So I'm a college senior studying history and will be spending this spring semester writing my thesis. I've had my 2009 MBP (the one in my signature) since I was a freshman. It's starting to show its age though, and I will need a very reliable machine (a crash would be catastrophic!). I just had a new HDD installed, and I installed Crucial RAM myself. However SSDs are out of my budget, and I don't believe it makes a lot of sense for a 4 year old machine that has other issues. I thought about getting Mavericks, but I'm not sure how it would handle on this machine. I'm considering asking for a new Mac for Christmas and my next birthday (graduation too, hehe) from my parents. Since it's that far out I'm hoping the rMBP will get a refresh with Haswell (although I know I don't need it). Basically my uses are MS Office (notes and essays), web surfing on Chrome, iTunes, and watching videos. I do extremely light gaming like solitaire. I might rarely edit an iPhone video in iMovie. I have external storage, but I would prefer 256gb just to be safe. My original HDD was 160gb, and it seems silly to get something smaller. It will depend on if I keep my current MBP for photos and music or sell it. So the question is whether to ask my parents to drop the extra money on an rMBP (probably the 13" 2.5 ghz i5 with a 256gb SSD) or the 13" MBA with a 256gb SSD. I still love the cMBP, but I honestly don't use my superdrive or ethernet that often. I've also had problems with hard drives and cables the last few years. Of course my question is mostly concerning the MBA's processor. I currently have a 2.26ghz c2d, so I'm having a hard time understanding if the MBA's 1.3ghz i5 is faster. I don't think 4gb of RAM will be a problem since I had 2gb just a few months ago. I could probably tolerate the screen since my current machine isn't retina, and I don't notice much of a difference from my iPhone 5. Portability is nice, but not a huge deal with what I'm used to (plus I'm also considering buying myself an iPad Mini). So has anyone with an older MBP made the jump to an MBA? How do they compare? PCs are out because I haven't used many since XP, and I have a knack for attracting viruses. Not to mention ecosystem! I would probably be purchasing through my college bookstore with the education discount.