure it to last as long as you'll have it. Unless you're going to be working with HD video regularly, then the base model should be awesome for everything, including gaming!

If you're looking at the regular MBP then you can add RAM and storage drive yourself, so buy from OWC or Newegg. The drawback is the added weight, low res screen and glossiness (a con IMO), and the graphics card is somewhat worse. With aftermarket parts you could make a MBP and rMBP with 256 SSD, 8GB RAM for about the same price, but everything else will have its unchangeable differences (screen, size, GPU, ports).
 
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Prof.

macrumors 601
Original poster
Aug 17, 2007
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Chicago
Right now, after having my MB for 5 years, I'm slightly over 72GB of HDD space used...
 
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Stetrain

macrumors 68040
Feb 6, 2009
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Right now, after having my MB for 5 years, I'm slightly over 72GB of HDD space used...
Sheesh. A 256GB SSD will be a huge upgrade for you then.

If you need more space, you could always get a fast USB 3 external hard drive. They're about $100 for 1 TB (Yes, terrabyte).
 
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Prof.

macrumors 601
Original poster
Aug 17, 2007
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I think this will be the last question, but i'm not making any promises. :p Can I buy the AppleCare at a later date, or do I have to buy it when I buy the rMBP?
 
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Stetrain

macrumors 68040
Feb 6, 2009
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I think this will be the last question, but i'm not making any promises. :p Can I buy the AppleCare at a later date, or do I have to buy it when I buy the rMBP?
I believe you have 1 year from purchase date to add AppleCare, unless it has changed recently.
 
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JohnnyQuest

macrumors 65816
May 25, 2006
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My 2008 MBP is literally falling apart at the hinge, and I've been looking to upgrade for a while, but wanted to see what new things Apple was coming out with. I'm a Telecommunications student, and I'm pretty into photography as well. I love the form-factor and weight of the air, but the Retina Pro is the only option worth looking at IMO. If you want a "future-proof" machine, that's it.

Retina screen. SSD. Thin form factor. USB 3.0. Better engineering. It's a no-brainer.

I just bought the 2.6 model, and it'll be here in a couple weeks!
 
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Prof.

macrumors 601
Original poster
Aug 17, 2007
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667
Chicago
Thanks for all your help, guys! Now I just gotta wait for school to start in August, and to pay down my CC just a bit more. :D
 
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